Marketing a Book is Like Parenting a Child
By Marci Brockmann
I’ve heard people say that writing and publishing a book is like having a baby. Having done
both, I agree with them. But let’s take this a step further. If writing and publishing a book is
like having a baby, then marketing a book is like parenting and raising that baby. When you
parent a child, you pay attention to its needs, find creative ways to stimulate her growth and
development, introduce her to new people and new environments, find novel ways to
stimulate her interest. Isn’t that the same as marketing your book?
Granted, I am new to this, having just published my first books, but as I develop marketing
plans for Permission to Land: Searching for Love, Home & Belonging and the companion
guided journal Permission to Land: Personal Transformation Through Writing, and try to find
creative ways to introduce them to the world, it seems very similar to me.
Being a devoted mother, I have always sought to creatively meet the needs of my children. As
a high school English teacher, I use all my intellectual and creative tools to craft lessons and
learning strategies for my students. As an author, I’m using all those same tools and
strategies – the same skillset – to creatively market my book and bring my message to as
many people as possible.
For me, this starts with focusing on the reasons I wrote the book in the first place. Sure, I had
had this lifelong desire to write a book and leave my mark on the literary world. Beyond that,
though, I was compelled to tell my story because of the personal catharsis I sought, but also
because as I related parts of my story to others over the years, as anecdotal narratives, I
found that they had the power to connect me with others through a shared experience or
emotion, and they had the power to shine some light and compassion on other people’s pain.
When I think about how to market my book, I’m thinking less about the units sold and more
about hearts and souls soothed, the pain eased, the trauma processed, and the humanity
connected. For me, marketing is more about my book being of benefit to others. I want my
child to make the world a better place.
That’s how I came up with the idea to write my second book which is a companion to my first.
I wanted to maximize the benefit, compassion, and understanding that my book shares with
the world, and my second book – a guided, self-paced writing journal – is the way to do it. By
offering a mini version as a writable PDF, I have my free enticement to give to book buyers, to
give away to anyone interested, and open to it. When they see how this mini version can help
them, then the full journal is there in writable PDF or in the paperback form to help them on
their journeys. Sure, I’m trying to build a business (raise my children), but it’s a business
founded on compassion, healing, and being of benefit to others (raising children who bring
compassion to the world).
As parents, wouldn’t we all be happy if our children grew up to be like that? Compassionate,
connected, and beneficial.
So where to begin? You wrote a book. Think back to your reasons for writing it. Think about
the many themes and connections between disparate concepts you made and list them.
Now, either on paper or in your imagination, connect those concepts and themes to the types
of people who would be interested in them – these are your readers – your audience. It’s vital
to writing your book and to marketing. If you’ve already done this, go dig it out of your files.
These are the people with whom you would like your child to have a connection or
Now you have your list of types of readers and their interests. For my book babies, it’s anyone
interested in family, parenting, addiction, mental illness/ mental health, therapy, job/ career
trajectories, relationships, divorce, dating as a single parent, personal growth, and
friendships… I could go on. This is a list of the reasons you think your child and those people
would connect and enjoy each other’s company. This way of thinking applies to fiction
writers as well as nonfiction.
But this connection will only happen if you can find these special people and introduce them
to your child. So, where you are most likely to find, meet, and connect with those people?
Break it down for each interest. Think about all the ways and reasons these particular people
gather together. There are all sorts of clubs and groups out there with a very wide variety of
purposes and themes. Find book clubs, artist groups, Meet-Up groups. You can look for
specialized organizations that cater to people with your book’s (child’s) interests. You can
look toward the school systems in your area and beyond, established businesses with
thematic/ demographic connections and suggest collaborations, and even reach out to other
published authors, celebrities, and influencers with similar interests and passions. Approach
independent bookstores (who often host writing groups and clubs) - schedule readings,
signings, and writing workshops.
Do your research and be as creative as you can.
I think as parents, sometimes we would do things for our kids that we wouldn’t do for
ourselves, so put your book’s (child’s) interests first and be bold. Ask. Ask again. Reach out on
social media and the Internet.
When businesses start opening up again, as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes and people are
meeting face to face again, go introduce yourself and your book (child) and show them how
beneficial your mutual relationship can be.
I’ve reached out to semi-famous celebrities and authors whom I mentioned in my book and
have received permission to send them a copy of my book (and their postal address) so that I
can thank them for their impact on my life, show them my appreciation, and make a
connection. Maybe they will be inclined to recommend my book to others, write an
endorsement, or agree to a recorded interview. It’s too early to tell, but the point is, the
answer is always going to be ‘no’ if you don’t ask. It’s like asking to get your child onto a
sports team, scouting group, or introducing your child to a mentor who has the expertise to
Go back to your reasons for writing your book and use them to creatively market your book
baby and bring your message to as many people as possible so she will grow up with
compassion, foster connections, be of benefit to others, and make the world a better place.
Marci Brockmann has journaled for over forty years and swears it
keeps her sane. She is a columnist for Elephant Journal and the
reception her writing received told her there was a book begging to
be written: this book. She earned her B.A. from SUNY New Paltz,
an M.A. from LIU/Post and an M.S. from the University of Phoenix,
and she has been a high school English teacher for more than
twenty years. She lives in Long Island, NY, with her husband, their
kids, frisky cats, and many fishes. marcibrockmann.com
YouTube Channel: What’s up, Marci? - https://bit.ly/WhatsupMarci
Blog: What’s up, Marci? – Whatsupmarci.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/Marci527 & Facebook.com/marcibrockmannartist