Have you published a book or plan to publish a book soon but you’re not sure how to get book sales? Are you overwhelmed by the volume of book marketing options available? Or maybe you have a limited budget? Maybe you’re just not sure where to start?

We understand your anxiety. The good news for some of us is that the stigma against self-published titles is diminishing. The bad news is that there are a LOT of people self-publishing, which means a ton of noise in the marketplace. How do you get your target readers to notice your book, pick it up, purchase it, and recommend it to others? Maybe you’re not even sure of who your target reader is (hint: it’s not “everyone”). There are so many options out there that you’d need to have at least three full-time employees to tackle them all.

You’re not alone. Every author faces the problem of figuring out who is likely to read his or her book, where those people hang out, and how to get their attention and convince them to buy. And the problem isn’t even reserved for just self-published authors – traditional publisher book marketing budgets are shrinking, leaving the vast majority of us (99% +) with the most work (90% +) in getting our books into readers’ hands.

And it’s not just your reader and your book that you need to consider. It’s also your goals for your book and any future books. It’s your personality and what you’re comfortable doing, among a bunch of other things.

So, to help, MWC and the Wordsy Woman have partnered to again offer a Book Marketing Workshop Series this fall meeting every other Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. starting September 27th; the first meetings will be at MWC while the last few (which ones TBA) will be held elsewhere, likely the Rock Island Public Library. Cost is $140 for Members/$170 for Non-Members. If you are a repeat participant from last year, cost is $105 for Members/$127.50 for Non-Members. Unless you work out a payment plan with Ryan, total amount is due in full prior to the start of the first session.

At the end of the 6-meeting workshop, (if you do your homework) you will have a complete and personalized written marketing plan for your book, which you can then tailor to other or future books. The series also includes free access to Jodie’s Book Marketing E-course, which you can access for as long as it’s offered (a few years more at least) as a refresher or reinforcement.

The meetings will cover the latest book marketing techniques including social media and digital book tours all while adhering to sound marketing practices. What works for one author or one book, might not work for you or your book so you will be developing a book marketing plan that fits your book, your readers, your personality, and your goals. There is no guarantee that you will sell a million copies (or even 100) or that your book will become a best seller, but having a tailored, fluid marketing plan will provide the best chance. The last meeting will consist of scheduled one-on-one sessions with Jodie so she can answer questions or provide some advice on marketing your book.

As part of the group, you will be invited to join our Closed MWC Book Marketing Facebook group open only to current and past book marketing series attendees to share successes, challenges, and tips for as long as you like. Details of each session will be determined based on the applicants’ responses to the questions below, but will likely include the following to some degree:

  • Your product: editing, back of the book description, synopsis, summaries, author bios, etc.
  • People: defining and narrowing your ideal reading market, reader personalities, author personalities
  • Place & Price: discounts, distribution, and pricing
  • Promoting your book online
  • Promoting your book offline
  • Budgeting and scheduling

We may use excerpts from other books, articles, YouTube videos, discussion and/or samples to cover these topics.

There is no application process, but to help Jodie better serve you, please copy and paste the following questions into the body of an email, inserting your answers where appropriate, and send it to mwc@midwestwritingcenter.org and jodie@wordsywoman.com with “Book Marketing Series” in the subject line.

  1. Your Name
  2. Title of the book which will be the subject of your marketing plan (It’s important to choose one book; you can use your plan after the series to tailor it to other books)
  3. If the book has already been published: State if self-published or traditionally published
  4. Date of publication
  5. Where is your book currently being sold?
  6. List of things that have already been done to market your book, whether by you, your publisher, or a publicist
  7. Your description printed on the back of your book
  8. Your book’s category (mystery, young adult, romance, etc.)
  9. Your author bio (in the book or elsewhere)
  10. If the book has not yet been published:
    1. A short summary of the book’s topic or story, including the anticipated classification (mystery, young adult, romance, etc.)
    2. Planned date of publication
  11. Previous experience with book publishing and/or marketing, if any (none is required)
  12. Please answer the following questions to help in planning topics
    1. What are your general feelings about book marketing? Hate it? Dread it? Excited about it?
    2. What challenges have you encountered when marketing your book or what fears do you anticipate about marketing your book?
    3. If you’ve marketed a book in the past, what are the biggest obstacles you’ve encountered?


Instructor Bio:

Jodie Toohey, a/k/a the Wordsy Woman, helps people say what they want to say, including for marketing their books. She is the author of three novels: Taming the Twisted (August, 2015), Melody Madson – May It Please the Court? (2014), Missing Emily: Croatian Life Letters (2012 & 2nd Ed., 2015), and two poetry collections: Crush and Other Love Poems for Girls (2008 & 2nd Ed, 2015) and The Other Side of Crazy (2013, 918studio). She holds a marketing certificate and a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Iowa emphasizing marketing and strategy. She’s taught several writing workshops including beginning creative writing, beginning book marketing, and a workshop for our nation’s writing Veterans. She opened her Wordsy Woman Author Services division early in 2015 to help authors, soon-to-be authors, and want-to-be-authors from pre-idea reader to reader with craft resources, editing and proofreading services, and marketing planning services. You can learn more about her at wordsywomanforauthors.com.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Jodie at jodie@wordsywoman.com or Ryan at Midwest Writing Center at mwc@midwestwritingcenter.org.