Saturday, June 4, 2016

Raise Your Book Above the Crowd

© 2015 Sharyn Kopf (reposted with permission from author. Originally posted in The Write Life.) 

You’re probably better off if you just don’t think about how many people you compete against when it comes to marketing your novel. We live in a world where everyone and his uncle can not only write a book but publish it. And they do.

Now we can start by disregarding the hacks—the truly awful writers who wouldn’t know a prepositional phrase from a hockey stick. They’re not your competition. But that still leaves quite a few—the writers who care and have a good story and hired an editor and quite possibly secured a publicist to get their work up and over the stacks of books clamoring for attention.

So … how do you stand out? Well, it helps to do everything I mentioned. But if you really want to be heard above the noise, stop trying to be heard above the noise. If you try to get attention the same way everyone else does, you’re just another cheap noisemaker in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

Let’s say, for example, you’re in Times Square and across the way, you see your ideal reader. All these authors stand between you and her. If you could just get her attention, you know she’d pick you. You wave your book in the air. But everyone is waving his book in the air. You shout her name. As do thousands of other voices.

It’s time to look closer. Who is she? Why is she there? What does she need? More importantly, what does she need that only you can provide? Will your story offer her hope or give her direction or help her rest? If so, that’s what you tell her. But don’t make her come to you. You go to her.

The same holds true when you send out your media kit to a blogger or a radio host or a journalist. Do your research. Find out what they want. Go to them. If you can meet a need while at the same time nudging your book in their direction, you’ve done a good job.

What it comes down to is this: When someone opens your email, she's not wondering how she can help you. She's wondering how you can help her. It may sound selfish, but that’s Marketing 101.

Raise your book above the crowd, and your dream reader might forget it’s New Year’s Eve because she’s at home engrossed in your book.
Award-winning author Sharyn Kopf published her first novel, Spinstered, in 2014, then followed that up with a nonfiction version titled Spinstered: Surviving Singleness After 40. Besides writing and editing, she’s developing a speaking ministry to women. During her spare time, Sharyn plays the piano, makes the best fudge ever, and watches too much HGTV. She lives in Bellefontaine, Ohio, just five minutes from her favorite people in the world—her family. Visit her on Facebook.


  1. Great information! As a newly published author I've found marketing fun. Hubby and I have tried a number of different things (craft fair book signings, neighborhood signing party, etc). We figure we're doing something, even if some it might appear wrong. :) Thanks again for your article.

    1. Billy and I are the same way. Learning to market, doing the best we can. It's fun, though.

    2. Thanks for writing, Janetta. If you enjoy marketing, that certainly makes it a lot easier. And doing something is almost always better than nothing!

      Keep up the good work,