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Phase 7: Selling The Sizzle

Elmer Wheeler was a master salesperson. He's credited with this master seller's credo:

Sell the Sizzle, not the Steak!

Don't try to sell your book - sell the setup, the hook, the sizzle!

Your book is now "out there" - congratulations!

Depending on whether you published it yourself or you have a deal with a traditional publisher, a big part of spreading the word about your book is up to you.

You've heard it said that the best marketing approach is to write another book. Very true.

Until then, you need a plan.

Check out this overview of marketing your first novel, by NY Book Editors:

They have a great punchline:

"Just when you thought you were a writer— plot twist! You're actually a marketer."


What you're looking to do is raise awareness, often starting with people you know and then going "wide" within the reading population.

You want people to find your book.

In turn, people will want to find you.


Setting up an author's site is easier than ever these days. Although there may some upfront costs, the payoffs will come.

Build a website that fits your personality, that highlights your book(s), that appeal to the audience you're looking to attract.

I used Wix to set up my site on and the learning curve to get the layout the way I wanted was nothing more than a bunny hill.

But everyone has different skillsets. If you need help, reach out to a tech-savvy friend or relative. Or, if you must, there are always professionals to help with this sort of thing.


As mentioned in prior blogs, there are highly informative resources out there, including Joanna Penn where topics such as marketing and running a campaign are expertly outlined.

My small addition to this conversation consists of two notes: blue oceans and encouragement.


Are you looking to simply add your voice to the cacophony that is the novel landscape? If so, it's quite difficult to be heard.

"Blue Ocean Strategy" is a business term for carving out a new marketplace with little to no competition (versus "red oceans" where business battle for greater territory inside existing arenas, blood = red).

What is it about your book that speaks to today? What is going on in the world that your book can highlight as relevant?

Telling the world about how wonderful your book is - the quality of the writing, the interesting characters doing amazing things - will earn you limited attention.

Showing people how your book bucks the trends and offers them something unique - that will set you apart!


I like discussing the writing process, story structure, the craft from the story arc all the way down to the humble beat.

So I blog about it.

I've also dedicated a page on my website to highlight the writing books that impacted me on my journey.

My blog has also helped me build a subscribers' list, upon which I will launch announcements about the next book before it launches (hint: summer 2020).

Until I have that next book ready to go, my marketing campaigns will remain focused on spreading the word about my first published novel, The Timeworks.


As a professional, you need one of these.

There are myriad resources out there to explain what a good media kit should entail. Check out this site, one of many:

Key among the components of a powerful press kit is you. Who you are. What you're all about.

Not just your previous works, though those are important - buyers are looking for a sense of who you are as a person, and whether or not they can relate to you and your approach to the craft and business of novel writing.

This is up to you - get sizzling!

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