Friday, October 9, 2009


© Marilyn Meredith 2009 all rights reserved

Being published by a small, independent press means that I have to do most of my own promotion. This is the plan I use for each book that comes out with some variation.

When I know approximately when my book will be out I always plan a book launch, usually in my hometown. My most elaborate one was held at a bed-and-breakfast in a town where about half the book took place. For $25 people who bought their tickets in advance were served a nice luncheon, received a copy of my book which I signed and talked about. I’ve had launches in gift and coffee shops, at our local Inn and the recreation center. My launch for my latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, DISPEL THE MIST, was held in a bakery. I bought cookies from the bakery to serve. They’ve asked me to return when I have another book to launch.

Of course I always purchase business cards with the cover of the book and all the necessary information on them to hand out wherever I go. Sometimes I get postcards too.

I have a website and the latest book cover is always the most prominent. I have a blurb about each book, a link to the publisher, and the first chapter available to read. . I try to blog everyday,, and I write about a lot of things besides whatever book I happen to be promoting. I also blog every Tuesday at, which displays my book covers and my upcoming appearances.

Once I received books, I sent requests for reviews to people who have reviewed previous Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries. I also offered to give away five free books to the first people who contacted me from DorothyL. I sent out ten books.

Once the reviews come in, I put them on my blog and my website and let my publisher know too.

I’m on Facebook and Twitter and other social networking sites. I’ve made lots of new friends and it’s a great way to keep in contact.

When I appeared at the library to talk about the inspiration for DISPEL THE MIST one of my Twitter friends I’d never met showed up with his wife, so don’t let anyone tell you social networking doesn’t work.

For my local appearances, I always give a book to each of the newspapers and write up the copy I’d like for them to put in—usually they put exactly what I’ve written. I had a bonus this year when the paper sent a reporter and photographer to cover the event at the library and the article was on the front page. The next day I received a call from the local rotary club asking me to come and give a talk to them.

I do well at book festivals, especially if I have the opportunity to speak, craft fairs, and similar venues. I’m going to several this year. For the second year, I’ll have a table at our local Art Gallery for their Christmas sale. The trick to selling books at these venues is to make eye contact with people and talk to them. I’ve seen authors sit behind their table and play with a computer or even read a book—and they complained afterward about not selling much. Usually I do quite well because I speak to everyone. What’s the point of going if you aren’t going to try to meet new people and interest them in your books?

Having a book club discuss your books is always a great opportunity.

Mystery cons and writers conferences are always fun and a good way to introduce yourself to new readers. I’ve decided this coming year to only do the smaller cons where I know I can be on a panel or give a presentation. I’m going to Epicon (the con for electronically published writers and publishers since all my books are e-books as well as trade paperbacks), Mayhem in the Midlands and Public Safety Writers Association, which is for anyone writing fiction or non-fiction about any of the public safety fields.

My one exception to sticking to small conferences will be Bouchercon 2010 because it’s being held in San Francisco and I can get there on the train.

I always take advantage of other opportunities to sell books—this year I’m having a signing at our family reunion. The reunion is being held in a hotel in a small town and I’ve invited anyone who lives near to come too.

As you can tell, with the exception of the cons, I do most of my promoting fairly close to home. That’s what works for me and perhaps it might give you an idea you haven’t thought of before.

About the author:

Marilyn Meredith is the author of over twenty-five published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest Dispel the Mist from Mundania Press. Under the name of F. M. Meredith she writes the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series. No Sanctuary is the newest from Oak Tree Press.

She is a member of EPIC, four chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, WOK, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She was an instructor for Writer’s Digest School for ten years, served as an instructor at the Maui Writer’s Retreat and many other writer’s conferences. She makes her home in Springville CA, much like Bear Creek where Deputy Tempe Crabtree lives. Visit her at


Hoarders Extraordinaire said...

Excellent advice! It's always good to think a little 'outside the box' when trying to market something. I also agree with your point about making eye contact and talking to people. Thanks for the wonderful post!

Marta’s Meanderings

joylene said...

Marilyn -- What an inspiration you are! I'm printing this article and studying every detail. It's either that or would you consider coming for a visit and holding my hand thru the process? I live on a lovely lake. I cook. I sing. I massage sore feet.

Seriously, you've brought back the joy of marketing. Thank you!

s.w. vaughn said...

All great things to do - and good to hear that it's possible to promote and still stay close to home! :-)

Sheila Deeth said...

Inspiring to know that your thinking outside the box actually works. Thanks for sharing the ideas.

Anonymous said...

These are wonderful ideas, Marilyn. Like Joylene, I'm going to print out this post and study it. I'll also forward the link to my Sisters in Crime chapter, the Mavens of Mayhem.

Speaking of SinC, I found the link to this article on the SinC online group. (Always good to learn where your visitors are from, right?)

Julie Lomoe's Musings Mysterioso

Mary Welk said...

Great ideas, Marilyn.

Marilyn will be blogging on my site on Oct. 13, so please stop by and visit her at Cicero's Children, on Oct 13th.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Thanks for having me. I love to chit-chat with kindred spirits.