Publish or Perish. No, no, no…Market or Perish

Guest blog entry by Edward H Trayer

When you plan your ‘Bestseller’ you can do it in one of two ways: write the story you want to read in the bathtub or write the story everybody else wants to read in the bathtub. Occasionally, for example, the wonderful J K Rowling and her Harry Potter books, the two coincide, but usually, 99.999999999% of the time, they don’t.

So, which to choose?

Well, it depends on you and why you decided to spend the next year or so torturing yourself at a keyboard. If there’s a wonderful but totally unmarketable story in you and you think ‘Hell to it! I’m gonna write it anyway!’ then I think ‘Good for you’ and ‘Go for it’ but sadly, the hard, inescapable truth is you probably won’t sell very many. But maybe that’s ok. Maybe to you the book is simply a trophy, to sit happily on a shelf in the front room just over the TV so anybody who visits will spot it, particularly Cousin-Alfred who always seems to have a much bigger car than you. But, if you decide to check out the market and try to write a book that fills a niche, then, in my opinion, you’re not just a writer, you’re an author too.

When I wrote my latest children’s novel, The Gullfoss Legends, I decided to spend a lot of my time pouring over the primary school curriculum for English and consequently I discovered the importance of myths and legends, historical setting and understanding a different culture, to teachers responsible for stocking the book cupboard. Consequently my novel is based on a legend in Iceland in the early 1900s. BINGO! My book fulfills three of the key elements of the school curriculum. Now, when I market my book to schools, parents and even the odd library, I can explain this to them. The result: I pre-sold 90% of the 500 books initially planned to be printed before they had even been printed!

To Be Continued…. (in the next blog post)

Billy Bob Buttons, the pen name of Edward H Trayer, is the author of six independently published books and the organizer of The Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards (, the first independent book award based in the UK. Visit his website:

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  • At 2011.02.26 12:16, Sandy Barris said:

    By the way, if it’s OK with you I’d like to add that no marketing plan or marketing calendar should be set in stone!

    If history has taught us anything, no matter how effective your plan may be, chances are, it will have to be altered at a given time; due to what your competitor(s), clients, future clients or suppliers are doing.

    Here’s the kicker, don’t feel as if you have to be a psychic.

    Don’t feel overwhelmed at the thought of needing a business and marketing plan so flexible that it takes away from the overall aim and goals that made you ‘hungry’ to market your particular business, product, service or idea in the first place!

    No doubt about it, there’s an easy way to be sure that you can continue to have success in the future – if you just start off with flexibility in mind!

    The best way to do so is to have a marketing plan and marketing calendar that is flexible and built to adjust itself when the time comes to do so.

    Sandy Barris
    Fast Marketing

    P.S. Once you have your Marketing Plan complete, you may want to plug it into Fast Marketing Plan and you’ll get Monday Morning Email Marketing reminders about your marketing tactics you’ll want to get done during the week. Plus you’ll also get links for help getting most of those tactics done for you, if needed.

    • At 2011.02.27 10:12, Anne said:

      Thanks so much for your thoughts about marketing plans, Sandy. I will be visiting soon to learn about what you offer for those of us marketing without a plan.


    • [...] the previous post, Edward Trayer (a.k.a Billy Bob Buttons) wrote that the best time to consider how you will market the book is before you have written the first [...]

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