Guerrilla Marketing For Writers: 100 No-Cost, Low-Cost Weapons For Selling Your Work, by Jay Conrad Levinson, Rick Frishman, Michael Larson, and David L. Hancock
I enjoyed reading this book. As a writer, someone who enjoys both the solitary cave-dwelling existence of writing as well as someone who enjoys public conversation about books and writings with others, this book had a lot to offer. It was told with a great deal of humor and more than a little bit of bracing realism, and the authors themselves have done a good job at not only providing a lot of practical advice for writers who wish to make a living out of their efforts but also practice what they preach, which makes this book all the better in being able to show and not only tell. As always, though, this book is not so much about the enjoyment of the book as a reader, but its application in the life of a reader. Or, alternatively, a reader can look to see what he is already doing right as a writer and to ponder what other things can be done to increase one’s effectiveness in marketing one’s writings at little or no cost. The authors focus on fellow non-fiction writers but also spend a bit of time focusing on novelists by giving advice specifically for them, which makes the book broadly applicable to book writers in general.
This book is divided into four parts. The authors introduce by seeking to convince the reader why this book is necessary and how to get the most out of it. The first part of the book contains two chapters that introduce the idea of guerrilla marketing and its usefulness at present (I), on why a writer has to be a guerrilla marketer (1) and an author’s guide to the future of book publishing (2). The second part of the book looks at weapons that make one a guerrilla (II), specifically the most powerful weapons a writer has for promotion (3), the most powerful tools for selling (4), the most powerful weapons a writer has internally (including niches) (5), and the weapons that make one a guerrilla (namely one’s promotion planning and budgeting) (6). The third part of the book looks at weapons galore to help the writer sell more (III), including publicity weapons (7), more plans that help one prove one is a guerrilla (8), fusion marketing weapons (9), weapons that use technology to help the writer (10), weapons that involve one’s books (11), weapons made possible by one’s ability to write (12), weapons made possible by one’s ability to find allies (13), and weapons that deliver free advertising (14). The fourth and final part consists of weapons that are all about the writer (IV), including weapons that prove one is a pro (15), weapons that are useful to make part of one’s identity (16), weapons for communicating that identity to others (17), and weapons to power an invincible personal marketing machine (18), after which the authors conclude the book with a great adventure (19), appendices on the weapons provided in order of importance, how to find a publicist, how networks can help, a sample media kit, timeline for a publicity campaign, a writer’s digest publicity questionnaire, the top 100 markets for publishing in the United States, and Mike’s evaluation form, along with some information about the authors.
To be sure, much of this information is not new. If one has read books on marketing, especially those devoted to authors, one has probably read most of these suggestions, albeit phrased perhaps in a different way. Where this book succeeds is in the lighthearted sense the book maintains about its material. One never gets the feeling that the authors are trying to talk down to the reader or promote themselves as authorities, but rather one gets the feeling that they are allies in the common goal of getting good books to customers who will appreciate them and who can in turn be enlisted to read and review the book and help to promote it. The fact that the authors spend so much time trying to enlist the readers as allies, and in encouraging the writer to build his or her own alliances makes this book an enjoyable read in that it seeks to introduce the reader into a community of writers and other professionals who make a living off of the book trade. Since many of us readers are somewhat isolated and obscure people, this aspect of belonging makes the book more enjoyable and likely makes the authors pretty likeable people to work with, which makes this book’s advice all the more easy to respect and apply.