Head Spinning, 1There are so many ways to market a book it would make your head spin. The problem is that most authors only know one way, and that involves heavy competition with other authors for the book buyer’s ear and dollar. It doesn’t always feel that way. We authors gather together for support and safety then without realizing it, we all do the same thing. We reach out to book buyers where we think they are and nowhere else. In that process of shouting at book clubs and people we feel fit into the book buyer description, we’re not only making it harder to be heard above the crowd…we’re drastically limiting our book exposure strategies.

There are more ways to skin a cat, and far more (and better) ways to sell your book! If you’ve read my blogs or books, you already know that the main focus of powerful book marketing strategies leans heavily on your book’s unique hooks. If your book has a dog in it, a dog that plays a big role in the story, dogs are a great unique hook! Reaching out to dog lovers, in addition to your standard, noisy, and crowded book buyer audience, can vastly broaden your buyer base!

Identifying your book’s unique hooks and broader audiences is a topic for another time. Today I want to share a wonderful way to use a unique hook in a BIG way.


Publicity is all about using the media to create exposure for your product. Publicity is about making news and writing press releases that not only have the power to gain a news story or an interview, but also have the oomph to grab some great SEO visibility along the way. Creating relationships with local and national news media contacts can be very powerful for your sales success.

Publicity can be a fantastic boon for authors seeking serious visibility, but it can be much more. There is an avenue of publicity that’s extremely easy to use AND can not only expand your standard marketing audience, but create a strong and loyal following. Every author wants that!


Let’s imagine a few unique story hooks for your fiction. (Remember, if you write nonfiction, your unique hooks are already built into the concepts!) Your fiction might have a dog, or a primary character who has survived cancer or drug abuse. There may be a cool unique story hook that involves cookies or gardening. There are ways to connect with a charity in every case.

dogs, 1Dogs—You can offer a percentage of your sales to the ASPCA. You can support a local Animal Rescue League event by being present at the event and donating a basket (book, coffee travel mug, doggie leash, and doggie treats) for the event organizers to raffle off. You can create an event of your own to support a specific charity. For example, organize a speaking/book signing at a local dog training school creating awareness for the Animal Rescue League, and give a portion of all your sales to that charity. Make sure you let the world know you’re doing these things! Plaster a banner on your website, talk about your ASPCA support on your twitter and Facebook, blog about the events you participate in or create, and be sure to add pictures. Get press releases out to your local and national media about your efforts. Follow dog lovers on your social networks. Post dog photos on your Pinterest and Instigram. Connect with dog lovers; show them you not only love dogs too, but have a great dog in your book…and this all results in SALES. The same can be done with cancer research and drug abuse recovery support.

Cookies, 1Cookies and Veggies—If your book has a cookie lover or avid gardener in it, those are fantastic unique hooks! Look around. Hundreds of people blog about sweets and gardening and belong to Yahoo Groups that focus on those topics. They belong to cooking, baking, and gardening clubs, live and virtual. Seeking out these people for your social network following is a great boon for broadening your book’s exposure, and locating the perfect charity to connect with to expand that exposure is just as easy. For bakeries and gardeners you could support things like the Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, the Salvation Army, or any organization that reaches out and assists people in need of food or shelter. Let the world know you’re supporting the charity and get those press releases out to local and national media venues.

nonfiction 1Nonfiction unique hooks—These are a piece of cake, too! If you wrote a book about organizing ones life, you might want to support a charity that focuses on mental health. If your book is about Holocaust or 911 survivors, there are many charitable organizations focused on helping survivors. Is your nonfiction about WWII? There are tons of war veteran support organizations that would love your support, AND thousands of people who support those charities that would love your book.

Books_moneyBOOK SALES

People DO purchase a book, product, or service that supports the charity they also support. This is an easy no brainer! I’m going to make a suggestion that most of my marketing author coaching clients always gasp at, mostly because they never though of it themselves. I strongly suggest that you sit down and re-read your own book. You will be amazed at how many unique hook connections you’ve already written there. These hooks can easily lead to charitable connections and a broader book buyer audiences than all of your author friends combined ever reached out to in their marketing efforts.

There is one caveat…be careful not to choose a random charity that does not relate to your book. Many authors feel a strong personal connection with a charity, but it has nothing to do with their book. To use this charity to help broaden your book buying audience will be far less effective than if you choose a charity that directly relates to your story or nonfiction topic. By all means, support your personally chosen charity but do so apart from your book. The key is to create connections with an audience that relates to your book. THAT’S how to create book sales.

Oh My, 1OH MY!

This is a fun, very simple, and creative brain-stretching way to look at reaching out to book buyers. Take a few hours out of your frantic “buy my book” shouting with other authors and try this approach. It certainly can’t hurt you, and it definitely can help a charity that needs support.

Do you have questions about creating connections or locating your unique hooks? Post them here, I’m happy to answer!

Get the book sales you want! Check out

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About Deborah Riley-Magnus

Deborah Riley-Magnus is an author and an Author Success Coach. She has a twenty-seven year professional background in marketing, advertising, and public relations as a writer for print, television, and radio. She writes fiction and non-fiction. Since 2010, she had two novels released. In 2013 her nonfiction, Finding Author Success (Second Edition), and Cross Marketing Magic for Authors were released. Her newest book, Write Brain/Left Brain, focuses on bridging the gap between the creative writer and the marketing author. Deborah produces several pieces monthly for various websites and online publications. She writes an author industry blog and teaches online and live workshops as The Author Success Coach. She belongs to several writing and professional organizations. Deborah has lived on both the east and west coast of the United States and has traveled the country widely. She is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and recently returned after living in Los Angeles, California for several years. View all posts by Deborah Riley-Magnus


  • Feather Stone, a bit on the wild side.

    Hi Deborah: For three years I’ve been laboring over blog hops, giveaways, seeking reviews, posting articles, collecting ‘friends’ on facebook, creating multiple social websites – all to no avail. Although reviewers have written good reviews, The Guardian’s Wildchild sales remains disappointing. I’ve decided my marketing talent is at level zero. I’ve attended conferences, paid for marketing programs. Nothing has not inspired me on what more can I do. More recently, I was advised it will take time to make meaningful connections. I agree. Even so, I need to find where can I make those meaningful connections. Charities is another idea that sounds plausible. The setting of The Guardian’s Wildchild is on a US naval ship, involves a secret society of mystical Guardians, and a struggle to claim ownership of crystals which will be the answer to the world’s energy crisis. Complicated? Yes. If anyone has suggestions how any of this might tie into a charity or non-profit organization, I’m listening. Thanks

    • Deborah Riley-Magnus

      Hi Feather Stone!

      Your author marketing struggles are struggles I hear all the time. Most times, seriously effective marketing is so much simpler than authors think. It does take time to create great connections and reader loyalty, but not years, especially if done correctly.

      You have some great unique hooks. A US Naval ship, mystical elements, crystals, and the energy crisis. You have a ton of ways to connect with lovers of these elements. Since The Guardian’s Wildchild sounds like a fantasy, I would not suggest approaching naval or military audiences … HOWEVER, you can build a ton of followers through the mystical direction. Do a Google search for blogs that focus on the mystical, wizards, the powers of crystals, and herbal healing. Each of those blog owners have tons of followers who love the same things. Think about requesting an opportunity to guest blog at those blogs about the elements in your book. This is a far more effective way to create a blog tour than blogging on other author’s blogs. Check out websites that sell natural herbal elements, crystals, books on witchcraft and wizardry, and contact them about wither A) offering to write a monthly article about their subject with a mention of your book and the buy link at the bottom, or B) advertising your book on their website to their massive customer base. Arrange a book signing at a New Age shop instead of the tired old book stores or libraries. Broaden your audience!

      Now for your charity choice … IT IS SO OBVIOUS! You mentioned the world’s energy crisis. This may be a topic in your fantasy fiction, BUT THIS IS A VERY REAL THREAT! You can locate charities and organizations that focus on educating people on how to save energy. You can create a community wide recycling campaign event under the name of your book. You can speak at clubs, groups, and organizations about how to protect the planet. You can donate a portion of your sales to an organization focused on saving the planet. There are a THOUSAND ways to connect your book with this very BIG need! And this can be so much fun too!

      Does this help?

  • Kerry Alan Denney

    Great article Deborah, thanks for sharing! Bookmarked. 🙂

  • margueritequantaine

    I’ve been in marketing for over 40 years and even though some of your suggestions seem more common sense than original to me, I love reading every single one of your posts with applause. It’s a wise author that takes your advice.

    • Deborah Riley-Magnus

      Thanks so much margueritequantaine!

      I am certainly busted … it is ALL common sense. Authors are so afraid of marketing that it’s very important I talk about the simple solutions (some so simple they simply missed them along the way!). It’s designed to give them confidence for the more advanced creative stuff down the road.

      Thanks for the best compliment I ever received!


  • Feather Stone, a bit on the wild side.

    Thank you, Deborah. You’ve opened my ‘eyes’ to more possibilities. I can see how these options may give me access to a greater audience. Thanks again.

  • Put It Together 4 U

    Hi, Deborah! You have gained a new follower via LinkedIn! 😀 I truly appreciate the advice and direction posted here. This is right on time – with my upcoming scheduled date of release for my book. I wanted to ask for some guidance regarding donating to charities…

    My book is geared towards entrepreneurs and small businesses. As I was reading your blog, I was gently reminded that although I’m passionate about something (i.e. children and animals), I should direct the charitable donations at something related to my topic. I am LOST! I wouldn’t mind at all giving a portion of sales to an organization, but which type(s) should I seek to connect with?

    Any guidance you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for your assistance and awesome ideas! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

    ~ Angela

    • Deborah Riley-Magnus

      Hi Angela,

      I know, sometime it gets a little difficult to locate the perfect charity. All of my nonfiction books are focused on authors and helping them market better. I struggled with how to connect through charity until I finally chose to support the American Literacy Council, because books relate to reading and I felt it made the most sense.

      The same kind of deeper thinking will have to come in to play for your book. One thing I love about digging like this, is that it opens a few really interesting doors that can lead to great relationships for you and the marketing of your book. One idea that stands out in my mind is for you to create a scholarship for college students seeking business degrees. It could be just a few hundred dollars. Students are ALWAYS seeking these small scholarships to help them make their educational financial needs. Doing this means that you can then connect with colleges and offer to speak on the subject of entrepreneurship and small business ownership … AND sell books. It isn’t the traditional charity choice direction, but I believe the media would like to know about something like this.

      Hope this helps.

      Happy Holidays to you, too!

      • Put It Together 4 U

        Hello again, Deb!

        May I give you a new moniker? I would like to refer to you as “Marvelous Magnus”! You have truly given me a new avenue to pursue as I blossom into (prayerfully) a Best-Selling author! Talk about thinking outside of the box! Wow! Your response brought me to tears (literally). I’ve been that struggling student who needed and was blessed with small scholarships, so the cause is, indeed, near and dear to my heart.

        Thank you very much for your guidance and prompt response. I truly believe that my ‘stumbling’ upon you on LinkedIn was of a grand design. As appreciation for your willingness to share your expertise, I have purchased BOTH of the books mentioned in this blog. I look forward to delving into the works of “Marvelous Magnus”! I will be sure to leave Amazon reviews upon completion – and have shared them to my social media sites as well. 😀

        (Can you tell I’m truly appreciative?) 🙂


        A New, Adoring Fan ❤

  • Deborah Riley-Magnus

    Angela, you humble me with your words. Thank you so much!

  • Wisdom's Quill

    WOW!!! This was such a great find. Love your blog. On my way to your other websites now. Wonderful information. I will be frequenting.

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