3 Things I know for sure about Marketing by Jennifer Fusco

My guest today is the lovely and fantastic Jennifer Fusco of Market or Die Author Services. She and her side-kick Mel have guided me (and entertained me!) a lot this year as I work at expanding my brand and reaching new readers. I asked Jen, who is also an author, to share her knowledge with us today. Take it away, Fusco! ~ Misty

526324_4352321645222_1604777285_n3 Things I know for sure about Marketing:

First and foremost, I’d like to thank Misty for having me on the blog today. She’s under the misguided notion that I know a thing or two about marketing that would be helpful enough to tell you guys. Well, I’ve learned a few things in my fourteen years as a corporate marketer, and had the convenience to test certain theories on the job and applying the lessons learned to my writing career.

So, while I may not know all there is to know about marketing, here are three pieces of info every author should keep in mind.

1. Some days it feels like marketing is a waste of time.  Call it what you will. Herding cats. A necessary evil. However, marketing is a necessary part of a writer’s career. One of the reasons I’ve found that authors get frustrated with marketing is that it is very hard to directly tie their marketing efforts to sales. Well, you’re not alone. Corporations spend millions trying to tie marketing tactics to sales. If you are one who must know what worked and what didn’t, here are a few things you may want to try. A Facebook Ad. Facebook ads can be highly targeted to your readers, the feedback is instant and Facebook measures it for you. Goodreads ads also provide measurement reporting. Blog tours are also measurable. Simply create an excel spreadsheet, and ask the blog to report the following stats to you: number of subscribers, number of comments and website hits after your blog has run. Then, track your progress.

2. People are watching. If you don’t believe me, just check your Facebook fan page. By clicking on the “insights” tab, you will learn how many posts are viewed, what’s working and not working on your page, find out more about your fans, and plan future posts. There you can also boost a post. Typically only about 1% of your fans actually see your posts. Facebook offers the ability to boost posts.  Boosting a post can make it available to all of your fans and their friends or to people through targeting. Facebook will suggest a budget to boost the post. And, a good rule of thumb is to only boost posts that contain a buy link, thus the opportunity to earn back your investment.

3. Shitty products don’t create career longevity. Don’t believe me? I’m certain you guys know the fate of New Coke, the McDonald’s Arch Deluxe, and Frito Lay’s “too good to be true” reduced fat WOW potato chips made with Olestra, which yielded pants crapping results.  All three of these products were a waste of a company’s time, money and consumer loyalty. Well, we’re writers. We don’t have time and money to waste. So, putting out a book that has the same results as Olean is a career killer, and in a market where new writers are entering the ring every day, quality matters. Word of mouth is still the number one seller, and killer, of books. Make sure each book gives your reader something to talk about.


Jennifer Fusco is the author of the Amazon.com bestselling series MARKET OR DIE, marketing books for writers.

A three time winner of the Advertising Excellence award, Jennifer has launched successful print and digital campaigns. Due to the overwhelming response MARKET OR DIE received from writers, Jennifer launched a publicity services business, Market or Die Author Services, LLC.

In her writing life, Jennifer is a member of RWA, CTRWA, LIRW and a bi-monthly contributor to RWA’s magazine the RWR Report. She writes contemporary romance and is represented by Nicole Resciniti of The Seymour Agency.

About Misty Evans

USA Today Bestselling Author Misty Evans writes the award-winning Super Agent series, as well as urban fantasy and paranormal romance. She likes her coffee black, her conspiracy theories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When her muse lets her on the internet to play, she’s on Facebook and Twitter.
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54 Responses to 3 Things I know for sure about Marketing by Jennifer Fusco

  1. Ohhh, i’m going to bookmark this page! Great info!
    Lori Brighton`s last blog was …Interview and Giveaway!

  2. marilynbrant says:

    Thanks for sharing such valuable information, Jennifer! Your tips are really helpful, and I appreciate them ;).

  3. Cynthia Eden says:

    Thanks for coming by today, Jennifer!
    Cynthia Eden`s last blog was …SOUTHERN FRIED BLUES – Guest Author & Giveaway!

  4. Misty Evans says:

    Fusco, nice for you to visit and we appreciate your advice! Tell Mel hi for me. 🙂

  5. Mel the sidekick here! First off–Misty, no one told me I had to do MATH to get on this blog. I had to ask my 11 year old for help on that one. TOO EARLY.

    Second: Jennifer’s advice here is spot on. Of course I’m going to say that: she’s my boss. But what she’s not telling you is the FOURTH thing she knows for sure about marketing, and that is:

    4. GET YOURSELF AN INGENIOUS MINION WHO KNOWS EVERYTHING TO WORK BY YOUR SIDE. 😈 Everyone needs a minion. We are the brains behind the blond.
    Melanie Meadors`s last blog was …REVIEW: CHUM, by Jeff Somers

    • OK. Now I’m quite certain they’ll never have us back. *shakes head*

    • Misty Evans says:

      Mel, I’m with you on the math and I would love a minion. Fusco probably pays way better than I do, but I make awesome chocolate chip cookies and have a fancy Jura machine so I could make you café mochas all day long. In other words, come to the dark side…I have cookies and coffee. 😈

      • Amy says:

        Misty, I would totally be your minion, but I don’t think I could help support my family on cookies and coffee all day. Maybe in another lifetime when I don’t have to work and can do it for free! Then I can be your minion. 🙂

      • I don’t know, Misty…you should have seen Jennifer when a certain publisher was eying me at a conference we attended earlier this year. She’s very protective of me. Probably because I DO work for food and booze….and cookies.
        Melanie Meadors`s last blog was …REVIEW: CHUM, by Jeff Somers

  6. Okay, I’ll admit I don’t check that insights tab (ducking now!), but you’ve convinced me! I will go do it right now. Thanks for the great post!

  7. Amy says:

    Melanie and Jennifer – you guys are hilarious. How did you meet? 🙂
    Amy`s last blog was …Review: PROTECTING HIS WITNESS by Katie Reus

    • How did we meet…Well. *I* met Jennifer at CTRWA’s Fiction Fest in 2011. I attended her workshop, and I chatted with her a bit. She called on me for an answer for one of her little quiz questions. But you’ll have to ask her for HER version, because it seems this is a topic on which we have differing memories…
      Melanie Meadors`s last blog was …REVIEW: CHUM, by Jeff Somers

      • Truth is.

        I don’t remember Melanie from 2011’s Fiction Fest. I do however remember her from the Julia Quinn workshop we both attended where she was wearing a “Hello Kitty” outfit or some shit. And I thought, yeah, that girl…she’s minion material…

        • Misty Evans says:

          Hello Kitty – one of my favorites. Just bought pjs with HK on them. No wonder I love Mel.

        • Oh SUBTRACTION now?? Really?

          Yeah, you thought I was minion material…little did you know… I can make this woman hydropump Coke from her nose like no tomorrow.
          Melanie Meadors`s last blog was …REVIEW: CHUM, by Jeff Somers

        • Amy says:

          I can see that. When Melanie first reached out to me about hosting an author on my blog I saw that in her picture in gmail that she was wearing bunny ears. I thought to myself, “Hmm. I don’t see that every day but I bet she would be fun to hang out with.” It is nice to see that Melanie has a snarky fun personality. I love snarky. Which is why I love Misty’s Kali Sweet so much. 🙂

          • Misty Evans says:

            And Kali loves Hello Kitty too! I see a trend here…

          • Haha I am the vision of professionalism, am I not?

            I have a friend who is used to my antics, and sees me in a certain way. So when he found out I was doing this work, I think he didn’t really take me seriously (our friendship puts the snark in snarky, to be sure). But after he saw some of the work I was doing (and after I helped him a bit) I believe the quote from him was, “Wow. People really respond to you professionally. *gasp*” Jennifer still refuses to let me post my kitty ears photo on the Market or Die website, though.
            Melanie Meadors`s last blog was …REVIEW: CHUM, by Jeff Somers

  8. Susannah Hardy says:

    Hi, Jennifer! Hi, Mel and Misty! Say an author only had a few hundred dollars to spend on marketing. What would be the best use of that money from a marketing perspective?

  9. Susannah Hardy says:

    I know that’s probably not enough to get a minion.

    • Well, you know, Susannah, the key is to know what you want your minion to do BEFORE you hire him or her. Have a plan so that a) you are prepared/you’re not blindsided by anything and b) so you aren’t wasting time and resources. And that goes for any aspect of your marketing, whether it be materials, people, events, whatever. Make a budget and if you DO want to hire someone, be very specific. “I would like to hire someone to arrange a blog tour.” (saves a lot of your time and effort) “I would like to start a street team.” (you’ll need bookmarks/swag, and you’ll need to know what to DO with your street team). A lot of money doesn’t necessarily help marketing, but SMART use of money could.

      Now, if I had $200 dollars, what would I spend it on? For my first book, maybe not so much on the street team. I could probably get a few friends together and buy some bookmarks and have them distribute them at bookstores, and then have them tweet on my behalf. What I would focus most on is getting my name out there via a focused blog tour, where I can share a bit about myself and make a personal connection with readers. I would make sure my website accurately reflects who I am and what I write, and that it is search optimized (maybe consult someone about it, but do the work yourself or barter to have the work done for you). But I would say your best bet, if this is your first book, your BEST marketing tool, is your second book. THAT is how you will get more readers and will be able to form a stronger street team. And in the long run, that’s what you have the most control over, your own production.
      Melanie Meadors`s last blog was …REVIEW: CHUM, by Jeff Somers

  10. Rhonda Lane says:

    Thanks for the great post! I also bookmarked it. I had no idea a Facebook page gave its administrator/owner/janitor access to analytics. Good to know! A question, if I may … if you link to a sales page, especially an Amazon link, might that tick off independent bookstores?
    Rhonda Lane`s last blog was …Retrieving a Piece of My Heart

    • Jennifer might have a different answer (I am totally crashing this blog), but my take on it is this:

      The Indie stores know that Amazon has a convenient front for people to buy their books. Most accept this by now, and they won’t get mad because someone is trying to make it convenient for people to buy their books. What you as an author can do to help support indie stores is to post a link (I’ve seen a widget…but I’m not sure what it’s called) where people can type in their zip code and get directed to their closest indie stores. That way, there is the option, and the stores can see that you are putting in the effort. You can go to your local store and sign books, do a reading, etc. I’ll see if I can find that zip code thing and post the link here.
      Melanie Meadors`s last blog was …REVIEW: CHUM, by Jeff Somers

  11. Math? Seriously? I had to do math to leave a comment. What the……????

    Bookmarks – I have such mixed emotions about them. What good is handing them out to bookstores when I’m primarily digital? They’ll go straight to the circular file. But “everybody” says to have them. But for digital authors? Opinion….

    Facebook Page – Have author page. Have my other personal/author profile page. Use it more than author page. Yes, I know all about the insights stuff, but I can’t join groups or chat as a “page” so I end up double posting a lot, as do many many other authors. I hate that because people get double slammed by me.

    Marketing – So explain to me how the best way to use your services would be, as I’m not sure I’m capitalizing on all the advantages a marketing company can provide. What should I expect? Ask for? Whine about?

    One Facebook ad tip I’ve read…ads get more activity on the weekend than any other days of the week. I found that interesting because it seems so backward. Seems like weekend would find more people active but no. Follow-through on ads is better on Saturday and Sundays. Have you heard that?

    Now that Facebook is allowing contests to be posted to pages, I’m interested in learning more about managing those. Do you guys have a good understanding of how those are working?

    • To touch upon the Facebook stats a little… Sundays, in my experience (and this is MY experience, I’m sure others have different ones) get VERY little traffic. That goes for the internet on the whole. Saturdays might work, but honestly, I like doing things with my Saturdays other than play on Facebook (not that you’d notice…). In my personal experience, Tuesdays and Wednesdays seem to be busiest. But to reiterate what Jennifer says, you’ll never know what works for your personal fans unless you look at the insights; every page is different. 🙂
      Melanie Meadors`s last blog was …REVIEW: CHUM, by Jeff Somers

    • Amy says:

      The Facebook questions are good even for a non-author. I run a book blog and have a Facebook blog page, yet many authors want to “friend” my personal page for more interaction. I am only friends with authors I have gotten to know personally and don’t accept friend requests from authors I don’t know. I want to be more active on Facebook as my blog, but I just can’t do the same things with that type of a page. It seems more people are going to Facebook these days for their promotional stuff rather than Twitter for example. I prefer Twitter (less crap in my feed).

  12. Hi Cynthia:

    Bookmarks – take them or leave them? I think you and I have discussed this before, go find your audience where your books are. If your books are in a digital only medium that’s where you are going to find your readers. So, instead of bookmarks, let’s think about something else that may benefit a digital reader (like a free read, or authorgraph, or screen cleaner, marked with your brand).

    If you do choose a book mark, save yourself money by making it downloadable and put a QR code on it that links to your website.

    I feel your pain on the Fan page thing…we run into the same problem. However, our communications are different on our personal pages vs. the Market or Die page. Maybe varying your messaging may ease the slamming.

    Our services. For new clients, packages, like the one you purchased is a great way to start. But, the longer you are with us you won’t need much of what will is offered in a package, and like some of our other clients, become hourly. At that point, we will discuss what you are lacking marketing wise and devise a plan and budget to fit that need.

    Facebook. Utilize that Insights tab. It’s your friend. You will be able to measure activity and engagement from that tool. I can’t stress enough how important that is.

  13. Tawny says:

    Yay- math! Hey, it’s better than those spell nothing words that are all fuzzy 🙂

    Oooh, marketing! I love your advice so far and promise to faithfully look at my Insights Tab. Eventually. I do have a question, bouncing off of Melanie’s advice on having a plan when you hire a marketing expert — Is there such a thing as overmarketing? What I mean is, is there ever a point that we’ve put our names out their via multiple sources (ads, blog tour, events, etc) that the marketing has an opposite effect, and readers stop seeing us?

    I think thats my roundabout way of asking if we, as authors who tend to try to do everything possible to find readers, end up alienating them in our overenthusiastic efforts.

    • Amy says:

      As a reader I find this all fascinating. And such a good question, Tawny. There is one author that has been kind to me so I don’t want to unfollow her but she Tweets promo stuff about her books about 1000 times a day (okay I counted one time and there were over 50 tweets between 8am – 5pm). I finally had to make a private list and put her in it so I didn’t see her stuff anymore. And because of that I missed a lot of her new releases because I skipped over all her tweets. I am curious what marketing experts would say!
      Amy`s last blog was …Review: PROTECTING HIS WITNESS by Katie Reus

    • Yes. You can over market. And, we’ve all seen it. The “BUY MY BOOK” hard sell, every frickin day. So – in reality – you’ve got about 30 days prime marketing time for a book release 14 before, release day, and 15 days after….

      After that, shut the fuck up and go write something else. Make people want to read your books thru your engagement on your fanpage. Ask interesting questions. Be a friend. Tell a funny PG rated story. Have people get to know you. Because those kinds of tactics are marketing without really marketing.

      Here’s an example using Mel and me. We have the Market or Die FB page. From time to time we post the hard sell. “Need Publicity help, contact us!”

      We rarely get a like or a comment on that kind of post. We get more clients and by being ourselves on our personal FB pages, doing the sh*t we do. Sometimes entertaining, some times annoying, but its all real an its all genuine. Its just how we are.

      People see that these two crazy bitches will say anything (and if we’ll say anything) you’re damn certain we will do anything to promote our clients. Whatever it takes! Therefore, we are selling MODAS, by just being ourselves.

  14. Karen M Cox says:

    Late to the party tonight, but sometimes it’s good to be late. There’s a lot of practical information in the post – and also in the comments. I think the advice about over-marketing is spot-on. I know that when I’m wearing my reader hat, I don’t like really frequent fb posts/tweets – 50 in a day?! wow – I can see how someone would habituate to that and not really see it anymore.
    Thanks for the info, Jennifer and Melanie!
    Karen M Cox`s last blog was …Announcing…At the Edge of Sea (coming in October)

  15. Edie Ramer says:

    What great information! Very fun, too. Thanks, Jennifer and Mel!

    I do have a FB or Goodreads marketing question. If I place an ad with either one, is it okay to target readers of bestselling authors whose books are close to mine in tone and category?

  16. Great informative post. Thanks, Jen.

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