Jeanne Owens, author

Blog about author Jeanne Owens and her writing


Inexpensive Small Business Marketing Tips For Authors

I recently completed a free online class, Small Business Marketing On A Shoestring Budget, and I thought some of the tips would be useful for indie authors who want help with marketing on the cheap. After all, indie authors are a type of small business, right? And most of us can’t really afford to pay a lot for marketing, and many of us have to do it ourselves. So I thought I’d share a few of the tips from the class for any indie authors who might be interested. There was a lot of information, but I’ll try to focus on what can be of use to indie authors most, especially about getting noticed.

Now then, let’s get started.
The Purchase Decision Cycle

One of the key things to keep in mind when you try to develop a marketing approach is the Purchase Decision Cycle. This is the decision-making steps of a potential buyer. To be effective, your marketing approach should deal with each step of the Cycle:

  1. Notice: this is when a potential customer becomes aware of a product or service that might fill a need or desire
  2. Consider: this when the customer weighs their options and considers things such as if your product might be better than a competitor’s, if the company is trustworthy, if you can offer a better deal, etc.
  3. Purchase: this is when they finally buy an item or service. Keep in mind this is only halfway through the cycle.
  4. Experience: this is when the customer uses the item or service and determines how good it is.
  5. Repeat purchase: if the customer had a good experience, they will come back again and again, leading to:
  6. Refer: this is when the happy customer refers you to their friends and acquaintances, and the cycle starts over.

Getting Noticed

The key to getting noticed is selling yourself. This can be one of the harder things for indie authors to do, but also the most important. Some of the key things you can do to get noticed include:

  1. Create a brand identity: this isn’t just making a brand logo and tag line. You want to put them everywhere you can for instant recognition: website, business cards, packaging, letterhead, newsletters, etc. Also, create an automatic email signature with your logo and contact info.
  2. Contact everyone in your personal contacts – friends, family, acquaintances, etc. – and promote to them. They’ll spread the word to people they know.
  3. Position yourself as an expert: this can be done in a variety of ways. Blogging, of course, is one way. You can run your own blog and share informational articles. You can also guest blog on other blogs. Other ideas include teaching a free class and talking about what you know (for example, as an adult education class at a community college), or offering a free class at a local library, club, school, etc. Be sure to bring marketing material to the classes you teach. You can also consider writing a column for a local paper or magazine, writing an e-book, or being a guest speaker.
  4. Send out press releases. This can establish credibility because the message comes from the news media. It will also reach a large number of people. If you send out the press release yourself, it’s free.

Leverage Others

This is about working with marketing partners to find new customer leads. This can be done in a couple of ways. One way involves two businesses agreeing to promote each others’ businesses, in a sort of “barter exchange”. The other way is forming a network of businesses to work together on marketing campaigns. Ideas of partnership promotions that indie authors could do include promoting each other on websites, email newsletters, social networking pages, sharing samples, marketing material, etc.
Place-based Marketing

Place-based marketing is just what it sounds like: billboards, signs on buses and park benches, etc. But that can cost a bit, and this is about being budget-friendly. So think about more cost-effective means, such as displaying posters in a store, signs in windows, slipping a card inside a book, putting a sticker on your car, etc. It’s all about getting noticed, right?
Word Of Mouth

Word of mouth is probably the most effective marketing method. This is because it creates a message that is highly targeted and also that is heard and believed because it comes from a known and reliable source. If a friend recommended a book to you, you’d be inclined to read it, right? To effectively use word of mouth as a marketing tool, you need to give people a reason to speak highly of you. Your customers need to be incredibly satisfied with you, enough that they will want to share their experience with others. So your book should be worthy of recommendation.

Networking is another great marketing tool. It allows you to meet other people in your field and introduce yourself to them and share contact information. It’s all about introducing yourself to others instead of selling to them. You can find leads and partners this way.
Encourage Others To Spread The Word

Build up a list of advocates for your business, or in this case, your books. This can be satisfied customers, friends, family, acquaintances, people you’re networked with, social media followers, etc. Encourage them to spread the word. For example, send them an email that’s ready to forward and ask them to share it (or on social media, create a post and ask them to share it). If you want, you can include a special offer for those who spread the word. You could even encourage them to add their own personal experience to make the message more effective.
Viral campaigns

Create something that is so entertaining or so interesting and informative that people feel compelled to share it with others. This can be anything from an entertaining photo to an interesting article or story to a funny or captivating video. For videos, be sure to encourage sharing at the end and optimize it for SEO. Post the video on YouTube and/or your own website and promote the video.

A website is almost a necessity nowadays, even for authors. And websites can be created rather inexpensively with some online services that offer low prices (or even free), such as Weebly, Wix, Homestead, and Yola. Make sure you pick one that will let you optimize for SEO, though. SEO is quite important for being found during online searches. You can even use your website to host a blog, which will also help greatly in your marketing and also with SEO. If you want, you can even design your website to be able to sell your books yourself.

When you host a blog, you want people to read it, so you need people to be able to find it. One way of doing that is to post comments on other blogs. You can also guest post on other people’s blogs. Be sure to include a link back to your blog on your guest posts, and make sure that your comments can link back to you. You also want to include social media sharing buttons on the posts on your blog so people can share them with others. Consider also submitting your blog to different blog search engines or even syndicating your blog.
Social Media

There’s no denying the power of social media in today’s world, and that makes it a great tool for authors. It can be used as a networking tool and a marketing tool. You can create a page for your author brand and use it for marketing purposes to the general public. Also, many social networks have groups for a variety of things, including groups for authors. Some groups are just for discussion, but some will also allow some marketing. Some of the more popular social networking sites to consider using are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, and YouTube. You don’t need to join them all at once, since using them can be time-consuming. Start with just 1 to 3 at first and see how it goes and if you might want to join later. Also, be sure to take into consideration who your target audience is and which social media sites they will likely be using the most.

There was a lot more in the class that I could have included, but in the interest of keeping this relatively short, I just tried to highlight some of the main points. I hope this information has been useful and that it will help you in your marketing endeavors. Good luck!



It’s A Library – Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS



He stepped into the living room and stared in surprise. The walls were covered with bookcases filled with to overflowing with books. Books that wouldn’t fit on the bookcases had been stacked on the floor. He shook his head in amazement, then noticed that even the coffee table and end tables were covered with books, as well.

“Uh, Suzie?” he called.

“Yes, Robert?” she called from the kitchen.

“Don’t you think you have too many books?”

“Nonsense! There’s no such thing as too many books!”

“Are you sure? I’m getting a bit of a Hoarders vibe from all these books in here.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Robert. You know it’s not hoarding when it comes to books. I’ve just created my own library. Now be a dear and bring me the cookbook for Italian dinners, would you? The third bookcase on the left, fifth shelf.”

Robert’s eyebrows rose briefly, then he shook his head slightly and made his way over to the bookcase for the cookbook. She was quirky, but he couldn’t help wanting to find out more about her.


From my Pinterest

Sheska’s home, from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Image found on Google Search. My apartment could easily look like this if I’m not careful 🙂


This post is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, “more than a hundred” – write your post inspired by something you have more than a hundred of in your home right now (in my case, I chose books, which I do have more than a hundred of, I’m sure):

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Aug. 29/2020





R.I.P. Chadwick Boseman ~ 1976 – 2020

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By Hook Or By Book


He took on the roles of true life iconic figures Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and Thurgood Marshall among others, and of course there was his unforgettable portrayal of King T’Challa in Black Panther. Here is his obituary from The New York Times:

He had been privately fighting colon cancer since 2016, yet kept acting which boggles my mind. Below you’ll find a last text message from Chadwick that actor Josh Gad has kindly shared which illustrates what a beautiful soul he was.

And here is a fitting tribute to him from Epic Music VN

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What Are Your Anxiety Dreams Telling You?

I often have weird dreams. Some of them I think later might make good stories. Others just leave me thinking WTF? A few dreams I’ve had lately I’ve researched elements of (like one the other day about lava) and have me thinking they’re likely related to something I may be subconsciously be feeling anxious about.

Nicholas C. Rossis

As you may recall, much of my writing inspiration comes from my dreams and I have often written about dreams in my blog.

I recently came across an interesting article on Casper about so-called “quarantine dreams” or “coronavirus dreams.” These are anxiety-ridden dreams that can leave you feeling confused and anxious, long after you’ve woken up. Indeed, the proper way to label these dreams would be to call them anxiety dreams.

The infographic below covers 15 common anxiety dreams, what they mean, and the best ways to cope. I was shocked to realize that I’ve had seven of these (!) in the past months. Now I’m worried that I may be more stressed than I’ve realized! My only consolation is that I’m obviously not the only one…

What Are Your Anxiety Dreams Telling You?

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Special Items: Fantasy

Story Empire

Hi gang, Craig with you again. In my last post, we talked about special items that you might find in a paranormal tale of some kind. The key involved a list of things to consider when creating an item for your story. Let’s include the list again.

• Enhancing the world you are building.

• Balancing the scale between ultimate power and limitations on usage.

• Resale Value.

• Costuming.

I’m taking on one of the biggest genres today, fantasy. This field is so big that I can’t cover everything. It includes urban fantasy, Greco-Roman, medieval, and about a billion other things.

We’re going to have to paint with a broad brush today, and it’s up to you to formulate my suggestions into your fantasy world…or not. These aren’t rules, they’re merely things to consider.

I also have to limit these magical items to things you can carry with you…

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Zip – Tuesday Use It In A Sentence

He opened his mouth, about to disagree with her idea, but the look in her eye told him she knew what he thinking and that he had better not say it, so he decided to play it safe and zip his lips instead. Her wrath would be far worse than her ill-thought idea, after all.



This post is part of the Tuesday Use It In A Sentence prompt, “zip”:



7 Ways to Boost Your Author Brand

Nicholas C. Rossis

The inspiration (and Infographic) for this post came from Resume Now, which has an article about branding yourself. While they are focusing on job applications, what they say is remarkably useful for those building an author brand, too. I am summarizing below, but I suggest you also visit the original post for more ideas and examples of successful brands.

How to Develop an Author Brand

Developing an author brand helps add value and credibility to your books. Here are seven steps to help you get started.

1. Find a Niche

The first step in building your author brand is to find your niche. Some questions to help foster this process are:

  • What are your passions and interests?
  • What credentials do you possess?
  • What types of writing do you particularly love working on?
  • What makes you forget to look at the clock?

It’s crucial to find a niche that…

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The Best Way to Promote Your Books

Nicholas C. Rossis

What is the best way to promote your books?

The answer comes from an interesting article on that explained the power of referral marketing. According to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), there are more than 2.4 billion brand-related conversations every day in the US alone. Sharing is an innate human trait, and people are always interested in talking about their favorite products/services.

Leveraging word-of-mouth is one of the best marketing decisions you can make. Referred customers are more loyal, less likely to churn, and are a cost-effective way to sustainably grow your business.

Referral advertising | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book

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The power of referral marketing:

Here are some incredible numbers that show the power of referral marketing:

  1. People who were referred by their friends are 4x more likely to make a purchase (Nielson)
  2. 84% of consumers trust the recommendations of others over other forms of marketing (Nielson)
  3. The lifetime…

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