Amanda Luedeke

September 26, 2013

Thursdays with Amanda: Answering Your Marketing Questions


Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Awhile back, I asked for some topic suggestions. I received a range of questions and ideas, and so I’m going to address some of the smaller (but still important!) questions here…and keep in mind that Thursdays with Amanda is all about marketing and platform. So the questions that fell outside of that range probably won’t get answered here.


1. Lisa wrote “Sometimes, I just feel so burnt out of the social media, platform building. I always love hearing tips about having a healthy balance.”

ANSWER: It’s important to note that there is not one-size-fits-all approach here. Some get lost in the social media abyss while others are very good about being intentional with their time. So please understand that what works for you may not work for others and vice versa. With that being said, here’s a BIG soapbox of mine…

I’ve had a few authors this year complain that there isn’t time for marketing. These are authors who 1) do not maintain any sort of real world job, and 2) do not have kids in the house that need supervision. So you can imagine I have little pity for them, considering I work with an author who is a single parent of FIVE as well as a full-time minister.

So a general rule that I throw out there is to treat writing and marketing as equals. One hour of writing for every hour of marketing. If you are afraid that this rule will leave you with barely any writing time, then it may be time to cut some of your more…frivolous activities. How much TV do you watch? How much time do you spend playing Candy Crush? Are you on FB chat or your personal FB page too long during the day (FB Chat does NOT count as marketing)? Maybe you’re spending too much time reading? Just some thoughts to get you started…


2. Dianne wrote “I wonder if ANYBODY is using Shelfari. Any thoughts? If so, how can we use Shelfari, and also Goodreads, to our best advantage?”

ANSWER: Yes, people are using Shelfari, otherwise it wouldn’t be in existence. I think it’s a great thing to make sure that your books are there and that you have some sort of author presence. Now, whether you spend time cultivating that space is up to you. I am a firm believer that authors should do one or two social media things WELL as opposed to doing many things poorly.

For more insight on Goodreads, check out my marketing book. There is a small section that talks about Goodreads. Those spaces can also be used for parties and fan clubs. And lists. Getting on lists is huge, even if you have to create the list yourself.


3. Donna wrote “3. Are there any free or low cost marketing ideas a debut author can utilize to help promote their book when they are working with a small budget?”

ANSWER: Social media is free! Really, though. An author’s best marketing strategy should involve utilizing the Internet to tap into reader groups, create relationships, and then make them aware that your book exists. This costs nothing but time and a bit of research 🙂


4. Donna also asked “2. In terms of “swag” items, what are the pros and cons of certain items and which things seem to produce the most marketing return versus upfront cost?”

ANSWER: Swag items are just a bad idea in general, and they go over about as well as an ad. If you have dollars to spend on marketing, it would be more worthwhile to hire someone to come up with 100 blogs whose readership fits the ideal readership of your book. Or, another good use of money, is to throw a party similar to what we did at ACFW. Essentially, you’re looking for 1) relationships with readers and 2) MEMORABLE experiences. Ads, swag…things that you create but then are left with having to promote or market THEM on top of your book…these things don’t work as well as we’d like to think.


NEXT WEEK: Why you should never create content (book trailer, ebook novella, etc) and expect it to promote your book for you. 



*Love my marketing advice? Check out my $5 ebook, The Extroverted Writer.

Here’s what readers are saying: “…it doesn’t just tell you the things you should be doing. It shows you how to do those things.” – Chris Kolmorgen, Amazon Review

Share :


  • Hi Amanda!

    Thanks so much for answering two of my questions. I figure the more I know BEFORE I’m marketing my book will save me from making expensive mistakes later on…;~)

    Take care,

    Donna L Martin

  • Lisa Van Engen says:

    I like the one hour writing to one hour social media. That affirms to me that it is worth it and of importance. One nice thing is that social media fits nicely when you need a little brain break. I guess I can be thankful that social media is an easy and free way to connect too.

  • Peter DeHaan says:

    …so one hour marketing for one hour writing. I also heard you should spend as much time reading as you do writing.

    Let me see. That’s 50% of my time writing, 50% reading, and 50% marketing.

    Did I get that right?

    (Your advice is good, but I have to joke about it to keep from being overwhelmed.)

  • Kathryn J. Bain says:

    Great information.
    However, I have to disagree with your response on swag. I find that bookmarks are an inexpensive and good way to advertise. Whenever I do a booksigning, I always make a point of giving away at least 100 bookmarks. By the end of the following week, my ranking on Amazon has always shot up which tells me people who have a Kindle are looking at my books. I also give bookmarks to wait-staff at restaurants, store clerks, people in line at the bank, etc. (No, you can not escape me.) These are people I wouldn’t necessarily reach on-line through a blog post.
    I’ve also discovered that giving bookmarks to writers groups for conferences does absolutely nothing for my sales. A good lesson in finding what works for you.
    And bookmarks are not that expensive if you go through or VistaPrint.

  • April says:

    “…it would be more worthwhile to hire someone to come up with 100 blogs whose readership fits the ideal readership of your book.”

    See, I’ve been wondering about that. I know there is no better champion for your book than yourself/the author, but I wondered if it was possible to hire someone to help with marketing. Where do you go to find people who can help you (like by finding those 100 blogs)? What’s a fair compensation?

    • Amanda Luedeke says:

      I’d approach college students who enjoy research. Offer them a dollar or two per blog that fits what’s you’re looking for. 🙂

  • Patricia Bradley says:

    Thank you! This is the kick-in-the-seat to get to work on my blog and creating contacts.

  • Ron Estrada says:

    I work full time, too, and have additional work marketing for a trailer hitch company. It pays well, and an agent informed me that “yes, those 25,000 subscribers to that company newsletter you write count as a following.” That’s been the best way to market for me, and get paid in the process. I also write a regular column for a local women’s magazine. It only has 10,000 subscribers, but that’s a pretty good start. I don’t get paid for that one, but it has lead to other opportunities. There are plenty of businesses, churches, and small magazines who need writers. You may not get paid, but at least you can honestly say thousands of people are reading your material. I’ve also found the iPhone and iPad to be lifesavers. I can tweet or post to facebook from anywhere. Thanks for your usual great advice, Amanda. And you were a great “man behind the curtain” to Chip’s Great and Powerful Agent of Oz!

  • Great advice as always.
    And, I agree with Lola, you can never spend too much time reading. 🙂

  • Iola Goulton says:

    “Maybe you’re spending too much time reading?”
    This is a rhetorical question, isn’t it? Because I can never spend too much time reading. Of course, I’m a reader/reviewer/blogger, not an author …

    • Amanda Luedeke says:

      Hah, nope, not rhetorical. Some authors spend way too much time reading when they should be writing or promoting 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.