Guest post: ‘Promote Your Book in Your Own Backyard’ by Judith Marshall

I’m delighted to bring you this guest blog post, today on the topic of book promotions, by women’s fiction novelist and interviewee Judith Marshall.

‘Promote Your Book in Your Own Backyard’

Many authors try to gain national or even international attention for their books through various means, including social networking.  But instead of throwing the net far and wide, why not start at home?  Here in the U.S., libraries are struggling to keep open.  Knowing this and wanting to help, I decided to contact my local branch and ask if they’d be interested in sponsoring a presentation entitled, “So You Want to Write a Book.”  This idea came from my observation that whenever I spoke about writing a novel to a group, or did a book signing, invariably someone would comment, “I’ve always wanted to write a book.”  The librarian happily accepted.

A week ago, three other authors and myself, armed with a small supply of our books, presented the program to a group of over sixty interested attendees.  Each author discussed their writing process and publishing experience, and then we opened it up to questions. The participation was amazing. We had to cut the presentation off after an hour and a half.  We each sold some books and the library was thrilled, so it was a win-win situation.  We’re thinking of taking the panel on the road.

My point is there are many ways to promote yourself and your books. Don’t neglect opportunities in your own backyard.

Thank you Judith! We have the same situation here in the UK with our libraries and I went to a song-writing workshop by local poet / songwriter Chris Ringrose (who I interviewed back in May for my podcast) and found myself volunteering to run a writing workshop. 🙂

Born in the Napa Valley, the only daughter of warring parents thrown together out of need rather than love, Judith learned early to escape to the movies to shelter herself from the chaos at home. Slumped down in the dark, she dreamed of one day becoming a writer, someone who could express her feelings on paper. Her debut novel Husbands May Come and Go but Friends are Forever is available from Amazon and Smashwords.

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me at with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please” (while quietly bouncing up and down in my seat with joy!).

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with children’s author Alicia L Wright – the one hundred and sixty-first of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, directors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

13 thoughts on “Guest post: ‘Promote Your Book in Your Own Backyard’ by Judith Marshall

  1. Sheila Dalton says:

    Interesting post, Morgen and Judith. I’m a librarian myself, as well as an author, and I hope to do some library readings, but I never thought of co-presenting a workshop until now. I think it’s a very good idea. I think more people are interested in learning about writing and publishing than in listening to a reading, and we could still sell books.


  2. peterhobbs1 says:

    A fantastic idea, and why not. The libraries in my County are suffering dreadfully despite the taxpayers trying to keep them open. Even a simple thing like a presentation like this would spur interest in your local library and hopefully cause enough of an increase in traffic to keep the sacred buildings open.

    Nice post, nice blog.


  3. morgenbailey says:

    Thank you Sheila, Peter, Judith. The whole library issue is up in the air at the moment with an Essex (although called London) one closed on Friday but protestors are appealing. Here in Northamptonshire we have a reprieve but I suspect not for ever. 😦


    • Sheila Dalton says:

      Interesting that it’s happening all over the world. Here in Canad, my library system (100 branches across Toronto) is facing major budget cuts. We’ve always been lucky here with our libraries, especially in Toronto, but the city govt. is deeply in debt and has to cut back. There is fat to trim here, but it goes further than that. They are offering packages to staff, to get rid of us as harmlessly as possible. Because I’m over 60, I’ve applied for one. But the cuts that are the worst are the ones to materials – it’s as if books don’t matter any more. But we know they do!


  4. Patricia Gligor says:

    Thanks so much for writing about your experiences in promoting your novel locally. I loved your idea to present a program on writing at the local library. This post is definitely going into my “Saved” file for future reference.


  5. sylvia stern says:

    Your post comes at just the time I was thinking about this. A fellow in my writing group is placing his books at a local boutique grocery store and I know he is selling but not sure how many.

    I was thinking of trying the same thing but my book – a humorous senior citizen mystery novel – includes some wacky, kinky sex scenes so I wonder if a place like that would accept that.

    sylvia stern
    Murder Never Retires


  6. OL Shepp says:

    Morgen, I appreciate this guest post from Judith. Libraries are our best allies in this writing revolution. I spend a great deal of my writing time, hiding at the library.

    Recently, I was interviewed for a library publication regarding my use and support of the facilities. Working together, we can can support and promote one another.

    My upcoming novel, “Big Horn Catchmequick” is about a teenage girl and her disfigured horse. It took me a long while to realize that I need to focus on the local level, initially. Seriously, I live in the Rodeo Capital of the World! Cody Wyoming. Silly me.


  7. Judith says:

    I agree with all of you that we need to support our libraries. In addition, we authors need to come up with innovative ways to promote our books, especially with so many brick and mortar book stores closing. To follow up on what Sylvia said about a fellow writer selling books in a boutique grocery store, think about where your target audience shops or hangs out. I write women’s fiction and I’d sold the most books in hair and nail salons, where my book is the only one. I’ve also had great success selling books in a local high-end boutique. I put the books in on consignment and give the owner a percentage and still make money. Think out of the box. It works!


  8. Judith Marshall says:

    Another idea. Do you have any other talents like cooking, interior design, collecting vintage art? If so, contact your local newspaper and offer to write an article on the subject. I did just that and ended up with a bi-weekly column entitled “Fashion Over Fifty.” My byline included my book title and contact info. I gained lots of exposure, was asked to speak at a number of women’s groups and sold more books.


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