This is a reprint of my article originally on The Big Blend Magazine.

In tough economic times, many firms cut their marketing budget. This is usually a serious mistake. Products/books do not sell themselves unless their use is mandated by law. Even then, they need help to be successful.

You can be budget conscious about your marketing, and still do it in the smartest, most effective manner.

Essential components for these results include:

  • Know your potential audience:
  • Identify needs.
  • Identify your competition:
  • What is unique about your product or company?
  • Talk to others in the industry and discover what they want.
  • Understand where your product can be sold.
  • Know who they are.
  • Know where to find them.
  • Secure endorsements—customer recommendations.
  • Obtain radio, TV and print interviews whenever you can.
  • The media (this consists of press, newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, etc.) can publicize your product/company and help get it known.
  • Have a press kit available (reviews, synopsis, brochure, press releases, data/history on company/product). A CD is a good addition to the press kit.
  • Have a professional website designed. Unless you design websites as a hobby, leave this to a professional. There is a difference in the finished result.
  • Your site needs to be designed with search engine optimization in mind (Google needs to find your site easily).
  • Colors make a difference.
  • On a website, your eye flows in a Z pattern. So, the most important piece of information is in the top left corner and next important is in the top right, followed by bottom left, and then bottom right.
  • Be sure your headings are specific.
  • If you’re ready, start blogging. Even if you don’t like it, consistent blogging helps you build an online presence. You can comment on other people’s blogs in your industry. Many authors do not want to do this, believe me, it helps.
  • Learn to market on the internet. This medium is inexpensive, effective and necessary for moving forward. Internet marketing will be covered with more depth in January when you’ll get 12 tips for internet marketing that you can use for a New Year’s resolution.

I believe in advertising. However, print ads sometimes break one’s budget and do not give the highest return on investment. I am a strong believer that promotional advertising can get your name in front of customers and keep it there if you choose wisely. Plus, if you provide something tastefully done and customers use it, they are endorsing you to others.

Publicity should not be overlooked. Press releases are free and can have long lasting effects. Two years after the fact, people have told me about favorable articles they have read about me, my company or one of our books.

I find it interesting that when I had my advertising and marketing business, the steps necessary for an effective campaign for a manufacturer, insurance company, small business, hotel or almost any business were the same as what is necessary for marketing a book.  Since I’ve co-authored three books during the last seven years, much of my marketing effort has been on book marketing. Like any other segment of the business world, it has some unique avenues and opportunities, but still possesses overriding similarities to other segments.

You need to be willing to invest time and funds into promoting your product/business/book. The success is impacted by how much time you spend on marketing.

I was interviewed on The Success Express on December 5, 2008. To listen to the entire, unedited show, please click here. To listen to Maralyn’s interview, please double click on the Play Button below.

Q & A with Maralyn
Q – Dear Maralyn,
What is the best method for an author who doesn’t need 50% or more of the standard self-publishing package?  For instance, I don’t need the website, marketing, proofreading and editing… what is the best printer/publisher to use?
Thanks, Lee in N. Hollywood, CA
A – Dear Lee,
The good Print-On-Demand (POD) publishers generally have a basic package with proofreading, editing, and marketing packages for an additional cost. Most marketing packages do not include a marketing plan which you will need. You can also get your postcards, bookmarks, posters, etc. somewhere else. So, I would go with one that does offer the basics.
Most will offer a website page. You say you don’t need it, but someone else promoting your books is helpful any way you look at it.
I also suggest that you have someone other than yourself edit your book no matter how good a writer you are.
In $uccess, Your Path to a Successful Book, we list 18 POD publishers, but there are many more and we provide a website for research. Of those 18, we have 5 favorites. Since our book is with, this is obviously our choice. But, in fairness, we have not tried the others. Our e-book is on However, Infinity no has e-books.
If you have a local small press printer you may want to use them. However, I’d suggest not spending thousands to get your book published.

Maralyn D. Hill, President
International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association
Books By Hills Success With Writing Where & What in the World
Member: Society of Professional JournalistsFinalist in the Writing and Publishing category of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, “$uccess, Your Path to a Successful Book,”