Thursday, December 15, 2011

Welcome Deborah Riley-Magnus

Please welcome Deborah Riley-Magus! I'm impressed with the depth of her practical knowledge about marketing. Read on....


Ahhhh romance! How wonderful! There’s nothing like a beautifully written love story brought to life in words only an author can conjure. The muse sings, the characters crackle on the page and the magic is palpable. Nothing can ruin such a story, right?

Well, yes, something can … the lack of sales can destroy not only the story but the writer. If no one buys your book, what’s the point of writing another? *sigh*

Hi, I’m Deb Riley-Magnus and I’m thrilled to be here at Heroines with Hearts blog. Ana asked me to answer the standard questions – where my ideas and insights come from, what a reader will gain from my book, and where to get it. I’ll be happy to answer those questions … but I’m even more excited about passing on a few useable tips for authors looking for ways to improve their book sales.

First, I should explain that my book, Finding Author Success: Discovering and Uncovering the Marketing Power Within Your Manuscript is obviously a non-ficton, but I’m really a fiction writer. Well … a fiction writer with over twenty years of background in marketing, promotions and publicity. It was my first career (I had another one in there as a culinary chef – long, yummy story), and throughout my life and professional experiences, marketing promotions and publicity have been my most powerful tools for success.

When I began the process of writing and seeking publication, I did what all writers do, got myself a twitter and facebook account, began blogging and watched what the writing world was doing. I was shocked at how minimal a majority of the marketing strategies were among the authors chit-chattering there. What to me was second nature, seemed foreign to authors, and as I blogged, loading my entries with as much value added information as I could, I found myself becoming The Author Success Coach. Clients and random authors asked questions that led me to teaching online and live workshops and eventually writing Finding Author Success.

Marketing, promotions and publicity are very basic techniques but what really got me excited was how important it was to carefully tweak these skills to serve all the various directions an author can go with their book. The publishing industry has been changing so much and so quickly, authors needed to understand that their sales success is solidly in their own hands. Big publishing houses no longer do the major marketing and promotion for their authors, and small independents simply can’t afford it. Authors? Well, most of us are pretty poor, so what can an author do with simple marketing, promotions and publicity skills to shift the world in their favor? BE CREATIVE!

In the book I explain the simple techniques, then take things a lot further, helping an author understand that no matter how these cut backs in support from publishers might affect you, no matter how your published or self-published, no matter your genre or target audience, there is a fantastic creative way to approach the market that WILL help you and your book stand apart! We’re not talking about paying professionals to do things for you either, we’re talking about easy to implement, inventive ways to burst onto the market.

Okay, so that’s my background. I love taking super inventive approaches to everything, (maybe someday I’ll be invited to come back and talk about my fiction). Now, I’d like to talk about a powerful way to take your book from just another romance, to THAT ROMANCE everyone’s talking about. It has to do with not only reaching out and talking to additional prospective reader audiences … but connecting with them in ways other authors may not be exploring.

Publicity. Publicity is the act or device designed to attract public interest, specifically information with news value as a means of gaining public attention or support.

Well, obviously there’s little newsworthy about another romance on the shelves, but is there something newsworthy inside your book that can spark the interest of a few more book buyers you haven’t approached yet? Let’s explore …

Let’s imagine that your book is a historic romance about a woman who falls in love with a sea captain. Let’s imagine that her father is the lighthouse keeper and the lighthouse is elemental to the story – perhaps she watched for him there during the day, maybe she watches the sea at night from the rocky shores, following the lighthouse beam as it crosses the water.

Okay. How would you take a publicity direction with this book? A few suggestions include:

• Offering a portion of the proceeds from the book sales to a lighthouse organization that refurbishes the historic structures
• Organizing a lighthouse walking tour of a seaside city, reading a small excerpt at each location, all proceeds to support lighthouse maintenance in that city
• Creating a charity for some needy group (homeless shelters, military wives and children support, organizations to protect dunes or seaside wildlife) and give it a lighthouse title or logo

Alright, let’s say your romance is of the paranormal nature. Perhaps you have a handsome werewolf somewhere in there. You could:
• Offer a portion of your book sales to wolf or wildlife protection organizations
• Sponsor a contest, “submit your dog’s picture and tell us about his personality and the one that most inspires the next werewolf character for my book will win you fill in the blank”

When planning your publicity approach to the market, think it through carefully. Make sure it connects with your book, make sure you let the charity know you’re supporting them, and make sure EVERYONE knows that you’re supporting a cause. Announce it on your website, your facebook page, on twitter and if possible, make sure it’s printed on the back cover of your book! E-books? No problem, place your charity support information right up front on the first few pages. Send out press releases to your local papers, online papers and newsletters related to the charity.

Keep this simple and just dig deep into your book. Is there a cancer survivor there? Does your story address a relevant issue, like child abuse? Is your heroine a teacher? Support school program funding. Is she a dentist or dental assistant? Support dental care for homeless children. Uncover the connections and you will uncover a larger audience because trust me … if someone supports a charity and they discover that your book also supports that charity, it’s a win/win!

Oh, and by the way …
A portion of “Finding Author Success” sales is donated to the American Literacy Council. The American Literacy Council’s main purpose is to convey information on new solutions, innovative technologies, and tools for engaging more boldly in the battle for literacy.

Questions? Ideas? I’m here to share! And HEY EVERYONE … I’d like to offer a FREE 10 Tools for Author Success downloadable handbook to all blog guests! Just go to and hit the button for your FREE downloadable PDF!

If you’d like to win a copy of Finding Author Success, just comment here at the blog, ask questions or just say you’re interested and Ana will have a drawing for the winner.

Finding Author Success: Discovering and Uncovering the Marketing Power Within Your Manuscript.

Even the odds for authors with this one-of-a-kind guide to marketing success! Deborah Riley-Magnus takes tried and true marketing, publicity and promotional strategies and tailors them for the unique needs of today’s author. Every element is outlined and explained for easy implementation. You will learn:

• How to develop a functional and strong book business plan
• The power of developing effective, targeted platforms
• The basics of publicity, marketing and promotion
• How cross marketing works and why it’s magic for an author
• How to personalize it all to your book

Finding Author Success will take away the mystery about gaining sales and increasing exposure for your book and you as a professional author.

Deborah Riley-Magnus is an author and an Author Success Coach. She has a twenty-seven year professional background in marketing, advertising and public relations as a writer for print, television and radio. She writes fiction in several genres as well as non-fiction. She’s lived on both the east and west coast of the United States and has traveled the country widely. She is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and just returned after living in Los Angeles, California for several years.

I blog -
I teach -
I fiction –
I write -
I suck -
I play -
I tweet –
I facebook -
I should be sooo tired!

Finding Author Success:
Discovering and Uncovering the Marketing Power Within Your Manuscript.
Amazon Kindle

Amazon Paper

B&N Paper and ebook




  1. Great advice, Deborah, but I haven't really found any charity 'hook' in my books. Also there seem to be more opportunities in America than there are here for publicity and promotion. I had two embarrassing visits to local bookstore and library, when they refused even to look at my book, let alone stock it, and treated me with disdain (albeit polite disdain!). So I'm at a loss as to what I can do to promote my books more.

  2. Hi Deborah,

    Thanks so much for being with us here at Heroines with Hearts today.

    What a great post!

    I know when I first got published, I couldn't believe all of the stuff I still had to learn. Who knew so much of the hard work came after the book was contracted.!

    Thanks for all of the tips. I'll definitely be printing out this post to put in my publicity file.

  3. Hey, Deb,

    Thanks for the advice. My question for you is..

    Besides fb and twitter, what can a pre-author do for promo before the book is released?

    Thanks so much.

  4. Thanks for being our Friday Friend, Deborah! This is a busy time of the year. (I just got off work, 2.5 hours later than usual.)
    I will draw for a lucky winner on Sunday. Some followers may be planning to log in this evening or tomorrow.

  5. Hi Deborah, thanks so much for being our Friday Friend. Marketing and publicity are so important to an author and I love your suggestions. And I for one would love to have you back sometime to talk about your fiction!

  6. WOW, somehow I missed everyone's comments! Let's start at the top ...
    Promoting your books more really requires that you look inside the manuscript deeper. If a publicity direction won't work for you, perhaps there's a secondary market to approach, a cross market available or a new direction all together to go for promotions. If you're book is a romance, what's happening in it? What are the underpinnings of the story that might point you to a new market. It may sound nuts, but you just might have to re-read your own novel, lol.

    Best of luck!

  7. Debra St. John,

    Thanks so much! In addition to copying and filing this post, be sure to go to and download your FREE copy of "10 Tools for Author Success".

    Best wishes,

  8. Hi Toni,

    There are tons of things a pre-published author can do to create awareness for the book about to be unleashed on the world. First of all, be sure to blog about your book, the experience of writing it and of course, the story and characters. Second, create an author website where you can begin establishing yourself as an up and coming author. This will be the place where you get to toot your horn about everything that will happen to you when it happens - launch dates, distribution information, post your book video, list your interviews and book reviews. A good Author Platform shows professionalism and helps people locate you, the author. And finally, have a book website in the works, one that uses all the glitz and glamor of your book and any books to come. The Book Platform is kind of like your showroom of products. It's where people go to see all the books you've written and get into the excitement of them.

    These are all elements of a great multi-level marketing platform and since all you can do at this time is create awareness about the book to come, platforms are the machine that gets people excited. Twitter and facebook are only a small part of serious marketing.

    Good luck,

  9. Ana, thanks sooo much for having me here!


  10. Jennifer,

    OH, I'd absolutely LOVE to come back and talk about my fiction! It's so much more fun and entertainment than dealing with the work of marketing, promoting and publicizing. Although ... I sort of am in the middle of doing just that with "Cold in California", LOL.


  11. Another great post on Heroines with Hearts! Thank you so much for the tips and advice Deb.

  12. And the winner is....(reaching into the crock with the cow emblem and pulling out one slip of paper ....)
    Kathryn Lane!