Heart-Centered Book Marketing

by Beth Barany

By the time I was ready to publish my first novel, I knew I needed to start thinking about marketing too.

But I was scared.

I felt like a young child daring to reveal her precious art up to the whole world. I was small and they were huge. And their response mattered a lot.

How was I going to get the courage to move forward with my marketing when I felt petrified?

In my mind, I knew that marketing was important. I knew I needed to take steps.

But in my heart that had poured so much into my story, and in my body, that was the doer, I was frozen.

What was I to do?

The only way people would know about my first novel was if I shared it with them.

That’s what marketing is: sharing your message with people who don’t already know about it, preferably to people who would be curious and potential readers.

For help I turned to a few wise friends and teachers and learned a few things that may help you.


Firstly, I realized that my work is precious to me and close to my heart and deserves as much care and attention in the marketing as I put into the writing.

I didn’t have to send my book out into the woods to face the big bad wolves; I could send it off with a support posse, plenty of food, and a sense of safety. And to start my marketing, I didn’t have to go out into a huge wood, just venture a little bit away from home, maybe across a field.

I know, I’m speaking in metaphor. Specifics would help.

Instead of thinking I had to contact hundreds of book bloggers to see if they’d like to review my book, I started with one blogger a week. By the end of 3 months, my book had appeared on about 20 blogs and received 10 reviews.

I started small, organized it so I could integrate book marketing into my daily life, like the way I’d done for writing, and made progress. That felt good.


Even today, I get overwhelmed by marketing my fiction and don’t know where to start. The first thing I do is reassure myself that this is normal, that overwhelm is my first step in my creative process.

I sit with the overwhelm, assuring myself of my commitment to getting the word out about my books — no longer just that first book, but now 2 series encompassed in 8 books.

I remind myself that the marketing of my books can look all kinds of ways and that I can absolutely do what’s manageable and fun.

With that pep talk, I relax a little and ask myself: “What would I like to do next to market my books?”

I have a lot to choose from, but I know I can’t do it all, at least not all at once.

I listen to my heart; I let my mind weigh in (I can’t stop her!), and watch the internal conversation. Or more like feel the back and forth.

My heart knows where my passion lies and that is where I focus. I want to share more about my Henrietta The Dragon Slayer trilogy. It took me 12 years to complete it, and now that it’s done, I’m so proud of it and want to find ways to share it!

Now my doer pipes in. She so knows what to do.


First, we’ll brainstorm with the List of 20 tool, listing as fast as I can, in a happy frenzy, all the ideas I can think of to market the trilogy. Crazy ideas, expensive ideas, dumb ideas. All are welcome.

Second, we take a rest, or a walk. Something to step away from it all and let the other parts of me, many of them unconscious, filter through the ideas, while the mind chatters on about cost, timing, why I can or can’t do the things on this list. I let that happen for an hour or a day, until the time is right to figure out what to do next.

The next step can look lots of different ways, but what occurs to me now is to get clear on my goal, motivation, challenges, and strengths on getting the word out about my young adult fantasy trilogy.

So that’s my third step.

I’ll share more about that in part 2 of this article on heart-centered book marketing soon.

For now, post any questions you have, comments, or shares. I’d love to hear them.


Beth is an award-winning novelist fantasy and science fiction novelist and runs the podcast, “How To Write The Future,” She is also a master neurolinguistic programming practitioner and teaches writers how to write, edit, and publish their books as a coach, teacher, consultant, and developmental editor. More at bethbarany.com.

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