Sneaky As Hell Marketing That’s Also Brilliant Because It Works

I did some MARKETING: Did It WORK?

Obligatory “I hate marketing” meme.
I feel your pain.

If you do some marketing and you have a noticeable jump in sales, you can conclude that what you did worked.

That rarely happens, though. If that was the one-to-one correlation, marketing would be easy. It’s not. At the amateur level, there’s a lot of guesswork in marketing.

Guessing wrong can be expensive if you are buying ads, but networking with friend can be free. It can also produce no results, because your friends don’t have any bigger of a fan base than you have – as in none when you are all starting out. But, misery loves company and so does marketing, and often marketing is misery, and so… well, I don’t know where I was going with that.

It happens!

Except to say, when you market with friends, you are never alone.

That sounds prescient…


California also makes beer
California also makes beer

In the movie “Bottle Shock” they had a saying: “When one of us wins, we all win.” It was a group of winemakers in California in the 1970’s who were trying to put themselves on the map. That sounds like a given today; everybody knows California wines are among the best in the world – but at the time they were all struggling because nobody thought California wines were any good. (They were good, but nobody knew. Because marketing.) One California wine goes on to win a blind tasting against European wines, and that opened the doors for the whole area. They never looked back.

This is your mindset, your approach, with your friends. Help each other. Get each other noticed. When one of you wins, you all win.

Okay, so what do you do and how do you do it?

I’ll show you.

(Let me run through this, you take notes, and I’ll summarize at the bottom.)

I recently ran an interview I did with an author friend. It was fun, engaging, showed off her personality, discussed her book. It had some pictures of her and her book cover, and honestly it looked like magazine article.

I tweeted about it, promoting and marketing it as we have discussed HERE

Blowing your own horn = nothing much happens

Blowing you horn for somebody else = nice to do and may produce a trackable result

As in, a one-to-one correlation.

What do I mean? I blogged and tweeted about the author and her book and SHE saw a noticeable increase in her blog traffic. A spike on that day.

See that orange bar that's larger than everything else? That's a spike.
See that orange bar that’s larger than everything else? That’s a spike. This is her actual WordPress blog stats for that period.

Now, that was no accident. I listed her blog link in the article RIGHT WHEN WE WERE TALKING ABOUT HOW FUNNY HER BLOG IS. That was smart, I guess. I also included a picture from one of the funny posts, and a screen shot of the blog’s landing page. So in that interview about her book, her blog got a lot of mentions.

(See my VERY brief rule about Social Media HERE)

The interview was also smart-ass and relaxed because we’re pals. We goofed off a lot in it. And it was looooooooooooong. (A cardinal rule is to have shorter blogs, but in an interview, that’s not always going to happen. Especially if I’m talking.)

By coincidence, she had another author with a blog featuring her blog on the same day. He reposted her thoughts on writing about feelings. (They’d set it up a while ago and the two features, his and mine, weren’t coordinated.)

Like I said, she had a big one day jump in blog traffic.

Nice, but we need SALES! Right, well, your blog is a platform, and it will create loyal fans for your various works, but it doesn’t immediately create sales. A blog is a longer term format. But if you are going to blog, do it right.

Looking at her blog stats again, we screwed up – and here’s what we do next time. Whatshisname and I drove traffic to her blog. There’s proof. Well, good. I guess I should have been smart enough to anticipate that.

What we should have done was HAVE SOMETHING THERE for OUR readers ON HER BLOG once they got there.

Like what? It’s a blog. There’s stuff there already…

A sample chapter, posted that day, so when they clicked over, THERE IT WAS. No digging or searching.

Hey, you can do that.

Hey, I can do that.
Hey, I can do that.

Yes. Yes, you can.

Now, don’t just post the chapter as a bunch of plain old words. SELL IT – but do it nicely. Dress it up. Put a friendly greeting on top and let new visitors know here’s a sample chapter of my book for you – and have the sample immediately follow, no additional clicks.

One of my
One of my “ads” as a sample but yes you can go buy it.

Also, include some sort of enticement to get them to buy the book. Place a smattering of ads for your book throughout the sample chapter. Arrange the sample chapter with interruptions every so often, like a magazine article does: don’t go too long without a link or a picture. And instead of pictures, insert copies of the “ads” you made. Use ones that feature your good reviews.

Have a look at what we did in the interview, HERE

Don’t have ads? Make them, ask a friend to make you some.

Don’t forget a big ol’ picture of you and the book cover at the top of the sample chapter. Remember, Amazon shoppers can see a sample of your book anyway, so you aren’t giving anything away by having a sample chapter here.

Maybe even post a little “Hi, thanks for checking me out/checking out my blog – here’s a sample chapter just for you.” Maybe add this: “Special price on my book this weekend for readers of XYZ’s blog” and drop the price a little for a few days?

We have basically irrefutable data showing it worked (I don’t know how much Whatshisname tweeted etc., or what else he did.) BTW, follow up with your friends who do this for you – you should thank them for the increase in traffic AND ASK what all they did (tweets, FB, etc.) so you know. If they were lame, you need to know that too. One tweet doesn’t cut it.

Imagine if you did this, but you had FOUR or FIVE friends’ blogs all featuring you, all on the same day, all creatively tweeting throughout the day about it and you had YOUR blog with a sample chapter or two posted and a buy link at the bottom.

You’d get sales.


Then you’d repay the favor down the road. It would work. And you’d have what you’ve always needed: a marketing network. A small one, but you’d have it. Gotta start somewhere.

To recap:

  1. Write a good book and have a blog, a social media presence, etc.
  2. Convince a few friends to interview you or repost one of your more helpful/interesting blog posts. Interviews are fun; try that.
  3. Coordinate those blogs up to run on the same day
  4. They Tweet like mad and post on FB about the interview, how great you are rising star, etc. It’s the Hollywood treatment. I call it (The Schwarzenegger Treatment.) It works.
  5. Have a sample chapter with ads and buy links set up on your blog for that day
  6. Track EVERYTHING – this is harder than it sounds, but do it.
  7. A few weeks later, YOU have to do it for THEM
I was already busy, but this is great stuff! Who needs sleep, anyway?
I was already busy, but this is great stuff! Who needs sleep, anyway?

If something works, we want to be able to do it again. That means tracking the results. Measuring results. That’s a pain in the ass, and requires you to follow up with people and stuff. It’s not as much fun as writing. And it may not even pay off in the short run!

But you knew that.

Because marketing is misery. But increased traffic and sales are AWESOME!

Want me to critique the first chapter of your story? SEND IT. Hit the Contact Me button and, you know, contact me. I’ll see what I can do.

Right now you want to subscribe to this blog and not miss another valuable bauble that falls from my fingertips. You read this far; you need this stuff. SUBSCRIBE TODAY (click the follow “Follow” button, above) and I’ll send you a free copy of my amazingly cute book “The Short Years” plus we’ll probably become friends and start hanging out and stuff.

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He looks like he knows something, carrying that computer around, doesn’t he?
He looks like he knows something, carrying that computer around, doesn’t he?

Enjoy my writing brilliance in all its glory on my Author Page HERE

and find out about the release of my new book “25 Great eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew” by emailing me at and I’ll let you know when you can get a free advance copy! Shh! Don’t tell.

12 thoughts on “Sneaky As Hell Marketing That’s Also Brilliant Because It Works

  1. I’ve never had much of an online presence, and I’m not sure I ever will. Internet networking always struck me as a lot of hollow comments and replies between people who don’t know each other. I can see the short-term benefit — one day out of the year a person’s site gets a spike in traffic — but the same people can’t be constantly plugging each other, can they? As you said in a recent update, it gets obnoxious fast (5000+ retweets of every little thing is probably not the norm, but still).

    Well, regardless, I published two books this summer — one through Pro Se Press and another self-published — and wondered if you would be down for a blog post where we have a dialogue about the ups and downs of both methods of publishing.

    Liked by 1 person

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