Author giving a gift to readers

Grassroots Book Marketing 101

Your book is not about you.

Even if you’ve written a highly personal memoir … your book is not about you.

Your book—or at least the marketing of your book—is about your readers and what they take away from hearing your story and absorbing your key messages.

Identify Your Core Messages

Author giving a gift to readers

Photo by David Castillo Dominici

Identifying those main points is a critical task to undertake before you start pitching your book to publishers or before you upload your files to self-publish. You absolutely must understand what you’re offering to readers—what aspects of your story will touch someone’s heart, make someone think or speak to a universal truth.

The fact is, this is one of the hardest parts of publishing. Most of us aren’t actually very comfortable talking about ourselves, and this discomfort only grows when we feel like we’re being “too salesy.”

But think of it this way: When you advocate for your book, for your story, you’re helping it reach more eyes and ears—which means more people can benefit from your message and your hard-won wisdom. You’re giving prospective readers a gift!

Reframing what it means to pitch or sell your book gives you the chance to think more broadly about who wants and needs to hear what you have to say.

You can reach beyond the low-hanging fruit—local media, libraries and bookstores—and connect with new audiences (which translates to selling more books).

Whom Can You Help?

So, who could benefit from hearing your story?

  • Are your key messages right for teens or younger readers? Reach out to a teacher you know and find out what local schools require of speakers for in-class presentations or assemblies.
  • Does your story have a faith element? Contact churches that organize faith-sharing groups, Bible study or men’s/women’s groups. Even if the groups are small, every reader with whom you engage becomes a potential word-of-mouth marketer on your behalf.
  • Contact your former high school, college or professional school. Are there experts there who would be interested in your topic—and who could connect you to others in their network?
  • Does your message translate into the business realm? Larger companies often host speakers for professional and personal development programs or at all-company meetings.
  • Look into your area Rotary club or other civic organizations. How can your message help build a stronger community? These groups will want to know!

The list goes on and on depending on your areas of expertise. And therein lies another rub: You have to get comfortable with positioning yourself as an expert, whether through study or lived experience.

Just remember: Only you know exactly what you’ve been through, how it’s changed you and how it can help other people. So, don’t be shy.

Make a list of your key messages …

Briefly outline talking points for each of them …

And get out there and share your magic with the world!


Billiards ball

5 Reasons Why Indies Rock

We know authors have a lot of choices when it comes to sharing their work—everything from hiring an agent and pursuing a large house, to hybrid publishing or self-publishing. Figuring out the best course can be confusing, and information can be difficult to come by.

Reaching out to a relatively small, independent publisher has its own list of advantages. And although what is right for one author might not meet the goals and needs of another, we think there’s a lot to like about working with an indie. Take a look:

1. Marketing and Publicity Support

One way a quality indie or hybrid publisher will distinguish itself is in its ability to market and promote a book. As one self-published author told us, “I thought writing the book would be the hard part. I was wrong.” Indeed, we’ve used the analogy before: Writing a book is like having a baby. Once the baby is born, the real work begins! With books, the biggest obstacles are found in attracting media attention and converting that coverage into sales. Though it’s certainly not impossible for a self-published author to do that, the road is easier when an author walks it with a publisher.

2. Smaller = Nimbler

Independent houses can respond to changes rapidly and follow trends easily. We’re not bound by layers of procedures and policies that dictate what we do and how we do it. KiCam, specifically, is a business founded on family that wants to tell personal stories. So we treat people as—wait for it!—people. Each project is unique, and so is its creator. We respect, treasure and honor that in the way we work with each author and each book.

3. We’re Open to Your Ideas

We know we don’t know everything. And although we bring decades of experience to the table, we choose to work with authors we know can teach us some things, whether it’s about publishing, publicity, marketing or life in general. We’re constantly learning, and we think that’s not only a good thing, but one of the best things about doing what we do.

4. We’re Non-traditional, by Design

Recently an author wrote to us with a submission she said she was sure many publishers wouldn’t consider. It was her memoir, as told in rhymed verse. The work was moving and meaningful, and it was exactly the kind of story we want to bring to life and help readers discover. Books might be black and white, but what connects with people’s hearts is almost never that simple or obvious.

5. We Take Risks

Frankly, once you’ve started a publishing company from scratch, all the risks that come after that pale by comparison! As one of our mentors once said, “If it doesn’t scare the heck out of you, it’s not worth doing.” So here we are.

If you’re an author looking for a home for your work, please visit our submissions page. We love to hear from writers who believe in our mission—to change the world, one great story at a time—and who have inspiring stories of survival and recovery to share.