Book Promotion: The Foundation

Karen Cioffi is stopping by today on her virtual book tour with her new children’s book Walking Through Walls. Here’s her excellent advice about promoting your book.

By Karen Cioffi

Every author has thought it, said it, and heard it: promotion is the roll-up-your-sleeves, and dig-in part of writing. It’s the much more difficult and time consuming aspect of writing that every author needs to become involved with . . . if he wants to sell his books.

To actually sell a book, you need to have a quality product. This is the bare-bottom, first rung of book promotion . . . the foundation.

 Creating a Quality Product

The very first step in book promotion is to create a quality product. Hopefully, you noticed I said create a quality product, not just a good story. What this means is that all aspects of your book need to be top notch.

A. The Story

To start at the very beginning, the first factor to be dealt with is to be sure your story has all the essential elements. According to Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, there are five major elements of a story: characters, setting, plot, point of view, and theme.

All the elements of a story should complement each other, should move each other forward, draw the reader in, and end with a satisfying conclusion. They should work together to create a story that will be remembered.

Suppose your story is action packed and plot driven, but it lacks believable and sympathetic characters, it will fall short. The same holds true if you have a believable and sympathetic character, but the story lacks movement. Again, it will be lacking. As with all things in life balance is necessary, the same holds true when writing a story.

B. Join a Critique Group

Yes, this is part of creating a quality story. Even experienced authors depend on the unique perspective and extra eyes that each critique member provides. They will help find: grammatical errors, holes in your story, unclear sentences and paragraphs, overuse of particular words, and weak verbs, among other elements.

They will also provide guidance and suggestions.

Check out this article for more information about joining a critique group:

Critiques are Essential

C. Editing

Yes, again, this is a necessary step to take to ensure your manuscript is in the best shape possible before it becomes a book. Look for an experienced and qualified editor to help tweak your manuscript. But, before you send it off to be edited, self-edit it first. There are a number of articles out there in cyberspace on self-editing. Take the time and read a few, then go over your manuscript.

D. Cover and Design

This step is more relevant to those who decide to self-publish, or use a Print-on-Demand (POD). The cover is the first impression a reader will usually have of your book, next is the interior design. These aspects are just as important as the story itself. I’m sure you’re familiar with the expression that you only get one shot at making a good first impression. Well, you can relate that to your book cover.

Don’t skimp on time, effort, or money when coming up with your book’s cover and design.

Tip: If you are writing a children’s book, do not do your own illustrations unless you’re a professional illustrator.


Karen Cioffi is an author and ghostwriter. Her new MG/YA fantasy book, Walking Through Walls, is based on an ancient Chinese tale.

Longing to be rich and powerful, twelve-year-old Wang studies the legend of the mystical Eternals. Certain they are real, he journeys to their temple and begins an apprenticeship with the Eternal Master. There he enters a world of magic where not everything is as it seems, and where he learns the magic formula to ‘walking through walls.’

Walking Through Walls should now be available through online retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and book stores. If it’s not yet listed, it will be very soon!
You can also order the book today at:

To learn more about Walking Through Walls, its touring schedule and contest, and purchasing information visit:

To learn more about Karen and her books, visit:

Please be sure to stop by Nancy Famolari’s Place on July 15th for the next stop on the Walking Through Walls Tour.

Published in: on July 13, 2011 at 6:00 am  Comments (22)  

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22 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Heidi, Thank you so much for being a part of my book tour for Walking Through Walls. It’s appreciated!

  2. Brilliant post…perfect advice for beginner writers and good reminder for not-so-beginners. 🙂

  3. Excellent advice. I only disagree with one point: POD is not a type of publishing but is a type of printing. It is technology, digital printing, not publishing. Yes, self-publishers often use the technology or printers who do, as do many indie (author pays for services) publishers, but so do major traditional publishers.

    Just trying to keep terminology correct.


  4. These tips on editing and what a good story contains are valuable. A good critique and a reliable editor are a must too. It is a process developing the first draft into a final book and your book is a great example. Congratulations.

  5. Karen, good luck with the sale of your book.
    Thanks,Heidi, for hosting Karen. You have an attractive blog.

  6. Good luck, Karen. Marketing IS the name of the game and that part of writing we often don’t learn about until we have our book in hand. I started years before with a blog and networking. My cover is paramount for on-line notice but I also sought the advice of booksellers at my favorite indie bookstore about the cover and spine. I’ve given book talks and explored the wonderful world of bookclubs. My local library is going to put one together for my novel, based on positive feedback from readers.

    • JL, that’s wonderful – it’s great to have a supportive local library. And, today starting marketing after your book is in hand puts you at a disadvantage; it really is important to build your platform before your book is out. It was a smart move to get feedback on your cover and spine to help create the best product possible. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  7. Thank you for stopping by on your tour, Karen. I wish you the very best and many sales on this wonderful book!

    Thanks to all of you who stop by and leave comments.

  8. V.R., thanks so much for following along on the tour. Yes, this is a first step basics for book promotion. It’s interesting, but the cover is something many authors don’t think about.

    Vivian, Your right PODs are the printing company, but many self-publishers refer to them as self-publishing companies because they use their services to actually self-publish. Discussing self-publishing can be tricky because many ‘real’ self-publishers, those who create their own company, get their own ISBN, and all the other stuff really self-publishing entails, get annoyed at calling any other form of self-publishing, self-publishing. Can’t please everyone all the time. 🙂

  9. Terri, That’s exactly right. It’s the whole process that’s needed to create a finished product. Thanks so much for stopping by.

    Barbara, Thank you! And, thanks so much for stopping by!

    Heidi, Thank you again!

  10. Heidi, thank you for bringing us Karen’s wisdom and motivation! Let’s all think harder about how promotion can benefit us today!


    • Carolyn, I think part of the reason marketing is so hard because it’s always changing, new technology, new social networks, it’s just never-ending.

      Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to follow along. It’s appreciated!

  11. Excellent information Karen – you know your stuff mate!!
    I also love your book and the fun cover. All the best with this tour.

    Margot’s Magic Carpet + Manuscript Critiques
    Books With a WOW Factor

    • Margot, Thank you so much for all your support! You’re the best!

  12. Good advice! Without a solid beginning, the book will flounder.

    • Mary, absolutely. In fact, without a solid beginning the ms won’t make it past the slush pile. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  13. Great article, Karen. So true. I’m saving as a reminder. 🙂

    • Beverly, Thanks so much for following along! And, I’m so glad you found the article useful.

  14. Super post, Karen. Marketing has been the hardest part of being an author for me, and a learning process every step of the way. Wish I would have had your tips when I was a newbie – LOL! Congrats on your book!

    Thanks for hosting, Heidi. :o)

    • Beth, Thanks so much for following along. And, I think it’s the hardest part of writing for all us authors. It’s just so time consuming. Thank you again!

  15. Terrific advice Karen. Very helpful for those wanting to promote their first book. They should read your Dragon book to see how a great story, well told, is half the battle. Best of luck, mate.

    Margot’s Magic Carpet
    Books With a WOW Factor

  16. Margot, Thanks so much for stopping by again! And, thank you for your kind words!

    I just read that the cover contributes around 70% toward book sales, but you do need that good story to get to actually publishing!

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