Guerrilla Marketing for Writers: 100 No-Cost, Low-Cost Weapons for Selling Your Work

Guerrilla Marketing for Writers: 100 No-Cost, Low-Cost Weapons for Selling Your Work

by Jay Conrad Levinson

ISBN: 9781600376603

Publisher Morgan James Publishing

Published in Reference/Publishing & Books, Reference/Writing, Reference/General

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Sample Chapter



A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.



Your passion, your books, your career, your life, your ability to overcome adversity, your willingness to promote your books, and your potential as a writer and a human being are all embodied in one unique individual: you.


Guerrilla Marketing for Writers is based on the following premises:

• You want to build a successful career as an author.

• You want to sell your books to or be published by a major publisher.

• You know little or nothing about publishing and promotion.

• You want the recognition and rewards you will earn by becoming a successful author.

• You are writing adult fiction or nonfiction or children’s books.

Guerrilla marketing is not new, but Guerrilla Marketing for Writers is. Authors have been using the techniques in this book, but this is the first time these weapons have been assembled and integrated into a comprehensive approach to selling books both to publishers and to book buyers.

Because we are not experts on children’s books, we asked Andrea Brown, a literary agent who specializes in children’s books, to make sure the ideas in the book can also help authors of children’s books. She concluded that while the book will help them, publishers don’t expect these authors to have plans as ambitious as those they want to see for adult how-to books with large potential readerships.

We believe that the one hundred weapons in the book can be adapted to help authors promote any kind of book, from poetry to textbooks. It will also benefit speakers, consultants, and other service-based entrepreneurs.


You will find practical advice throughout the book. But Guerrilla Marketing for Writers isn’t a how-to book, it’s a what-to book.

The goals of this book are to

• Make you aware of how important promotion is to your books and your career

• Show you the range of free and low-cost weapons you can use to be a guerrilla marketer and, in turn, make your books successful

• Be an enjoyable reading experience

The book has boxed, guerrilla marketing on the front lines, “War Stories” about guerrilla marketing in action. We hope that you will share your experiences on how you are using the weapons in the book and creating new ones. The Web site will share readers’ wisdom and war stories. We also share bits of “Guerrilla Intelligence” and “Guerrilla Wisdom” for you to have in your duffel bag when you need them.

Guerrilla Marketing for Writers will help you promote your first book, but its value will grow with every book you write. The more books you write and the more weapons you use, the more powerful guerrilla marketing becomes.

This is why we use the phrase “your books.” You’ll see the word “your” often because the books you write are yours no matter who publishes them, and we want you to feel pride of ownership for them and accept responsibility for what happens to them.

The best editor, publisher, and contract can make an enormous difference in what happens to your books. But ultimately, how well you conceive, write, and promote them will be the most important factors determining their fate—long before and forever after the pub date.


The longer we worked on the book, the clearer it became that we were shoehorning two books into one. We tried to describe the guerrilla weapons in the order of their importance, keep related weapons together, and discuss fiction and nonfiction simultaneously. Not possible.

The information an author shares in a nonfiction book is more important than how the book gets written. Does it make sense for a retired doctor who has only a memoir in him to go through the long apprenticeship required to become a professional writer? Should posterity be denied his wisdom simply because he lacks the skills of a professional writer?

His asset is his experience and his ability to promote his book. How he writes his book is his business. He can use an editor, a collaborator, or a ghostwriter.

However, the essential element of fiction is also what makes it hard to promote: the author’s ability to tell a story. Giving readings and discussing their work is important for novelists both for maintaining their relationships with their fans and for making new ones. But the ability of novelists to use style, as well as story, setting, and characters, to keep their readers turning the pages is more important than their ability to talk.

For writers of how-to books with national appeal, the commitment to travel around the country giving talks and selling books is usually essential if they want to sell their books to New York publishers.

If you want to see how different the lists for fiction and nonfiction look when the weapons are listed in order of importance, please see the appendix I.


One of this book’s goals is to make sense of your role in promoting your books and to show you how to save money and make it in the process.

• Sixty-three weapons in the book are free.

• Twenty are low cost, meaning that they either cost less than one hundred dollars or cost only as much as you can afford to spend on them before you use a substitute. For example, over time, printing and mailing your media kit will cost more than one hundred dollars. However, you can spend only what your budget allows and E-mail just your news releases when you exhaust your budget.

• Eight weapons in the book are expensive, so you will have to use your “guerrilla greenbacks” (see chapter 6, weapon #15), your ingenuity, or your patience until you can afford them.

• Twelve weapons can help you earn a living. If, for example, you can build your speaking career well enough, you won’t have to worry about royalties.


Chapter 6 discusses “minting” a new form of currency, guerrilla greenbacks, to help you minimize expenses. But until you write your breakout book, you will have to take Theodore Roosevelt’s advice to “do what you can with what you have where you are.”

Even if your promotional budget is limitless, you still don’t want to waste money, and you still want your promotional campaign to have maximum impact. Whatever the size of your budget, this book will help you get the biggest bang for your buck.

One goal of your promotion plan is to convince potential publishers of your commitment to your books. But you also need to prove that you’re a professional who knows what you’re doing.

The most important thing this book can do for you is hidden between the lines: inspiring you to think like an entrepreneur. Don’t think like a writer who has something to say; think like an author who has a lifetime of books, products, and services to sell—an author who knows what it takes to make books sell and will be totally committed to doing it. Then you will be a guerrilla marketer and an entrepreneurial author.

Hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs around the world, who started businesses of all kinds with more hope, commitment, and ability than experience, have adapted the weapons in this book to make their businesses succeed.

We are confident that if you follow our advice with all of your books, using more weapons as you go along, your profits will repay the cost of this book thousands of times over. We’re counting on you to prove we’re right (so you won’t take us up on the money-back guarantee in chapter 11, weapon #54!). Welcome to the guerrilla family.


Like you, your books are unique. So how can you find what you need from this book as quickly as possible? Here are six suggestions that may help you:

• Read the book, checking off the weapons you can use.

• Skim the book to get an idea of what the weapons are.

• Go through the table of contents to see which weapons you think you can use and read those first.

• Forget about logic and read the weapons in any order you wish.

• Pick the weapons you want to use in your promotion plan, and then devise a strategy for promoting your book following the advice in chapter 6.

• Visit if you have questions or suggestions for the next edition, or if you figure out a faster way to do it. We live to serve!




Excerpted from "Guerrilla Marketing for Writers: 100 No-Cost, Low-Cost Weapons for Selling Your Work" by Jay Conrad Levinson. Copyright © 2010 by Jay Conrad Levinson. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Jay Conrad Levinson

Jay Conrad Levinson

David Hancock is recognized by NASDAQ as one of the world’s most prestigious business leaders and reported to be the future of publishing. He was also named a Finalist in the Best Chairman category in The 2006 American Business Awards. Hailed as “the business world’s own Oscars” by the New York Post.

View full Profile of Jay Conrad Levinson

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