Monday, June 26, 2023

5 Ways to Use AI in Your Book Marketing

If you’re at all involved in online conversations about writing, either via social media or traditional media outlets, you’ve probably heard a lot of chatter about ChatGPT, generative AI, and the way it’s going to impact the publishing industry. And while we’re a long way from AI overtaking human novelists in terms of their writing skill, there are several valuable applications for AI in the marketing of books. 

You may perhaps be reluctant to adopt these new tools, but think about it this way: how did old school authors feel about the advent of major changes in publishing? How about book writing software? Or social media? Or the Kindle store? Some were probably just as wary as you are now, and yet all of these have become an established part of every self-published writer’s repertoire.  

If you’re interested in dipping your toes into the chatbot pond, and trying out the new tools — that don’t claim to write your book for you — available to authors, here are 5 ways you can experiment with AI in your book marketing.

    1. Producing promotional copy

Writing promotional copy, like blurbs, book descriptions, and newsletters, can become a drag. Even the most creative among us can find this type of copywriting difficult, and it’s an entirely different skill set to other types of writing. If you’re struggling to create a blurb for your book, or put together a promotional email gearing readers up for your launch, AI chatbots like ChatGPT can be your best friend.

You’ll definitely not want to use the first thing the AI produces: it probably won’t sound much like you, it may make too many extrapolations or assumptions based on the data you gave it and misrepresent your book, or it may simply miss the mark in terms of tone. But with a few additional prompts and revisions, what ChatGPT produces can be a great first draft to inspire your final version — or help you  through writers’ block by eliminating the fear of the blank page.

    2. Gaining audience insights

For many of us, the key hurdle to overcome in successful book marketing is knowing exactly who to market to. At times, this may be pretty obvious — but if your book straddles genres, is a niche piece of literary fiction, or is difficult to place in the market at first glance, this can become a real challenge.

Thankfully, there are now tools available to authors to help take the guesswork out of audience identification. Tools like Booxby are able to analyze the content of a novel, and provide a series of marketing-minded suggestions to authors, such as writing style matches, comparative titles, tone tags, and even projected audience size. All these kinds of data can be used to target the right buyers for your book, and can inform the keywords and metadata you choose on sales platforms.        

    3. Analyzing your book’s cover

A cover can look great, and still be a bad book cover. How? Simple: if it doesn’t capture the essence of the story contained within. Specifically, if a cover doesn’t do a good job of conveying the tone and genre of a story, it’s not going to work when the time comes to market your book. 

Of course, your own discernment is a big part in identifying whether your book cover is hitting the mark. But sometimes we can be blinded by our own tastes. If you’re looking for a more objective way to check that your book cover is ticking the right boxes, try out AI tools like Google Cloud API or Amazon Rekognition. These platforms scan and analyze images and give insights into things like visual appeal, genre, and target audience. So if the cover for your cozy mystery comes back identified as paranormal romance, you’ll know it’s time to get to work redesigning!

    4. Optimizing Amazon metadata

The world of Amazon categories and keywords is a daunting one — and it’s constantly evolving. Choosing the right labels for your metadata and Amazon page is extremely important for discoverability, aka getting eligible readers’ eyes on your listing. In addition to  checking out online resources to help you crack the Amazon algorithm code, you may want to employ some specialist tools, as well. 

Tools like Publisher Rocket crunch the numbers and give you intelligent suggestions for which keywords to target and how to optimize your metadata for maximum sales. Simply put, they can pretty much automate the keyword selection process for you. Of course, you should still check their work and that the suggestions make sense for your title, but your process will be much quicker, start to finish.


    5. Choosing your price point

Book pricing is a trade off between marketability and profitability, and it’s a hard balance to strike. Luckily, AI dynamic pricing tools can give you some helpful direction. Tools like Revionics take into account market trends, competitor pricing, and sales goals to help establish the right price point for your book — one that will attract customers without selling you short.

AI tools are continuing to evolve at a remarkable rate, and it’s up to you which (if any) you choose to implement into your own routine. You should always be sure to do your research before relying too heavily on any automation, but authors who are willing to ride the wave and adopt tools that work for them will be making their marketing lives easier — and hopefully this article has given you some ideas for where to begin.

BIO: Rose Atkinson-Carter is a writer for Reedsy. She produces articles on all aspects of writing craft and publishing, from how to write a query letter to how to find a ghostwriter.

Monday, June 19, 2023

Enhance Your Story's Rampant Appeal With Archetypes

 One of my favorite craft books is Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers.  I own the 3rd edition and the most recent 4th edition released on its 25th anniversary.  

I discovered this book back in 2007.  That was when I was first introduced to archetypes in writing.   

Free PDF version online: This is a free online PDF 3rd edition version.

It totally changed the way I looked at ‌story and at my life. Suddenly, I saw these archetypes everywhere, in the people I knew, the people I met, and even in myself–not to mention, books, movies, and plays.

For a while, life became an unfolding story of discovery and surprise. I had a lot of fun envisioning my life as an adventure. Yes I admit, it's a great self-help book, especially for a little psychological insight on humanity, but the book was created for writers who wanted to improve their writing and recognize the universal appeal of storytelling and creation. 

Why archetypes–because archetypes play a crucial role in storytelling, by providing recognizable patterns and symbols that resonate with audiences. 

Universality and Relatability:

Archetypes tap into human experiences, emotions, fears, and desires that transcend cultural and historical boundaries making stories relatable to an expansive range of readers.  Stories that hit readers on a deep, subconscious level, creating a sense of familiarity and connection.  

For me the story is all about the connection whether it is entertainment, learning, or escape values. I want stories to engage my emotions and mind, taking me on an immersive journey–if they do, I am hooked.  

Symbolism and Imagery:

Archetypes have deep roots in mythology, folklore, and cultural traditions, which allows writers to explore broader cultural and historical contexts creating a wealth of symbolic imagery conveying abstract concepts, themes, and motifs. It’s a rich tapestry of symbolic imagery, adding depth and layers of meaning–something I love about storytelling when done well.

Narrative Structure and Themes: 

Archetypes contribute to the overall structure and themes of a  story.  They establish narrative frameworks such as the hero’s journey, a quest, or a battle between good and evil.  Archetypal symbols and motifs can convey border themes and messages, enriching the storytelling experience adding depth. 

You can evoke powerful emotions in readers by digging deep into the archetype cultivating universal human experiences and psychological patterns to elicit empathy, suspense, and catharsis, allowing readers to deeply engage with the characters in a personal way.  

Emotional Impact:

Archetypes evoke emotional responses that appeal on a subconscious level eliciting compelling and meaningful reactions to the story in readers.  It's the human experience that we all share on that universal level, that transcends culture and language. 

Character Development and Depth:

Archetypes to me are huge in overall understanding of how human beings work. As storyteller’s, they give us a common language, creating familiar foundations that strengthen character development, evoke emotion, and connect us in global ways. 

We all wear many hats. We change. We contradict ourselves, even emotionally. Learn to use archetypes to create more 3-dimensional characters, and believable story structure. 

These three archetypes are a few of my favorites to play with and think about.  They can be some of the most useful and FUN, especially when building your cast of characters. 

The very essence of these archetypes elicit a certain expectation in behaviors. I get excited creating these types of shadowy unpredictable characters. They bring so much conflict, chaos, uncertainty, and angst in the writing and storytelling. The lessons and skills they teach can be so much fun and bring an unexpected depth or twist to any story.   

  • ShapeShifter - This type brings uncertainty, doubt, suspicion, a catalyst for change–everything is not as it seems.  

  • Shadow - Typically an antagonist, representing the rejected aspects of self, creating tension, anxiety, the darker side of a character's nature. This character often brings the threat of destruction psychologically, or to places and people.  (Caveat–can also represent unexplored potential such as affection, creativity, or powers.) 

  • Trickster -  Vogler says this character embodies the energies of mischief and desire for change.  They are often witt‌y or foolish.  They can be wise.  They are the type to keep heroes on their toes, challenge them.  They are often unpredictable. They may represent the funny, comic relief, and a lighter side of a serious situation. Famous Tricksters: Loki, Coyote, Cheshire Cat, Bugs Bunny, Jerry The Mouse. 

Look around you. Who plays these roles in your life? How often have you played these roles in others' lives? The doc link below lists all seven types that Vogler focuses on when teaching storytelling. 


Read more about the seven main archetypes Vogler believes are essential to a well-told story. Vogler Archetype Doc

Let archetypes help you build your characters, shape and write your story.  Find the deeper themes and symbolism within them.  Look for more archetypes such as mother for example can be Mommy Dearest, Penelope Blossom Riverdale, or Wilma Flintstone, or Caroline Ingalls, or Olivia Walton.  Themes range from the best mother ever, CEO-working mom, famous mom, caretaker-home maker, villain to abuser. 

There is a ubiquitous pattern here in connection, theme, symbolism, and emotional appeal when you pick an archetype, dig deep, and mine it for its golden aspects threading them throughout your story.

You can stay in touch with me and keep the conversation going with my writers tips and resource bulletin Writers Talk. More about me here

Monday, June 12, 2023

If I Had It To Do Again

Writers go through similar stages before they finally see their manuscripts between covers, but from what I’ve learned, they usually go through them in exactly the opposite way that they should.

Here’s what I think is typical based on my conversations with other writers and my own beginning as one.


If I had it to do again, I’d reverse those steps; at least I’d put “Build a Network” right up there with “Write the Story.” Why? Because once you do publish a book, you’re going to need a lot of people in your corner to help spread the word and bring you chocolates to keep you going. This upside-down plan is important regardless of whether you’re self-published, working with a small press, or working with a large one. The competition in today’s writing/publishing industry is fierce. In  2017 1,000,000 print and eBooks were published in the U.S. alone. How are you going to make any waves in a sea as big as this if you’re all alone?

Besides with a network, you’re not always having to be the one to say, “Look at my book.” The  Me. Me. Me. gets pretty old across your social media very quickly. 

As a writer of Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction, I’ve found two groups that have helped through a lot of learning curves and into publication. The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators showed me the ropes early on. I attended their conferences, started meeting other new writers, and connecting with established and savvy ones. When I sold my first novel, I attended the New York Winter Conference and was so motivated to keep writing that I started my second novel in my hotel room during the days I was there. They’ve provided a wealth of knowledge and support that helped me build my network and complete twelve books (nine published so far). 

When I first heard about The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, I wondered what benefit I’d get from becoming a member. The key word was SUPPORT. While they offered a lot of great information from writing professionals, they also were there when I considered giving up or didn’t have a fresh idea, and they quadrupled my online social media network. Remember, I’d done it all backwards: published, and then started connecting with writers and readers. 

These are my thoughts on “If I Had It To Do Again.” What are yours? Do you agree or do you have other ideas about this writing/publishing business?

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Greetings, First Wednesday in June!

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! Otherwise, when you leave a comment, people can't find you to comment back.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

The awesome co-hosts for the June 7 posting of the IWSG are Patrcia Josephine, Diedre Knight, Olga Godim, J. Lenni Dorner, and Cathrina Constantine!

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Remember, the question is optional!

June 7 question - If you ever did stop writing, what would you replace it with?