Maggie Lynch is the author of 20+ published books, as well as numerous short stories and non-fiction articles. Her fiction tells stories of men and women making heroic choices one messy moment at a time. Her nonfiction focuses on helping indie authors be successful in their careers.

After careers in counseling, the software industry, academia, and worldwide educational consulting, Maggie chose to devote her time to her career as a full time author. Her fiction spans romance, suspense, fantasy and science fiction titles. Her non-fiction focuses on guiding authors to business success in their career through planning, distributing, and marketing their completed work.

Secrets to Effective Author Marketing by Maggie McVay Lynch

Have you put your book out there and been disappointed in your sales? Perhaps you've tried a variety of marketing tactics to boost discoverability: blog posts, social media, book tours, paid ads in a variety of venues. But nothing is working.

The publishing landscape changes every year. The number of books published has increased and the competition for readers is more than it has been before. The key is to define your audience and then convince those potential readers of the value of your book. Your marketing time and money should primarily be spent on a message of value–not price, not story, and not genre.

This book provides specific techniques to exploit that value without resorting to the typical overexposure in social media and newsletters with "Buy My Book" sales messaging. Instead, focus on the top three proven techniques that actually sell books. Follow step-by-step instructions and timelines to learn how to: 1) Create an Effective Plan for Communicating to Readers; 2) Use Social Media and Email lists to Engage with Your Readers; and 3) Plan for Effective Campaigns for both Book Launches and Backlist Rejuvenation throughout the year.


Maggie experiments with everything. She hears about a new marketing plan, so she tries it out. If it works, she lets the rest of us know. And now, she's letting us know in an organized fashion, through this amazing book. If you want to write more and market less, then get this book. It'll save you years of experimentation and heartbreak, and improve your own work's discoverability. – Kristine Kathryn Rusch



  • "Maggie is one of those born teachers who believes in giving you value for your money."

    – Amazon Review
  • "Maggie Lynch's 3rd book in her "Author Secrets" series is another winner. Marketing is more than "buy my book" and Maggie shows us exactly why and just as important gives specific, details and resources we can use to build a fan base of readers who love our books. Clearly stated and with examples, links to resources, recommendations that include "why" are hallmarks of this series. I am already looking forward the 4th book in the series. Another Indie Author Gold resource!"

    – Judith Ashley (Kobo)
  • "This book covers the basics well and I think is a good book for the more experienced writer as well as the novice. A few things were particularly helpful, like the links to the free marketing spreadsheets and her ideas on specific ways to engage with readers were helpful."

    – Delaney Diamond (Goodreads)



Chapter 1

The Truth About Marketing

I don't know about you, but it seems that I am constantly in search of the ONE big marketing secret that will make a sudden difference in my fortunes. I am convinced that there is a secret cabal of successful authors who have found "the magic" button to push that makes them millionaires. They are keeping the location of that button secret, and only divulge it to a select few.

Does this sound like you? Always looking for the ONE thing that will work. Unfortunately, with 20 books under my belt—five traditional and the rest indie—and more than a decade of self-publishing and marketing, I know there is no one secret. There is no easy way to just do a few things and be certain that it will catapult you to success. Anyone who tells you differently is lying!

In fact, when you get a bunch of successful authors in one room (I define this as thos emaking over 100K per year), they will share some secrets and other authors in the room will say: "That never worked for me. Or that doesn't work anymore. What works is…" It is darn frustrating!

The truth is that it is a combination of techniques that need to be applied consistently, and that need to be changed based on the changing publishing landscape. For example, what worked in 2011 does not necessarily work today. Even what worked last year in 2016 may not work today. There are a few things, like having a sizeable and active mailing list of true fans, that stand the test of time. But everything else? Sadly, not so much.

Even worse, some techniques that work for one genre (e.g., romance) may not work at all for another genre (e.g., science fiction). And what works for fiction has little relationship to what works for nonfiction. When many authors realize these facts, they tend to either throw up their hands and say: "I guess I should never count on making money at writing, then." What follows that statement is the mindset that writing will be their hobby, and soon after they simply stop writing.

For those writers who don't give up, they tend to begrudgingly try to learn what types of marketing will work for them. However, they quickly realize the learning curve is significant and it takes a lot of time. Then they are faced with the dilemma of writing versus marketing, versus paying someone to do all or some of the marketing. That was me in 2011—the begrudging writer who didn't want to spend the time and energy learning this "marketing stuff."

Before you give up on this book already, let me say that it IS doable, but it doesn't happen overnight. Also, marketing works best when there is a backlist of books to help spread the costs and assure a better return on investment (ROI) of your time and money. So, if you are just getting out your first or second book, you will want to throttle back on your marketing efforts and concentrate on getting more books out first. Not that you should do no marketing, but don't go all out and spend thousands of dollars on your first book launch (or your second) and lots of time engaging your readers to the point you are not writing the next book.

Of course, if you are independently wealthy and willing to spend money without much return on your investment, then definitely go for it. Experiment. See what works for you and what doesn't.

Money does afford you a quicker start up. However, it does not make up for a lousy book over the long term. You may see a quick return, but once people start reading the book and don't find it interesting or entertaining or helpful (depending on the genre), bad word of mouth will kill any additional success on that book and on others that may follow it.

I will share a lot of ideas on marketing and what has worked for me in this book. I will tell you why it works or doesn't work as best as I can. However, just like that group of very successful authors in one room, not everything that works for me will work for you. Marketing is hard work. It takes testing, analyzing, evaluating, and testing again. It takes a concerted effort to stay on top of what has change or may change in the future and then testing, analyzing, and evaluating to see if the new stuff works for you.

Sorry! No big EASY button to push.

But I will provide you a solid foundation in: the concepts, the technology: the why, how, and when things work; and the means to analyze whatever comes in the future. If you can get that down, you can move forward on your own without many problems.