Getting Your Books Noticed

It is my pleasure this morning to introduce Patricia Bradley, one of the regular participants here at the Kill Zone community. During a recent discussion of marketing, her comments on use of social media and success with creating a following caught my eye. She has agreed to share her methods and experience with us. Please welcome Patricia with your comments and questions.


Getting Your Books Noticed

by Patricia Bradley

When Steve Hooley emailed and asked me if I was interested in writing a post for TKZ on how, as a traditionally published author, one goes about getting their books noticed, I replied, “YES!”

Can you tell I’m very impulsive and step into things before I think them through? Once it sunk in that I would be posting on The Kill Zone, nerves hit. You see, y’all are my heroes. Posting on this blog is a dream come true, but also very intimidating. It took me years before I even posted a comment.

So here we go: how to get noticed among the thousands of authors publishing today, and how to do it when you’re traditionally published and not in control of the numbers.

I have a wonderful publisher who invests advertising dollars in their authors and their books. They send my new releases out to about a hundred bloggers who review my book on their blogs then post reviews at places like Amazon, Goodreads, Bookbub, B&N…and my state’s very own Mississippi Magazine. They also buy advertising spots at conferences and provide swag for me to give away and probably a hundred other things I’m not aware of.

So, if my publisher does all that, what do I do? I promise you, there’s plenty left to do to get your name out there. Number one is to write the next book.

At the same time, you need to be active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram even though these social media outlets seem to change their algorithms daily, shrinking my readership. I am active in several groups that are geared to romantic suspense and connect/interact with my readers there.

One way to connect with your readers is to ask questions. My readers have named a few of my characters, towns, and even suggested titles for the books.

I’ve learned that videos get more attention on these sites than plain posts or even those with photos, so I’ve learned how to make trailers and all sorts of stuff on BookBrush. It’s like Canva on steroids for me. I can upload my covers and use them for all sorts of things, like the short videos and book trailers. I also make all the memes that appear at the beginning of my Tuesday and Friday blogs.

Speaking of blogs, I’ve had one since 2010, but in 2016, I found a theme for it. In 2015, I had less than a thousand visitors. Since then I’ve had over 193,000 visitors with 20,000 comments. I know some say that blogs don’t sell books, but that’s not why I have a blog. I use it to interact with my readers and to catch the attention of people who are checking me out.

I post twice a week on my blog. Some people post every day and some only once a month, but how often isn’t as important as being consistent. If you’ve told your readers they’ll get a post from you once a week, make sure you post something, even if it’s an explanation of why you’re not posting that day. It’s all about connecting.

It’s important for you to tie your theme to the genre you write. For instance, both of my blogs are connected to what I write. On Tuesdays I have a Mystery Question for my readers to solve. There are four stories, three true and one made up. Lately it’s been con games or scams, and thank you very much, Debbie Burke, for your excellent True Crime posts. More than one has ended up on my Mystery Question blog.

My readers love to try and figure out which one I made up, and once or twice, I’ve skunked them. Right now, I get anywhere from ten to twenty comments on the posts. For the week of November 8-14th, I had 1,149 visitors. Since some blogs get thousands of hits a day, that might not sound like a lot, but you have to remember that before my first book released in 2014, readers had never heard of me.

My Friday posts are reviews of books I’ve read. Ninety-five per cent of the books I review are mysteries of some sort–romantic suspense, thrillers, straight mystery, or cozies. Often I’ll give the first line and ask my readers to give the first line of the book they’re reading. I get just about the same number of responses to the Friday blog as Tuesday’s.

You can check out my blog here. Once you get there, just scroll through and find a post that interests you. Another thing, I also post on other blogs like the Suspense Sisters, How to Write a Novel, occasionally on Suite T, and I comment on a lot of other blogs like Carrie Booth

Schmidt’s Reading is My Superpower and KTZ. In other words, I’m visible. Readers get to know me. Then when they see I’ve written a new book, if it’s in a genre they read, they will check it out.

One advantage of a blog is that it gets readers to your website where they can sign up for your newsletter. They (I’m not sure who they are) say that a newsletter is the most important marketing tool you have, and even though I don’t know who they are, I agree.

Like your blog, you own your newsletter—unlike social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Readers sign up for your newsletter because they want to know more about you. In the past I’ve used Rafflecopter giveaways to get people to sign up for it, but no longer. I figure the 50% who don’t open my newsletter are the ones I acquired through a big giveaway, and they only signed up hoping to win the prize. I do give away a novella when someone signs up on my website. It’s tied to one of my series and acts as a magnet for my books.

So how many newsletters should you send out, and what do you write about? I send out one a month unless my publisher runs a deal on one of my books and I think my readers would be interested in it. Nicholas Erik’s book, The Ultimate Guide to Book Marketing has helped me tremendously, especially with his section on newsletters.

As for what I write about, mine are usually short because I rarely read long newsletters myself. I include something about how my writing is going, often discussing a problem I’m having with the manuscript. If I have a book releasing, I talk about that, then I spotlight a couple of books I’m currently reading—it never hurts to promote other authors. I always end with a recipe. A few of my newsletters have videos—the last video, lifted from my YouTube channel, showed how to get rid of pet hair using a rubber glove.

Before you say you’re too old to learn how to make trailers, videos and memes, I’m telling you, if I can do it, so can you. I came to the writing game very late in life. Not sure it’s wise to give my age, but let’s just say I watched the original Andy Griffith Show as a teenager.

There is so much more I could say, but this post is long enough. In summary:

§ Write the best book you can, then write another one.

§ Chose at least one social media platform and connect/interact with your readers.

§ Consider having a blog.

§ Read and comment on blogs aimed at your genre.

§ Develop a newsletter list and send out newsletters.

I hope this post has given you a few tips on how to make yourself visible. Additional suggestions are welcome!


Patricia Bradley is a Carol finalist and winner of an Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award in Suspense, and three anthologies that included her stories debuted on the USA Today Best Seller List. She and her two cats call Northeast Mississippi home–the South is also where she sets most of her books. Her romantic suspense novels include the Logan Point series and the Memphis Cold Case Novels. Crosshairs, the third book in the Natchez Trace Park Rangers series, released November 2, 2021. She is now hard at work on the fourth book, Deception, and will soon start work on her fourth series set in the Cumberland Plateau around Chattanooga, Tennessee..

She’s conducted writing workshops at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference, the Mid-South Christian Writer’s Conference, the KenTen Retreat where she was also the keynote, and several other conferences. When she has time, she likes to throw mud on a wheel and see what happens.

Links: Website Blog – Facebook – Twitter –

Amazon – Bookbub- Goodreads- Instagram – Pinterest –

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About Steve Hooley

Steve Hooley is the author of seven short stories published in four anthologies, a Vella serial fiction, and is currently working on the Mad River Magic series – a fantasy adventure series for advanced middle-grade to adults. More details available at:

32 thoughts on “Getting Your Books Noticed

  1. Patricia, welcome. I was glad to see you write that the number one thing you can do to get your name out there is to write the next book. Excellent, and I couldn’t agree more.

    • Thank you for your comment, Harvey! There’s no magic bullet–and books don’t get written apart from sitting behind the computer. I have a saying above my desk: “Success is that place in the road where preparation and opportunity meet, but too few people recognize it because too often, it comes disguised as hard work.”

      • Must be a great disguise. For me writing is a fun escape time when my creative subconscious gets to come out and play. Everything’s new, and I would no more question how my characters’ unfold their story than I would second-guess how my neighbors’ unfold theirs. Not my department. I’m there only because my characters don’t have fingers and a keyboard. (grin) If sitting alone in a room making stuff up wasn’t fun, I’d find something else to do.

  2. Welcome to TKZ this morning, Patricia. Great post! I’ve read and reread it, and I’m amazed that you find time to do all that you do. How do you find the time, and keep the marketing from intruding on writing time?

    I look forward to the discussion today.

    • My goal each week is to sit down on Sunday afternoon and schedule posts to drop into FB, Twitter, and Instagram at different times. Note, I said goal. Right now I don’t have a deadline looming over my head and I’ve gotten slack about the Sunday afternoon thing. I’ve been making trailers and memes on the fly. And I have to be careful because creating those can suck me down the rabbit hole–it’s almost as much fun as research.
      But I know that I have to get back into the routine or when my next deadline nears, I’ll be working ten hours a day to meet it. Not.happening.this.time! (Of course, I say that every book)

  3. Glad to have you here, Patricia, even if you do make me feel like a slacker. Marketing is my least favorite part of the job, and as an indie author, everything falls to me.

    • Terry, while my publisher does a lot of my marketing, it’s not the same as the marketing I do for my readers, so I’ve taken on more and more. We’ll see if it’s a good return on my investment…
      Like you, marketing is my least favorite thing to do, too (unless it’s pulling that first draft out of my head). And it’s probably why I haven’t gone the indie route except for a few novellas.

  4. Welcome, Patricia! I nodded all the way through your post. Agree 100%. Have you read Newsletter Ninja? Fabulous book that reframed how I viewed my email list. For some reason, it took me longer than most to get the hang of it. I could blog just fine, but writing newsletters sent me into a panic. It wasn’t until the author wrote, “Write to one reader, not thousands” that everything clicked. I felt kind of stupid for not figuring that out on my own. Ah, well, better late than never. Anyway, your recipe idea sounds delightful. I bet your readers look forward to your newsletters. 🙂

    • I hope they do, Sue. Like you, I had a hard time with my first newsletters, putting them off until the last minute. It was hard to believe that someone wanted to connect with ME and actually didn’t mind getting the newsletter.

      After I discovered the recipe idea, somehow it made it easier–I wasn’t just pitching my books–I was offering something for free that might help my readers. That changed my outlook on the newsletter.

  5. Welcome, Patricia! These are very helpful tips. I’m an indie author, so, like Terry, all the marketing falls to me. I’m also in the middle of switching genres, from fantasy to mystery, and will be retooling my website, and blogging regularly about mystery topics, the library (I’m a retired librarian) etc.

    I want to second Sue’s recommendation of Newsletter Ninja. Book 2 is coming out at the end of the month, and I can’t wait to read it. My mystery reader newsletter is tiny and I’m looking to grow it 🙂

    Thanks for a very insightful post. Have a wonderful weekend!

    • Dale, after two recommendations, I just hopped over to Amazon and pre-ordered Newsletter Ninja 2. I’ve come to realize that an author’s newsletter is second on the list of what authors need to do, right after writing the next book.

  6. Great post, Patricia. I signed up for your blog/newsletter…never too busy to get to know another author and learn. I’m glad you bit the bullet and got over being nervous. That happened to me, too, when Steve invited me to guest post. It was hard for me to even think that I had anything to contribute to this august body. But I’m glad I did!

    I have both a once-a-month email and a twice-a-month blog and am now in the planning stages for 2022 content. Some of your suggestions have been migrated to the top of my consideration pile.

    Thanks, Steve, for pushing Patricia to the head of the line! 🙂

    • Thank you, Deb! And I am so honored to be here. 🙂 And thank you for signing up for my newsletter. I’m sending one out Tuesday with a list of romantic suspense/suspense/mysteries for suggestions to anyone who has that type of reader on their Christmas list. And with a deal on one of my books…and a recipe…probably sweet potato casserole…

  7. On the bad notice side, a few days ago, I received a call supposedly from Powell’s Book, a famous bookstore in Oregon, about one of their readers loving GUARDIAN ANGEL, and I was offered promotion and publishing services for the book. Smelling a scam, I said I already had a publisher and ended the call.

    I contacted Powell’s to let them know what happened, and, yes, it wasn’t them, and their lawyers are very interested in learning more. Be careful out there, guys, and warn the newbies about this crap.

  8. Late to the party. Mother Nature dropped a load of snow that’s too heavy and wet for the snow blower to handle. Been shoveling my way out.

    Patricia, your post was packed with solid advice that’s stood the test of time.

    I really like your observation: “One way to connect with your readers is to ask questions. My readers have named a few of my characters, towns, and even suggested titles for the books.”

    That kind of reader engagement is pure gold.

    Glad you’ve found True Crime Thursdays useful for your quizzes!

    Thanks for today’s valuable contribution, Patricia!

  9. Good evening, Patricia, and welcome to the zone! I’m always late to the party on Saturdays, but I really enjoyed your post and the great information. You are a role model on how to focus on the right things.

    As you know, I love your Mystery blog posts. I don’t believe I’ve ever guessed the ones you made up, but I’ll keep trying! 🙂

    • Thank you, Kay! If I can help even one person in this mess they call marketing I’ll be happy!
      And in a few minutes I’ll be putting together the Mystery Question blog, probably on dumb mistakes criminals make. It’s getting harder and harder to come up with a dumber mistake than the real ones I find. 🙂

  10. Thanks, Patricia, for the valuable information. I’m well aware of how much time you must spend writing and editing your newsletters, your blog posts, and guest posts. Do you have time to take a deep breath once in a while? I’m in awe of what you write about as if those tasks are as comfortable as old shoes. There’s much to learn here.

    • Thanks, Suzanne! I usually take a breath once I turn a book in. I have 9 months between books (usually) and it usually takes me 4 months to actually write a book. That’s after thinking about the plot and characters for a couple of months.

      I’m hoping to actually start the first book in my next series by the end of January so I won’t be so pushed on the May 1 deadline. But it seems I work better under pressure…go figure. lol

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