Want a FREE Marketing Assistant? Here’s How

Almost every author we encounter claims to dislike marketing — yet most of us spend far more time on it than is necessary. And, unfortunately, the fault lies with each one of us who is not already taking advantage of the free marketing assistant at our fingertips.

man at breakfast table, working on laptop. Coffee cup. Bowl of sliced apples. Planner and pens on table.I’ll make this short and sweet. Over the past few weeks, we have been soliciting the writing community for authors who’d like to gain greater exposure by way of guest blog posts, online interviews, podcasts, and a variety of other featured content. That means there have been email exchanges, texts, direct messages, and… yes, more email.

How would something as simple as exchanging emails with other writers get me on (another) rant? Hey, have we met? By now you should be used to me — it’s almost always the simple things that get me going.

So, first, a question. I know a lot of you are introverts, but why do you make it so darned hard to find you? Especially when, with about ten minutes of work, your email is 100% willing and able to stand in for you as your very own, personalized, free marketing assistant.

You may or may not be aware that most (if not all) email programs come with a feature called a “signature.” And that’s what you’re going to use to create your personal marketing assistant.

Before taking the time to set up the signature feature on your email, take a brief inventory. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • Where are you online?
  • Do you have a website?
  • Are you on GoodReads?
  • Is your book on Amazon?
  • Do you have social media profiles such as Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter or a Facebook author page?

How about including those links under your name — or at least some of them — as part of the signature that automatically appends to each and every email you send? Some authors include pictures of their book covers or even a small version of the author photo they use on social media. But please do not use the stationery feature offered by some platforms — it rarely looks the same when it lands in an inbox — and has the added downside of eating up little bits of additional memory. (Those tiny bits add up over time.)

Now get going and put that lazy email program to work for you. Today.







orange citrus fruit with blue skin on blue background

Free Pictures for Your Posts

Blog and social media posts with inviting or intriguing pictures create more interactions than those without. But finding just the right photo can be time-consuming.

In addition, just because something has been posted on the internet does not mean it is there for us to use. It’s a mistake that authors new to platform-building often make, usually just from not thinking the situation all the way through. That’s right, author-friends, intellectual property rights and laws are not just to protect us — they apply to artwork, song lyrics, and photographs, too.

But, fortunately for those of us who need to use a large number of photographs every month, there are some sites that provide free photographs that can be used in whatever manner you choose — without even crediting the photographer. That’s right — attractive, high-quality photographs with no strings attached.

My three current favorites are:

orange slices in clear liquid with bubblesAnd, in the event that you can’t find just what you want each of these sites is connected to a “for pay” site. Just be sure to check that the terms of use match the way you intend to use it.

Chances are since our topics are all fairly different from one another, there won’t be too much overlap in photo preferences. However, if you have seen an image you like, try to be considerate and choose another. And, if you find another, similar site, please share it in the comments below.

P.S. UPDATE:  Guess who just found a blog post with a bunch of new sources? (The fine print: I haven’t used any of these so be sure to read their licensing/terms of use.


Epicantus  This one is very cool — a photographer who is offering her “free time” work for free.

Foodies Feed Take a wild guess.

Free Stocks

This post is getting a little long. Let’s move to More Free Pictures for You. See you there.

Writers on Writing: Some Favorite Quotes

There are infinite shades of grey. Writing often appears so black and white. – Rebecca Solnit

The most important thing is to read as much as you can, like I did. It will give you an understanding of what makes good writing and it will enlarge your vocabulary. – J.K. Rowling

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

I don’t need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me.  – Ray Bradbury

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – E.B. White


The road to hell is paved with adverbs.  – Stephen King

Writing saved me from the sin and inconvenience of violence. – Alice Walker

I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide. – Harper Lee

A word after a word after a word is power. – Margaret Atwood

You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence. – Octavia E. Butler