Posted On March 18, 2016 by Print This Post

Marketing in Disguise By Trish Milburn

Today we welcome back author TRISH MILBURN! Marketing is a word that makes many authors duck and run for cover, but Trish’s unique spin on marketing makes it seem almost fun. While you’re here, scroll down to check out Trish’s giveaway. And heeeere’s Trish!

We’ve probably all encountered self-promotion/marketing attempts by authors that either made us cringe or, honestly, annoyed us. Some of it can be attributed to just not knowing better, but it can still leave a negative impression. Things like when you accept a friend request on Facebook and the author immediately comes and posts on your page about their book, hoping to cash in on all your followers. That’s a big no-no to me. The same can be said of authors whose every post on social media is of the “buy my book” variety. This gets old with followers very quickly, and you run the risk of having them unfollow you and leave with a bad first impression. You know what they say about those – you only get one chance to make a first impression, and you want it to be a good one.

Trish with cast members of Spartacus (Manu Bennett, Lucy Lawless and Liam McIntyre

Trish with cast members of Spartacus, Manu Bennett, Lucy Lawless and Liam McIntyre

My approach to social media is to be more conversational and fun, to build a type of community of people who can find things in common with each other. Chances are most of my followers like to read, and specifically romance and/or young adult books. Because of that I talk about books I’ve enjoyed, post when my writer friends have new books out, and share interesting industry news that might be of interest to fellow writers and/or readers. But I also tend to post a lot about things that interest me that aren’t related to books or writing.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a big fan of TV and movies and big geek girl. If there’s a moving coming out that has superheroes in it, chances are I’m going to post about casting news, trailers, posters, countdowns and my reaction to seeing the movie. Right now I’m in countdown mode to see the new Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice that comes out this month. I’m super excited to see the new Wonder Woman appear in this movie.


In fact, her character is depicted on the calendar I have hanging in my office. I also fangirl squeed online last week when the new trailer for Captain America: Civil War hit the Internet.

Each year I attend DragonCon in Atlanta, and I typically post lots of photos afterward of the awesome cosplay costumes I see and the ones I wear. I also have become somewhat known for my hobby of having my photo taken with celebrities at DragonCon and posting those. One year, as a lead-up to DragonCon, I did a “31 days of Geek Girl Tees” series of posts. Every day, I would post a picture of myself wearing a shirt from my vast collection of fan T-shirts. On the surface, none of these posts have anything to do with marketing my books, but it’s more about building that community of people who like similar things. The main reason I do this is because I love chatting with people who fangirl or fanboy about the same things I do. But there’s also the hope that perhaps when I do post about having a new book out, they will remember, “Hey, she loves Firefly or Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Marvel superheroes as much as I do. I’m going to try one of her books.”

Trish with Supernatural stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles

Trish with Supernatural stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles

Another type of post I like to share is of the good news variety – people doing good things for others, pets being adopted, adorable animals or kids, incredible performances from talent shows, funny memes. Basically, all the things that will combat all the negativity and ugliness it’s all too easy to find on social media, especially in an election year. I’d rather watch a video full of clumsy cats than the latest vitriol any day, and I’m hopeful my readers would, too. I will admit to sometimes posting items of a more serious nature because I have a strong, innate sense of social justice and fairness. I always try to be respectful and thoughtful in those posts, however, rather than confrontational.
Sites such as Pinterest make it easy to share even more interests with our readers – photos of fairy gardens or beach houses or places we’d like to visit. And it possibly gets my name in front of people who might not think to follow authors on social media.
I do sometimes get so into posting about things I like and enjoy that I have to remind myself to post about my books. I’m always conscious of the fact that I don’t want to overdo the self-promotion, but I also need to remember that I got on social media initially to help generate sales. It’s how I make my living, and any business (and that’s what my writing is) has to advertise on occasion. Still, I like funny or witty ads way more than those yelling car salesmen, don’t you? I don’t know about you, but that Super Bowl commercial for Hyundai where all the guys in the town are Ryan Reynolds was pretty memorable. Can someone tell me where that town is, please? 🙂


What’s your favorite social media platform and what draws you to following particular people, especially authors? And are you a fan of superhero movies? DC or Marvel? I’ll give away a signed copy of Home on the Ranch to one commenter.

PAT HAGGERTY joins us on Monday, March 21st.




Trish Milburn writes for Harlequin American Romance and independently publishes contemporary romances, young adult, women’s fiction and romantic suspense titles. She’s a big fan of road trips, national parks, cosplaying, watching movies and TV, and, of course, reading.
Twitter: @TrishMilburn

New out this month is Home on the Ranch, the seventh full-length book in the Blue Falls, Texas series from Harlequin American Romance.

Austin Bryant has come back to Blue Falls to get his grandfather’s ranch ready to sell. Years ago he escaped to Dallas, and now his life is exactly the way he likes it—orderly and neat. He can’t stand all the junk his grandparents collected, and he just wants it gone.

When Ella Garcia is called to haul away the trash from the Bryant ranch, she’s thrilled. Her business is turning one person’s trash into another’s treasure. But Austin’s attitude is a mystery to her—he seems anxious to throw away his family’s memories. Ella notices how at home Austin is on the ranch—and how good he looks in a cowboy hat—and she wonders if there’s more country in this city boy than he realizes.

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21 Responses to “Marketing in Disguise By Trish Milburn”

  1. Thanks for this fabulous post, Trish! I’m awed – and a little jealous – by your photos. DragonCon sounds like it would be a total blast – maybe I’ll make it there one day!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | March 18, 2016, 12:15 am
  2. I love Twitter. I adore when you click into somebody’s profile and they read the same type of books as you, or have inspirational or helpful articles and posts. If I scroll down and see enough self promotion I won’t follow, I do make sure to scroll down though, because they might just be going through a time where they have to do extra promotion.

    Posted by Bernadette Maycock | March 18, 2016, 7:23 am
  3. Great post, Trish! I’m a FB junkie and tend to follow and stick with authors who post funnies. Odds are if an author can be fun and engaging in a FB post, I’ll enjoy her/his voice and humor and grab whatever book she/he is cleverly and occasionally pimping 🙂

    LOVE Marvel superheroes and I’m so grateful that Ryan Reynolds introduced me to the wonderful world of Deadpool 🙂

    Thanks for being awesome, Trish!

    Posted by D.B. Sieders | March 18, 2016, 8:19 am
  4. I still remember attending a workshop Trish gave, where she talked about honing her voice by watching Buffy marathons. Just listening to her talk about it was enough to let me know I’d love her writing! 🙂

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | March 18, 2016, 9:03 am
    • Aww, thanks Becke. I do really credit Buffy, Angel and Supernatural for getting me out of that writing funk where I was considering quitting because I’d been at it 10 years with still no sale. They gave me enough inspiration to keep me going, and I sold the next summer.

      Posted by Trish Milburn | March 18, 2016, 11:12 am
  5. Hi Trish,

    Sharing your interests is a wonderful way to discover commonalities and establish relationships with readers. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve branded yourself with your FB posts. Whenever I’m flipping through FB posts, and see pics of Buffy or super heroes, I know it’s your post without looking at your name.

    I’m not on Twitter much because of I don’t like being inundated with ‘buy my book’ tweets. And it drives me nuts when authors include excerpts that have grammar and punctuation errors.

    Great to have you at RU!

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | March 18, 2016, 4:06 pm
  6. My pet peeve on Twitter is people who follow you only because they expect you to instantly follow them back. I know from experience with Facebook, the more people who follow you, the harder it is to keep up with everyone. I prefer FB anyway, because I like to see the pictures, the memes and the longer messages. I retweet fairly often but rarely post new tweets myself. I can adapt to the length, but it just doesn’t seem all that much fun to me. Some people really have the quick wit for Twitter – more power to them!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | March 18, 2016, 5:31 pm
  7. I don’t know how anyone can think that buy-my-book messages ever work. I spent last evening clearing over 500 messages from my LinkedIn page – and at least half were buy-my-book or hire-me-as-an-editor type messages. Grrrr!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | March 18, 2016, 7:17 pm
    • There really is a difference in tone that’s noticeable that makes some of these annoying and others “Oh, look, So and So has a new book out! Cool!”

      Posted by Trish Milburn | March 18, 2016, 7:36 pm
      • I think the biggest difference is that when we get to know and like an author and their books, we WANT to know when they have a new book out. If I don’t know anything about the author, I have to look at it from a time management standpoint. I have hundreds of books waiting to be read, and new releases I want to read coming out every week. So even if a book is free, I have limited time for reading and, I’m sorry, I’m more likely to read a new author’s book if I know and like them.

        Posted by Becke Martin Davis | March 18, 2016, 10:48 pm
  8. Trish – Thanks so much for hanging out with us today! I hope to see you in person again before too long!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | March 18, 2016, 10:49 pm


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