As I wander deeper and deeper into the world of book marketing and publicity, I get the feeling that I’m spinning my wheels. I am going where authors have gone before and feel as if I am offering very little that is new or unique. I have good books. My product, according to the reviews, my editor, my agent and my mother is good. So how do I sell the book? How do I get noticed in a world that is filled with noisy people yelling, “Look at me, look at me.” Yelling louder isn’t really an option for me. It makes me uncomfortable and I am not sure it’s effective. Besides, it makes my throat hurt.

One thing I have learned is that marketing and publicity are built on relationships. Last week, Jane Porter invited me to be her special guest at a reader’s tea here in Portland. She did that because we had a relationship that dates back about eight years. Last Wednesday. I had another media event fall in my lap because of a relationship I have with entrepreneur and 30 Second Mom founder, Elisa All. I’ve known Elisa for even longer than Jane, about ten years or so. The #30secondmom Twitter chat garnered me even more publicity and followers. Will that result in readers? I believe so. But these opportunities were the result of relationships, not vocal sales pitches.

I have built trust with these people. I am not using them simply to sell books. My association with them goes far deeper. As I write this blog, I am forging new relationships and though some of them have stemmed from the business of blogging, selling and producing, they are like friendships in that they are based on mutual respect. Am I wrong in thinking that friendship, respect and business can go hand in hand? Am I being naive?

For instance, yesterday I was interviewed by a media chica yesterday who writes for lifestyle blogs and online magazines. Smart, savvy, funny and a good writer—all things I admire. I met her online and now she is doing a story on me that may garner me more followers, readers, sales. But that isn’t what struck me about the conversation, rather, it was how fun and natural it was. This wasn’t just a business conversation for me— I wasn’t selling: I was connecting.

Sales, marketing, publicity, platform, brand, etc., are all sales terms that I’ll be delving into much more deeply in the coming months. I’m starting a marketing group with several authors to explore some of these ideas and more, and plan on taking several online classes concerning these topics. I am confident I will be able to find a marketing rhythm and style that is not only effective, but uniquely my own. And happily, I am starting in a place that is comfortable for me.