Thursday, 15 July 2021

Goodwill in Marketing


One of the reasons authors engage in marketing is that we hope there will be a flow-on effect in terms of sales. We market AND THEN people buy our books, request our books at bookstores and libraries, review our books, give our books to friends and so on. If we’re Christians, hopefully one of the reasons we want our books to ‘get out there’ is because we feel God has laid a message on our hearts that he wants us to share. If that’s the case, shouldn’t we try to get that message out to as many people as possible?

In the lead-up to the publication of my historical novel Scattered last year, I tried my best to do all the ‘right’ marketing things.

  • I did Iola Goulton’s Kick-Start Your Author Platform online course, which was brilliant and gave tons of general marketing tips as well as specific input from a Christian perspective.
  • I did Shannon Mattern’s free online 5 Day Website Challenge course and used her advice to actually get my author website up and running.
  • I designed business cards and bookmarks, started a subscriber newsletter, and created author accounts on social media.
  • I sent review copies of the book out early so that I would have some reviews on Goodreads, Amazon and different blog sites prior to the release date.


Once the novel was published in October 2020, I jumped on the marketing treadmill in earnest—A physical book launch, an online launch, signings at Koorong, author talks, workshops, more newsletters, blogs, social media posts. Phew!

I can’t present hard statistics to say which of those factors led to the most sales, though I think they all helped in some way. However, there was one thing I hadn’t expected—the spontaneous goodwill of others.


  • One friend contacted an online journal on her own initiative and asked if she could review my book on their site. This was completely unsolicited, as I didn’t find out about it until after she’d been given approval.
  • Other people posted photos of themselves on social media holding my book and saying they couldn’t wait to read it.
  • One friend posted a picture of me on my Facebook wall and said she’d just read my book and loved it.
  • People bought extra copies of the book to give as gifts.
  • People I never would have expected to read the book were contacting me to say how much they enjoyed it.

If all of these people had been close friends or fellow writers, it may not have taken me by surprise. But some of them were old schoolfriends, Uni friends or work colleagues I hadn’t seen for many years, in some cases more than 15 years. Needless to say, I was blown away.

So What is Goodwill?

The Oxford Lexico online dictionary defines goodwill as ‘friendly, helpful, or cooperative feelings or attitudes’.

A few years ago, I wrote a post called The 'Do Unto Others' of Marketing. You can read it here, but in a nutshell, I argued that if you want others to support you and help promote your books, you need to be prepared to help others with theirs. This could include buying their books or requesting them at your library or bookstore, writing reviews, ‘liking’ and commenting on their posts, sharing news about their books, subscribing to their newsletters and so on.

I’d like to think that I’ve been a good citizen in the writing community, which might explain why some of this goodwill has been returned to me. However, there is also another element to goodwill that we can glean from the world of business.

In commerce, goodwill is ‘an intangible, saleable asset arising from the reputation of a business and its relations with its customers, distinct from the value of its stock’ (Macquarie Encyclopedic Dictionary).

If we were to alter this slightly for writers, we could say that goodwill is ‘an intangible, saleable asset arising from the reputation of the author and his/her relationship with readers and other authors, distinct from the value of his/her book/s’.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that the book is of no value. If you haven’t produced a quality product, people will be less likely to give favourable reviews, buy your book for friends or buy more from you in the future. However, there is something else apart from the book’s quality or your expertise as a writer—your relationship with other people. 

Have you been actively involved in writers’ groups, not just as the person who asks a question, but as the person who answers a question? Not just as the person who advertises something, but as the person who ‘likes’ other people’s posts and comments on them? Not just as the person who says, ‘Buy my book’, but as the person who reviews other peoples’ books or promotes other authors in some way? This isn’t something you can whip up five minutes before your book launch. It’s part of the broader picture of how you treat the people in your life.

 After talking about his ministry in 2 Corinthians 2, Paul asks:

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.’ (1 Cor. 3:1-3, NIV).


Yes, people read our books, but they also read our lives. We are Christ’s letters to a hurting world, sharing his goodwill with others. What kind of letters are we?  Are we ‘friendly, helpful, and cooperative’ or are we more interested in what others can do for us?

Please understand my heart. The way I’ve treated others may have helped me to receive goodwill in return, but I’m far from perfect. 

Sometimes I’m selfish. Sometimes I’m jealous of someone else’s success. Sometimes I’m not as considerate or generous as I could be. But with God’s help, we can grow more and more into the people we were destined to be—letters written by his Spirit on the tablets of our hearts.

How can we foster goodwill among other readers and writers? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Author Bio

Nola Lorraine (aka Nola Passmore) has had more than 150 short pieces published, including short fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and academic articles. Her debut historical novel Scattered was published in 2020. She'd love to connect with you through her website: 
You'll find links there to her social media sites.

Photo Credits

Author photo - Wayne Logan from WRLPhoto
Featured community photo - William White on Unsplash


  1. Thank you Nola for an inspiring post. We reap what we sow. This principle is true in every part of life. Thank you for your selfless sowing into this community. May you be greatly blessed.

    1. Thanks Jo. It's a continual lesson to learn and re-learn, isn't it? Thanks too for the goodwill you've shown in the writing community over many years. I know you've prayed for many of us. May the blessings return to you a hundredfold.

  2. Thanks Nola. Such sound, helpful wisdom. I'm not surprised at the goodwill you experienced; it demonstrates the wonderful ROI - return on investment - that flows to those, like yourself, who invest their reservoir of love and care in people. I should know - I've been a beneficiary of your goodwill from the moment I met you. Bless you.

    1. Thanks Mazzy. It was definitely a God thing that we got together. I know you've invested a lot into the writing community in recent years too, especially in all the things you do for CWD, and for all of those writing groups you hosted at your house. I know you'll reap the benefits when your book is released. Thanks for everything you do. God sees everything you do behind the scenes and none of it is wasted.

  3. Couldn't agree more with what you have written, Nola--and you have put it all so well in such a gracious way. Thank you.

    1. Thanks Jo. You've invested so much in other younger/newer writers too. So many, including me, benefitted from all the appointments you held at our last retreat. May God bless you richly for your servant heart.

  4. Hi Nola, a great post. It is wonderful flow on and you have given a lot to the writing community plus written a wonderful book.

    Such a biblical principle - to encourage one another, to lift each other up, to think of others rather than just focusing on ourselves. To be honest, I don't think we always receive back in kind - only one of the ten lepers returned to thank Jesus - and maybe some genres are more likely to receive wider acclaim, certainly sometimes it can feel like being in the wilderness as a writer even when one has given a large portion of one's time to encourage others - but in the end, the point is why do we write and who do we serve? Giving to the writing community and encouraging other authors through tips, reviews, providing opportunities etc, is part of the call as a Christian writer. Something we do regardless, though appreciative of all the 'reaping' that comes our way :)

    1. Hi Jenny - Thanks for that. You are the Queen of supporting other writers, with everything you do on CWD, the Omega book fair and lots of other things behind the scenes. It's hard when you don't always see that flow-on effect, but you're right that we keep plugging away because of our call as Christian writers. May God bless you abundantly for all of the help and encouragement you've given to others.

  5. Great thoughts, well-put. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Susan. And thank you for everything you do for Omega Writers, the conferences and lots of other things behind the scenes. You've done a lot of things without a lot of material reward (like all your devotions over many years), but you've stored up a treasure trove in heaven. When your book comes out, may you be blessed a hundredfold.

  6. Great post Nola. Fully agree with all you say. I'm delighted that you were surprised by the number of people who stepped into help you with your marketing but I am not in the least bit surprised! You deserve it all! And yes, you freely give so no wonder it is returned in full.

    As Jenny said though - the good we do doesn't always come back to us - at least in this life. And that's OK. In the big scheme of things - the goodwill is in itself good enough. :) I am always encouraged by the fact that love is an end in itself. So's goodwill.

    Thanks so much for all you do for the writing community in blessing us in innumerable ways. May you continue to be blessed and may all the good you do be returned to you a hundredfold! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Anusha - Thank you for those kind words. You are a wonderful example of someone who has freely given over many years, both in your behind-the-scenes work with CWD and your books and faithful blogging. You're so right that we don't always see the returns in this life, but helping others is its own reward and the blessings in eternity will be amazing. May God bless you richly for your faithfulness to him and may you see a massive return on your investment in this life too.

  7. Thank you for sharing this, Nola. I found it most interesting and helpful. I so enjoyed your book. I ordered it on kindle before the launch and it was there the day of the launch. I have shared this. We went to Koorong Springfield the day of the signing so I could meet you. We usually go to Toowoomba as we have family there but could not go the day you were there. I am keen to meet others in CWD. I do know a couple.
    I am going to read this again so I can take it all in.
    Thank you again and God bless. Heather

    1. Thank you for those encouraging words, Heather. I'm glad you enjoyed the book and it was lovely meeting you at the Springwood Koorong. Hopefully I'll see you at some other events soon. If you're able to go to the Omega Writers Book Fair in Brisbane on 31 July, you'll be able to meet more CWD people there. There's quite an overlap between the different Christian online writers groups. God bless.

  8. Thank you, Nola. You are always encouraging others and your book is great. All goodwill towards you is well deserved.

    1. Thanks for that, Sue. You've also done a lot to help others in the writing community. Can't wait to see your book hit the stands (or my Kindle) so I can pay it forward. Blessings.

    2. hi Nola, thank you for your great blog! I agree with Anusha; I'm not surprised at the number of people who shared your book, and delighted that you were surprised by the response.
      It just goes to show what a great encourager you are of others.
      I loved your book; the depth of characters, and the level of research you undertook to bring authenticity to the story. You've inspired me to look further into Australia's own "boat children." There ae so many stories to tell.