Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, self-publish or sign with a traditional publishing house, decide to use traditional or web-based marketing techniques (or blend them) you’ll need a marketing plan.
Any successful marketing campaign has to start with a plan and the best time to begin your plan (and your marketing) is before your book is published. Use your creative talents to fashion a long-term strategy to generate interest in your book.
Don’t let the words marketing plan put you off. Your plan doesn’t need to be in a certain format or even be formal. Just get your thoughts and line of attack organized in the beginning.
Example Of Points You May Want To Include In Your Book Marketing Plan (Strategy):
Goals – explain why you wrote this book, what are your sales goals
Book Description – book synopsis, format, page count, ISBN, etc.
Features and Benefits – define what the book covers and how it benefits readers
Target Audiences – You’ll want to cultivate a specific market and define the niche markets for your book; narrow the description of your readers. To do this easily ask yourself:
What genre and sub-genre is my book – fiction or non-fiction, mystery or dystopia, how-to or self-help?
Who did you write the book for – young adults or hobbyists, civil war enthusiasts or mystery readers?
When does the story take place – in the past, the future or contemporary times?
Where does the action happen – in a rural area, on a deserted island or a space station?
Why would someone want to read your book?
How can you find these readers and how will you make the connection with them?
(These same questions will help you target the market places where you will offer your book for sale, for example, you may want to locate Indie bookstores in your area and drop by to meet the staff.) [See www.indiebound.org]
Possible Sales Channels – distributors, wholesalers, retail bookstores, online bookstores, direct sales, bulk sales, other channels
Finance – pricing, re-seller discounts (include affiliates), payment methods, order processing
Create a list of one or two word tags (search words, keywords) you would use to describe your book. Example: mystery, fiction, fantasy, mother’s love, dystopia, New York, mental illness. Every time your book is listed on a site you’ll want to use terms that might be used to form a search inquiry.
Calendar (diary, journal, spreadsheet) of events and planned promotions
Methods you’ll use to reach your targeted readers, for instance, press releases, radio interviews, blog tours, reviews, book signings
(The points in your plan can also be helpful when you prepare your sales sheet to include in your media kit.)
You’ll want to create a system of keeping track of what methods work and which ones are ineffectual. Keep in mind that to have a successful marketing blueprint you’ll want to mingle methods, techniques and tools. Plan both online and offline events.
When you make your daily ‘To-Do’ or ‘Weekly Calendar’ list set aside a block of time for marketing your book. You might want to make connections and start building relationships with 10-15 book bloggers or set up 9-12 interviews, to be completed in the coming weeks, either in print venues, on blogs or on Blog Talk Radio.
Marketing plans are not ‘one size fits all’. Each one should be customized to fit the individual book. Be creative when it comes to your marketing approaches and tools; thoughts and ideas pop up all the time. Listen to that niggling little voice in the back of your mind.