I forgot to share this photo I took while at the Tucson Festival of Books, where I was helping the publisher of Schaffner Press. While the sign was there to discourage loitering, obvious the cactus didn’t get the memo.
I’ve assembled a sample layout for a book marketing plan below. Often, the book marketing plan is a neglected part of the process for authors, whether they’re self-published or indie published.
But if you think about it, a marketing plan is an essential first step, to be completed no less than 6 months before the publication of your book. It’s kinda like a more wordy, less artistic, less sexy vision board - but it serves the same purpose. (however, if you want to turn your marketing plan into a vision board, I’d love to see it)
Below are some key elements w/prompting questions that I feel are appropriate for any marketing strategy/plan:
- How do you describe your work?
- How do you position your expertise?
- What is your messaging?
- What will your target audience respond to?
- Can you describe your work in 30 seconds or less?
- Can you describe your work and still sound interesting?
- Why should people care?
- What sets you apart?
- Can you use images, music or targeted language to “sell” your brand?
- Who is your target audience?
- Where do they live?
- What do they read?
- How do they read? (e-reader vs. books)
- How do they learn about new books?
- What drives them to purchase new books?
- Who is your competition?
- Can you usurp someone else’s audience?
3. Search Engine Optimization
- How will your readers find you on the web?
- Are you using appropriate tags?
- Are there better tags?
- Are you blogging appropriately?
- Are you creating ways for new audiences to discover you?
- Are you measuring your progress with analytics tools?
- Are you making adjustments based on your analytics reports?
4. Social Media
- Which social media tools will help you sell books?
- Which social media tools are best for SEO?
- Which social media tools are best for rapport?
- How often should you utilize these tools?
- What time of day?
- What do you post?
- How do you post?
5. Publicity and Public Relations
- Who will review your book?
- Who will review your book favorably?
- Who has an engaged audience?
- How will you present yourself?
- What is your unique selling proposition?
- What educational tools will sell your story?
- Can you teach a class?
- Can you give an inspired lecture?
- How do you reach out to media?
- What kind of event can you put together?
- How can you generate alternative media exposure?
- Should you go on a book tour?
- Where shall you go on a book tour?
- Is advertising appropriate for you?
- How can you reach your target audience?
- Should you do paid reviews?
- What is most affordable for your budget?
- Print or online or both?
Additional ala cart considerations that should be a part of your marketing plan:
- How will your website complement your marketing strategy?
- How much should you pay for professional marketing guidance?
- How much sweat equity will you need to put into your marketing efforts?
- How much time can you realistically spend marketing your book?
- How will you budget your time effectively?
- Are there any partner organizations that might help promote you?
- How can you build a community of supporters?
And finally, considering according to a NY Times study, most authors sell less than 500 books during their lifetime, how will you buck the trend?
All worthy considerations, eh?
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During the past week we’ve seen news about self-publishing in prominent national media, and regional Pacific Northwest media.
As a book marketing consultant, I take an eagle-eye look at self-publishing news, and thought I’d share some of what I’ve seen in the past week.
If you’d like to learn about my special marketing services for self-published authors, please <click here>.
Here are some of my favs:
From the Pacific Northwest:
Self-Publishing Takes off With Seniors: The Columbian
“Getting older seems to bring out the author in people. And seniors are discovering the booming self-publishing industry is their path to every author’s deepest desire: a book.”
Comments: I’ve worked with many seniors during the past year and I understand their unique challenges and concerns. Please contact me at (971) 266-3515 if you’re a senior and are looking to market and promote your self-published title.
Self-publishing offers an array of choices for authors: The Spokesman-Review
Comments: Great overview of the industry with resources for soon-to-be self-published authors in Eastern Washington.
Self-Publishing: No Longer Just A Vanity Project: National Public Radio
“They used to call it the “vanity press,” and the phrase itself spoke volumes. Self-published authors were considered not good enough to get a real publishing contract. They had to pay to see their book in print. But with the advent of e-books, self-publishing has exploded, and a handful of writers have had huge best-sellers.”
Comments: A great feature with anecdotal stories - no real new information here.
2012: the year of self-publishing: Christian Science Monitor (blog by Husna Haq)
Comments:No new information; a fine piece for those unfamiliar with developments in the self-publishing industry.
Another First for Self-Publishing: Forbes Magazine
“We learned earlier in the year at Digital Book World that in 2012, self-publishing took a $100 million bite out of U.S. trade publishing revenues in 2011. Sounds like a lot but isn’t much compared to the nearly $14 billion in revenues the book business made in the U.S. that year. This year, the number is certain to be more.”
Comments: That’s about the extent of any “news.” Like the Husna Haq piece, this one is referencing NY Times reviewer Michiko Kakutani’s decision to make a self-published book a choice for “Book of the Year.” A first ever decision by the paper, but arguably not surprising in that it’d have to happen sometime, and frankly, there are more self-published novels being produced than at any other time in history.
I host these quasi-regular book marketing Meetup groups in Portland, Oregon - where self-published authors, traditionally published authors, book marketers, book publicists and other interested parties get together to talk trends and strategy. It’s super cool. This is your official invite to the next one ….
To celebrate the release of Todd Grimson’s “Stabs At Happiness”, we’re having a literary reading featuring up to 6 different performers, all reading short stories from the new collection. This event is at the Jack London Bar this Friday, is free, and doors open at 7:00 p.m.
Schedule of Events.
7:30 - 9:00 p.m. - Literary Reading Featuring:
* Efra Lopez * Dede Desperade * Jake Ten Pas * Andrea White
* DJ Charles Burlitz
* The Tenses
* Grape God
Come one, Come all …
We’ve just created the second PDX Book Marketing Meetup. Here is the link: http://www.meetup.com/Book-Marketing-Meetup/
Thank you to all who attended the first Book Marketing Meetup. Based on the feedback from last week we are making some subtle changes.
- For starters, we’ve picked a quieter venue in order to hear one another better.
- We’ve selected a place that serves food, beer and wine.
- We’ve created an agenda so we can control the flow of the evening.
- We’ve also selected a theme for the evening - navigating the self-publishing industry. I have a special guest lined up who has a local self-publishing company and am waiting on the final confirmation before announcing his name/biz.
- In the event our special guest has to move his meeting to another time feel free to bring an example of a marketing plan they may have for their book - and we can put you on the spot and discuss as a group. Fun!
- Bring your business card to share!
Email if you have further questions/comments.
Book Marketing Meetup w/special guest
Date: July 17th
Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Location: Bare Bones Cafe, 2908 Southeast Belmont Street
Happy Hour: ends at 6 p.m. so arrive before 6 p.m. if you wish to partake
5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Arrival, order food & drinks, etc
6:00 p.m. Formal Introduction (bring business cards and we can trade)
6:15 p.m. Special Guest Presentation - waiting for final confirmation
7:00 p.m. Q & A, Group Discussion
7:30 p.m. End (people are welcome to hang out longer if necessary)