Many of my clients come to me and simply state that they want to sell more books. Ok, that’s a good start….but, what was the last thing you purchased that you just happened upon?
Any product must be marketed before it will sell successfully. And in order to market effectively, there must be a marketing plan in place. There is never a “bad” time to develop a marketing plan – whether you just finished writing and are looking at ways to publish, or your book has already been out for a year – NOW is the BEST time to develop a marketing plan!
Of course, you’re an author – not a marketer, right? And certainly you’re no salesperson! I beg to differ!! No matter what we do in life, we are all sales people, and we are all marketers….especially if you have children! That broccoli you got Junior to eat last week? You put cheese on it to make it look more appealing, right? And then the talk…all the reasons why this is going to be fun…they’re little trees; the health benefits (in children’s terms, of course!); and the negotiations… Congratulations! You are indeed a marketer and salesperson!
Here, I’ll share some insight as to how to develop a basic marketing plan for your book. Just 10 small steps, followed thru, will result in better sales.
Before we get started, please know that a well-edited book is paramount! You want a fantastic product out that you are proud of! You don’t want all of your hard work to be for nothing. Get. That. Book. Edited!!! Aside from marketing, editing will be the best investment you make when it comes to having a successful book!
Ok – on to the fun stuff!!!
- Define Your Audience. Who will be reading your book? “Everyone” is not an acceptable answer here. While “everyone” may indeed enjoy your book, we need to narrow this down. Think about your genre. Who do you imagine sitting in their favorite reading spot, with your book in their hands? If you are writing children’s books, kids may be your audience, but they won’t actually be purchasing your book… Parents do. Parents would be your audience. You get where I’m going here.
- Where is your audience? If you were to get directly in front of your audience, where would they be? This doesn’t have to be just a physical location. Where do they hang out online? Who do they know that you may also know? What groups, clubs, associations do they belong to? Get deep and creative here!
- What is your budget? Now, keep in mind, budget isn’t just about cash… Budget is also about time. Your plan needs to be realistic in terms of both financial resources and time availability. If you over-extend yourself by time and/or money, you are only setting yourself up for failure. Be conservative, be realistic. It is so much easier to adjust by giving yourself more time or money to work with, than feeling defeated and feeling like you have failed.
- Blog! Whether it’s your own blog, or guest blogging – just blog! This is such a great way to gain visibility. There’s no cost involved. You can gain a lot of outside support you would have never found otherwise. You can share easily. Really, there’s nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain here. If you’ve never blogged and need ideas to help you get started, I recommend the book “Blog a Week – 52 Weeks of Business Blogging Topics” by Tim Priebe. There have been times I’ve been stuck for a topic, and this book has helped.
- List everyone you know. Yes, I said EVERYONE. Enlist them early as your best fans. Offer them free copies in exchange for a review. Get them to “like” your Facebook page. Get them to SHARE your Facebook page. These are people who know you. Get them on your team and watch your audience grow!
- Who else can you seek for reviews, testimonials, or even just a quick quote? These should be people that can relate to your genre. Did you write a children’s book? Seek out a librarian or teacher. Write historical fiction about a particular town? Research and find someone who has lived there forever. Legal fiction? Find a lawyer. You get where I’m going. These reviews, testimonials and quotes lend credibility to your book.
- A book trailer is another easy way to share your book. This will appeal to those more visually influenced. This part will take more money, though. Unless you want to do it all yourself – which, unless you have experience, I would not recommend. Do some research here and find the right person for the job. Trailers typically have a link that makes sharing very easy!
- Interviews can be huge! Local radio, podcasts, local TV….no matter the book, you can always find a topic worthy of interview – even if it’s just about being a local author. But, if your book has a message you are wanting to share, or a cause you are advocating for, this can be HUGE. Did I mention this can be huge?
- Speaking engagements. This is of course a great way to be seen and heard. It also happens to be the one thing people are most afraid of doing. If you fall into that category, start small. Join a local Toastmasters group and gain skills. But don’t just say no to this idea! We are all at our best when we step outside our comfort zone. So, where could you speak? Unless you are a practiced speaker, I would start small and local. Libraries, community centers, local community colleges, etc.
- Keep your plan handy! Reminding yourself of what still needs to be done can be a terrific motivator! Not to mention seeing what you have already accomplished that you never thought possible.
So, you now have a basic marketing plan to get you started. The best thing about a plan, is that it remains fluid. Let it grow with you. Review and adjust as needed – but make sure to review your plan every few months just to make sure you are staying on target and that your plan is still relevant. Marketing is an ongoing effort for anyone who hopes to be successful. Don’t let all your time, sweat, tears and ink go to waste – build a plan, stick to the plan and watch your success blossom!