Thursday, March 4, 2010

Developing a Marketing Plan

by Kim Smith

So you have finished your book and are in the throes of the submission phase. What comes next? A contract? Then what? MARKETING IT! That very thought sends chills down the spine of most authors today because it is a feat to accomplish in this hard-scrabble world of publishing.

Everyone who writes a book these days should have a marketing plan. It is imperative that we plan for success. That old adage is if you fail to plan you will plan to fail is ever so true in this matter.

So! What goes into a marketing plan? Well, it can get deep and involved or can be a simple thing. I am giving you only a sampling of what you can put in yours.

One line blurb (elevator pitch)
A one paragraph blurb (back cover copy)
Write a short description of what kind of book it is.
What is it about?
Who wants to read it?
When is it going to be available?
How much money can you put into marketing it?
A press kit (include photo of you and cover, as well as bio, etc.)
How will you promote it locally? Newspapers, radio, television etc.
Regionally? Nationally? Internationally?
On the Internet? Website, blogs, social networking, You Tube, email, book reviewers

Once you have these items written out, you should have a pretty clear picture of what you need to be doing.

Now, plot your course. What should I be doing six months before release, three months before, two weeks before, day of etc.?

Remember that book reviewers usually need the book way in advance in order to be of use to you in your promotions.

Find out from your publisher about purchasing your copies. Do you get a break on the cost? Just how many books do you need for a book signing anyway? How about a giant poster with your cover on it to use for a backdrop at a signing?

All important questions and items to consider as you plan your marketing strategy. If you have more to contribute to this article, please feel free!


s.w. vaughn said...

This is where SW runs off in a corner and cries... LOL.

Marketing! AAAH! It's a four-letter word!

But this is a great sample of what you need. And you've reminded me that I really need an elevator pitch, because I'm going to NYC in a month or so, and at least 50 people are going to ask me the dreaded question...

"So, what's your book about?"

And I'd rather not stutter and mumble something about genies and thieves and yeah it's great, honest. *G*

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Although I wish I did much more for promotion, I've always had a marketing plan attached to each book I sub to my publisher. She just asked all of her authors to produce new and updated plans for the books already in the stable and for future releases. I'm going to work on that next. If anyone needs a copy of "one" style of marketing plan, I'll send you a copy when it's done! GREAT topic, Kim! You are a magician at this!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

This is great, Kim. I'm getting ready to promote my second book and this list is going to help. I have a favour. Next time can you talk about hooks. How to decide and market the hook. I'm going braindead trying to figure that out. Thank You!

Marta Stephens said...

Absolutely on all of this! And don't forget those wonderful bookmarks. :)

Kim Smith said...

ahhh yes. book marks!!

Vergil said...

A very good set of reminders, Kim. As writers develop a marketing plan, a checklist and timeline serve to keep them on point and on schedule.
It also would be good to speculate what sorts of readers might wish to read the book
beyond those in the genre-niche(mystery,romance,horror, etc.) who are to be immediately targeted. If the book deals with specific topics that have currency in the broader, non-literary world (rock music, dog-breeding, antiques, adoption of children, sailing, skiing, gardening, geology, theatre, quilting, etc.) the marketing plan might well reach out to potential readers who find such topics important and meaningful. Promotion can take place in those venues where they spend their time: organizations, magazines, newsletters, and conventions. A good marketing plan would include exploration of these tangential and specialized groups. Promotional efforts targeting them should be carefully customized in their appeal.

Bob Sutherland

Jennifer Peurifoy said...

I would really like to see what a marketing plan looks like on paper (one that you would send to an agent).