You finished writing your novel. Maybe you completed a chapter in your memoir. Or you received favorable feedback from your writing workshop. Wherever you are at in your writing career the moment of possibilities has arrived. Thoughts enter your mind about your book’s potential. It will be a bestseller. Bye, bye, day job. Both are promising ideas. But how will you do it?
There is no guarantee that no matter how much effort you put into your book it will reach the success you want it. But you can turn a possibility into a probability with a Book Marketing Plan. It’s a document that reveals how you plan to achieve your sale goals. If you’re a self-publisher its imperative you create one. How else will you be able to decipher your success? If you’re looking for an agent it will aid her in understanding your vision. If you’re looking for a publisher it will help you submit to publishers who focus on your genre.
There are many other people who have written books, blogs and articles about Book Marketing Plans and I encourage you to seek counsel. I write to share my experience with you in hope to make your writing journey a little easier. There is no set format of what to include when creating a Book Marketing Plan. But I have focused on the steps I feel are most important:
1) Define Your Success: You want to create a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) goal. Let’s say your goal is to sell 5,000 books in a year. Being able to reach this goal depends on how well you plan.
2) Identify Your Target Audience: Who is your audience? You’re book can’t be everything to everybody. By being specific you can focus your efforts on that group. You wrote a children’s book. Your target audience should be adults with children.
3) Delivery: How will your book be available? Will it be hard cover? Paperback? Ebooks? Hardcover books are more expensive than paperback. Ebooks are the cheapest books to produce. Maybe a combination of sorts.
4) Know Your Competition
- What does your book have in common with your competition?
- What separates your book from your competition?
- Is your price comparable?
- Pre-Publication reviews: Book reviews increase the chances of your book selling. Some famous publications that review books are Publishers Weekly and The New York Times. They can be out of reach for some. Be diligent and search for review media whose interests relate to your book. But I don’t agree with paying a fee to get your book reviews.
- Distribution: If you are a part of a publishing company, they should be able to provide you a list. If you’re a self-publisher, it’s important to figure out how to make your book available to your target audience. Some options: Independent bookstores, personal website, Amazon.com, B&N, or smashwords.com
- Publicity: If you have a publicist great. If not, work your network. Some ways to build publicity are Interviews, Blog Tours, Flyers, email newsletters, business cards and free listings.
- Events: detail every event you plan on doing: Book Signings, Book Fairs, book release party etc.
- Post-Publication reviews: Follow up with your readers. Ask them to write a review. Engage them over the Internet, in-person and everywhere in-between. Most importantly THANK THEM!
6) Make A Budget: How much will it cost to reach your sales goals. Do you have enough income to do it? Break down the cost of each part of your plan.
7) Set A Timeline: The more deadlines you set for your objectives the easier it will be to gauge if you are on track to reach your goal. Be reasonable in your timeframe.
8) Brand Yourself: You are the ambassador of your book. What are you known for? Are you an expert? Utilizing social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Wattpad, Goodreads, or your own blog is a great way to brand yourself.
Rashaun J. Allen (@rashaunjallen) is the author of A Walk Through Brooklyn & In The Moment. He has been featured in several publications such as: The Chronicle, The Troy Record, Albany Student Press & UA Magazine. Find his books at www.Royalbluepublishing.com.