It’s time for you to create a book marketing plan.
Is your book finished and now you need to start marketing? Well, guess what. You’re late.
You should have started your self-published marketing plan the minute you started your book. But don’t worry. You’re starting now.
Marketing your book is one of the less desirable activities of an author. Accounting is probably the least desirable, but marketing can be a huge time suck. Many authors find it difficult to balance both writing and marketing.
The trick is to create a goal of what you want to accomplish with your marketing. Then you can determine how much time you want to spend getting to the goal and start creating your book marketing plan.
1. Define your audience – Just because you write romance novels doesn’t mean your target audience is all women. Well, I guess technically it could be but you can’t be everything to everyone. There are a lot of books out there, and you want to find a way to target an audience who will want to read your specific book. Take a moment and write out a thorough description of who you feel your ideal reader is. Then tape it up on your wall and think about her (or him) everytime you start to work on marketing. Is your marketing reading that person?
2. Decide your budget – Don’t let the word budget scare you. You CAN create a marketing plan without spending money. That’s the beauty of social media. But you can also find many low-cost ways to get more exposure and grow your readership. You can do Facebook ads for as little as $5 a day, and there are several sites where you can buy a low-cost ad. I use FreeBooksy a lot and get great results for my small investment. You can set a budget a month at a time starting with zero budget. As you sell books and see whats working with your marketing slowly put dollars into advertising.
3. Marketing goals – What’s your ultimate goal. Build your email list, build your social media following, sell a million books? I would expect you would have some variation of all those goals but figure out what they are and WRITE THEM DOWN. A goal not written down isn’t a REAL goal.
4. Decide how much social media and how much face to face – Authors often overlook networking in person in their local communities. In person, events take more time, but I feel that you should have a mixture of at least some face to face marketing with all your virtual marketing. The library is a great resource. They love for authors to come in and talk about their books (and if you use Smashwords or Draft to Digital) you can distribute your ebooks in most libraries). You could hold a book reading or a small workshop. Word of mouth works. Local boutiques also enjoy artists coming in and holding activities. It gets more people in the door for them.
I would advise you to be careful when planning your marketing activities and how much time you have to devote to the marketing. It can very easily consume you.
5. Contest ideas – people love winning things. It doesn’t have to be a $100 gift card or something huge. Most people like winning for the sake of winning. I’ve had great success running contests with a $5 Amazon gift card prize. I use rafflecopter and ask readers to do certain things, re-tweet, like a post, comment on something, and then that action enters them into the raffle. Now not everyone who enters your raffle will become a loyal reader it’s a great way to get someone new to notice you. And for $5 even if I only gain one loyal reader it’s worth it to me.
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6.Timeframe – Don’t do anything without a time frame. It’s the guaranteed way to make sure you don’t reach your goals because something will always interfere with your plan. If your book launches in October and it’s now July what actions do you need to take each week to get to your marketing goals?
7. Good graphics – All social media platforms are noisy. You need to have a compelling message and attractive graphics for yours to stand out. I am a writer, and I have no eye for art. I gave up a long time ago trying to create my own graphics. Especially, for Pinterest and Instagram which are heavily image based. But when budgets are tight, and you have to make your own, Canva and Picmonkey are two amazing resources. They both have free versions for when you’re just getting started.
8. Teasers and tagline – Marketing your books isn’t all shameless self-promotion. You want to engage your audience not constantly sell to them. But when crafting your book sales promos, you want to pull out your most compelling pieces of dialogue to use as teasers and tagline. Think about movie trailers. I can list several movies where I thought the trailer was amazing and once I saw the movie thought the best part of the movie was what they put in the trailer. But that’s how they got everyone in the theater. You want to do the same with your books. Give people little snippets that will make them want more.
9. Analyze your results – You need to measure the results of what you’re doing, or you won’t know what works and what doesn’t. When you decide on a marketing idea to try then decide what kind of outcome you need to deem it successful. For example, if you boost a Facebook post for $5 and sell 3 books to break even and you sell 3 is that good enough?
10. Schedule paid advertising – While you can sell books without paid advertising it helps. You should try and scrounge up a few bucks to promote a new book at least. So you can get as much buzz going on that new book as possible. When you’re looking at your marketing strategy, you want to schedule in paid advertising to coincide with other marketing efforts so you can capitalize on your efforts. Most good advertisers fill up a couple of months in advance so it’s not something you can wait to last minute.
BONUS Build your email list. I can’t say this enough. An email list is a golden goose of selling books (that’s probably a bad analogy, but you know what I mean). The more engaged fans you have on your email list, the more potential buyers you have. Buyers who are waiting anxiously for your book to come out. If they liked you enough to sing up for your smiling list, then it’s a pretty good bet most will purchase your book. Especially, if you offer preferred pricing to your awesome readers. Give your email list members exclusive deals which can also entice more people to sign up.
Never stop writing. Many authors are tempted to hold off on their next book while marketing their current. Not a good idea. You have to do both things simultaneously. If not you’ll work your butt off building your readership and then if you ignore them while writing your next book you’ll lose them and have to start over.
Sustainable a living as an author isn’t easy. But then if it were easy we wouldn’t want to do it now, would we?
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Be on your way to making a living at your writing!