“The best way to start planning your marketing is to develop a well-thought-out marketing plan. Normally a publishing house creates a formal marketing plan only for the top books on its list. Your written marketing plan will help your publisher focus on your book, will prove your own commitment, and will become a valuable reference tool throughout the publishing process. If your publisher elects not to use your marketing plan, then you have created a blueprint to promote the book yourself, or to turn over to a freelance publicist.”
- Book title, your name, and contact information
- Book description
- Target Audience
- A positioning statement or pitch — the one of two sentences that capture the essence and appeal of your book
- Why you wrote the book — the background story
- Marketing strategy and campaign
- Sales handles and media angles
- Competitive titles/comparative sales
- Personal and professional contacts (who might help in the book launch or who might give you a “blurb” or endorsement)
- Prior public speaking and media experience
More on what each of these mean in future posts.
It bears mentioning that your in-house publicist might want to take your book on a different route than what you’ve planned. Maybe the only thing to come out of your marketing plan will be an intentional way to answer the questions: “You’re an author? So what do you write?” Whatever happens, the process is a wonderful way to re-learn your story, your intent, your audience, and your book’s appeal.
M. Gray says
Good summation of this challenge. Another idea is to talk to a marketing or PR major. I majored in PR and had no idea how my major would help with ideas for marketing my book. PR is a major that focuses on strategic ways to actually achieve your goals. You plan tactics dependent on your key publics, messages, and strategies to reach them. 🙂
Caroline Starr Rose says
Such a good point. What a great background to bring to your writing!
I wondered what you feeling was on self publishing? Do you think it is better to get a publisher or agent to help out with the marketing? I have done all my own marketing for my first book and am ready to publish my 2nd. However, I wish I could find a publisher just have no way of knowing where to go and how to do that. Great post
Caroline Starr Rose says
I have a friend who’s had success with self-publishing — see Steady Days .
PUBLICIZE YOUR BOOK! offers a lot of go-it-alone strategies.
If you’re looking for a publisher, I’d start following agent blogs to get a sense of who’s interested in what. Start with Nathan Bransford, Rachelle Gardner, Kristen Nelson, and Janet Reid.
Any others to recommend, readers?
Elana Johnson says
Okay, I just copied and pasted this link into my gmail. Now I’ll have it forever! Thanks so much for this. 🙂
Jemi Fraser says
I’ve bookmarked it too – great advice!
Sarah Skilton says
I’ll definitely be coming back to this post for reference. Thanks for it!!
Lisa and Laura says
Wow! This is so helpful! Off to get started on our marketing plan!
Kristen Torres-Toro says
I think this is the part that scares me the most. This is so helpful! Thank you!