How To Create A Quick, Marketing Plan For Your Book
Marketing planning is simply deciding what you want to accomplish with your book, setting an objective to keep you on target, and then asking yourself a few questions about what you need to do to reach your goal. Organize these questions and your answers to them in two parts. Part one sets your direction, during which you’ll ask the following questions: What do you want to accomplish by writing your book? Who will buy it? What’s in it for you? Part two answers the following questions: What information do people want that is not already available? Where will you sell your book? At what price? How will you let people know that it exists? What Should be in a Marketing Plan?
Your initial marketing plan is a wish list of what you would do if you had sufficient resources. You might consider developing this list in a creative brainstorming session with a group of people, which could include friends, family members, or fellow writers, to name a few. Initially, focus on quantity of ideas, not quality, and include some that may at first seem illogical. Such big ideas may stimulate better ones as you get started with your marketing. So, wait until later to apply judgment and eliminate any programs you determine are not currently feasible.
Begin your marketing plan with a sentence stating your overall objective for the upcoming period. Next, make a list of your strategies that outline your general game plan. Finally, describe your tactics that are the specific actions you will take to fulfill your go to market strategy and achieve your objective.
Before planning your specific marketing actions, think about your product, potential readers, goals, and objectives for the next year.
he information below provides ideas, examples, and instructions that will help you create a quick, practical marketing plan for a business book. This plan is meant to get you started, but effective marketing requires flexibility. If something is not working for you after you have given it a concerted effort, try another tactic to reach the realistic goals you establish.
Part One: Before planning your specific marketing actions, think about your product, potential readers, goals, and objectives for the next year.
1. Product Description
The entire marketing process is based on having a good book to sell. Was it well written and properly edited? Does the cover and page layout look professionally designed? Will you make it available as a printed book, an eBook, or both? Before you price your book or begin distributing or promoting it, describe what your book is about in 100 words or less. Think of it from your readers’ points of view. How can your information help them become more successful, make money, or start a new business?
Identify books that are similar to yours, and describe how yours is different from and better than competitive titles. A good description may be started by completing this sentence: My book helps________ who want ________ get _________. Then, add your competitive advantage. For example “My book helps small businesspeople who want increased profits get more sales from existing and new customers. Its unique advantage is that it was based on the author’s actual successful experience.”
Finally, develop a strong mission statement. Your mission statement is a one or two sentence description of why you wrote your book. Reading this regularly will help keep you focused and motivated. For example, a good mission statement for a book about finding a job would be “Help unemployed people develop their job search and networking skills in a supportive environment so they find a new, well-compensated career position quickly.”
2. Author Biography
As an author, you are also selling yourself as a product, so it is important to start making the right brand impressions early. Think of who you know, and also about your background in terms of how it can help you sell more books. What makes you the expert on this topic? Where did you go to school? In what clubs and associations are you (or could you be) a member? What are you good (or not good) at doing, and what do you like (or dislike) doing? Who are your current and previous employers? Your answers will give you ideas for how to target and present yourself to potential readers.
3. Target Readers
You cannot market to everybody, so think about who will buy your books. Who is the typical reader you had in mind when you wrote your book? Is the person male or female? In what age group would you categorize your reader? For example, if you are writing a book about preparing people for retirement, your target reader description might include people in these categories: Employed males and females, age 50 – 65, and middle to upper-middle income bracket. Give consideration to increasing the font size in the page layout a point or two to help people with poor eyesight see it better.
4. Marketing Goals and Objectives
Write a specific statement of what you want to accomplish in the next year. Some of your goals may be hard to quantify, but do so where you can. Do you want more reviews? How many more? Do you want more media attention? How many print articles and broadcast appearances will you seek? How many books do you want to sell? How much money do you want to make? Be realistic in your estimation.
By (date) _____ I will sell (number) _____ books and make $____ by getting ___ reviews, ___ awards and ___ media appearances.
Given your descriptions in Part One, what specific things must you do to reach your objectives? It is helpful to group these activities under three major topics: 1) How you will price your book, 2) Where you will sell it, and 3) How you will promote it. The sections below include examples to help you get started. Your actions will vary according to your own content and target readers.
1. Pricing Your Book. The price at which you will sell your book could determine your sales, profits, and opportunities for long-term growth. Your final choice will be determined by your costs, distribution method, and competitive prices. Be strategic in your decisions.
Choose a lower-than-average price if you 1) intend to sell directly to corporate buyers rather than through a distribution network to retailers, 2) plan to limit your promotional expenditures, 3) want to make your book more competitive against other market options, or 4) seek a long-term profit potential. You might choose a higher-than-average price if your content will be quickly outdated or is highly specialized, or if you have little competition. Another consideration is the format in which you deliver your content. For example, eBooks are typically priced lower than printed books because of the lower production and distribution costs. Lower-priced eBooks also tend to attract more potential buyers.
2. Sales Outlet Options. Sales outlets will vary according to each individual title. Be sure to conduct research and think about where your content will have the best sales opportunities when deciding what works best for your book. Some ideas for sales outlet options include:
3. Promotion Actions. How will you reach and tell your target buyers about your book so they can buy it? Use a variety of promotion tools as described below, and promote regularly. Prospective buyers may need to see or hear your message multiple times before it drives them to purchase your book. Also, choose the promotional techniques that are consistent with your personality. For example, if you are not comfortable performing on television, deliver your message through radio, print, or the internet.
There are promotional tools to fit any budget. Most public relations actions are free or low cost, while advertising, trade shows, and sending direct mail packages are more expensive. Finally, there are even some promotional actions for which you could be paid, such as public speaking or conducting webinars. Find the best combination of those listed below that fit your target audience and your goals, personality, and budget.
3.1 Publicity. Public relations activities entail reaching the most people in your target markets as frequently and inexpensively as possible. Most media exposure is free so you can get maximum coverage on a limited budget. Examples include TV and radio appearances, letters to the editor, publishing informative articles in magazines, producing a newsletter, or reading/speaking at schools. Here are some things to try or consider:
3.2 Internet Actions. In today’s internet world, it’s important to market your book online to reach the widest possible audience. Websites, blogs, social media, and online forums are all important channels for promotion and building your brand.
3.3 Personal Selling Actions. As an independent author, you aren’t just selling your book – you’re selling yourself. You might find in-person selling and networking beneficial for connecting with potential readers face-to-face.
3.4 Direct Marketing Actions. These give you targeted and personalized contact with potential buyers. You can reach many more people through a mail or email campaign than through personal calls. You may find that the U.S. Mail (letter or postcard) may deliver to more people than email with the likes of SPAM filters. In either case, your results will be better if you conduct tests before you send to an entire list. Test the creative offer, the timing and the list itself before sending your package. The package you send (or email) should include a cover letter, descriptive flyer, and some response mechanism (business reply card). Consider some of these direct marketing actions:
3.5 Advertising Actions. Advertising can be costly, but some authors may choose to pay for ad placements in online and print channels relevant to their titles.
4. Evaluation. Every few months after you begin marketing your book, compare your actual sales results with your objectives. Are you on target to reach them? If not, what changes can you make to meet your goals?
For sales goals, create a simple Excel spreadsheet with your forecasted sales for any period in one column. Then, insert your actual sales figures and automatically calculate the difference. Have a line for retail sales, library sales, corporate sales, etc. to point out where your revenue may be below that which you projected.
Have a means to objectively evaluate progress toward all your goals. If you planned to get a certain number of reviews or media appearances, keep tack of your progress toward them. The important thing is to think about why you are above or below forecast, and make necessary changes in time to reach your annual objectives.
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