Dear ZLS Publishing:
I have heard that in order to be successful in our book marketing endeavors, we need a book marketing plan. I have tried researching and the information is all over the place as to the benefits of such a plan and what goes inside of one. Can you please help?
A marketing plan is your individual process as to what YOU intend on doing to market your book. Marketing your book means getting your book out to individuals outside of your inner circle. Writing a marketing plan creates the difference between best seller and no sales at all. Regardless of your publishing journey the process of introducing the book to the right audience is truly the difference between failure and success. Without a marketing plan, you can pretty much plan on failure. Book sales just don’t happen—You must make them happen. Your book, your responsibility. A marketing plan must identify the revenue streams you expect to reach. People buy books in one of two ways:
1. They are BROWSING a bookstore (or surfing online), happen to see a book cover that appeals to them, pick it up, like what they see in thirty seconds or less, and then make a decision to purchase.
2. Or, they “hear” about a book from someone and they SEEK it out for purchase.
Here are some questions to help you create an appropriate book marketing plan.
1) Who will buy your book?
Make a list! Which groups would be interested in your book? Why? Who is next? Why should they need or want your book? (remember this – someone is more likely to buy something they NEED before something they WANT)
2) What makes your book unique from what is already on the bookshelves?
Find a unique angle about your book – and don’t try and be everything to everyone, because you can’t – instead target 100% of a specific part!
3) What is your definition of success for your book? What is your GOAL?
You MUST decide what your real definition of success happens to be. We don’t want to pursue a goal that may not be what you actually feel is important.
4) What are you going to do weekly, monthly, yearly, etc to ensure you book sells and continues to sell. Please note, that in order for your book to be successful you must stick to this weekly, monthly, yearly, plan?
Objectives- these are the steps you take to achieve your GOAL.
Plans – your PLANS outline the needed steps to get your OBJECTIVES moving, and they begin to suggest “to do lists” and measurable actions.
Actions- these are the details of each PLAN. You must have a coherent and workable set of “actions” to achieve each plan, that then lead to each objective that will eventually help you reach your goal. Think: A) understandable, B) achievable and C) measurable.
Marketing is a long-term, consistent and concerted effort. It never ever happens overnight,
5) Create a reasonable timeline and budget
Here are some expenses you may expect to incur in your marketing plan:
Sample Books – do you plan on sending them out or dropping them off?
Marketing materials – posters, flyers, postcards, etc.
Press release writing and distribution
Advertising – sponsored search, links, banners, flyers
Web site design and shopping cart creation
Direct mail opportunities
6) What does your BRAND look like?
In many cases you, not your book, are really the “brand”. Your book is your calling card, and ultimately the way you will profit from your expertise, but many times it’s YOU, that is the selling point! Your brand is what people recognize when they hear your name. What does that look like? What will you known for? What uniqueness will you have that people will always recognize that you stand for. For example: Steven King-Horror, Apple-Quality Electronics, etc.
7) How are you going to get people to buy into your brand?
Think about speaking engagements, online interactions, your own website, etc. Think about why the media should ever contact you in the event they want to contact you about your book. How are you going to position yourself to be seen as an expert or go-to person in your genre.
8) What back-end profit opportunities are you going to use to get your books bought and your brand known?
This section should describe profits you will earn above and beyond royalties from sales of your book. It should describe in detail your market, the products and services you will offer it, and the steps you will take to earn this income.