Updated: Mar 8
Book marketing is crucial to the success of your release, and not every marketing plan suits every book you release, so you should go through a new marketing plan with each new release, that isn’t to say that you should scrap any previous idea’s but you can use your existing marketing plan and tweak it each time. Many authors do not see the need for a marketing plan, but this is paramount to you understanding your audience and being able to sell your book. A good deal of authors consider their writing as a hobby and not a career but you have to remember this is your career and as such should be treated as one.
Some authors do not feel the need for a marketing plan because they believe it is something that traditional publishers carry out, but ideally, it should be for anything we are trying to sell, even personally I carry out marketing plans when trying to sell a new product or service, it's important for me to be aware of who my target audience is. Another reason authors don’t have a marketing plan is due to the fact that they think the whole process will be time-consuming but it doesn’t have to be and it saves you time when it comes to actually marketing books. Some indie authors don’t create a marketing plan because they aren’t sure where to start or are simply confused by the whole process. Hopefully, this blog post will show you the importance of a marketing strategy and also show how the whole process can be simplified. There will also be an opportunity to sign up for my mailing list and receive a free download taking you through the steps of creating your marketing plan.
Why does an author need a marketing plan?
It’s important for you to consider how you will get your book into the hands of readers, it really isn't as simple as publishing your novel on amazon in the hope that someone will come across it and download it. You really have to market your book and direct readers to you!
A marketing strategy helps you define opportunities available to you, and conducting market research leads to you understanding your niche and where they hang out. For example, there could be local book clubs that read your particular niche, it opens up opportunities to showcase places in which you can advertise.
Conducting a Marketing plan allows you to have a clear target audience.
Who is your “SOUL” reader, who is going to connect on a deeper level with your story and your writing? One of my biggest tips in marketing is connecting with that reader.
Who is your book aimed at?
Create a reader character - a fictional character that symbolises your target audience, this will help you to target your marketing more precisely than widespread.
Conduct some research on your current readers and get them to help you streamline your focus, these readers can help you focus your attention on how and what is needed in order to reach them. For example, what graphics draw their attention?
Once you have a marketing plan it allows you to stay on track and focused on your marketing and what you are trying to achieve instead of just “winging it”.
Creating an author marketing plan.
Creating a marketing plan really doesn’t have to be overly complicated or difficult. It just allows you to have clear direction and plans on what you want to achieve with this novel. Below I will go through some of the 8 Phases in your marketing plan that will give you a guide on where to start.
Who is your target audience? Are they female? Male? General age? General interests? Other authors or books that they may also be interested in? There are so many factors to consider but this will allow you to concentrate on how you reach these people.
What are your goals? Do you want to achieve so many reviews? Do you want to get a certain ranking in amazon categories? Maybe even Amazon Bestseller? Do you want to have your book on the high street? Or maybe a special edition available for your dedicated readers to purchase directly?
How many books would you like to sell? You can even break this down into paperback and ebooks? Or pages read on KU? Or you can break it down to how many preorders you would like? How many during the first week? First month? Remember this is an intention, this is your goal, what you would like to achieve but we must celebrate every single purchase and thank the universe for it!
What is your marketing budget? This is essential you must set yourself a clear budget of what you want to spend and can even break this down on how much you want to spend on each service this will allow you to stick to your budget and not overspend.
When writing, this is where you focus on your brand, you may be completely new to the author scene so make sure you have a clear brand. Your brand can include things like your logo, your name, series name, colours, fonts, wording and taglines. Creating a brand is vital to people knowing exactly who you are.
If you already have a brand make sure you're consistent, think about how you can use your brand to sell this particular book, think about the messaging of your book and incorporating the colours etc maybe for this book and this series.
Ensure you have an author bio that shows exactly what you represent and if you already do make sure that it is up to date and consistent across all of your social media platforms.
Research BISAC Subject codes , These are essentially your genre categories. This is the perfect time to have a look and see what genres your book will fit in with, consider what other authors within your genre are currently writing and what categories they are using. There is a great tool that you can use for this which is Publisher Rocket.
This is the perfect time to also create your website and consider what social media channels you want to use and how you are going to incorporate them into your marketing plan.
Create your media kits and share them on your websites, think about this from a reader's perspective, and ask yourself the questions the reader would want to know and answer them. Include this in your media kit, the blurb, book cover, snippets, teasers, pre-order links, author bio, and author image. Once this is on your website you already have information ready to share. This can be tweaked and added to as you go along but it at least gives you a baseline to work with from the very beginning.
Research book reviewers and influencers, and consider which ones you want to approach whether you're going to use a blog tour company or whether you're going to do this yourself. Here at Wingfield Designs, we do have a workshop which helps explain how you can run your own blog tours, taking you on a step by step process. You can find this here.
This is where you start creating your promotional media and material. Consider things like how are bestselling authors showing up online? How are they promoting their book? What images, videos or wording are they using?
During this phase, we look at your review strategy and set yourself a review goal. How many would you like to achieve after a week? And how are you going to achieve this? Will you use services such as NetGalley? Or maybe you will offer a giveaway for all those that leave a review? Offering incentives to leave reviews maybe you could offer exclusive content for the first 10 reviews?
This is where your marketing and visibility are really ramped up, it is time to really enhance your presence in the online book communities giving yourself lots of visibility among readers. If you're new to writing make sure you have Amazon Central and populate it with information about your book. If you already have Amazon Central ensure that your information is all up-to-date and add some videos and images about your latest release.
Ensure that all your book details are correct and showing correctly online, you can also consider A+ content to create a more visually appealing purchase page. You can check out my blog post here about A+ Content.
Make sure that you are posting consistently on social media, ensuring all your branding and colours from the previous steps are used to their full potential.
This period is all about keeping the momentum going, posting about the release, and creating excitement online about the release, you want to engage with readers who are sharing and commenting.
If you have run any online book promotions, stay up to date with who has posted them engaging with book bloggers on their posts. Monitor your sales and Amazon Status as your rankings increase or if you reach Amazon Bestseller share that, create an urgency that they need to read this book. Share early reviews that are coming in with your own audience. Update your website and all social media channels to show the release as well as post to your Instagram and Facebook stories if these are the social media channels you have chosen to use.
This is after the chaos that is release day. Follow up and thank any blogs that have shared on your behalf, reach out to them with an email so that they truly know how much you appreciate their hard work, these connections will become essential over time.
Go through your marketing plan and make sure that you have checked off and completed each stage, anything that you haven’t done go back and make changes.
This stage can to some authors seem pointless, but it is extremely important that you review your marketing plan, that you go through and see what worked and what didn’t. What you can tweak in future, go back through your social media posts and see what engaged with your readers the most this will help you really streamline each release making it more and more effective.
Check which blogs requested to review, did they review? If they didn’t, ensure you remove them from your list in future, you want to surround yourself with bloggers and influences that want to help you achieve. Let’s create a circle of service and people that are going to raise you to the next level and enhance your career. We are so much stronger together and support each other.
REVIEW …. REVIEW …. REVIEW ….
This is going to really help you project yourself with each new release.
Would you like help staying on track with your book marketing look no further we have designed a Trello Board and video to help you keep on track!
Let me know your own thoughts on marketing plans. Do you use a marketing plan? Is it something you have ever considered? Is this post helpful in assisting you with your journey? If you would like to learn more from our blog please sign up for our mailing list.