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January 25, 2010

YourBookBiz -- Growing Your Book Marketing Plan

As writers we all know the benchmark for success. Our dreams are centered on being a Best Selling Author. It is notable that the term is not best writer. The crass fact that we would like to have our addiction to writing produce positive financial returns should not jeopardize the muse. We write because we must and we must eat to write. Believing everyone is going to need your book is essential during the writing, but now you need a cost effective plan to get the product to the best markets.

A marketing plan should provide a realistic pathway for placing the option of buying your book in front of the largest percentages of your identified markets. This plan must operate within a targeted timeframe, where promotional activities are linked together to create a media and sales window of exposure to achieve your goals. No lawful endeavor should be off the table as you go about creating your outreach strategies on a small promotion budget.

Ask yourself two questions: Who is most likely to read this book? And, why should people buy YOUR book when there are 8,000 competitors on the shelves down the aisles in the local Borders? In searching for the answers go back to your query letter. If you don’t have your query letter yet, (I advocate writing your fast pitched query letter before you write your book) you best get started. An example of a query letter is posted at Gatsby Query and the parts dissected at Query Elements on the web site. If you can’t find the “who” and the “why” in your query you should definitely put them in.

A proper approach to marketing your book is to think of all those people out there who share your passion for the subject you have illuminated, but to date you have done a miserable job of letting them know that just the right book for them exists. To get the message in front of the right people for the smallest budget imaginable is going to involve all print and TV media, mail campaigns, phone researching and archiving, personal events, blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting, Emailing, networking locally, and keeping to a rigid commitment to do something about marketing the book each and every day.

Question 1. Who will read Gatsby’s Last Resort: A Telluride Murder Mystery? (The question is really: who will give me tacit permission to approach them with my book? Be specific and estimate the size of the market)

My family and friends   (150)
Participants in Community Publishing 101   (55)
Telluride Writer’s Guild  (50)
Subscribers to Telluride Inside and Out   (540)
Colorado Authors League  (865)
Book Buyers of Telluride  (1600)
Mystery Writers of America  (2300)
Book Buyers of Mountain Village  (1100)
Skiers who visit Telluride yearly (16000)
Telluride summer festival visitors yearly   (31000)
 Public Libraries in the U.S.  (11000)
Colorado Independent Publishers Association  (2100)
Alumnae: Mary’s and my universities (22000)
Friends and family social networking    (1500)
Targeted personal appearances and sales information for 
Bound For Roque Island: Sailing Maine and the World (10000)
Advertising in regional publications (10000)

I am sure as we continually improve the plan I will get even more creative in marketing subsets and, of course, the print and TV media exposure is hard to track. Yet, this first go at people we know and have a high chance of reaching with our low cost campaign has over a hundred thousand hard contacts that we can have a conversation with about the value of the book to their lives. If I can make only 1% of the sales opportunities I will have reached my breakeven goals with a thousand books sold. If I get to two thousand books I will make a profit and promptly invest it back into a marketing campaign to reach more readers.

We will continue to grow our plan from these fertile seeds. During my ongoing research I found a few sites that might help you understand the process.

  • The Creative Pen
  • Marketing Tips For Authors
  • Ezine Articles

Next we will take a look look at establishing your credentials that will be celebrated in the marketing of your book. The jungle consists of blurbs, back-story, experiences, testimonials, and other published work.


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