Friday, March 28, 2014

Self-Publishing Tip #6 – Get Your Extended Marketing Plan Together

It's true that marketing should start long before you have a finished product to sell but it isn’t where marketing stops.

Pre-release is important but knowing how and where to position your book after the release date is what will bring the most readers.

Ask yourself some questions

Like I said in the last post, family and friends love you and are likely to not only purchase your book right away, but also share your book link with their circles. And how good does that feel?

It’s amazing!

Selling your book is why it went out there to begin with and you’re thrilled to have so much support. But remember, those people are only buying one copy each and the pool will dry up quickly.

There are lots of factors that push a person to buy a book or say no thanks. You have to look objectively at your book and answer these questions about who your book appeals to:

  • Do the people you know read fiction?
  • Are they attracted to your genre?
  • Are they in your target age demographic?
  • Have they read something similar recently that they enjoyed (or disliked)?
  • Do you want to do this for a living or are you comfortable selling only to family and friends?

Approach books as a business

To sell more and move into the life of a full-time author you need to reach past your personal circle. You need to go where more people will be able to get their hot little hands on your hot new novel.

Do what companies do and research where to find your audience.

When you find the places your book will thrive in the long term and you can connect with your readers for the foreseeable future, that’s the result of your extended marketing plan.

Let’s look at it from another angle.

You probably have a number of restaurants that are your go-to favorites. But why do you love them? Is it the food, service, style, all of the above, something else?

Say, for example, you love to eat somewhere and they play rock music. You might not enjoy an establishment that only plays classical.

You're the audience of that restaurant and for one to thrive their vibe needs to gel with enough people where they’re located. They have to do lots of research on where to open shop for the biggest potential return on their business investment.

Now imagine you’re the restaurant and your book is the rest of everything – the food type, interior design, music, wait staff uniforms...

You know your book inside and out and know that its rock ‘n roll not classical.

So where does a rock novel set up shop?

For self-publishers there are numerous choices for ways to market your novel. Some of those include:

- Virtual blog book tours
- Twitter
- LinkedIn
- Other social media
- Articles on popular websites
- Guest posts
- Speaking engagements
- Public forums (television, radio spots, etc.)
- Press releases
- Groups (virtual such as on Facebook or in-person local groups)
- Advertisements

Those channels are where the classical novels go as well, it’s all about finding the right blog, social media outlet or public forum for your unique book.

Lots of self-publishing authors will turn to twitter because it's a great place to connect with a very large audience. Twitter lets you search for specific hashtags, readers, or other writers that enjoy your genre so you can start networking from day 1.

The drawback to twitter is that it will take time to build an authentic audience so there could be a lag in your book’s sales.

One of the great things about this direction though is that it is free. Other methods will cost. Sometimes, big bucks.

How much can you afford to spend on marketing?

In reality this should be the first thing you assess when you’re getting an extended plan together. Marketing can be free, like twitter, or untouchable for some people’s budgets in other cases.

You need to determine how much you can really spend to position your book. Keep in mind that no one way is better than another, it's all how you work with what you got!

Some indie authors do 80% of their marketing for free and have small operating budgets. Others spend a lot and hire people or other services that help them grow with minimal time investment.

Advertising on television or radio, even in a local newspaper, can cost significant money. Especially when we’re first getting our work out there.

And keep in mind, you can always start for free and move into paid plans as your sales increase. Or dive right into paid advertising. The choice is yours but stick to the right locations for your novel and budget.

In the next post I'll share what self-publishing authors should be aware of as their careers grow. Hint: it never ends no matter how many books you release.

Image courtesy KROMKRATHOG at freedigitalphotos.net

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful blog! Do you have any tips for aspiring writers? I'm hoping to start my own blog soon
but I'm a little lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like Wordpress or go for a paid option?
There are so many options out there that I'm completely overwhelmed ..
Any tips? Thank you!

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Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Yes there can really be a lot of conflicting advice out there. I'd say if you want to blog go with the one that A) does the things you want it to do (or has the ability) and 2) will be able to grow with you. Wordpress is pretty great for that. Good luck!