As a book marketing consultant, I’ve noticed that many authors don’t have an effective marketing plan. Some authors focus most of their energy in one area, such as social networking, while others seem to jump from one thing to another as they hear about different ways to promote books.
A written book marketing plan is a valuable tool in guiding authors how to invest their time and money most effectively to generate book sales.
The basic principles of marketing are the same for all types of books. In a nutshell, a marketing plan should define your target markets and your strategies for reaching those markets and persuading them to buy your book.
But there’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” book marketing plan. Your plan should be customized to your target audiences, the type of book you write, and your personal situation. Let’s take a closer look at these factors.
Define Target Markets
No book is for “everyone” and it’s important to define the characteristics of the primary market (ideal buyer) as well as secondary markets that also have an interest in the type of book you write.
For example, the primary market for a children’s picture book might be parents of young children. Secondary markets could include grandparents, schools, public libraries and retailers that cater to families. Also look for specific niche markets and distribution outlets based on the subject matter of the book. For example, a book featuring baby animals might be appealing to a zoo gift shop.
Tailor Promotional Plans
Although the marketing principles are the same, there are some differences in the most effective ways to promote children’s books, novels, and nonfiction books. For example, promoting how-to nonfiction is largely about promoting the expertise of the author. Speaking, writing articles, and getting publicity are good ways to achieve that.
Fiction sales benefit greatly from word of mouth recommendations, so a novel marketing plan should include strategies for getting lots of people to read and recommend the book to others. Finding ways to connect with kids and parents is important for children’s book authors, and hand-selling can be very effective.
Customize for the Author
There are dozens of ways to promote books, but we all have a limited amount of time and money. In developing your book marketing plan, consider your own strengths, preferences, time constraints and budget. Many authors have no background in marketing and they will need to learn new some skills.
The final step is to pull everything together into a written plan of action that describes what you will do on a weekly or monthly basis. Be sure to prioritize your activities so you focus your resources on the things that are most likely to produce sales.
For more details on what goes into an effective book marketing plan, download a free report, Create a Book Marketing Plan That Sells Books.
Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer, helps authors and indie publishers learn how to sell more books through her how-to guides, blog, newsletter, and private coaching. For more book promotion tips, get her free ebook at TheSavvyBookMarketer.com.