Part of preparing to publish a book is creating a book marketing plan. This is important because it will help you figure out where to advertise (or if you should), what to say when talking with others about your book, and how much money to initially invest in your project.
Having a clear plan in place before publishing can be helpful, but this is something that also changes over time. New strategies are always emerging, some older strategies lose their value, and some new technologies or platforms might become popular. Keep your eyes open so you can use what makes sense for you and your book.
Some authors hire an outside marketing firm or company to create their plan, but it’s also possible to do everything yourself if you have the time and energy. There are two ways to approach this task: one is by using specific tools that help you outline a process, and the other is by using your creativity to figure out how to get the word about your book.
How to Write a Book Marketing Plan: Step-By-Step Guide
If you want to write a book marketing plan but aren’t sure how, I’ve created a guide that will get you started. There are 5 steps involved in the process of creating your own book marketing plan, and it’s also helpful to have read some of my earlier articles on self-publishing topics. If you feel ready to begin, read on.
For those of you who want to create a plan on your own, here’s how it works:
1. Get organized
The first step in writing a book marketing plan is to get organized. This means coming up with an order for things and then figuring out the processes that will be used for each task.
This can be done with a tool like Trello – and if you’re on the fence about whether to use a paper planner or an online one, I vote for using some combination of both (like I do). My favorite way to begin is by creating a list of things that need to be completed; then, as each action item is completed, I create a card with the date on it.
2. Do your research.
If you have a plan in place for how you’re going to promote your book before its release, now is the time to start figuring out which strategies are right for you and what will work for this particular project.
This one took me the longest to get through, but it’s absolutely necessary if you want to build up an audience of potential readers who’ll be interested in your book when it debuts. The best way I’ve found so far is by using Google Trends.
3. Write your plan.
This is the step I’ve been working on lately – and it’s a big one! In order to create a book marketing plan, you need to know where you’re going to promote your book before its release as well as how you’ll be able to measure if that effort was successful or not.
The best way to do this is by creating a spreadsheet with columns that address each of the tasks ahead. As far as what needs to go down in these columns, it can include things like What platform do you plan on using? How often will you post about the project? Or, who will your target audience be so that you can stay away from those who have no interest in what you have to say?
4. Create a marketing calendar.
Once your plan is written down on paper or in a spreadsheet, it’s time to create a calendar for what needs to happen when as well as how frequently those actions need to be taken place.
Here are 3 examples of book marketing calendars along with an explanation of why each one works:
1) Using Trello for Book Marketing Calendar,
2) Hootsuite Book Marketing Calendar,
3) Using Google Drive for Book Marketing Calendar (this one also includes things like guest blogging ideas).
5. Follow through!
The final step in writing a book marketing plan is to do it all. Writing a book marketing plan does absolutely nothing for you if you don’t implement the steps and take action. If this is your first time writing a marketing plan, be prepared to get frustrated and overwhelmed at times – but just remember that every step of the way will bring you closer to where you need to be so keep going even when you feel like giving up.
The only thing worse than a book marketing plan is not doing anything toward implementing one, so choose your battles wisely and get started!
How do I Market my Book Release?
Have you released your book, but have no idea what you should do? Many authors face this issue when they’re ready to publish their very first book. If that sounds like you, there are a few things you can do to prepare for your big day – and here are some of them:
1. Start a blog.
If you already have one, great! But if not, it’s time to start putting pen to paper (or fingers to keypad) and create a space online where you can begin interacting with your target audience – or people who are interested in learning more about what you have to say.
2. Pre-sell your book.
This can either be done by selling your book before it’s even released through a pre-selling site, or it can be done by offering an early bird special on your launch day. Either way, the idea here is that you’re giving something away for free in return for contact information so you can let them know about your book when it launches.
3. Set up social media accounts.
If you haven’t already created one or multiple social media accounts for yourself to follow along with during the publishing process, now is the time to do so! Having these pages set up will allow readers to see behind the scenes without even having to ask, and will also help them feel more about what you’re doing as well as how you’re doing it.
4. Promote yourself on relevant blogs and websites.
Before your book launches, reach out to industry experts and ask them if they’d like to review your book (or even an early copy) ahead of time. If the answer is ‘yes’ (it probably will be), make sure you let them know that you’ll include a link to their website from your book in return. The more traffic that comes from these experts’ sites, the better.
5. Advertise on Facebook and Twitter.
Of course, you should also advertise on Facebook and Twitter in addition to using it as a way to interact with readers ahead of time too. You can use Facebook ads to target people who are interested in the topic your book is about or find potential readers on Twitter by searching for keywords related to your topic.
6. Host a giveaway.
To further build anticipation for your launch day, consider running an ebook giveaway of the first chapter or so through Goodreads, Shelfari, or another book-based website. All you have to do is set up a giveaway, choose the books you want to give away from services like smashwords.com, and then send people over with a personalized link that will give them access to your free download!
I strongly believe that it’s important to create a marketing plan before you release your next book. This helps to ensure that you’ll have a plan in place for how to market the project as well as what platforms need to be used.