Your Marketing Plan
Scary thought. How will you market your book? The internet is full of places where authors can go to find ways to do this. You, as the author, will need to decide exactly what works best for you, but you can be assured that in this competitive book marked you might be asked to provide an online marketing plan by the publisher you’ve submitted to.
Your first thought is going to be along these lines—Is this person kidding? How am I supposed to figure out a marketing plan? What do I do? Doesn’t the publisher take care of this?
To answer the last question first, unless you are a major author, one whose books hit the best seller list within hours of release, no publisher markets your books online for you other than the basic #NewRelease tweets and posts on Facebook. The bulk of marketing is up to you, the author. This is your book. You are the person who knows it the best. Therefore, it is up to you to develop a marketing plan.
How does one figure out a marketing plan? Most publishers now have authors pages on Facebook, where you can meet with other, more experienced authors who have been doing online marketing for a while. But you won’t be able to get there until you have signed a contract. What you can do to provide a marketing plan if a publisher asks is to connect with authors through their pages and ask what they do.
The bare basics of your plan should include the following:
Facebook fan page. This should be up and active long before you query a publisher. Post about your work. Share your blog posts here. Talk about writing related issues. Even post about events as they relate to your book. Sharing writing related memes is also good. While you’re doing this, you should also be building your fan base. Initially, you ask people you know to join in the fun, but eventually, by making your page public, you will see new fans jumping into the activity.
Twitter: It’s not just about tweeting your books that builds your following here. You need to connect with people that have similar interests. Don’t just retweet and run. Comment on tweets you find interesting and funny. Follow the well-known authors (although they may not follow you back just yet). Use a site like Tweet Jukebox to send out not just your tweets but also pictures and quotes. Your twitter feed should be about more than your writing. This is where you can shine with your public persona.
Blogging. I know. People say blogs are dead. They’re not, according to the thousands of bloggers doing this daily. As an author, it’s important for you to have an active blog. You can get yours started by talking about your journey to publication. Hook up with authors in your genre. Let them know that you’ll do their spotlights, cover reveals, or book release blogs, and in return, you’d like the same thing when it’s your turn. The writing community is huge. We don’t compete with each other as much as we offer assistance to other authors when it’s their time to shine.
Website. This isn’t necessary until your first book releases. At that point, you need to make sure your website is interactive. Don’t just create a website and then let it sit around without updating it. Update your information as is necessary. Change the look. Share this and invite people to follow it, if your provider offers that option. Make your website the go to place for seeing all of your books and where to purchase them.
These are the important things to include in your online marketing plan. As an author, you will also need to develop an offline persona. This involves getting in touch with local television, radio, and newspapers. Be bold. Be brave. Breach those walls and make them want to interview you. Don’t just say that “I’m an author and my book will release this date.” Proudly hand over your shiny, new business cards and announce, “I write fiction novels in (whatever genre) and am about to have my first book released by ABC Publishing. I believe this book will be of great interest to those that watch/read (name an interview show this station does or the newspaper section you’d like your book featured in). Don’t be shy and don’t stutter out your spiel. Give these people the impression that you are about to become the next great author and they want to get in on the ground floor to talk to you.
This is just the beginning, but it’s a great start. Follow up on everything you do. Online and traditional promotion is a daily task that might seem boring at times, but it is the best way to get your book and you known to the public.