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So you have a great idea for a book. You have spent five years writing it and you expect it will be the next best seller. Have you given any thought to who will buy your book? How you will market it? What the cost for marketing will be? If you haven’t thought about writing a marketing plan and determining where to from here…you’d best get started.

Believe it or not, the best time to do a book marketing plan is at the time the book idea is in its infancy stage. At this time you can determine who the audience will be, how it will serve its readers, and how you want to sell and market your next best seller.

Typically book planning is a process for determining the marketing direction over a specific period of time. The plan needs to include goals and objectives along with action and timing for the items outlined. When you start writing your plan, it is best to jot down any and all ideas you have for marketing your book. After reviewing these ideas, it will be necessary for you to determine the best course of action to take based on recommendations given, your time and your budget. Once this first plan has been established, an ongoing review of what works and what needs to be changed is also important. Generally, you should estimate spending at least two years marketing your book to obtain the desired results.

Here is a list on how to get started with your plan:

  1. Write a summary of what your goals and objectives for this plan are:
    • Describe your book in 60 words or less. Much like your elevator speech you want to be able to briefly describe your book.
    • Summarize your marketing strategy. Will you do mostly online marketing? Will you do book signings? Knowing where you are headed will help in your strategy.
  1. Determine your Target Audience.
    • What are the demographics of your ideal readers (age, gender, ethnicity, geographic region, etc.)?
    • Are there other groups of potential buyers you should target (such as a children’s author targeting teachers and parents rather than just trying to appeal to the children)?
    • How is your book different from the competition?
    • Why should the reader buy your book?
    • Once you discover your ideal target audience or market, you must define them in a way that is very easy to understand. You can then begin to communicate this definition to those you network with so that they can clearly understand who might benefit from your services.
  1. What is your Marketing Budget?
    • If you have a large budget, perhaps you want to consider working with a publicist?
    • If your budget tends to be on the small side, can you do much of the work yourself through social media, local stores, libraries, other events?
  1. Determine your competition.
    • If you don’t feel you have any competition, think again. There are not many books on the market that don’t have some sort of competition.
    • How is your competition marketing their book? Can you get ideas from them and try these ideas for your book?
  1. What social media and online sources will you use?
    • What social media does your audience use? Each social media site has specific gender, age groups, eduction and salary. Find the one or two sites that work for you and your book and concentrate on those.
    • Website – If you don’t have a website for you and your book, now is the time to determine what you should have.
    • Blog/Guest Blog – Many writers do not want to have their own blog but it can be more than you want to do. If you fall into that category, it can be beneficial for you to find guest blogs where you can be interviewed and get some publicity for your book.
  1. Research. 
    • The key to  having an effective marketing plan and implementing it is to research. You can use search engines on the Internet to find answers, get ideas, and learn about your competition.
  1. Set Realistic Goals.
    • Once you have finalized your plan, don’t try to do everything at once. Do one to five things a day/week to market yourself and your book. Keep yourself on track with your marketing efforts and stay in the marketing “zone” by refining your activity list that lets you complete your goals–one at a time.

Having a good marketing plan is essential. Just as important is not only following through with your plan but be open to other ideas. As mentioned above, the Internet is really your most important and influential marketing tool available. You can reach a much wider audience by learning how to effectively market on the Internet.

A marketing plan should be reviewed continuously and you need to be willing to “tweak” it constantly. New opportunities will present themselves. You may be going in one direction and suddenly someone mentions a totally new market that wasn’t available in the past or that you hadn’t thought of. This is the time to be flexible and try new directions. Review your plan at least every three months and make changes as needed.

For more information about writing your marketing plan, email nikki@maineauthorspublishing.com.