It doesn’t matter if you publish your book through print on demand or traditional publishing, you will always have to market your book in order for it to be successful. Sure, traditional publishers will promote your book more than print on demand publishers, but you shouldn’t leave all of the marketing work to the publisher. A publisher will appreciate the time and effort you put into marketing your book and you will increase your sales — making your publisher and you happy.
To promote your book successfully, you will need a book marketing plan. You should create this plan before your book hits the shelves. The marketing plan will alsonhelp you write the proposal for your book, and it will help you market the book for pre-sales. Furthermore, after the book hits the shelves, you will have your plan in front of you to follow.
A book marketing plan isn’t hard to build. Basically, you will answer five questions: Who is the target audience for your book? What makes your book different from your competition? When will you start marketing your book? Where will you advertise? How much do you plan to spend on marketing each month? Now let’s better define each of these five things through examples.
Your target audience is the people you believe will benefit from your book. These are the people you want to get the message out to. For example, let’s say Jane has written a book entitled Cooking Fun with Kids: 100 Recipes You Can Prepare With the Kids. We know from the title of Jane’s book that she will be giving us 100 types of food we can cook with our kids. Since Jane knows what she’s going to write and include in her book, her next step is to determine “who” she will sell the book to. Jane wants to target an audience that will be interested in her book, because she doesn’t want to market to someone who won’t have any interest; this would just be a waste of her time.
Based on the information above, Jane’s target audience might include parents (single and married), grandparents, daycare providers, bookstores and grocery stores.
Now that Jane knows “who” she wants to market her book to, her next step is to compile a list of things that makes book different from others that are similar to hers. But why does Jane need this list? Simple, when she goes to create her sale ads and materials, she’s going to want to tell her potential customers and publisher “what” makes her book different. Because there are already books out there similar to hers, Jane’s potential customers and publisher will want to know “what” they can learn from her that they don’t already know from reading the many other books similar to hers.
So what does Jane tell her potential customers and publisher about her book that makes it different from all the others?
1. Cooking Fun With Kids provides healthy recipes for your child and you.
2. (Author’s name), (title of competitor’s book), fails to provide simple and easy recipes. Furthermore, (author’s name) doesn’t provide meals that are quick to prepare with your kids. Cooking Fun With Kids not only provides you with meals that you can quickly prepare with your kids, but it also provides you with meals that are simple and easy to prepare.
3. Over (number) recipes in Cooking Fun With Kids calls for simple ingredients that won’t cost you a lot at the grocery store.
4. Cooking Fun With Kids includes recipes you and your kids can make from a can.
5. Not only will you discover recipes in Cooking Fun With Kids, but you will also find creative recipes for craft projects that you can make with your kids, and all these craft projects are prepared with food.
When comparing your book to a competitor’s book you will want to compare it to a book that’s selling quite a few copies. A good way to find some of those books is by doing a search on Amazon. Once you come across books similar to yours, look at only the titles that Amazon is listing as bestsellers. Finally, read the negative reviews of the bestselling books that are similar to yours. Many times the readers who leave negative reviews will say what the book is missing.
Now Jane needs to decide “when” to market her book. Here’s what she has come up with so far:
1. After the publisher has accepted the book, create a sales page on my website. Also, contact reviewers for book reviews to help my sales. Place a link on my site where customers can go to pre-order the book.
2. As soon as the book is released, send out press releases to television stations, radio stations, newspapers and distribute them on the internet.
3. Everytime I run a contest for my book, do a book signing or speaking engagement, make a television or radio appearance or etc., send out a press release and place announcements in the newspapers.
The publisher agreed to publish Jane’s book. Now, Jane needs to decide “where” she will place her sale ads, send press kits, send brochures, tack up flyers and etc. To do this, Jane can refer back to her target audience list. Based on her target audience she could place ads in local and national newspapers, place ads in food and parenting publications (print and electronic), visit local grocery stores and talk to the manager about stocking her book, send a press kit to local bookstores, visit local bookstores and speak with the manager about arranging a book signing, send a press kit to local libraries… her list, of course, could continue to grow.
Finally, Jane needs to determine “how” much she can afford to spend on marketing each month. To stay within her monthly budget, Jane can increase or decrease this amount at any time.
Tips for Creating Your Book Marketing Plan
Follow your book marketing plan, and cross out or highlight each completed task, but only cross off the tasks that you will do once. Other tasks may require weekly or monthly marketing, because marketing will always be needed for as long as your book remains in the marketplace.
Refer back to your book marketing plan often, so you can record which marketing methods are not working out well (mark these off your list) and which methods are (make these your top priority).
To help you out, I’m offering you a free book marketing plan in Word format. Download the free book marketing plan for each of your current and upcoming books.
Best wishes with your marketing endeavors!
P.S.: Jane was a fictional character that I used as an example. At the time of this writing, the book that I used does not exist either, so if you’d like to actually write Cooking Fun with Kids: 100 Recipes You Can Prepare With the Kids, feel free. All I ask is that you give me credit for giving you the idea by linking to my website using Misti Sandefur, Christian Author as the anchor text. 😉