10 Tips to Starting A Marketing Plan

You’ve just finished writing your novel. You sigh proudly—I’m done. You may feel like a bear, blinking in the sunlight, as you emerge from the cave. Then you heard words like ‘advertising’ and ‘marketing plan’, and dread set in. What does that really mean and how do you get started?

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is the means by which you plan to make your book known to potentially interested readers. The goal is to expose your book to as many people and places as possible thus increasing your sales. Pretty cool!

Why should I create one?

Just like many things in life it can be really helpful to have a plan of action, especially with something as important as a novel that you worked really hard on. It would be terrible to be caught up in a jumbled mess, bouncing from one idea to the next, in a desperate attempt to advertise your book without any real success and a lot of wasted time and money. It can be easy for books to get lost in the vast masses. Having a marketing plan can help provide you with a streamlined and mostly stress free course of action to make sure your book stands out and reaches your target audience.

How do I create a marketing plan?

Here are a few tips and tricks to help get you started with forming your own marketing plan! It can be beneficial to try and at least come up with a rough marketing plan before your book is even written so that you can hit the ground running when your book is ready.

1. How much money do you have to spend?

Financial limitations are a really good thing to keep in mind when creating your marketing plan. This will help to guide a lot of your choices. For example a tight financial situation would make it difficult to do a book tour, so instead you might opt to do an online author Q&A session.

2. Define your audience

Defining your target audience gives your marketing plan focus. Knowing your audience help you maximize your efficiency by not wasting your time and dollars advertising towards those who would most likely not be interested.

3. Find out where your audience hangs out (online)

Those that strictly e-publish may have a foot up. Since your book is available online in an eBook format, you know where your audience is finding their reading material.

4. Draw up a list of everyone you know/Get your email list ready

It’s always a good idea to gather a group of close friends or family that may be interested in reading your book. You could even send these people free copies of your eBook. The best form of advertising is word of mouth.

5. Plan to get reviews, testimonials, or quotes (comments)

People can be hesitant to read books by authors they haven’t heard of before. And garnering professional reviews can be difficult since they can take hours to write. Instead, ask for a “blurb” or “short comment”.  (Positive) Reviews carry weight in the buying decision and can generate interest in your book.

6. Should I create a book trailer?

If it’s within your budget, a book trailer is a fun, creative way to engage your target audience and obtain more exposure for your book.

7. Interviews / Conferences / Speaking opportunities

Interviews and other speaking opportunities is another good way to drum up interest in your book. It engages readers when they get to ‘meet’ the author behind the novel and it can give them a good idea of whether or not they may be interested in the novel.

8. Set your market price/ How will you fulfill orders?

It’s a good idea to keep in mind what kind of price you want to set for your book and what your plan is to fulfill orders.

9. Plan your timings

Don’t forget to think hard about timings for everything. You want to make sure that you spread events out enough to keep a steady thrum of interest, however you don’t want to spread it out far enough that people lose interest or your advertising becomes confusing.

10. Set realistic goals

It’s important to have realistic goals in your marketing plan. But you also don’t want to create a plan that too impossible or overwhelming. Instead, set realistic goals that fit within your budget. This is your work and you should definitely feel proud but you also need to have fun. Now it’s time for other people to get the chance to enjoy all your hard work.

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