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Book Marketing Plan – Must You?
by Deborah Greenspan
Yes. You must have a book marketing plan. Why? Because if you don’t market your book, you can be certain that you probably won’t sell many copies. A successful book, like a successful business, requires marketing and promotion. You can do this haphazardly, or you can make a plan. I guarantee that those authors with a book marketing plan do better than those without one. I’ve seen it over and over again.
When I suggest this to authors, many ask me what a book marketing plan is. Is it a willingness to do book signings? A succession of Facebook posts? A twitter account? Should they write a blog? Maybe they should send out postcards or give books away? What should they do? All I can say to all this is: “Yes. Do it all. Do everything you can think of. Do you have a book marketing plan?”
Your book marketing plan starts with your target audience, and no, your target audience is not “Everyone!” (Though many authors like to think so.) Unless your budget is unlimited, you cannot possibly market to everyone anyway, and you don’t want to pay to learn that marketing to everyone is the same as marketing to anyone. Marketing to anyone means losing money. Narrow down your audience, and decide what type of people want to read your book the minute they hear of it. These people are the focus of your book marketing plan. You may plan to grow from there, but you have to start where you’ll be most welcome.
For example, let’s say we want to create a book marketing plan for a book about man’s relationship to God. You might think everyone would be interested, but that’s not true. Ideas are territory, and people are very defensive of territory. No one wants their terrain invaded by ideas that are not in agreement with what they already believe. They want to read books that support and confirm their ideas, not books that try to change their minds, so don’t waste your time. Decide who already wants to read your book and figure out how to market to that reader.
For example, Spirals: The Connection, a book about man’s relationship to God, logically takes apart an epiphany, a mystical vision, and defines all of life through this lens. It is decidedly new age and metaphysical. It is not for everyone. So how does the author find the audience? New Age bookstores and websites are a good way to start. If the author checks these out and does the research, she can develop a book marketing plan that uses the tools that work with her available time and budget.
It’s all about focus. Find your audience and focus on that audience. Set up your book marketing plan to target that audience and keep targeting that audience until it responds. Then keep going. Unlike writing a book, which can be neatly tied up with two words–The End–marketing is more like a hammer searching for a spot to drive a paper nail. Until you find an existing opening, you must keep hammering away, throwing away test nail after test nail until you are able to sink one. And then you do it again.