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Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Marketing Plan

I'm glad I waited until I got past my first few bouts in the marketing ring to write this post, because a marketing plan needs to be realistic, and a few punches to the gut give a person better perspective. I also wanted to add a post on the marketing plan for my blog followers and for the people attending my free workshop, "Fundamentals of Self-publishing," February 19 at Paulina Springs Books in Redmond.

The three main reasons self-publishers aren't successful, assuming they have written something worthwhile, are: failing to look at self-publishing as a business, ignoring the internet, especially its social networking components, and not having the time or energy to work harder at selling their work than they spent writing it.

The marketing plan is crucial to treating self-publishing as a business, and you should actually begin putting your plan together even before you finish writing your book. For one thing, identifying your genre and audience early on aims your writing at the very people who will eventually buy your book, and letting people know in advance what you are writing about--on FaceBook, Twitter, in chat rooms, or on your own website or blog--produces a buzz that can result in quick sales after your book is printed.

Every marketing plan is unique, but below are some of the elements that should be included:
(1) genre
(2) target audience(s)
(3) retail outlets and potential book signings
(4) demographics
(5) synopses (long, short, and really short--the "elevator pitch")
(6) why you wrote the book
(7) a short bio of you
(8) a social networking plan
(9) potential reviewers
(10)media resources
(11) a mock press release (for practice)
(12) a good picture of you
(13) a list of direct marketing opportunities such as conventions, trade shows, street fairs, etc.
(14) publicity strategies
(15) opportunities for business networking
(16) a running list of your own ideas and those people suggest to you (People can be so helpful!)
(17) advertising plans, if any

You should also be reading other authors' books in your genre and looking for stories similar to yours or authors whose writing styles are similar to yours.

Don't let this rather awesome list scare you. Not all of it will be applicable to you, and you don't have to put it together in one day. Think of your marketing plan as a flexible tool you can add to or change during your entire journey through the world of self-publishing.

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