Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
Step 1: Set your tactics
Using all you’ve learned above, list every way in which you’ll reach your reader around publication. A classic marketing framework may look like this:
• Paid (marketing you pay for): Digital ads, flyers, tchotchkes, etc.
• Earned (marketing you have to earn): Book reviews, features, interviews, social media influencer outreach, events, bookstore adoption, etc.
• Owned (marketing you own or can build): Website, email list, social media presence, promotions, etc.
These are all the tactics that will support your strategy. Be as exhaustive and creative as you can.
Step 2: Build your schedule
Marketing a book can start 6-12 months before a book publishes. This isn’t just setting the groundwork. Events, select media outlets, and a strong social media platform have long lead times.
Looking at each of the tactics you want to employ, figure out how long each will take. If you set a goal of having 1,000 people on your email list, start work early. If you want to create a Snapchat presence, be realistic about how long that will take. Each type of media outlet has its own lead-time, too (plan for at least one month with online, TV, radio, and newspaper outlets; and at least three months with magazines and events). Without establishing what needs to happen when, the amount of work can feel daunting. By creating a schedule, you can compartmentalize the work and diligently build toward your goal.
Step 3: Create your plan!
Once you have your strategy, know the tactics, and have a sense of timing, you’re ready to pull them all together into your marketing plan. Here’s an example plan similar to what we use at Inkshares (with specifics removed) to give you a sense of what it might look like:
When we first talk to an Inkshares author about the marketing of her book, we send her our marketing plan, talk about how we built it, and walk through what she can expect in the months up to and after publication. It doesn’t mean the process is suddenly easy or that there won’t be surprises, deviations or disappointments. But without a direction and a plan, it’s easy to feel rudderless, floating around hoping the fish bite. Once you know where you’re going, figure out how to get there, and pick the right bait, much of the stress and anxiety dissolves—even if no one can guarantee you’ll catch anything. And maybe you’ll even start to enjoy the ride.
This post was adapted from a post on the Inkshares blog titled “The Inkshares Marketing Guide for Quill Authors.” Quill is a “light-publishing” option on Inkshares for authors who don’t hit their full Inkshares pre-order goal.
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