Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Marketing Savvy and The Modern Writer: Write Your Own Marketing Action Plan

Now more than ever, authors need to lead the charge on their marketing. Many agents and publishers expect their clients to have a marketing plan started before they even consider a manuscript. It can seem intimidating, but gathering some research and organizing your information to put a plan in motion is worth it.

This is what I recommend to get you started:

SYNOPSIS: Include three lengths; a log line, a short synopsis like jacket copy, and a full page.

AUTHOR INFORMATION: Draft a short bio, and some information about your platform. Platform isn’t just for non-fiction anymore. Know why YOU are the person to tell your story.

FUTURE: Know how you plan to follow up the project you are marketing. Whether you are writing or researching your next book, you want your audience to follow you as you build your brand.

CUSTOMER: Knowing your audience is crucial to positioning your project for success. Understand your genre, and where your work fits on the retail bookshelves, as well as in online markets.

COMPETITION: Know who your competition is. Having competition is important. It means you have an audience, and people are hungry for what you are writing.

MARKET OPPORTUNITIES: Once you have identified your customer and competition, you can identify market opportunities. Where are your customers buying books and entertainment? Online? In stores? What else do they read? What are their interests? These are the places you want to feature information about your book and consider spending your hard earned dollars for advertising.

IMAGES: All authors should have a good headshot in a digital format. When your cover art becomes available, having that in digital form is great for publicity too.

PRESS RELEASES: Once you have a publication date, having a press release for your book is the way to get your information out to the public with the media. Releases are also a good way to get reviews, announce a book tour, event appearances, speaking engagements and more. Always make releases timely and use the correct format.

MEDIA LIST: Start building a list of local media outlets including newspapers, magazines, online publications, radio and TV stations and find out how they accept press releases. There are also online services like that can help you distribute releases for a fee.

THE BIG INTERVIEW: One of the goals of your press releases is getting interviewed by the media. Draft a list of interview questions to make it easy on your interviewer. Many media professionals really appreciate it. Also take the time to rehearse answering your questions with family and friends to get comfortable speaking about your work.

CREATE AN ONLINE PRESENCE: In today’s world having an author website is essential. It is also a good idea to build a mailing list and offer a rewards program to your readers. Blogging and social networking are two more great ways to get your name and project out in the world.

Once you’ve gathered your research and created these elements, many of them can be used in your virtual press kit. Your Marketing Action Plan will evolve of the course of your book launch and sales, and you’ll be glad you started early. Today’s writers need to dedicate time and energy to the business of writing regularly, and having a basic plan in place can really help you navigate the process effectively.

Remember, you write the story of your career. Choose your words wisely. Your success story is waiting to be told.

October: Big Ideas, Small Budget - DIY Marketing Tips for Writers

Susan Mitchell has a degree in English from Northern Arizona University. Her work has appeared in literary magazines including George and Mertie’s Place, Poetry Motel and Wordwrights. She writes and produces local television commercials, promotions and programs. She has written and produced projects for TLC, regional ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates. She is a frequent speaker at writer’s conferences and enjoys helping writers grow their marketing arsenal. Susan is currently completing work on a darkly humorous horror series.


Patricia Stoltey said...

Having learned most of what I know about marketing on the fly, after my first mystery was published, I still find articles like this one very helpful, Susan. For future books, I definitely need to pay more attention to a press release and media contacts.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Susan!

Now, I only need a STORY....