If you clicked into this article, you've either just written you first book ~ in which case, congratulations! Or, you're probably looking to write a book but don't know where to start when it comes to self publishing and advertisement. While self publishing as a whole is a can of worms I'm not quite ready to spill out yet, I can provide a basic guide of how to market your book to both your followers and a brand new audience.
The basic way to market your book is to set up a charted marketing plan, detailing:
venues (either physical or online venues including social media platforms)
people involved or contacts to reach out to
However, before you begin this chart, your book needs to have a few key details to work with. These include your finalised story blurb and synopsis, a front cover or design plan in the works, knowledge of what formats you plan to publish your book, your budget, and a publication date to work around. As an author it would also be good to establish what you are prepared to share about yourself, since author information is often used for advertisement. These key points will allow you to approach your marketing plan with an educated consistency and will help you complete your plan efficiently.
This is the main 'ideas' section that will be the basis of your marketing plan. While you can have unlimited strategies for publishing your book, and it's great to consistently work on advertising as many ways you can - it's commonly advised to stick to around five or six strategies surrounding your book release. This limit stops under-advertisement from occurring, while also making sure you can put the appropriate amount of focus on each strategy without being overwhelmed.
An example of strategies include social media posts focusing on both the lead up to your publication, as well as mid and post publication. Social media is a great starting place for self publishers, as for the most part (if you decide not to create a paid advertisement) it's free. A start would be to share content across the three main platforms, with author accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Other brief examples of strategies could include book launch events (in person or online), quizzes for audience participation, posters, press releases, utilising your mailing list (if you have one) and contacting peers for blog tours.
This section is as simple as it sounds - describe what each strategy is, and what jobs it entails. For social media posts, plan out how many you'd like in the lead up to your book, and begin prepping your content in advance to keep you out of a time crunch (make sure to include photos or other eye-catching content!). For events, include details on how they will be created and what you might need. It's important to not underestimate these descriptions, as this information is what you will use as a guideline for planning your time schedule. If you're making any content with visuals, as a rule make sure that it matches or can pair nicely with your design plan.
This is one of the most important sections of your marketing plan, as essentially you are identifying the customer base that you hope to profit on. Start by thinking - what genre are you writing? What type of person do you envision reading your books? What ages does it encompass? Make sure not to try to cater your marketing plan to underage audiences if you're writing adult content, and vice versa. Also, stay true to reality. If you're doing an in-person event for a book launch, catering to audiences in another country (who are unlikely to show up) for that specific strategy will be detrimental to the success of your event.
This is an easy section where you visualise what you hope to achieve with each strategy, all of which should include some degree of audience conversion to customers. If you're utilising social media, outcomes could include high post engagement, loyal followers and potentially an increase of followers. But once again, followers aren't valuable for you if they're simply unengaged or unlikely to buy your product - so don't go buying bots thinking it's doing you any good.
This is where you crunch down on the specifics for the ideas detailed in your strategy descriptions. If you are using social media, which platforms will you focus on? And if you have multiple accounts, which accounts do you plan to use for which strategies? I would suggest keeping a basic author account on each platform where you keep all of your main content, but sharing these posts onto personal profiles can only do you good. For more physical venues, you need to think about the actual possibilities of your strategy, along with its requirements. Is it reasonable to plan a meet and greet in a pandemic? Will you need safety strategies alongside your booking? Will a venue booking cost you, and can your budget afford it? If you're using Zoom for a meet and greet, how do you plan to release the Zoom room information? Think these details through and keep asking yourself questions until you can no longer find loose ends.
This section will either be extremely important or irrelevant, based on what approach you want to have in your marketing plan. It's 100% possible to have an entire marketing approach at zero cost, so don't feel the need to bump up some pricing if you honestly don't need to or can't afford it. Otherwise, if you really want to splurge or have ideas that require you to spend - make sure you tally these up in advance so that you're not left blindsided by a bill, and so that you can make constant adjustments if things change.
Make sure you get these dates right. These should all be scheduled ahead of time and include specific dates for which social media posts will go online at what times, when payments are due, what dates you need to have planning preparations sorted for venues, and so on. Most importantly, you should revolve these dates around your book's publication date.
For the self-starter who wants to take this on as a solo project, it will be a simple section, because you're probably the only one involved. But if not, it's important to think outside of the box at every possible personnel involved in each job. These include librarians if you plan a public reading, bloggers if you want to collaborate, and venue staff. Editors are especially important to consider here if you haven't already finalised that process.
With this basic breakdown, all you have to do is fill in the categories and put your plans into action. The hard work is mostly done, so let yourself be excited as people engage with your content along the way -and most importantly, focus on what you need to do to get your book published in full.
If you'd like more advice specific to your book or have any questions, feel free to send me a question here: firstname.lastname@example.org