Saturday, November 21, 2009

Plot Your Marketing Efforts

Plot Your Marketing Efforts
By Angela Wilson

Marketing is a lot like writing a novel.

With a novel, you start with an idea, then flesh it out, write several drafts, revise them, critique them and revise some more until the final, finished product is ready to send to an agent or publisher.

Marketing takes just as much forethought and planning. Here are some tips to get you started:

Research your audience. Who reads your books? What other authors do they like? What social networks are they on? How old are they? Would they like your book as a gift?

Devise a plan. Sketch out ideas for reaching your readers. Don't hold back; just write down everything you can think of, from book signings to virtual book tours to appearances at virtual writing or reading conferences.

Revise the plan. Once the initial creative marketing spark dwindles, look over your list and pick out the marketing points that are doable based on your time and budget. Don't try to do everything - you will only get overwhelmed and spread yourself so thin none of your efforts will make a ripple. Do focus efforts on marketing tactics that you would enjoy. For example, if you don't like public speaking, but love Facebook, consider hosting a Facebook party instead of booking live engagements.

Execute marketing efforts. Authors spend anywhere from one to three months promoting a new release. It is up to you to decide what type of schedule works for you. Plan out each day with some type of marketing task - and DO it! Writing will take a backseat during the marketing phase, but once marketing is complete, writing can once again be your No. 1 priority.

Take inventory. Keep a record of what marketing efforts worked and which did not.
Don't expect to do everything right the first time. Every marketing strategy has ups and downs. The trick is to keep notes about what works and what doesn't, so the plan can be adjusted for the next book tour.

You may not want to market, but it is a requirement for most authors today who want to continue to sell books - and net contracts. The key to successful marketing is to work smart. Create a plan - just like you create a novel outline - so you have vision and direction. Don't overbook events and don't try to be a super-human marketer. Schedule marketing events around family and work life - the same as you do writing.

Angela Wilson is an author, social media consultant, and online marketing strategist. Visit her blog, Click here, to learn more about cost-effective marketing strategies for fiction and nonfiction authors.

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