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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Why Marketing Plans Are Important to Authors

Regardless of whether you're pre-published or published, writers should consider creating an annual marketing plan. Such a plan helps you evaluate where you are and prompts you to think about where you want to be at the same time next year. Otherwise, you're just floating along and hoping to make progress without really being deliberate, consistent, or strategic.

If you have new books coming out, you probably have a book launch campaign and you could incorporate that into your overall plan, but don't let your campaign be your only plan. There are some basic steps you can incorporate into your daily routine that will build your platform while you write the next book. If you're pre-published and you aren't yet doing any speaking engagements, radio talk shows or book signings, I'll bet you're online and could benefit from a marketing plan that would increase your social media platform.

It isn't necessary to hire a professional publicist to create your marketing plan unless you're published and at the stage where you need to take your platform to the next level. If you've never written a Marketing Plan, you can start out with something basic, depending on how much time, money and effort you want to put into your marketing plan. No boiler-plate marketing plan is going to work for everyone. We are all different, our schedules vary, our talents unique, and our books are in various niches. The marketing plan you create for 2012 may not be the best one for you in 2013.

Below are some basic categories I would suggest to start. 
  • Book Launch Campaigns - If you have any new books coming out this year.
  • Internet Presence - This is your home place on the web. It's usually your domain location whether it be a static website or a daily/weekly blog. 
  • Traditional Media - TV and radio shows, newspapers and magazines, and places to distribute media releases. These days most authors are concentrating on using traditional media through local outlets unless they are a huge NY Times best seller.
  • Social Media - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and YouTube, as well as online forums.
  • Digital Media - Blog interviews, e-zines, podcasts, videos, and video book trailers.
  • Speaking Engagements - Conferences, workshops, webinars, video conferencing, Skype and Google+ Hangouts.
  • Book Signings & Readings - Some of these are just signings and others allow authors to provide a reading, offer Q & A, or give brief presentations.
  • Print Publications - Graphic Design and printing of bookmarks, flyers, business cards, postcards, signs, banners, magnets, and memorabilia.

If you noticed, I've absorbed Public Relations into Traditional, Social and Digital Media. It's started taking on different forms these days, but should be utilized in all three mediums as needed. How best could you see yourself using a Marketing Plan? Do you think it would help keep you motivated and give you milestones to target?


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