Congratulations! You’ve written or are on the path to completing your manuscript. It’s been a long journey; yet in many ways the life of your book is just beginning. At this stage it’s important to begin looking ahead and planning how you will market your book–to consumers, to retailers, to workshop attendees, and more.
Before you can market your book, you need to know who your readers are. To what age group are you reaching out? Is your readership specific to a certain geographical location? Do they share a certain passion, like woodworking or knitting? Are they lovers of a certain genre, such as sci-fi or romance? Are there certain professional groups that are likely to be interested in your book?
The better you understand who you are trying to reach, the better you can plan where and how to reach them. For example, while a recent Pew Research Center study found that 13% of online Americans use Twitter, the same study found that the largest percentage of users are in the 18-29 age group. So, if you are marketing a book about paying for college, Twitter might be a bigger slice of your overall campaign than if you were marketing a book about financing a home.
Different blogs and publications have different readerships; by having a clearly defined picture of your reader, you can ensure that you properly allocate your resources (including your time) so that your campaign is as effective as possible.
Also, think beyond consumers at bookstores: Are there organizations that might be interested in purchasing your book? Attendees at workshops or speaking engagements? Think about everyone you are trying to reach, and then plan on how best to reach them.
What will your marketing plan look like? What materials will you need for your campaign? Every book is different, and goals differ as well.
For some books (typically nonfiction), an active ad campaign on Google makes sense. For others, a press release sent to specific areas and industries is an effective approach. For other books, an aggressive social marketing campaign is the right focus. And if you are planning to approach traditional media and websites that review books, then you will need a well-written pitch letter and press kit.
A well-rounded marketing plan–whether created and executed by BBP, a publicity firm, or you the author–will incorporate some or all of these elements.
Ultimately, the materials you will need depend upon where and how you intend to market your book. We encourage comprehensive online outreach, through your website, your WordPress blog, social networks, relevant blogs, news sites, and Google and other search engines. We also encourage you to actively promote your book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble.com, and Google Books, and to immerse yourself in online communities (more on that below).
Timing is a crucial element of book marketing. Decide when you want to release your book–your “pub date.” Is there a specific time of year or an event around which it makes sense to release your book? For example, if you’ve written a diet book, you probably want to release it in January, when many publications and retailers are focusing on “New Year, New You” themes. Or perhaps you’ve written a novel that is perfect for beach reading, or an in-depth exploration of a historical event that has an important anniversary coming up. Tying your book to events that are already getting media attention can be a great way to generate buzz for your book.
Another consideration is giving bloggers and editors enough time to review or feature your book. Certain national newspapers and magazines are considered “long-lead publications,” and require lead times of 3-6 months to schedule reviews or features. Many blogs and websites, on the other hand, require less time, as they don’t plan their stories or posts so far in advance.
Also, while publications want a review to come out on the heels of the book’s publication, a news story or other feature does not need to be linked so closely to the book’s publication. For example, if you’ve written a book on solar energy, and a new solar energy incentive is introduced in your state, your pitch to write a related article for an environmental blog would still be relevant after your book’s publication.
–by Meredith Hale, Marketing Manager at Edit911, Inc.