3 S.R. Johannes: Marketing Monday - Start off Right in 09

Monday, January 05, 2009

Marketing Monday - Start off Right in 09

Happy New year! Happy 09!

I hope marketing yourself or your book is on your list of New Year's Resolutions!
It is time to put a marketing plan in place for the new year.

Whether your book was published 2 years ago, last year, or will be published this year, everyone needs a plan and you can never be too late to start marketing as long as your book is in print.

Marketing Plans - here are the basic steps on how to get started:

1) What is your goal? This can be in the # of books you sell or the * of responses you get? You need to set a goal for yourself that your plan will always target.

2) Who is your target audience(s)?
Think about your market. Don't just think of kids as by age. There are other categories you can target with your marketing. Try and choose 3-5 categories. You will market to them differently.

For example: lets say you have a YA historical mystery book that is set in NYC in the 1950s. Your target audiences could be:
  • teens

  • regional NY

  • regional where you live

  • any group that promotes anything in the 50s

  • historical societies (esp. with a kid section)

  • historical museums (esp. with kids section)

  • any kids history group/club

3) What are the channels for each? Different markets use different channels to communicate. Think about that for each audience. It might be print advertising, Public Relations, publicity, direct marketing, direct mail, trade show exhibiting.

Create a excel spreadsheet that has a worksheet for each audience you identify. Then Google, Google Google that group and list all the contacts you can come up with. ezines, websites, clubs, organizations...anything you can find.

What is their basic need? How can YOU help THEM?

Then rank them 1 - 5 with 1 being the best mediums and 5 being the lowest.

4) What is your budget? You HAVE to invest in marketing. That does not mean you have to go bankrupt doing it. Maybe it is 10 or 20% of your signing bonus. Whatever it is - use it wisely.

You can be smart about it and there is a lot you can do on your own - making connections, ezine interviews, bookmarkers, business cards, stationary, articles, press releases, blogs Facebook and MySpace.

Save your money for things that matter like high-quality brochures, professional web sites, and ads, book trailers, podcasts, phone calls, etc.

5) What percentage goes where? You need to decide how you want to spend your budget - ads, PR, marketing, speaking engagements?

PR tends to be more effective than ads unless you are totally hitting your target market with your ad. For example: if you wanted to purchase ad in the NYC historical museums newsletters to families. That would be good. But to buy advertising in the New York Post may not be the best way to spend your money.

6) How do you communicate? - how can you contact all these resources? It is always better to do it by email or phone. Touch each contact at least 3 times. Try and make 5 contacts a day. Come up with a Unique Selling Proposition (what you do that is different than other authors in your genre) and the single most important reason you are different What can you offer?

7) Which market/channel is effective? You will have some hits and some misses. Keep track of what works and what doesn't. Revise your plan every year.

Other tips

  • Create your own story to appeal to different markets and channels

  • When buying a feature, always try and get a free feature.

  • If you ever write an article for any ezine or newsletter (etc), ALWAYS ask for a tagline. Promote your book in the tagline (XXX is author of. you can reach her at www.)

  • emarketing should be a huge part of your marketing plan

  • Follow up! Never assume the answer is No. Keep following up with contacts. At least 3 times.

  • Offer discounts. Buy your books and sell them at a discount to beat bookstores.

  • Partner with a charity or organization to cross-promote

  • Cross promote with other authors

Hope this helps!


Irene Latham said...

Helps a bunch! Surely they have historical societies for Great Depression... thanks for the jolt!

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

Its hard but once you change your mindset - you'd be surprised how many things you can come up with :)

Carrie Harris said...

These are some great ideas. I've always had a tough time narrowing down my target audience. Sure, I've got the age down pat, but to go past that is tough. So the example is greatly appreciated!

Anonymous said...

This is really good stuff. I have all these different "audiences" in my head but seeing your example articulated reminds me I need to do the same. Dayum this site is a goldmine!