Welcome back to the continuing Wednesday series on author business plans and how to write them. As always, I link to previous installments at the end of the post.
Today we’ll talk a little about marketing “when the party’s over” – continuing efforts after the book release and the surrounding publicity push.
As I mentioned last week, “release phase” marketing lasts about 3-6 weeks, depending on the author’s stamina, planning and opportunities. About 4 weeks after release, however, the book shifts from being a “new release” to an “available title” and the initial buzz and related sales begin to decline. This timing isn’t set in stone. Sometimes release buzz lasts much longer – for example, when a book hits the New York Times bestseller list – and sometimes the release phase happens quickly. A lot depends on whether the author’s work achieves critical mass through word of mouth, effective publicity, and the unknown “X factor” no one can describe in any detail.
Some books take off, others don’t. But eventually sales spikes fade and buzz recedes as another “new best thing” hits the shelves and pushes every author’s book to “post-release” status.
Step 1: Don’t let this depress you! Books, readers, and sales all go through cycles. Understanding the business model will help you realize that the sales drop-off isn’t your fault. It’s a normal part of the cycle.
Step 2: Continue blogging, social media efforts, and writing. Your blog, social media accounts and writing should never stagnate, though the focus may shift a little when the release phase for a given project ends. At this point, you should revert to writing guest blogs and articles focusing on your areas of expertise or the general subject matter of your book. Accept interviews if offered! Talk with book clubs and local groups that express an interest in your book.
Essentially, return to your pre-release “normal” – blog, interact on social media, and continue developing your areas of expertise and your contacts with friends and industry professionals. Don’t forget to mention your book when appropriate – but do more than just shout your title and genre into the wind.
Step 3: If you advertise the work, do so judiciously and pay attention to returns on investment. Once the initial marketing push ends, you may not find it cost-effective to continue advertising your book as widely as before. Consider your resources and the available options, and make decisions based on the way a specific marketing effort translates to sales. If you advertise, but see no related purchasing spike, the advertisement isn’t cost-effective.
Step 4: WRITE ANOTHER BOOK! Always keep a project in the works. That way, no matter what happens with sales, marketing, or any other part of your career, you always have something to stay positive and excited about. Writers write. (Authors auth?) And as long as you keep moving forward, you won’t have time to worry about what’s behind.
Remember: the best marketing for your last book is your next book.
Have questions or tips about marketing or business plans? Hop into the comments and join the conversation. I love to hear from you!
And for those who may have missed an installment, here are links to Part 1 (the Overview), Part 2 (Writing the Dreaded Synopsis), Part 3 (On Pre-Release Marketing Mountain) and Part 4 (Marketing for Release Weeks)!