Welcome back to our ongoing series on “How to Write a Business Plan for Your Book.”
In case you’ve missed any part of the series, I’ve added links to the previous installments at the end of the post.
Today we resume our discussion of the third section of the business plan (Marketing Strategies) with a look at marketing “after the party’s over” – how to plan your marketing efforts for the period after the book’s initial few weeks in release.
The third section of the business plan contains your plans and strategies for marketing the book, and serves as a marketing road map. It’s divided into three sections: “Pre-release marketing” (meaning, the time until pre-orders start), “Release phase marketing” (which includes the period from the start of pre-orders until about 4-6 weeks after the book’s release date), and “Post-Release Marketing.”
Post-Release Marketing starts as soon as Release phase marketing ends.
4-6 weeks after release, your book shifts from “new release” to “available title;” initial buzz (and, often, sales) begin to decline. Sometimes the buzz lasts longer – for example, when a book hits one or more bestseller lists – but that’s not something you can plan for.
Whether a book breaks out or not, eventually sales and buzz recedes as another “new thing” hits the shelves. Having a marketing plan for the post-release phase helps you prepare for ” what happens after.” A plan can also help prevent depression and frustration as your book moves from “new release” into the post-release phase.
Here are some tips for planning your marketing in the post-release phase:
Step 1: Don’t get depressed when sales numbers drop! Books, readers, and sales all have cycles–that’s the business model. Realize: sales drop-off after the release phase finishes is normal, and not “your fault.” It’s part of the cycle.
Step 2: Continue blogging, social media efforts, and–most importantly– writing something new. Never let your blog, social media, or writing stop or stagnate, and plan the time to continue them into your business model. In post-release phase, shift back to writing blogs and articles based on your areas of expertise, hobbies & interests, or the general subject matter of your books. Keep accepting interviews if they’re offered! Continue to talk with book clubs and other local groups that express an interest in you and your book.
Essentially, plan to return to your pre-release “normal” – blog, interact on social media, and continue developing your expertise and contacts. Mention your book when appropriate – but do more than shout your title and purchase links into the wind. Increasing your visibility by providing useful content will help extend the life of your book–even without obvious ads.
Step 3: If you advertise in post-release, do so judiciously and pay attention to returns on investment. Once the release-phase marketing ends, you may not find it cost-effective to continue advertising your book (at least, not as widely as before). Consider your resources, and make decisions based on the way each 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 new publishing options and something to stay excited about. Writers write. (Authors auth?) As long as you keep moving forward, you won’t have time to worry about what’s behind you.
The best post-release marketing for your last book is writing your next one.
Have questions or tips about marketing or business plans? Hop into the comments and join the conversation, and join me next week as we move into the next section of the book business plan.
In case you missed any previous installments, here are links to the rest of the series:
Part 2: The Business Plan Overview