On Pre-Release Marketing Mountain – Author Business Plans, Part 3

Welcome back to our continuing Wednesday series on Author Business Plans!

If you missed Part 1 (the Overview) or Part 2 (Writing the Dreaded Synopsis) the links will take you there.

Today we’re looking at Part 3 of the Author Business Plan: Preparing Marketing Strategies.

The business plan section on Marketing Strategies normally has three sub-sections or components: pre-release marketing, release week (or “around release”), and marketing efforts after the “release publicity” push. We’ll look briefly at each in turn.

Pre-release Marketing usually involves building a platform and making your presence known. Advertising about your book plays a role, but so do things like learning to manage social media, writing a blog, and connecting with other authors, industry professionals, and readers.

The connections need to be real, however. You can’t just shout your name and book title into the Internet and expect a horde of readers to appear at the bookstore clamoring for your work. (And if they do appear, they’re probably waving pitchforks instead of pocketbooks.) You need to become an information-provider, someone who offers useful or interesting information that readers want to know.

How do you do that? Think outside the box!

Is your book non-fiction? Become an expert in your field (unless you already are one, which is a bonus) and then share that expertise in the online arena. Writing fiction? Surprise – you still have something to share. You can talk about writing, or research, or something totally off-the-wall (seahorses and pipefish, anyone?) – if you have the creativity to write a book, you have interesting characteristics to share. I guarantee it. The pre-release marketing section of your business plan is the place to flush your uniqueness out of the weeds.

When preparing the pre-release marketing section of your business plan, spend time brainstorming three different areas: platform-building, connection-building, and book marketing. Note that only one of these involves the specific work! The other two are about you, the author – and remember, personal connections and shared expertise are far more effective marketing strategies than yelling about your book will ever be.

Whose book would you rather purchase: one written by a friend/acquaintance who responds to you on Twitter or one written by an author who you know about only because (s)he constantly yells at you to buy, buy, buy?

Other people spend their money that way too.

You don’t have to write down only marketing strategies you currently use or have familiarity with. Before the book releases is the time to experiment – to get out there and learn!

You may want to subscribe to newsletters like Shelf Awareness or Author Marketing Experts. Start reading Publisher’s Marketplace. Pay attention to Twitter links, particularly those that lead you to blogs by successful authors talking about their marketing plans – what worked (and didn’t work) and their experiences with the publishing process.

Traditional authors can learn from successful self-published and Indie authors – and vice versa. The digital realm is available to all – and you can do a lot of marketing and platform-building for relatively little cost if you investigate the options.

This is a lot to take in for one post, so I’m splitting out the “release week” and “post-release” marketing sections to the coming weeks. If you’re following along and writing a plan of your own, your “homework” this week is to brainstorm three ways to make connections with other authors and industry professionals and two ways to increase your platform in the months before your book release.

Some ideas:

Blogging. Writing a blog, or making guest appearances on someone else’s established blog. Guest posts are a great way to ease into blogging without the commitment of maintaining a blog on your own. So is participation in a group blog – why not get together with a group of author friends and start one?

Teaching and Public Speaking. If you have expertise, people in your area may want to hear it! Libraries and civic organizations often love to host interesting, engaging speakers for salon-style lectures and evening presentations. (The key, of course, is “engaging” – if you’re not comfortable in front of a group, a visit to Toastmasters or a public speaking class may be a helpful investment.)

– Effective Use of Social Media.Jump on Twitter (or your social media outlet of choice) and find people with interests similar to your own. Join the conversation. If you can’t think of anything “new,” try offering encouragement to those already speaking. Everyone loves support!

Have you been brainstorming about your pre-release marketing? Do you have questions about the process? Hop into the comments and share!

4 thoughts on “On Pre-Release Marketing Mountain – Author Business Plans, Part 3

  • August 22, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    The timing for this series is perfect as I’m currently working on my business plan.

    I’m finding that writing a single book plan is difficult because I’m also working on building my “brand” as a humorist. Writing is one very important part of that, of course, but not all of it. Appearances, for example, could be solely book-based or they could be performance-based and also sell books. Since everything I do has the potential to contribute to the over-all brand building, I’m realizing that I need to complete that planning process before I can effectively plan marketing for my book.

    So rather than thinking about how my online platform or speaking engagements could be used to market my book, I’m thinking about how each can be used as equally important platforms for marketing the others.

    Mostly, though, I’m thinking about when I’ll finally be able to quit my day job…

    I’m learning a lot from your posts and tweets–thanks!

    • August 22, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      This is a very important point – I’m glad you stopped by to comment! When your larger brand is something over-arching, like your status as a humorist, it’s very important to see how each part integrates with the larger whole. That’s a very savvy attitude and the right way to be looking at the situation.

      I’ve noticed your interactions on Twitter, and I think you’re definitely going about building the platform the right way.

      I’m glad this series and my Twitter-ings are helpful!

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