"The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time."
--Thomas Edison (italics mine)
Marketing! The term that strikes terror in the hearts of no one...but should. Those writers who've been through the task of creating a marketing plan know what I mean.
When the glorious day of acceptance comes, we start fretting over edits, dithering over which pen to use for signings (me--guilty) and cringing at the thought of sitting at a table in B&N, with a stack of books nobody wants signed (guilty again). I never gave marketing a thought.
Now, I'm in the midst of creating a marketing plan. Most small presses (like mine) will require you to do a healthy portion of your own marketing. I can tell you, it takes hours and hours of research and planning. Below is a list I received from our managing editor last week on how to begin the process. It is by no means complete, but I thought it might be interesting to read.
1) Set up your blog at http://www.blogspot.com/. Blog about your writing.
2) Join facebook.com, linkedin.com, authorsden.com, myspace.com, Jacketflap.com, hubpages.com, whohub.com, editred.com, redroom.com, published.com and twitter.com. Complete your profiles.
3) Write or update your promotional plan:
Start your promotional proposal "The author will give talks and do publicity in the following XX major markets:..." Follow this with a list of the large cities and their satellite cities that you will get yourself to. Give yourself a national tour.
The author will continue to give XX talks a year.
The author will sell X,XXX books a year." First-year sales may be higher than those in succeeding years because your book is new, and you're promoting it. If your book is published as a hardcover, sales may be higher after it's published in paperback. Later sales may also be larger as you become well-known or as your future books build the market for your previous books.
If you can, establish a partnership with a business or nonprofit organization that will commit to buying a large quantity of books, sending you around the country as a spokesperson, or lending its name to the book, make the last page of your proposal a letter from your partner with as long a list as possible of what the organization will do to promote your book.
List what your media/speaker's kit will contain. Give round numbers for the lists of media people to whom you will send the media kit. Indicate which of these people will receive a promotional copy of the book.
List the ways that you will use your Web site for promotion.
List trade and consumer conferences and conventions at which you know that you will be able to speak during the first year after publication.
List your contacts at media who have told you they will do a review, an article or an interview on publication.
List opinion-makers whose names will give your book credibility and salability in fifty states two years from now and thereafter; who will give you quotes for your book?
Consider doing two promotion plans: one for when and after your book is published and a lifetime plan.
End your promotion plan like this: "The author's promotional efforts will be coordinated with those ideas of the publisher."
4) Set up your website for your new title.
5) List tie-in merchandise and organizations.
6) Write your book summary.
7) Write a back cover blurb.
8) Write a chapter out-line for each book chapter to prepare for your art work.
9) Plan your Book Launch. Think in terms of about 18 months from acceptance to tentatively set a date.
10) Start your sequel.