Welcome to the world of book publishing. When you decided to self-publish you became an author-publisher, and that implies a higher level of seriousness and responsibility than someone just messing around by putting a book out.
That’s why you need a plan for how to sell your book, even before you publish it. What you need is a marketing plan.
Trouble is, it’s time consuming to try to figure out how to create your own marketing plan, and costly if you try to get someone else to do it for you. That’s why many authors simply skip it.
However, studies show that the more you put into marketing your book, the more books you’re likely to sell.
So here is one solution, my pared-down, super-time-saving, and, in fact, the Word’s Shortest Book Marketing Plan.
(Just because it’s short doesn’t mean it isn’t a powerful tool to orient you in the right direction. Try it.)
Book Title ________________________
Estimated publication date __________________________
- Why publish this book?
[Think like a small press publisher. Look at your manuscript. Would you invest $10–20,000 to license this property? Does the book, if it’s nonfiction, have a large enough universe of buyers to support the book? Does the book do something no other book does? Provide new information, new processes, does it do something better than existing books? In other words, what’s the reason this book needs to exist?]
- Who will buy and read the book?
[How well do you know the kinds of readers the book will attract? Can they be categorized, and in what ways? What are their preferences in books? How much do they typically pay for books like yours? What exactly motivates them to buy books?]
- Where can you find those readers?
[Resources are limited and need to be deployed to maximize return because unprofitable publishing businesses eventually publish no books at all. Are there online ways to find and interact with these readers? Offline? Are mailing lists or email lists available? Do your social networks include a high percentage of these readers? Do they know you as an author?]
- How can you put this in front of them in a compelling way?
[What will please, delight, shock, amaze, or otherwise satisfy your readers, since you don’t want to be boring. What kinds of incentives work well with your audience? What’s never been done before? Can you compel your audience to act?]
- Who will help?
[Is there a “network of networks” you can tap into that includes a lot of your readers? Do you have connections with, or can you reach out to media outlets that can spread the word? Do you have your own list of raving fans?]
There you go. Answer these five questions and you’re ready to get started. Good luck!