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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A2R Marketing: Book Launch Marketing Plan

You know the saying "Good ideas are a dime a dozen?" You're an author. You're filled with good ideas. So why is your bank account so empty?

Simple: It's the execution, dummy.

There are plenty of writers out there who write for the pure love of writing. Their desks and hard drives are filled with their efforts and they take pride and comfort just knowing they've produced essays, short stories, screen plays or any other written output. If you have decided to be an author who writes for others in the hope of finding readers who will pay for the privilege of reading your work, then you know that you are embarking on a different mission.

I'm going to assume here that you have a really superb piece of written work that has been thoroughly vetted by a professional editor or crowd-sourced editing. I'm also going to assume that this post caught your eye because you pressed the magic "Publish" button and nothing happened. Or very little happened and now you want to take your book to the next level.

Simple: You need a plan.

It's easier to make a step-by-step plan when you have certain core concepts down cold.

Key elements for a structured approach are:

1. Know your idea. Take the time and write three specific summaries of your work. By writing these three summaries, you have a "go to" encapsulation of your work when asked about your book for different platforms. Think of them as a tweet, Facebook post and back cover or dust jacket summary.
  • One sentence grab. The business world calls this the "elevator pitch." What would you say in the fifteen seconds when serendipity plunked you into the same elevator that Mr./Ms. Moneybucks is riding? What compelling tidbit would you share on why your company (a.k.a. "book") is the best investment of money and time s/he could make? This single sentence should sum up your book with excitement and compel a reader to want more.
  • One paragraph summary. Give a little more detail of the setting, characters and tension but insert the emotional ride the reader will experience.
  • One page description. That space on the back cover of your book or the inside flaps of the dust jacket is just waiting for the answer to "Why should I care?" This should NOT be a plot-driven summary. Give the readers a better sense of why the setting is important, who these characters are and the over-arching tension of the story. 
2. Know your audience. Know your genre, word count, audience, what makes your work unique (voice, subject matter, setting). Askville has a good summary of a variety of genres. The Atlantic as a very humorous description of different readers. Knowing these two points are essential for all future targeting you will do to your audience.
  • Write a one sentence summary of who your target reader is. Learn what their top "emotional words" are. Will "yearn" gain your reader's interest or will "search" work? (Feel the difference of "Jenny yearned for answers." or "Jenny searched for answers.")
3. Know your goal. Are you looking to become a Top 100 author? Targeting your book in a specific genre will help tremendously. You have a better chance of getting into the top if your genre is "French Chic Lit" rather than "Women's Fiction."
  • Break your goal into smaller pieces either by a time period or an event. "I will increase my author's rank by 20%." or "This week I will contact five newspapers and tell them about my book."
4. Know your tools. What do you have at your disposal for making it all happen? Signings, readings, give aways, book clubs, social media, review sites. Use them.
  • You need to have a "web presence" that will give potential readers the comfort of knowing their investment of money and time will be well made.
5. Know your budget. Go ahead. Search the web under "Book Promotion" or "Book Marketing." There are any number of ways people are looking to part you with your money. Even if you're lucky enough to have a big budget for a book trailer, ad placements, a full time PR person, and all other promotions, eventually the money is going to run out and you're going to be left to your own resourcefulness.

Be disciplined and create your own success.

Book Launch: Part 2
Book Launch: Part 3

More on A2R (Author to Reader) Marketing can be found here.