I'm an author and an author consultant working hard to help authors create a marketing strategy to publish and sell more books.
In this blog, I hope to give you easy tips and tools you can consider for helping your books along in this competitive market. I've included a worksheet here if you'd like to create your own marketing plan. Click here to download a copy.
What is a Marketing Plan?
A marketing plan is a roadmap used in crafting a cohesive strategy to market your books. I'll use Joe Schmoe's books to help create a mock marketing plan as a sample. Feel free to create your own marketing plan using the tips and tricks in this blog.
The elements of a marketing plan are Price, Product, Placement, and Promotions.
Let's take a look at these elements and see how our author Joe Schmoe, can improve his marketing efforts.
1.Price: What price points are Joe's eBook and print (and other formats) and are they relevant to current market conditions?
Joe's Ebooks are $6.99. On Amazon I looked up other books in his genre (Mystery, Crime, and Thriller) and realized his price was a bit high compared to other books in his genre when you pull out the top authors who can charge a premium price. Joe's competitors were selling for $2.99-5.99 on average.
If your books are priced too high, you're limiting your sales. Consider lowering your price to be closer to what the genre is selling.
There are separate categories for your print book, do the same type of research for the price of your paperback. What are comparable titles selling for? In this example, Joe's paperbacks are selling for $18.90, which fits nicely with similar price points in his genre.
2.Product: What are you selling? Write a brief description of your books, genre, and how you are selling your books.
Joe Schmoe writes in the Mystery, Crime, and Suspense genre. He has five books with the latest “The Plunger in Peril” published by MacDaddy Publishing. One book, "The Third Armpit", is published by Books for Armpits Publishing. Joe does well with sales from his website, selling on average one a day but needs to increase sales online.
Describe each book with a short blurb. This forces you to come up with an elevator pitch version of the plot. Here are Joe's blurbs.
• "The Plunger in Peril" - Book 1 -- A crime scene weapon, a plunger, is locked in the evidence drawer and someone is out to steal it. Who is the thief, and are they connected to the original murder?
• "The Color of the French Horns" – Book 2 -- This story is based on a true account of one man’s obsession with brass instruments.
• "Sweet Sandcastles" – Book 3 - Dreamers can be murderers -- Can the sandcastle killer be put to bed at last?
• "The Third Armpit" – Book 4 - A strange experiment turns deadly when a man is given a third armpit, and all hell breaks loose.
• "Life and Times of an Eraser Sniffer" – A Memoir.
Pro Tip: Consider new ways to use existing products to create another income stream. For example, publish a trade paperback (smaller version) to offer a cheaper paperback option) or combine books into a boxed set — minimal effort for a new product to sell.
Suggestion: Joe should combine the four books in his series into a boxed set to create another product. Also, he should publish an eBook for "The Third Armpit." As soon as possible, Joe should publish another book to bring more attention to his backlist.
3.Place: Where are your books distributed?
Joe’s books are available as eBooks on Amazon (except for "The Third Armpit" is only in paperback) and other outlets including Barnes and Noble. He sells well on his website. His publisher is in control of where the books are sold.
Suggestions: One recommendation is to get his books in libraries and smaller bookstores.
Pro Tip: If you’re independently published, you have more control over where your books are sold. You can be exclusive on Amazon and in addition to your sales also receive income through KENP Page reads. You keep more of your royalties with this option (called KDP Select) as well, but your eBooks cannot be sold on other sites.
4.Promotion: How will you tell readers about your books?
A study from Verso Digital shows that there are seven strategies that sell books. I will address each below and provide some links to more information.