Friday, August 15, 2014

Do I Need a Marketing Plan? by Sarah Negovetich

You've put in a ton of work getting your book ready for the world. Seriously. A Ton.
First you wrote the book, edited it to within an inch of its life, sent it out to beta readers and critique partners, edited it again, threw it across the room a few times, polished it up, and typed the end. Then you either dug into the query trenches, found an agent and then a publishing house OR you took the indie path and prepared your book for publishing on your own. Either way, when you reach the point that your precious book is about to hit the public in the face with its awesomeness, you've already invested countless hours on it.
So, I can understand why many authors throw their hands in the air and say 'forget it' when the topic of writing a marketing plan comes up. How much more can the world demand of you? You're a writer, darn it, not a marketing guru! Your book will sink or swim based on its merits, not on any publicity you could get.
These are valid emotions to have, but they aren't helpful. In fact, they are counterproductive to the goal you had when you wrote the first sentence of your book. At least, I'm assuming it was your goal to have people read what you write. The truth is, no matter who you are or how good your book is, you need a marketing plan if you have any hope of getting it in the hands of readers. Here's why:
1. A plan keeps you from spinning your wheels.
There are a lot of different ways to market your book. Blog tours, reviews, press releases, vlogs, radio shows, local media, library visits, book signings...well, you get the idea. It's easy to get sucked into the idea that you have to do it all. And without a plan, it's even easier to think that you can.
But you can't do it all. You can't even do half of it. With a plan you can put your activities into a calendar and get a realistic idea of how much marketing you can handle. Without a plan, there's a good chance you'll get sucked into too much. And when you take on too much, you won't be able to do anything to the best of your ability. The result will be a lot of lack luster promotion for your book that is unlikely to achieve the desired result, more sales and more readers.
2. A plan keeps you from spending all your royalties.
Oh, the joy that an author gets from slapping their book cover on every inanimate object within arm's reach. Look, it happens. We want book marks, buttons, tote bags, t-shirts & coffee mugs. And that's just the swag. That doesn't count the cost of shipping, advertising, travel , or all the other little incidentals that can so easily add up. Without a plan you might find yourself with a box full of rubber wristbands and $1.15 left from your advance.
With a plan you can see ahead of time where you need to spend money and how much. You can also see where there are opportunities to save by bargaining, bartering and trading. A marketing campaign can be affordable, but only if you plan to be. A plan lets you keep control of how much you're spending so it's not a surprise when you get to the end of your marketing efforts.
3. A plan lets you work smarter, not harder.
When you know ahead of time what you want to do to market your book, you can coordinate all those ideas to make them work the best together. For example, you would get a better bang for your buck to run a sale at the same time that you purchase advertising or send out all your press releases. Giveaways work best when you coordinate them with a tour or blog hop.
And don't forget, you don't have to do your marketing alone. A plan lets you reach out to other authors and promote your books together, but only if you know ahead of time what you're going to do.
So, are you convinced that you need a marketing plan? Great! I hope you'll join me at the Storymakers Midwest conference on September 20th, 2014. I'll be teaching "Marketing Plan in an Hour" where attendees will leave with an actionable plan for marketing their next project. See you there!

Register for the conference here!


Sarah Negovetich, Corvisiero Literary Agency

Sarah knows you don’t know how to pronounce her name and she’s okay with that. Her first love is YA, because at seventeen the world is your oyster. Only oysters are slimy and more than a little salty; it’s accurate if not exactly motivational. We should come up with a better cliche.

Sarah divides her time between her own writing and working with amazing authors as a Jr. Agent and PR Team Leader at Corvisiero Literary Agency. Her background is in marketing, which is not as glamorous as it sounds. FYI, your high school algebra teacher was right when they told you every job uses math. Sarah uses her experience to help authors craft amazing stories, build platforms, and promote their work.

Sarah’s conference classes include:
One Hour Marketing Plan
The Agent/Author Relationship (co-taught with Nichole Giles)
Query Letter Workshop (paid class)