Saturday, November 19, 2005

Rule 5: I think, therefore I plan

There are two ways to approach your book marketing. You can leap in now and start looking for opportunities and jump in and try them. Or you can start by writing a plan. The marketing savvy author writes a plan. Why? Because by planning will help you maximise the impact of your marketing activity. You won’t just be reliant on individual bits of marketing and publicity and their direct success or failure, you’ll be able to plan various activities to happen concurrently – and this is where marketing can have its greatest pay-off: the sum can grow to be greater than the individual parts. Open up a new word processing document and type at the top your name and the title of the book you’re about to write your plan for, and then in big, bold letters write “Marketing and Publicity Plan”. It might take you an hour, it might take you twenty, but time invested in planning is not time wasted. It's time invested in sorting the wheat from the chaff and giving your book the best possible chances with the resources you have. Begin by defining your objectives. What do you want to achieve and by when? I suggest you make your objectives as specific and realistic as possible. Then define and profile your audiences (see Rules 3 and 4). Then do what in marketing jargon is known as a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for: Strengths, Opportunities, Weaknesses, Threats. Type each of these as a heading and below each make a list related to you, your book, publisher and external factors. Include here the amount of time and money you expect to be able to invest in your book promotion. By listing your, and your book’s, SWOTs you’ll have a good idea what you have to your advantage, and what potential difficulties you may have to overcome. Now, the final part of the plan, a list of the marketing and promotional activities you are going to pursue. Organise these under headings by type: e.g. Events, Publicity, Direct Marketing. When deciding whether or not to pursue a specific activity, consider whether it’s an effective way to reach your audience and what’s known as the ROI – return on investment, i.e. what you’ll get out of it versus what it will cost you in terms of time and money. Now you’ve done the thinking, you can get on with executing your plan. It’s dosen’t mean you can’t modify your plan as you go along, or take advantage of new opportunities. It’s just gives you some armour to go into marketing and promotions and get out of it what you want.


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