Why You Need a Plan to Market Your Book

Most authors aren’t marketing experts. If you’ve started writing as a creative hobby, I’m guessing you didn’t plan ahead to getting your books published, let alone marketing them?Most authors aren’t marketing experts. If you’ve started writing as a creative hobby, I’m guessing you didn’t plan ahead to getting your books published, let alone marketing them? It might have been a vague dream which became a reality once you realised you could afford to self-publish. But now, you’re facing the third step after the writing and the publishing phases: the marketing and sales. To help, let's look at why you need a plan to market your book.

7 reasons to build a book marketing plan

From talking to our authors, we came up with a list of seven reasons why a book marketing plan will make your life easier:

1. There’s never enough time
It may sometimes feel like there’s never enough time. You may have family responsibilities, caring for your children, grandchildren or your elders. You may still be working or contributing to your community. You may want to find time to write more, to benefit from the creative outlet writing offers. And you need to meet your basic needs for food, exercise and shelter - which usually include domestic chores! However, once your book is published, you’ll have to find space in your life to market it, otherwise your book sales and royalties will reflect the lack of activity. To help you re-frame your relationship with time, you might want to adopt a more positive mantra: "I have plenty of time for the important things in life." So, if selling your book is important to you, you need to consider the activities which will help you to promote it. A plan will help you clarify which actions you can take and how to spread them out among your other responsibilities. The goal is to make them simply part of your weekly routine.

2. Your budget is limited
If you’ve paid to self-publish, it can feel like an expensive journey to then allocate more budget to promoting your book. Again, the reality is, even if you had won a conventional publishing deal, most authors have to cover the costs of their own marketing. A few well-recognised author brand names will get a website done for them or an initial publicity campaign. But most have to pay for the help they need. So if you’re spending money on your book marketing, it’s worth having a plan to phase your outgoings and build up towards a marketing platform that can work continuously for you longer term. (To give you an idea of costs, we have marketing services listed for our SilverWood authors here https://www.silverwoodbooks.co.uk/book-marketing-services)

3. The list of tasks feels endless
Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. You can’t switch activities on and expect them to deliver results overnight. You have to consider which marketing tools will work for you and then test them, to see if they are effective at helping you reach your ideal readers. There are so many digital marketing tools to choose from, why not review each option, start slowly and build up your followers and connections? By breaking down the list of tasks into a plan, you can spread them out across a period of weeks and months. Having goals to hit in a plan will help you perceive the level of activity and small wins, instead of focusing on all the things you haven’t done yet. Overwhelm is well known to be a cause of massive procrastination, so you need to avoid feeling overstretched and out of your depth.

4. Your skills will be stretched
Talking of overstretching yourself, you are likely to need to learn new skills to market your book. Whether it’s setting up web pages or social media accounts and planning the content you’re going to share; or joining Goodreads and getting involved in the discussion forums, some of the marketing platforms will be new for you. Actually, new ones are popping up all the time; have you heard of Clubhouse - the audio-only networking format? Again, a plan which is phased over the next few months means that you can have a busy few weeks preparing for the launch of your book, but then move into regular routines to learn a new platform or skill set each month.

5. An authorial brand is a legacy
As you start to build your author brand, people will recognise your name and engage more with your posts and ultimately, your books, providing you are starting interesting conversations for them to join in. You may be wondering why you need a website, a blog, or a set of social media channels; however, if you think about it, your books and your brand can live on, long after you’ve gone. So start thinking now about who is going to help you with your marketing. Do you have family members who are proud of your work and willing to support you? They stand to benefit eventually if your books do sell well. Having a clear plan means it’s all documented for them to follow and carry on the activities which help market your books.

6. Your mindset matters
There will be days when you feel like you're wasting your time or your writing isn’t good enough and you’ll despair that readers won’t notice your book among hundreds of thousands of others. A plan is precisely the perfect antidote to days like these, because you don’t have to think too hard about what to post or where to promote your book. On a good day, you can decide your core themes and identify your author brand values and then stick to those in all your content. Consistency is key to successful marketing, but so is mindset. You have to believe you’ve got a great product (and if you work with SilverWood, we have rigorous quality-control processes) and be confident that readers are going to enjoy engaging with you and the stories you write.

7. Marketing wins deliver sales
A plan helps you track your wins. And your marketing wins can lead to higher book sales. If you connect with ten followers a week on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you’ll have 520 by the end of the year. Double that to twenty, and you’ll soon have over a thousand people potentially seeing your posts. You do need to remember that the algorithms are in charge of who sees what and engagement on your posts matters, because more people see the popular posts. You might also want to focus on one particular marketing channel which you enjoy using.

One of our astrology authors has been sharing her content on YouTube for several years and now has over 170,000 subscribers to her channel. Another author started her Instagram account and within six months of publishing her book built it up to over 1,000 followers. But more importantly, her readers are sharing their photos of the book. At the time of writing, her book sales reached over 1,500 for the last three months. Some authors do use adverts to promote their books, but this works best when you have a really well-defined audience to target. That’s the foundation of any good marketing plan: knowing who your audience is and how to reach them.

Want to know more?

If you would like to know more about publishing your book, please drop us a line here.

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Book Marketing Consultation

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“If you’re thinking of self-publishing, I hope you don't go at it alone. With a team like SilverWood behind you, you have the support you need to publish the best work you believe in.”

J A Higgins