May 30, 2009

"Writing a Marketing Plan"

For the past few days I’ve been working on a marketing plan as a requirement of submitting to an LDS publishing company. Since I had no idea what I was doing, I did some research online and asked some of my writing buddies for advice. Here is the abridged version of what I’ve learned.

A marketing plan should look professional. Always use complete sentences and use the name of your book as often as you can. Be positive and confident. Don’t write things like, “I hope to be able to do book signings . . .” but rather, “I will participate in personal marketing events that include book signings. . .” List as many as you can.

A marketing plan should include the following headings and information:

Target Audience: This should describe who your audience is, why they will want to read your book, why your book is different from all the others out there and how you plan to reach your target audience. Always keep your target audience in mind and tell the publisher why they need your book. Do the research and be specific.

Goals: This is where you should list (full sentences) what goals you plan to reach. This should include how much time you are willing to put into marketing your book, projected sales and what you feel your book will accomplish for the reader. You may write something like, “Book Title will sell (amount) copies in the first year.” Or something like that. State what you hope to make happen through your book and your hard work. Be optimistic but realistic. Do research to know what numbers are within your reach and show you are confident this book will sell.

Objectives: (Action Plan) This is where you will list the actual marketing techniques you will use to sell your book AND yourself. Here are a few sample lines.

1 - I will participate in personal marketing events that include book signings, seminars, media interviews, writing conferences, book clubs and any other marketing tool that would increase sales.

2 - I will take full advantage of all internet networking devices such as blog book tours and contests, Facebook, Twitter, web page, book trailers, pod casts, etc.

Depending on what the publisher requests, this may have to have more detail than just a list. For example, if your book is non-fiction and is geared toward a specific audience, such as “How to Rebuild a Lawn Mower Engine,” you would want to tell the publisher about your expertise in this area and be more specific about your plan. You may list certain conventions or seminars and how big of a market you plan to reach. You get the idea.

Strengths: This is where you can brag a little. Tell them your education and experience in the genre you are submitting. You will want to tell them if you have experience speaking in public or presenting to large groups. Are you good with the public? Do you have access to a media source that would benefit your sales?

Conclude by stating your mission and purpose. Remind the publisher you are willing to do your part, that you realize books don’t market themselves and that you are willing to work hand in hand with them to make this book a success. Then thank them and sign your name.

At the bottom of mine, I also included my contact info, web site and blog addresses.

Well, that’s it in a nutshell. I’m no expert in this department, but that’s what I learned. If anyone else has any ideas or information to add, please feel free to do so.

Thanks to Lori Conger for all her help. A lot of the above came from her suggestions and advice.

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