A friend recently asked for advice in developing a marketing plan—to submit to a major retailer. Some smaller presses now also expect authors to submit a marketing plan. I’m no expert, but I have developed several marketing plans, and I’m creating a new one for the September release of Secrets to Die For. So I decided to share what I know.
Actually, I have two type of promotional plans: one to send to publishers and distributors, and one for myself to keep me on schedule. Today’s example is an external marketing plan. I’ll blog about my internal promotion timeline on Thursday.
My external marketing plan is organized by subject headers such as the following. This example is just a framework and not a complete plan. It’s important to be as specific as possible, either providing a complete list or giving a specific number of contacts in each database.
Ongoing Online Efforts
- blog twice a week
- maintain/update author website
- collect e-mails for newsletter
- attend conferences such as Bouchercon
- social networking through Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Send ARCS (include a complete list for each of these categories)
- major reviewers (Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, ect.)
- magazines (Ellery Queen, Crime Spree, Entertainment Weekly, etc.)
- newspapers (Washington Post, Register-Guard, etc.)
- authors (list of authors you know who might read and blurb book)
- genre websites/blogs (Reviewing the Evidence, Crime and Suspense)
- promotional flyers to mystery bookstores (90 in database), libraries (56 in database), and book clubs (75 in database)
- promotional material to organizations/blogs with connections to book’s content: (for The Sex Club, I listed Planned Parenthood, NARAL, National Organization for Women)
- send out e-mail announcement to list of 400 readers
- Print 500 bookmarks to give away at signings, conferences, etc.
- Print 100 promotional flyers to give away at signings, conferences, etc.
- Other ideas: postcards, pens with book name, buttons
- October: buy small ads with Mystery Scene, Ellery Queen, Crime Spree
- Place online ad on The Graveyard Shift
- blog book tour (guest blog at 30 sites in 45 days)
- guest blog regularly after book tour
- book signings at 10 local bookstores (Borders, UO bookstore, Mystery
- selling/signing at several local book fairs (Art & the Vineyard, Lane County Fair, etc.)
- Member of: Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Willamette Writers
- Send promotional material to each group
- get book into group databases
- participate in any promotional efforts available through membership
- June: send ARCs out
- July: prepare and print promotional material
- August: send out promotional material and e-mails
- September: blog tour and book signings
- October: blog tour, book signings, guest blogging
I learned all this by reading, researching, joining listserves, watching other writers (Joanna Slan is an amazing marketer), and just doing it. My plans always include everything I’d like to do, but in reality I may not be able to afford it all.
What have I missed here? Share your marketing ideas…or marketing misfires.