Every indie author wears many hats. Besides being a writer, you must also be a business owner. This means that you need to have relevant skills in planning, management and marketing if your work is to reach your target readers.
At the core of every indie author’s successful works is a well defined and proven marketing plan. Your work might be great. But if you don’t fully understand whether the market is ready for your book and is willing to pay for it, you’re better off not writing it in the first place. That’s why I’ve created this detailed book marketing plan outline to get you started. The plan includes 8 different sections. Each section is explained below.
I recommend writing the summary section last. The summary briefly describes everything contained in all other sections of your book marketing plan. Some of the things to include in the summary include:
– A brief description about your book
– A brief description about your target reader
– A brief description about your findings regarding current
– A brief description about your marketing strategy
2. Your Target Reader
Every book appeals to a specific segment of the population. You’ll therefore need to be as specific as possible regarding who your target reader
is. Some of the points to cover at this stage include the following.
– What are the needs of your readers and how well does your book address these?
– What demographic does your reader fall under? Think about gender, age, location, income bracket and education among other factors.
– Where is it easiest to reach your target reader with your promotional message?
3. Market Analysis
Market conditions are constantly changing. You’ll therefore need to conduct market analysis to fully understand how current market factor might affect sales. Some of the points that you need to address at this stage include:
– Are there any obstacles that might negatively affect your books sales? For example, legislation or even emerging technologies that might make it difficult to sell your books.
– What distribution channels can you leverage to maximize on sales?
– Are members of your target market paying for similar books and is demand rising or falling?
4. Competitive Analysis
This step involves coming up with a plan how to beat your competition. You’ll probably come up against other indie writers as well as publishers looking to sell books to your target reader. Some of the important questions you must answer at this stage include the following:
– Who is your primary competitor?
– Does your competitor’s book effectively solve the readers primary needs (or is yours better at doing this)?
– At what price does your competitor sell their book?
– What is your competitor’s Unique Selling Proposition?
– How does your competitor promote and distribute their books?
– Does your competitor have a weakness that you can exploit?
5. Marketing Objectives
Although marketing is considered an ongoing process, you’ll need to set objectives against which to measure a campaign’s success. Objectives
must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time sensitive).
Here is a sample objective you can derive inspiration from:
I will sell 1000 copies of my eBook through my website by -ENTER DATE HERE-
Using SMART, this objective is:
Specific – How many copies you want to sell, through which channel and by when
Measurable – 1000 copies
Achievable – If you have an existing email list and a great marketing strategy 1000 copies is achievable
Realistic – Compared to saying you’ll sell 1 million copies in the same time frame
Time sensitive deadline set for example at 31 December of the current year.
6. Your Marketing Strategy
Now that you have your marketing objective, your next step will involve coming up with a strategy how to achieve it. Using our objective above, what are the steps needed to achieve it? One of the best ways to come up with a clear marketing strategy is to consider the 4Ps of marketing.
The book itself. How does it look and appeal to your target reader. Think about factors like design, length, graphics, packaging (physical or digital) and every other aspect regarding it.
Depending on your target reader, price might play a role in determining whether you achieve your objective or not. Will the price you charge be fair enough for the buyer and still leave you with a good profit? Will you offer discounts and what payment methods are you willing to accept?
You’ll want to consider how you’ll get the word out about your new book. Will you rely on traditional media such as magazines, digital media such as social media or both? Is it possible to personally promote your book through seminars and events where your target readers are likely to be?
Your overall goal here is to find a promotional channel that will easily reach a huge percentage of your target readers at the lowest cost possible.
This refers to how accessible your book will be to readers. If you’re selling a hard cover book, what outlets will carry it? Digital books can be sold through different channels that range from your personal author website to third party websites. By increasing your books accessibility, you’re
essentially increasing chances of achieving your marketing objective sooner.
This step involves putting all the strategies you came up with in the marketing strategy section into action. This step also involves testing different strategies to identify which are bringing in the best results.
For example, you might decide to use your author website, social media accounts and paid online ads to promote your new book. After five days, you will be able to compare the sales generated by each method and decide to focus you energy on the channel that brings in the most sales.
At this point, you’ll also need to create a marketing calendar. This will help you keep track of every strategy you implement and set deadlines for specific goals.
8. Your Budget
Implementing your book marketing plan will require some capital outlay. Your goal is to acquire a book buyer at the lowest cost possible. However, there’s nothing like a zero budget marketing campaign. In many instances, you’ll start with a specific maximum amount you’re willing to inject into your marketing efforts. However, in order to have a more realistic amount, I usually suggest writing down each expense you’re going to incur. Some of the expenses you must include in your budget are:
– A domain name, hosting and possible web developer fees
– Special software such as webinar hosting software, email hosting (for list building)
– Specific promotional costs. For example, if you plan on using Adwords ads, Facebook ads, how much are you willing to pay for every click?
– Book production and distribution costs
Creating a budget makes it easy to price your book and depending on information gathered during market research, enable you create a sales forecast. It also makes it easy to set metrics against which to measure your marketing campaigns success or failure.