Book Marketing Tips: Goals and Tactics

Why do you need a marketing plan? Because you want people to read your book. You need a clear idea of what you want for your book and how you’re going to achieve it. I’ve tried winging it for the past..several years. I’m not seeing any results from it. Since I want my books to a part of my business, I need to figure out how to make money off of them.

Before you create a marketing plan, you need to know your audience- what books are similar to yours; your audience’s age so you know what social media to focus on; your genre- my books tends to be called mystery, thriller, dark fantasy, supernatural, paranormal and sci-fi. I focus on dark fantasy. It’s the best way to describe my stories. It’s easier and cheaper to market only to dark fantasy readers.

Before I started my plan, I examined my current “market”- Blog, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook Analytics; Intagram, Google+ and Tumblr follower numbers- so I get a handle on what I’m working with.

Goals: what you want to do. Tactics: How you’re going to do it.

It’s good to think big, but you need to be realistic with your goals.

Here’s an example from my marketing plan:
Goal:  Sell at minimum $200-$300 worth of books a month

  • Establish a newsletter and offer book samples to those who sign up
  • Release a permanently free short story/novella 
  • Facebook Ads 
  • (Future) Get on others’ email lists (BookBub) 
  • Run giveaways using Rafflalcophor 
  • Create Audiobooks 
  • Share excepts from my WIP on Bublish to build interest
$200-$300 worth of books is just some number I pulled out of the air. I’m not selling any books a months so at this point, $200-$300 seems realistic. I’d love that number to be higher but I’m starting small. 
Goal: Grow blog followers, pageviews, shares and comments
  • Keep posting 3 times a week
  • Schedule posts so I won’t have a day when I don’t know what I’m going to blog about 
  • Sign up to be a blog tour host 
  • Tweet posts using hashtags 
  • Keep doing The Week in Links 
  • Encourage people to email me 
  • Put a call to action at the bottom of each post 
  • Use numbers in the headlines 
  • Do more behind the scenes design posts 

What if you’re a first time author and don’t know anything about book marketing. This is where Google comes in. Don’t search for “How to sell books?” That’s way to general. Googleing “book marketing plan” is a bit better. 

I follow:
Joanna Penn
Jane Friedman
Joel Friedlander
Dan Blank
Writer Unboxed
Social Media Examiner
Publishers Weekly

When I need marketing advice, I visit those sites.

Groups help too. Writers are nice. If you ask us a question, we’re more than happy to answer it. Join a group, online or offline, and ask your marketing questions. Someone will be able to point you in the right direction.

If you have the funds, book conferences and festivals are great. They usually have panels where authors talk about how they became successful.

Gather what you’ve learned and use it to develop tactics to reach your goals. As you can imagine, this takes time. That’s why many, many publishing professionals say start marketing before you finish writing your book.

Also, if one of your goals is to grown your following on social media, break down the tactics per account. What works on Twitter will not work on Facebook.

Goal: Get more engagement on: Twitter

  • Mention influential people I’m following
  • Mention fantasy and horror books I’m reading and their authors 
  • Find book bloggers and retweet their content 
  • Retweet content from fantasy, sci-fi and horror followers 
  • Tweet 6-7 times a day 
  • Vary content between links to post, images, videos and tips with no links and posts about the writing process 
  • Start #hashtag where writers, authors and readers can ask me questions 
  • Participate in appropriate trending hashtags 
  • Tweet on Saturday
  • Use strong Call to Action terms- please retweet, help, follow and how to, download, free trial and sign up now
  • Use numbers in tweets such as 6 Tips to… 
  • Schedule most in advanced using Hootsuite
  • Tweet evergreen content from blog
The above examples are from my author marketing plan. Here’s something from the plan I’m creating for The Lost Sciell: Book 3 of The Merging Worlds series coming in June.
Goal: Drive Preorder Sales
Tactics: Content Marketing 
  • Create image quotes from books 
  • Write blog posts on themes from the book 
  • Blog post about world building as it relates to The Lost Sciell 
  • Do a behind the cover/cover reveal 
  • Talk about updating the book’s maps
Do you have any marketing questions? Ask them in the comments or email me at audendjohnson (at) gmail (dot) com!

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Update: The Lost Sciell will be available soon.