Failing to plan is one of the most common mis-steps I see authors (and even marketers) make when marketing books. I think that one of the underlying reasons for this is fear. Not fear of marketing, but fear of creating one of those huge 50 page marketing plans that we remember from our “corporate days”. So I want to introduce you to your new best friend, I call her an Action Plan. An Action Plan is a simple, preferably single page, document that outlines your immediate action requirements. I like to keep mine handy, or even tape it to the wall next to my desk. Yes, an actual piece of paper. I am going to share what is on my Action Plan(s).
Target Reader: This is a single sentence that reminds me of a bigger exercise I have previously done to identify my primary target. EXAMPLE: Working mother, under the age of 40, who reads in the pick-up line waiting for her daughter after school each day before she goes home to finish working from her home-office.
Genre Category or BISAC Codes: If you know which category you are trying to climb it helps your targeting efforts. Done well, this can get you excellent visibility within your target readership. Here is a real world EXAMPLE (The Dark Light of Day by T.M. Frazier) :
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Contemporary Fiction > Urban
#1 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Urban Life
#3 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Urban
Websites of note: Whose attention (which websites) are you going after this week? If your readers are all about Mamapedia, get on there and comment on the articles they are reading. Find out what they care about and discuss it! If you do this often enough, you might be able to get the attention of the editors and write an article yourself. If it is a user content format, you should be doing this while also submitting your work.
Trending Topics: What is in the news this week that your target readers care about? Did you write a crime drama? Then you should absolutely be keeping up with, and discussing, any major crime headlines.
Social Media Target: Where are you spending the bulk of your time to attract new eyes? What are your goals? EXAMPLE: Twitter – follow 10 new people each day, follow back all relevant followers, tweet 5 articles per day that are NOT book related, get into one totally irrelevant discussion with someone new!
Bulls-eye Goal: What is the best case scenario for you efforts? Try to be realistic. EXAMPLE: Sell 10 copies of my book per day.
I find having a specific Action Plan gives me two major benefits – 1) I stay on track more effectively 2) I am less inclined to be overwhelmed by the task at hand (because it is a manageable single page with smaller activities to tackle). Even mountains must be climbed one step at a time.
Give it a try! Create your own Action Plan and let me know how it goes.