Are you looking for ready-made author marketing plans? Hoping to find a simple checklist that tells you everything you need to do to get your book out there to a wide audience? Well, sorry … I have some bad news for you.
Why Author Marketing Plans Need to Be Customized
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No two books are alike. No two authors are alike. And the audience for one book will be drawn to things that are drastically different from the audience for another book.
Here’s are two examples (note: these are completely made up):
Judy Smith: A children’s book author who writes a series for girls ages 8-10 about tween drama.
Mike Jones: A historian who writes biographies about war heroes in American history.
What would you recommend as a “standard” marketing plan for these two authors? What things should they both be doing?
Sure, some of it would be the same. Yes, they each need an ISBN. And yes, likely an author website and/or a Facebook page. But beyond that? Almost nothing about their author marketing plans would be the same.
Some examples of what Judy’s author marketing plans might include are:
- A press release speaking to teachers/librarians about her series
- A presence on Instagram/Facebook (to reach moms)
- Fun online games on her website for girls in her target age group
- Offering free copies to parents she knows and asking them to spread the word
- A fun book launch party at her local community center, dance school or gymnastics school
- Speaking engagements at elementary schools in her area
And Mike’s author marketing plan might involve:
- Local events at libraries/senior centers
- Book readings for local veteran’s groups
- A presence on GoodReads, speaking to those who are interested in history
- A comprehensive SEO strategy to drive traffic to his author website when people search for terms surrounding historical war heroes
- Some targeted ads on Facebook for those with an interest in the topic
See? Night and day.
One Example of a Unique Author Marketing Plan
I recently came across this article about a bestselling author using virtual reality as a marketing tool for his book. I must admit that I had never thought about this as an option for authors, but it made all the sense in the world.
Guy Garcia’s new book, entitled Swarm, is described as “a fast-paced, action-packed novel with an undercurrent of technology, showing how its evolution is faster than we, as people can absorb or understand — and how it’s changing us in ways we can’t possibly predict.”
So, of course, people who are interested in that type of book would be attracted to virtual reality. Hence his idea to use VR as a marketing tool.
In the VR experience he created to promote this book, he allows readers to “enter Swarm’s virtual reality” and “bring readers inside the mind of a character who is born online and rules a digital realm with the power to transform the real world.”
Here are a few quotes from him about how he came up with this idea and why….
“The key to marketing your book is embedded in your characters, and your story and the emotions and ideas that drove you to write the book in the first place … That’s your audience, find out what they do and where they are and go after them.”
“You are the best salesperson to represent your ideas and passion, and the most convincing billboard for why people should pay for the privilege of reading your work.”
“Swarm, because of its subject matter and story line, is inherently suited for mixed reality marketing platforms, but marketing books of any kind with only standard ad and promotion channels in mind is a limiting strategy, full of missed opportunities.”
How to Create Your Own Author Marketing Plans
Not having much knowledge myself about virtual reality or the genre of his book, this is not an idea I ever could have come up with myself. But as Guy says himself, YOU are the best person to come up with your marketing plan.
In other words, you may have a wonderful team of people that can create your online presence for you, write press releases, and try to spread the word about your book. But no one knows your genre or your audience better than you do. And the best ideas about how to reach them in a new and unique way is likely floating around in your mind.
Here are five things to keep in mind as you try to come up with your own version of the virtual reality idea…
- Who is reading your book? How old are they? What gender are they?
- Where are these people spending their leisure time? Online? At a senior center?
- What is it about your book that appeals most to them?
- What can you offer them that’s different and unique?
- What do you know that your readers would like to know? How can you share that with them?
- How can you take advantage of technology to connect with them?
Again, I can’t spell out your author marketing plans. I don’t know your book, your subject matter, or your audience the way you do. Nor can I create a templated list of items that each and every author should check off to promote their books.
Instead, I hope this advice will help spark ideas for you to put together your own successful marketing plan. Good luck!