Nearly anything you do to share your book with potential readers counts as “marketing.” To use your time and energy best, however, it’s good to have some kind of author marketing plan. Your plan will help you stay on task and focus your efforts where they’ll offer the biggest return.
If the words “marketing plan” make you want to quit writing altogether, don’t worry. Creating a plan isn’t as tough as it sounds, and we’ll cover what needs to go into your strategy in the next few weeks.
Today, we’re going to talk about the pre-planning stages. Before you start deciding what and how to promote your book, sit down with your writing tools of choice and answer these questions:
1. Who’s your audience?
Who will like or appreciate your book the most? What do they like to read, watch, or listen to? Your audience’s interests will guide nearly every aspect of your author marketing plan, so it pays to understand what inspires them.
Aim for a list of 3-5 broad groups or categories of people who would appreciate your book. For instance, if you’ve written some neurodivergent sci-fi, your list will include “sci-fi fans” and “neurodivergent readers,” but it might also include “fans of lgbt fiction,” “fantasy fans,” or even “young adults.”
2. What makes your book worth reading?
Write several one-sentence descriptions of your book that would make you want to read it, even if you had never heard of it before. Keep working until you have 3-5 descriptions you like.
This exercise helps you see your book from the perspective of a reader. It helps you zero in on what’s most compelling about your book and what sets it apart. And it generates ideas that can form the basis of your book blurb, author bio, or other author marketing plan elements.
3. Who are you?
Finally: What makes you, the author, worth getting to know? What are your best qualities? What do you love sharing with other people?
Many readers these days are less interested in books than they are in following authors – and many authors capitalize on this fact by building strong social media or in-person followings. Build your own strengths into your plan so that marketing becomes something you enjoy doing, not something you have to do.