A Publishing and Marketing Plan
Every book or article you read on the subject of publishing will tell you that the very first thing you must do is draw up a marketing plan for your project. Judging from our mail and phone calls, 90% of all new authors and publishers skip this step, write, print, and bind their book and then call us or their local bookstore or newspaper eager to find out what to do next. This is a good way to wind up with a splendid library of volumes in your cellar, attic or garage consisting of one (unsold) title.
Human nature being what it is, we know that some of our readers will already find themselves in this situation. Wherever you may be in the publishing process, now is the time to draw up a marketing plan if you haven’t done so already. In a marketing plan, the following questions have to be answered:
- Who will buy this book?
- How will I let these customers know this book exists?
- Where will they find this book and buy it?
- How will I make it available in these sales outlets?
Simple, right? Not. A marketing plan is relatively useless unless it is very detailed and very specific. To each of the questions above there are seductively simple and general answers but they will not help you. Detailed answers will not all come at once but rather over time and in a continuing and developing process of information gathering and research. But you need to start with as many specifics and as much detail as you can muster.
Time to bring your yellow legal pad or your computer database program into play:
- Customers – Information – Sales Outlets – Reached by
- Friends – Make address list – Personal notes, telephone – Me
- My Town – Daily Beagle (John Quill), Monthly Blah (Ann Plume), WQRX, “My Day” (Sally Talk) – Village Bookstore (G. Sales), Barns & Nibble (Ny Hdq.) ,Gifts ‘n Things (J. Crass) – Me
- My Region – City Times (Joe Plod, Bks.), Able Cable TV (“Books R Us”) – List of bookstores, list of non-book outlets – Mailing
- Mailing – “WeSell4U” (Bob Clip) – Local Book Wholesalers – Letters
- National – Ingrained Book Co., Books & Tales, etc. – National Wholesales to book retailers and libraries – Letters
- Special (make list) – “Horses Today”, “You and Your Horse”, “Gallop” – Brass & Buckle Tack Shop, National Horse Assn. – Me, letters
and so forth and so on…the longer and more detailed you can make this list the better your chances of sales success.
It is not a process you can skip. It is much more useful and productive if you undertake to do this before you set pen to paper on the book itself. The process helps you to learn how real your expectations are for the book you have in mind.