Publishing a novel is a huge step in your writing career, but it can also be very difficult. If you are a newly published author, or have never had your work sold before, a book marketing plan can be one of the hardest parts of the publication process.
The moment that your book hits the shelves, it becomes a business – and you become the brand. Although it can feel strange in the beginning, marketing will become an essential part of being a published author.
But how do you even know if it is working? If you are new to the process, how do you know where to begin? Because it can feel so isolating, knowing how to market your novel can be a seemingly impossible task. However, there are resources out there that can help, and other authors can help you, too.
Although it can be very overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. If you are prepared and provided with helpful resources, your writing career can be a breeze. If you have just published a new book or plan to write another one, here are some things to keep in mind when writing out your potential marketing plan.
Create Your Launch Team
A launch team is a collective group of people aiming to help you sell your novel. This trustworthy, hardworking team of people can be by your side through the entire process, offering themselves moral support.
While it may not be necessary to have a large or experienced team, especially if you’re just starting, a group of 10-50 people may be helpful. Depending on the size of your audience, the need for a launching team will grow.
If you are just getting your name out there, think about having close friends, family members, or other trusted authors by your side. The first step to writing is simply feeling supported, especially since it can feel like such a singular experience.
However, there is a point when you will have to grow your team. This applies to experienced authors who are beginning to write consistently. This is where you can begin to hire professional marketing specialists who are there to make your books a business.
When planning your team, start with your closest friends and work your way out. Write down the first names that come to mind, then spread out from there. This could mean that someone from your writing workshop could become a part of your team or even the local coffee shop owner.
Above all, make sure that the launch team you create celebrates you, and that it is a team that you feel completely comfortable with. When it comes to a marketing team, quality always matters more than quantity! Even if it is a smaller group, having one that is consistent, positive, and supportive is what matters most.
Set up a Social Media Strategy
There is nothing more helpful than the internet when it comes to selling your novel. Although there is an overwhelming amount of outlets available for you to utilize, making an appearance on social media can be an effective tool for selling books.
One way that you can use social media is by creating a separate account just for your business. If you have a professional outlet that allows you to interact with fans, customers, and people interested in helping you promote your work, it makes it much easier to keep up.
Take advantage of particularly trendy social media sites like TikTok or Instagram to promote your writing, especially if you follow reading communities. There may even be other influencers that could endorse your writing, which can get the word out about your new book quickly.
With that being said, be deliberate and selective about which social media sites you use. As mentioned previously, certain sites are going to be more popular than others, especially as time goes on.
If you choose TikTok and Instagram, stick with those two sites and consistently post about your work. While it is up to you whether you want to spread the word elsewhere, it can become extremely overwhelming, which will make it difficult to keep track of your audience.
Keep in mind that you are still a business, so when you make an appearance on social media, professionalism is key. Don’t post about something unless it’s about your writing, and only interact with fans when it has to do with the novel in question. Save casual conversations for your personal accounts, and try to handle difficult situations with courtesy.
Collaborate With Other Content Creators
Part of writing a marketing plan for your book entails setting up promotional collaborations. Whether you are friends with another author or have a former classmate who runs a popular podcast, getting the word out about your book doesn’t have to be a lonely process.
Get in touch with bloggers, podcast hosts, or influencers. Start with closer friends to see if they are popular on certain sites or know someone that may be willing to help. It might be slightly out of your comfort zone, especially if it’s something that you haven’t done in the past, but it could be extremely beneficial for your marketing strategy.
As you are writing your marketing plan out, have a presentation and/or prompt ready for any promotional events that you are invited to. Take the opportunity to prepare everything ahead of time so that you can feel confident about what you’re marketing.
With that in mind, make sure that you have a few extra copies of your novel set aside for promotional material. Get this done ahead of time so that you already have a signed copy of your novel when the podcast host asks for one.
Above all, take the opportunity to practice being in the spotlight. Although it may not be your area of expertise, taking some time to rehearse a bit will help you feel prepared for anything that comes your way, especially when collaborating with other people.
Set Up a Website
Take advantage of the calm before the inevitable storm of marketing to create a website if you don’t already have one. Not only can a website allow your audience to find all of your books in one place, but it’s another great way to market your work.
Being a writer can be busy, especially once you publish a novel. Take the opportunity to establish an organized, user-friendly website. Post some blogs, talk about your upcoming work, and interact with your fans. Make it your own, and allow yourself to have some fun with creativity.
It is understandable to wonder why you should create one if you are already very present on social media. While it is valid to feel this way, websites are a completely different avenue of marketing.
Social media can be several things, but it will only do so much. It can reach out to a certain group of fans, and it will make you an approachable person to follow, but it will not be the sole reason you sell more books.
Websites can allow you to organize all of your books, give them your summaries, and include an online shop. This allows potential customers to buy your books directly from the site. Having your own website also means that in the event any of your preferred social media channels become unavailable for some reason, you still have a viable, direct point of contact to your fans – and they to you – that remains in your control.
Take it One Step at a Time
Although writing out a marketing plan can feel very stressful, just remember that you’re not alone, and you don’t have to force yourself to do it all by yourself. Take one step at a time, ask for help when you need it, and enjoy the process!