July 10th, 2020

Your Very Best Author Marketing Plan

by Julie Glover

I've thought about marketing a lot.

I've read books about it, talked with other authors about what worked and what didn't, and tried various approaches. I've mulled over publishing industry changes, book signings and tours, internet tools, and social media. I've learned about Facebook ads, Amazon ads, and dipped my toe into the BookBub world.

One of the best sources for marketing information is this blog right here! Here's just a sampling of author marketing posts you can find on Writers in the Storm:

But Here's the Problem...

I often make big plans and then don't follow through.

I might have a fantastic marketing strategy, all the tools I need to make it happen, and the budget to boot. I start with dollar signs in my eyes and visions of readers devouring my stories with satisfied grins on their faces.

And then I crap out.

Sometimes right away, sometimes much later.

Regardless, marketing is my least favorite part of being an author, and I'm not good at following through with big plans.

What's the Best Plan?

Many authors are naturally talented marketers, others are wonderful learners who apply savvy advice with success, and yet others are simply good at getting the required jobs done. Good for you!

But whether you're a sales genius or an embarrassing failure, I can tell you the best plan for you. After a lot of screwing up, I finally remembered that saying that the best exercise program is the one that you will do.

There's no point in telling yourself that you'll run a marathon when you hate jogging down the street. Nor should you take up ballroom dancing if you have vertigo and two left feet.

Remember how you told yourself at the beginning of a global pandemic that this was your chance to reacquaint yourself with the treadmill? And instead, you spent weeks perfecting your sourdough starter and cinnamon rolls? Surprise! Surprise! You followed through with the thing you actually wanted to do.

It's the same with writing. If you want to do it, you will. If you don't, you ultimately won't.

The best marketing plan is the one you will do.

Sift Through Advice.

You can save yourself a lot of heartache if you'll sift through all book marketing advice with this in mind. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What are my marketing strengths?

Embrace those smart marketing tactics that tap into your talents. My coauthor and I have discovered that I suck at doing ads but I'm great at managing our Facebook group. We each play to our strengths.

  • Which tasks do I enjoy doing?

What do you look forward to doing? Book signings do not work for many authors, but I know one who loves this one-on-one interaction so much that she becomes a sales powerhouse at signings.

  • What marketing is desirable or necessary and what isn't?

Some things you have neither talent nor interest are still necessary tasks. For instance, you are not required to be on social media, but you must write a blurb for your book.

  • Which required tasks should I hire out?

Don't like it? Can't do it well? Still need it done? Hire it out! Like you can get help with writing that blurb or hire someone to do your Amazon ads. Whatever needs doing—short of writing the book—someone out there can do it for you.

  • What pace is reasonable for me to accomplish tasks?

Get real with yourself about what marketing will look like, given your personality and lifestyle. Not everyone can run the author marketing sprint. You may need to jog to your destination. And that's okay.

  • What would success really look like for me?

Consider what results you can expect given who you are and what you'll do. If that image is not the success you want, revisit the points above. Reconfigure the plan until you have something that represents who you are, what you want, and what you will actually, honest-with-yourself complete.

In short—as my Gen-Z sons have often said—you do you. ("As if I could do anyone else," mutters their Gen-X mother.)

What marketing plan ideas have you learned that you will and won't do? What adjustments have you made or need to make?

*  *  *  *  *  *

About Julie

BOOK 4 NOW AVAILABLE!

Julie Glover writes mysteries and young adult fiction. Her YA contemporary novel, SHARING HUNTER, finaled in the 2015 RWA® Golden Heart® and is now on sale! She is also coauthor, under the pen name Jules Lynn, of the supernatural suspense Muse Island Series.

When not writing, she collects boots, practices rampant sarcasm, and advocates for good grammar and the addition of the interrobang as a much-needed punctuation mark.

Images by StartupStockPhotos and Sabine Mondestin from Pixabay

Julie is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. You can visit her website here and also follow her on Facebook.

27 responses to “Your Very Best Author Marketing Plan”

  1. barbaralinnprobst says:

    Wonderful article, Julie! You nailed it. There is so much pressure to do everything, especially when we see what others are doing and think we should do that too. No one can do everything, and no one needs to. Pace, scope, priorities, fit with one's temperament, lifestyle, and budget are so vital—but can get lost in the frenzy. Your Gen-X sons said it so well! Thank you (and them!)

  2. barbaralinnprobst says:

    P.S. Just shared your piece on several FB groups for writers that I belong to!

  3. LauraDrake says:

    Exactly, Julie. You know I love this part - but I hate 'selling'. I know, I'm weird. But you knew that.

  4. Lynette M Burrows says:

    But I had the perfect plan, mutters the writer at her desk. And yeah, I probably won't follow through on most of it. SIGH. No money to hire someone right now, guess I'll reassess the plan and make it one I WILL do. Julie, thanks for this timely message!

  5. Linda Rosen says:

    Terrific article and so true! Barbara Linn Probst turned me on to this and I'm so thankful. I do love your reference to running a marathon and jumping on the treadmill. That's exactly why I'm having a hard time cooking meals during this pandemic - not what I want to be doing! Plus, you've made my heart beat a little less fast just reading your words. Doing me! And enjoying what I'm doing marketing my book. If I can't enjoy it, why do it? Thanks for your perfect advice.

  6. ecellenb says:

    Wonderful article, Julie! The thought of marketing makes my head spin. I need to take a hard look at what I love and am good at, then figure out how to make it work. Maybe there is hope after all.

    • Julie Glover says:

      I so appreciate the experts out there giving great advice, but it does matter to focus on what you'll actually do, so it's worth picking and choosing from their wisdom. Good luck with it, Ellen!

  7. jamesr403 says:

    Thanks, Julie! Great post! My marketing strength -- why, it's planning. Follow-through, well, poor. But his list of questions is already helping.
    Thanks again.

    • Julie Glover says:

      Hahaha! I know that feeling. I have a tendency to feel that if I've made the list, that's half the job. And the other half? Eh, I'll get to it someday. Best wishes with putting together the plan you can stick to and enjoy!

  8. Kris says:

    Hi Julie,
    This is just what the doctor ordered!
    I actually like the marketing part of author branding and book selling, but it is overwhelming and at times redundant - does this product overlap with that one? Do I need both?
    These are questions I'm mulling over as I plan a restructure of my efforts.
    I hope to figure out some that I can hire out, too. Thanks for that suggestion!
    Kris

  9. Eldred Bird says:

    Thanks, Julie. I needed this. Marketing is my absolute least favorite part of being a writer. I wish I could just put the books out into to the world, make one big announcement, and the masses would come running, money in hand. Too bad it doesn't work that way!

    • Julie Glover says:

      I actually agree with those say more books IS good marketing, because each good book helps sell the next..and you need a "next" for the reader to buy. Beyond that, discoverability is key! Hope you find the magic formula for you.

  10. dholcomb1 says:

    Marketing is so hard to even think about at times.
    denise

  11. I'm still waiting for the RIGHT marketing advice for indie authors of mainstream fiction who are comparable to the better traditionally-published authors - and have no desire to go the traditional route.

    Few books, long production times for each.

    • Julie Glover says:

      Good point. I attended a conference workshop years back about success for the slow writer. I cannot recall the presenter, but it was great information and she essentially said that you do the same things but plan for a much slower pace. That is, if it takes you five years to put out three books, then you may need to plan for most of your marketing to happen in five years, when you have out three books. That may not be ideal, but it may realistic.

      I hope that's not discouraging! I found it helpful to myself to set reasonable goals. But again, find what works for YOU. Best wishes, Alicia.

      • Not discouraging at all. It takes what it takes - unless you have something the big traditional publishers think will be this year's breakout novel.

        I don't have what it takes to have a traditional publisher, if that makes any sense. I need to be just me, for everything, at the snail's pace I can manage with my chronic illness.

        The writing is crucial. I've spent some of my time getting reviews - 47 is a decent number, and I absolutely love the ones I have from older men (I write mainstream, not women's fiction), especially the ones who didn't expect to like Pride's Children and left glowing reviews.

        I will do a marketing bit when I finish Book 2 - and release that and the prequel short which has also been very well received. I'm learning how to do all my prep work faster, so maybe Book 3 won't take so long!

        But I'm in this for the legacy novel, the one that gives readers a real ride. I can do this.

        Thanks for the information about a workshop for the slow writer - that was really encouraging. I'll try googling 'slow writer,' and might find some useful tips.

  12. Thanks for the insight, Julie! Very pragmatic and helpful.

  13. Such great advice. I just bought a book called Writer Get Noticed! It uses a strengths-based approach to creating your platform. This just reinforces the concept.

  14. I really loved this article. Tough love, but something we've all got to face.

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