Do You Have a Marketing Plan?

Giveaway today! See below.

Rob_Eagar_headshotGuest blogger: Book Marketing Expert Rob Eagar

In today’s erratic economy, publishers pay more attention than ever to the strength of an author’s platform (for non-fiction authors especially). I define “platform” as the amount of people you’re sure will buy your new book within the first 90 days. If publishers don’t believe that you can help sell a lot of books, they’ll tend to reject your book proposal and choose someone else. This doesn’t minimize the importance of good writing, but it means publishers place a premium on authors with a large marketing platform.

The problem is that most authors spend over 80% of their time writing a manuscript but less than 20% preparing for how they’ll market that book. Yet, it’s the marketing part that usually determines whether or not a non-fiction book ever gets published. Publishers gravitate to books that they believe will sell in the marketplace. But, how do you convince them that your book is worth the financial risk? Show them a well-crafted marketing plan along with your book proposal.

Publishers want to see real numbers describing how many copies you can help sell on your own. However, I find that many of the standard book proposal templates used by authors and agents don’t give enough marketing detail to make a convincing case with a publisher. That’s why I recommend creating an author marketing plan that shows the specifics of your platform and your ability to promote books. Demonstrate in writing how you can help sell a lot of copies on your own. Publishers who see this information are more likely to offer you a contract, and even better, devote more marketing resources to support your book.

A good marketing plan should answer these four essential questions:

1. What positive results do you know your book can create for readers?
2. What type of reader needs your results the most?
3. Where do readers who need your results congregate in large numbers?
4. What steps will you take to get your book in front of those large groups?

Creating a marketing plan that answers these questions ahead of time provides multiple benefits. First, you’ll be better positioned to convince a publisher that your book is an asset, rather than a risk. Second, you’ll be positioned to start your marketing efforts way before your book launch, which helps insure your success. Too many authors are too haphazard with their marketing and start promoting way too late. Planning in advance helps you avoid their fate.

When you’re armed with a solid book marketing plan, you’ll show a publisher that you can be more than just an author – you can be an invaluable marketing partner.

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Rob Eagar Marketing PlanIf you’ve never written a professional marketing plan, get a copy of Rob Eagar’s “Marketing Plan Template for Fiction and Non-Fiction Authors.” Rob has coached over 400 authors at all levels, including several New York Times bestsellers. Plus, he’s secured multiple book contracts for himself. So, he knows what it takes to gain a publisher’s attention.

His downloadable, 4-page template serves as your expert guide to create a successful book marketing plan. They’re in an editable format that walks you step-by-step through each part of the process. When you’re done, you’ll have a top-notch book marketing plan for personal use and to accompany discussions with a literary agent or publisher. Rob’s marketing plan template will help you:

• Identify specific groups of readers most likely to buy your book.
• Understand your competition and the advantages your book offers.
• Prove that you’re a financial asset to a publisher, rather than a risk.
• Create an effective plan that keeps you focused on success.

The regular price for Rob’s “Marketing Plan Template for Authors” is $19.99. But readers of this blog can use the discount code “rachelle” when they checkout and get a $5.00 discount (25% off). To take advantage of this special price, go to:

http://www.startawildfire.com/marketingplan.html

We’ll randomly choose two commenters to win a FREE copy of the Marketing Plan Template. Just leave a comment on this post by Saturday, January 7th at 11:59 pm EST. We’ll announce winners on Sunday.

Q4U: What frustrates, confuses, or stumps you when it comes to book marketing? 

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  • http://www.MichelleReynoso.com Michelle Reynoso

    I think the hardest things are: deciding where to start, what to include on my marketing plan (what works vs. what doesn’t work), and figuring out where most of the marketing time/money should be spent. I’ve researched marketing plans online and there are very few GOOD templates available that are designed specifically for book marketing.

    • http://www.startawildfire.com Rob Eagar

      Michelle,

      Thanks for your comment. I agree that there aren’t many good marketing templates available for authors. That’s why I created one to fit an author’s specific needs. You need more than just a generic template to effectively plan the success of your book.

      I also have a new book with Writer’s Digest coming out in June, 2012 that will help authors immensely called “Sell Your Book Like Wildfire.” It will the Bible of book marketing.

      • http://www.melissaknorris.com Melissa K. Norris

        Marking my calendar. If you aren’t signed up for Rob’s Monday morning marketing tips, head to his website and do it.

        He’s got great articles posted there, so you might want to spend some time browsing. :)

        If you’re not agented yet, most agents will ask for your proposal if they liked the first part of your book, so it’s a good idea to do the marketing plan before hand, because you’re selling to the agent first.

        Thanks for offering the giveaway.

  • http://www.laurapauling.com Laura Pauling

    Okay, I’ll bite. This looks like an interesting read for any and every kind of writer.

    Probably the most interesting part of book marketing is that what works for one person doesn’t always work for another. And that hardly anyone really seems to know what they’re doing. And that lots of money doesn’t always mean good marketing or success.

  • http://www.melissajagears.com Melissa

    It seems to be marketing season on the blogs here lately! Right now, I’m doing some things, but getting a feel as I’m “internet friends” with many authors on what I do or don’t like about how they handle marketing. Then I’ll have a better idea what feels better for me to attempt.

  • http:janalynvoigt.com Janalyn Voigt

    The marketing plan template sounds like a valuable resource. I’d love advice on what to offer through my website to draw readers prior to the release of a debut novel.

  • http://cherylbarker.blogspot.com/ Cheryl Barker

    It can be overwhelming when I think about reaching the large numbers the publishers probably have in mind vs. what I might actually be able to attain. I’m sure having a smart marketing plan makes all the difference in the outcome. Thanks for offering Rob’s Marketing Plan Template as a giveaway!

  • http://bethvogt.com Beth K. Vogt

    I worked with Rob after my nonfiction book, Baby Changes Everything, came out in 2007. I wish I’d worked with him before the book launched (and I also wish I hadn’t gotten seriously ill the same year the book came out, but that’s another story.)
    Rob knows his stuff. He coached me on everything from defining my platform, revamping my website, all the way through prepping for radio interviews.
    My biggest challenge now: Translating the information Rob taught me about marketing my nonfiction book and using it as I prepare for my novel to debut in May 2012. I’ve changed, my genre has changed — and the publishing world has certainly changed since 2007!

    • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TC Avey

      Beth, I was wondering, how does one start working with someone like Rob?

      I’ve heard of people hiring editors and such, I’m assuming you can hire a marketing consultant as well?
      What if my budget is limited?

      • http://bethvogt.com Beth K. Vogt

        I contacted Rob through his website. He’ll connect with you and be glad to discuss what you’re looking for and what your budget is.

        • http://www.startawildfire.com Rob Eagar

          Beth,

          Thanks for the kind words. I enjoyed working with you, and I’m excited to see your new foray into fiction!

          TC, regarding your question, I have different coaching programs available to help authors improve their marketing skills.

          For self-published and aspiring authors, I offer the “Author Accelerator Program.”

          For traditionally-published and experienced authors, I offer the “Author Mentor Program.”

          Details about these programs are available on my website at:
          http://www.startawildfire.com

          Thanks

  • http://christyjohnson.org/ Christy Johnson

    I love how you defined “platform” as the amount of people you’re sure will buy your new book within the first 90 days. I’ve always been very analytical, so for me, I’d love to see what other authors have achieved in their first 90 days in sales through their own efforts, sales on amazon, book stores, etc. As a first time author to be, this would help me to realistically forcast and set goals for myself. Also, I’d love to know: what amount of books to be sold in the first 90 days would attract a publisher?

    • http://community.advanceweb.com/blogs/pt_4/default.aspx Janey Goude

      Great question. I’d be interested in that answer, too.

  • http://www.amandadykes.blogspot.com Amanda

    I’m with Janalyn (above): “what to offer through my website to draw readers prior to the release of a debut novel” is a challenge. Sounds like this product would be a great resource; thanks for the informative post!

  • http://www.brookeespinoza.blogspot.com Brooke Espinoza

    Something that stumps me about marketing is knowing which strategies are the most fruitful and which seemingly good strategies have proven the least effective, so I don’t end up wasting my time and money on fruitless marketing pursuits.

  • http://www.turndog-millionaire.com matthew turner

    Nice post Rob,

    Totally agree with the importance to demonstrate your plan of how to sell. I feel writers are primed for good marketing because it often requires a nice balance between creativity and rational thought. Writers certainly have the creative gene, and generally are quite rational because of the long process of editing, critiquing, etc etc.

    But the 80-20 ratio you mention is so true. All people need is a bit of knowledge and they’ll be good to go.

    I’d add one further point to yours though, that of how YOU, the author will help your readers/potential readers. I’m big on Branding and feel the author themselves have so much to offer in the process. For example i automatically emphasise with your way of thinking, so i’m already interested in becoming a fan of of yours and buy your book. Regardless of what the book itself is about

    Great post

    Matt (Turndog Millionaire)

  • http://chariseolson.com Charise

    There seems to be so much more info for non fiction authors and then a tacked on piece “oh, and this works for fiction too.” But that “too” isn’t obvious (to me, anyway). And some of the marketing techniques I see others use look cute, fun or easy- but I do not get how they translate into sales (which is the point).

    • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TC Avey

      I feel your frustration. I too am a little confused on how to market my YA fiction.

  • http://akindleinhongkong.blogspot.com Shannon Young

    I agree with what several others have said about knowing which strategies actually work. It’s hard to find data that confirms which strategies are most effective, and without data it is more difficult to write a convincing marketing proposal. It’s also difficult to find out approximately how many copies of other people’s books have been sold. It’s harder to come up with realistic numbers when you don’t know whether the strategies your role models use are resulting in sales.

  • http://mrhmccann.blogspot.com/ McKenzie McCann

    Sometimes I feel like what books make it and what don’t honestly comes down to luck. And when it’s all based on luck, I have issues devoting myself to marketing. There are so many fabulous books out there that don’t have recognition, but so many mediocre ones that do. It’s hard not to feel like a little fish in the ocean.

  • http://www.martzbookz.blogspot.com Martha Ramirez

    So good to see you here, Rob! I subscribe to your newsletter /blog and you always have great tips!

    Thanks for giving us the opportunity to win your marketing plan template.

  • http://evilnymphstuff.wordpress.com Daphnee

    Wow interesting giveaway!
    Marketing in any way requires a huge amount of patience and dedication. Sometimes luck comes in the way too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/P-J-Casselman/176559919090167 P. J. Casselman

    My daughter is majoring in marketing in Boston. How’s that for an investment? :-D

    • http://www.josephjpote.com Joe Pote

      Love it! =^)

  • http://www.magdalenaball.com Magdalena Ball

    Great tips. What really challenges me in my marketing plan (and efforts in general) is how to convert buzz into sales, especially with fiction, where benefits are often hard to identify.

  • http://www.kathleenbittnerroth.com kbr

    This is the book I need! I have lots of ideas in my head, but don’t know how to put the package together properly. I have the motivation and energy, just need the info! Thanks.

  • http://ellisshuman.blogspot.com/ Ellis Shuman

    You state “If publishers don’t believe that you can help sell a lot of books, they’ll tend to reject your book proposal” = is this primarily the situation with non-fiction, or can authors of fiction face rejection if publishers feel that the author cannot guarantee a platform?

    • Rachelle Gardner

      Ellis, while marketing is just as important for novelists, the size of platform prior to getting a book contract isn’t very important. Believe it or not, publishers are still looking for great books they can sell. In fiction, prior to getting a publisher, the main element of your platform is your book itself.

      After you get a book contract, however, you’ll need to focus on marketing and building a platform.

      • http://community.advanceweb.com/blogs/pt_4/default.aspx Janey Goude

        A light bulb just went off. My sister-in-law wrote a nonfiction book and couldn’t sell it. Now, after five fiction books, she sold her first nonfiction book with another due out soon. Didn’t make sense to me until this comment. Thanks for the aha moment!

      • Howard S.

        Thank you for clarifying that, Rachelle.

        I understand the importance of marketing and a platform’s place under that umbrella. However, I have struggled with creating a platform because I have not yet been published. (For that matter, I have not yet begun submitting my work.)

        The biggest mental roadblock I keep hitting is my lack of credibility as an author. It seems that every author’s platform includes giving generous amounts of advice to aspiring authors (for which I am grateful).

        For the purpose of building a platform, the problem is that I am on the “aspiring” side of that relationship. Who am I to give advice? Sure, I know a thing or two (or half) about writing and someone may find value in that. But to a general audience, it’s like taking legal advice from someone who hasn’t passed the Bar exam.

        I have several ideas for promoting my novel, including some I will implement once I begin submitting. Prior to that, I’m still working on.

        There is SO much talk about platform these days and it can overwhelm an aspiring author, especially a fiction writer. Because of your reply, I don’t feel like I’m so far off my marketing target.

        Thank you again.

  • Neil Ansell

    I was not asked to demonstrate a platform or come up with a marketing plan of my own, though in my proposal I did say why my book had a place in the market, pointing out books in the same ball-park that had sold well, while showing why it had something new to offer.
    Ultimately, marketing, hype, reviews and all the rest only take you so far. Publishers themselves will admit that they just don’t know why one book soars, while another sinks.

    • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TC Avey

      Thanks for the input, I appreciate it!

  • http://www.lynhawks.com Lyn Hawks

    Hi,

    Thanks for this post. My questions have been raised so I’ll echo some: a) what’s a reasonable investment in marketing, if you get an advance or if you don’t? b) How do you get local buzz and sales going without saturating that market? c) How do you efficiently market when the 20 hours you have for all things fiction must include writing time (AKA, at what point do you quit your day job)? :-)

    Thanks!

    Lyn

  • http://www.christianmamasguide.com Erin

    Hi Rob! A marketing plan template?! Why didn’t I know about this when my last book is launched?! As a young (read: inexperienced/unknown/low-platform) non-fiction author, I have really struggled figuring out platform and marketing and any advice like yours is much appreciated and relished. Thank you.

  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo

    What to invest my money in regarding marketing. Not rushing to do everything just because I want to get the book out there. Seeking guidance to make the right decisions.

  • http://LynLawrence/MagnoliaHouse/AmberQuillPress.com Evelyn “Lyn” Morgan

    Just thinking about having to have a marketing plan makes me quake. It’s not a natural thing for me to write.

    I would love a copy of this book.

  • Maleah Bryn

    Thanks for the information. Really good stuff to know. I never realized when I started writing, I would have to have a dual career as a marketer.

  • http://www.sueharrison.com Sue Harrison

    Wow, what a great opportunity to receive help for one of the most difficult areas for many us who write books. I’m on my way to the website listed to get my copy. Thank you for the discount!

  • http://guidedreflections.blogspot.com Wayne Anson

    How do you build marketing influence for a new idea? I mean truly new. No existing dialogue or interest group.

  • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TC Avey

    I’m really not sure how to market. I hear people/blogs talk about making good plans and the importance for of marketing to publishers, but I rarely find people talking about how to market (outside of blogs/platforms).

    What else is there, especially for a YA Fiction? I can come up with Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Book signings,and unless it is a best seller I am pretty sure I can’t count on high profile interviews (or maybe even interviews at all).

    Please help, what am I missing? How else can I market? I have a friend who wrote a non-fiction and he does public speakings and radio interviews…does that apply to YA Fiction?

    I appreciate any advice!

  • http://sites.google.com/site/thenighteaglessoared/ S. B. Newman

    Excellent Article! Thanks…

    S. B. Newman, Author
    The Night Eagles Soared

  • Susan Bourgeois

    Thank you for this great information. I love marketing and it will be great to have a specific guideline to follow.

  • http://mardilink.typepad.com/mardis_link/ Mardi Link

    I’m curious about the best way for an author and publisher to work together. How can I be sure I’m not duplicating their efforts but rather enhancing them?

  • http://deborahserravalle.wordpress.com Deborah Serravalle

    Thanks! Good information. I do agree, however, with the comments from other fiction writers that it can be marketing can be confusing for us – duplication? necessity? etc.

    How can your plan be of real help to fiction writers?

  • Shawndra Russell

    What if your platform is small, but your topic very controversial and you have a detailed marketing plan with a built in audience? Is there a percentage of agents that might take on a book like this?

    • http://community.advanceweb.com/blogs/pt_4/default.aspx Janey Goude

      Shawndra,
      Excellent question. I’m in the same area. Would love to hear the answers!

  • http://www.cgblake.wordpress.com CG Blake

    Rob,
    Great post. I like the four questions. They really hit on the essence of what publishers are trying to achieve in marketing a book. Thanks for sharing this.

  • lesleigh smith-farhat

    Dear Mr. Eager,

    I am in the process of writing a true story. My story is nearly complete. I am stumped on how to market my story. Your book may provide the guidance I need to answer the questions I am at a loss for. Thank you for sharing and possibly considering me for a free copy of the “Marketing Plan Template”
    Le’sleigh

  • Raymond Gellner

    This book looks like a critical one to have in any writer’s library. I have struggled with the amount of time I spend on building a platform; while I know its importance, I also know that I am a writer not a marketer. Any book that can help me to manage the marketing side of the business effectively and efficiently is definitely worth a read.

  • http://www.christiepurifoy.com Christie

    The hardest part? Determining those “real numbers” publishers want to see. I can answer the four questions you list, but how do I translate those answers into numbers? That’s where I’m stumped. (That said, I do find these four questions to be very helpful. I’m going to use them to revise the “marketing” section of my book proposal right now!)

  • Ann Bracken

    As someone in the querying process I’m aware of the need to create my platform, but this is the first time someone has translated that into a request for the number of actual readers. I’m clueless on how to market, design a website or promote myself, especially when I don’t have a product to sell (yet). Any and all help is appreciated, so I’ll be looking at this book!

  • Rebecca

    Fabulous post and I really enjoyed the comments as well. This is an area where many of us need help! Promotions, for the fiction writer, appear to have too many outlets, but what will provide you with the biggest bang for your investment? Do you need to have that web blog/twitter/facebook presence before you find an agent/publisher?

    So many questions. This book sounds like it would provide a roadmap for that journey. Thanks for the discount and the giveaway!

  • http://www.heathermarsten.wordpress.com Heather Marsten

    What a timely post. One of my goals this year is to begin a platform. I’m almost done with my rough draft. While I’m editing, I feel it is important to build a platform. Just started a WordPress account to begin building a pertinent website for a platform. I plan to do quality posts.

    What bothers me is the fine line between only selling and serving the reader with quality material. So many of the sites that deal with marketing that I’ve researched seem gimmicky – and I wonder if one can overplay one’s hand in the marketing area.

    Thanks for a quality website.

    Heather

  • http://www.ruththewriter.blogspot.com Ruth Hartman Berge

    The book looks like an excellent resource. What I find most overwhelming is the number of things that CAN be done to market a book. How in the world do I put together the things that will work best for me and the book I’m writing? I’m looking forward to reading Rob’s book and finding some answers.

  • Patti Mallett

    Thanks for this helpful post, Rachelle. I plan to add this book to my library. “Be prepared” is the old Girl Scout (or was it Brownie) motto that has never gone out of style!

  • http://thewriteoneval.blogspot.com Valerie Haight

    I know a fabulous author whose debut novel releases this year. She shared with me her marketing goal and my jaw dropped. This amazing woman filled a full page and a half with her plan for marketing her novel. Names, numbers and dates, even comments that would help her remember little things. I was astounded and realized I am in no way prepared for this.

    I’ve worked to build a following on Twitter and Facebook, but I’ve spent very little time considering how to reach beyond that and go real time, face to face with my novel.

    This book will help me do just that and I look forward to reading it! Thanks Rachelle and Rob for the invaluable information!

  • Nicole

    I have a career and degree in marketing and the idea of marketing fiction is still such an alien concept. I think it is a far trickier challenge than most realize. But I’ve been a fan of Wildfire and can’t wait to see how they distill the concept.

  • http://bellakentuky.com Kent

    Thanks for the great information! Would you say that a marketing plan such as this applies to short story writers as well? I’m planning on publishing a collection of short story anthologies.

  • Jana Hutcheson

    As an aspiring author, I have a lot to learn about this aspect of publishing. Thanks for the post!

  • http://sharonalavy.com Sharon A Lavy

    Awhile back Chip MacGregor had a post to plug Wildfire’s Marketing plan. And now I see it on Rachelle’s blog. I will have to look into it.

    Thanks Rachelle.

  • Elizabeth Kitchens

    When I think of marketing I think of “So and So’s kid is selling Girl Scout Cookies; I guess I’ll have to buy some.” Marketing makes me feel like I’m forcing my friends and acquaintances into customers. I need to focus on the worth of the product I’m offering.

  • http://www.david-john-smith.blogspot.com/ David Smith

    I fear that my marketing platform, which I consider better than many, might still not be enough to convince an editor.

  • http://www.loisthompsonbartholomew.com Lois Bartholomew

    I wish I had had more guidance and help with marketing when my book was released. I will be much more prepared when my second novel is published.

  • http://writersbreakroom.blogspot.com/ Amy Leigh Simpson

    Great information! Sounds like a valuable resource… Thanks Rachelle and Rob!

  • http://babblefromtheburbs.blogspot.com/ Kathryn Elliott

    A chronic planner, today’s post speaks right to my heart. And although I’m firmly rooted in the fiction camp, the four questions Rob lists appear to translate on both sides of the lit community. Plus, I’m a sucker for a template; anything that helps me organize is a blessing. (Heck, a miracle.)

  • http://glendaparkerfictionwriter.blogspot.com Glenda Parker

    How do you come up with a marketing plan for a fiction manuscript when you have never been published and are basically unknown? I was asked for a book proposal but I’m not sure how to do the marketing segment.

    Glenda Parker

  • http://www.shellygoodmanwright.com Shelly Goodman Wright

    This is so true. When I talk about setting up promotion for my upcoming book, people automatically ask if I’m self-publishing. I’m not sure why writers think the publisher does all the work. I started marketing and developing a following since the day I completed the first draft of my novel. Now, with the book coming out early summer, all the connections I’ve made are helping me get the word out. Yes, they didn’t know if I’d ever get published, but now that I am people are excited they know someone getting published. Because of that, they also want me to come to their community to do signings, they are volunteering to pass out flyers ahead of time and giving me name of book stores in their area. I even have a speaking event schedule at a couple of churches.
    Thanks so much for the post.

  • http://WWW.TDeniseClaryBooks.blogspot.com T Denise Clary

    I believe part of a good marketing plan is having the financial resources to put the plan into motion. My opinion, a writer can come up with the best marketing plan, but without the money to implement it, it is useless.

    I ran a law practice for a number of years and received many clients from referrals and word of mouth. However, it wasn’t until I started running commercial advertisements and ads in local papers that I was able to reach people outside of my legal circle.

    I am curious to see if the above marketing plan shows authors how to successfully market without having to spend a lot of money. Afterall, the first step in his plan requires a $19.99 fee… which I am more than willing to pay for if it’s good! **SMILE**

  • http://Barbarakoob.com Barb

    Wow! The timing of this post is perfect. I was just talking about marketing and the importance of this with the Proverbs31 Next Step Speaker services. Thanks!

  • http://adventuresofhistorygirl.blogspot.com Kristen Johnson

    I’m just plain scared when it comes to thinking about marketing. I think mostly the thought of book-/self-promotion is daunting, and doing it in such a way that doesn’t come off as arrogant or pushy.

    Thanks for the post!
    Kristen

  • http://www.elainebaldwin.com Elaine Baldwin

    Marketing is an interesting beast in any industry. When tamed it provides synergy and reward. When left to run wild it wrecks havoc and disappointment.

  • http://www.sharlafritz.com Sharla

    Knowing what to include in a marketing plan has always been a mystery to me. I would love to have Rob’s template.

  • Sana

    Most marketing plans seem to want authors to go berserk, bombing every living soul they know with requests to buy their book, somehow or the other. Is there a way out?

  • http://davidatodd.com David Todd

    What frustrates me about marketing? Three things. First is that I have to do it at all. I accept that I have to, but it frustrates me, maybe even angers me a little. My personality and life experiences haven’t given me any marketing skills; in fact, it’s just the opposite. Self-promotion has been proclaimed from the rooftops as a bad thing. One can’t overcome 60 years of life training quickly or easily. So far I haven’t done it.

    Second, I have zero disposable income to dedicate to marketing, other than maybe the cost of gas to get to a speaking engagement should I ever book one. Zero. So my marketing is limited to what I can do b-i-c, computer-in-front, or maybe phone-in-hand.

    Which leads to the third thing, I hate the phone and cold calling, which is how you get speaking/radio gigs. I could easily speak with confidence before the Lions or Kiwanis to promote my non-fiction book, but I just don’t want to make the phone calls. I have enough phone use in my day job; I really don’t want to add it to my writing career. So I resort to e-mail, but so far I’ve received zero response from my “cold call” e-mails.

    Frustrated is the right word.

  • http://www.meghancarver.blogspot.com Meghan Carver

    So much advice is to work on the craft first. In order to sell fiction, you need a terrific story, well-written. But I know we also need to spend time marketing, even with fiction. How do I divide my time – what percentage writing and what percentage marketing?

  • Janelle

    I’m not convinced publishers of fiction expect (or want) their authors to be marketing experts (or even close). And frankly, if I had to build a platform and come up with a marketing strategy – well, heck, that’s exactly why I don’t self-publish. I don’t want to deal with marketing (unless it’s something the publisher sets up). I’m a writer, not a publicist or salesman.

  • Nancy Petralia

    I’ve spent my career in marketing and have done lots of marketing plans, but I’m always open to new ideas–and book marketing wasn’t my ballywick. So, thanks for the opportunity to get another resource. I’m going now to download a copy.

    I’m a believer in helping people succeed, and sounds like Rob’s template is a great roadmap for authors. From my experience, authors, and other product marketers for that matter, have the most trouble defining, concisely and realistically, their target reader or buyer. Rob’s questions help to not just get at that, but to demonstrate the benefit the reader will get from the book. Once you can describe the benefit of your book, it’s easier to get people to help you promote it. He also gets you thinking about group marketing–the key to really big sales numbers. Bravo Rob.

  • Loree Huebner

    Thanks Rob and Rachelle.

    This book sounds like it has what every author needs to be thinking about after the manuscript is done.

  • http://www.rebastanley.com Reba

    For me it is: When to market, Where to market, and The Cost of marketing. I am self-published and have 3 books out,Praise the Lord they are doing well, but I want them to do better. I hope to one day be traditionally published. Self-published =self-marketing.
    As soon as my manuscript is ready to go to publishing I want to start my marketing. Currently I market by: fb, postcards thru snail mail and of course word of mouth. I also want to get all of my books signings scheduled along with as many book fairs as I can get into. BUT it has yet to fail, I have to wait. All 3 times I have had to wait on the publisher due to them not doing a satisfactory job, and I have to make them re-do. There is always something that throws the date of launch off. So I have to hold off on all dated marketing materials.
    If I Plan too far ahead dates have to be changed,and people forget.
    If I plan too late, it’s not enough time and people miss it.
    I can’t seem to find that ‘RIGHT’ time to start with my marketing.
    Then there is Where to market outside my circle. How in the world do I expand my circle of readers/marketing?
    And let’s not forget money, I am on a shoestring of a budget.
    I hope you can help Rob. :0)
    Oh, and yes, I am planning on getting a new publisher for my next book.

  • http://www.mikaleebyerman.wordpress.com Mikalee Byerman

    “The problem is that most authors spend over 80% of their time writing a manuscript but less than 20% preparing for how they’ll market that book.”

    This shocked me — probably because I think I’ve flipped those percentages around entirely! I think I’ve spent the vast majority of my time developing my platform, thus relegating the book (or books) to the back burner.

    I realize this is all kinds of backwards, but I have SO many book concepts floating around in my head (stemming largely from my blog, which I post to regularly yet have never really developed beyond individual posts) — I think I’ve lost track of the actual “book” part of the equation!

    Crazy, right?

    So a big marketing question for me: When do I say “enough is enough” with the platform-building and actually dedicate myself to the book?

  • http://www.sarahforgrave.com/blog Sarah Forgrave

    I always enjoy reading Rob’s blog and appreciate his insights here. Thanks for hosting, Rachelle!

  • Angelica Hagman

    Thanks for the generous giveaway! I am definitely interested to hear more about marketing/platform-building for fiction – most of the information out there seems to be for non-fiction writers!

  • http://www.angelapeart.com Angela Orlowski-Peart

    I have started to carefully dip my toes in the marketing waters a few months ago. I have quickly figured out that success in selling a book is never based on a one person’s efforts. We need a support of the writing community but, most importantly, we need to understand and decide where we want to go on this journey. Are we satisfied selling just a few copies here and there, or do we want to take it to the higher levels? If so, are we emotionally ready to put a tremendous amount of work and set everything else on a back burner? Is our schedule adjusted accordingly so we actually can devote enough time to promoting our book, or are we just the dreamers? These are the questions that I ask myself every day.

    Of course the writing community is not the only audience a writer should reach out to. It’s a place of comfort, support, and a mutual understanding but when it comes to selling our books we must reach out to our potential readers. To do that we have to research ahead of time who the potential readers of our book are and figure out the best ways to connect with them.

    That’s where I need some help. I would like to learn the ways to find my readers and no only those who buy books all the time (since they are an easier target) but rather those who may buy just a few books a year. If these folks love my book, they will, most likely, spread the word, and what’s a better marketing tool than just that?
    I also would like to try Rob’s proven-to-work template to create a successful marketing plan for my book. This document sounds like a powerful tool for every writer who is serious about publishing his/her work.

  • Rachel

    Sounds like a great resource. I’d love to give it a try!

  • http://www.josephjpote.com Joe Pote

    Well, as a self-published non-fiction author with no platform and no marketing skills, I am prepared to learn from what you have to offer! =^)

  • Lori

    Everything confuses me about a Book Marketing Plan. I am totally out of my element when it comes to marketing.

  • Paul Martin

    Thank you for posting this. I am looking forward to seeing this template, and the accompanying book.

  • Laura N

    All of the 4 points mentioned above still confuse me, given the unusual subject matter of my unfinished novel. The other thing that concerns me is striking the right balance between successfully marketing & being obnoxious. I don’t want to be that annoying writer in social media & forums who only posts to talk up my own book. Thank you for the contest.

  • http://girlseeksplace.wordpress.com Brianna

    Excellent post. Throwing my name in the hat for the giveaway, but I will definitely refer back to this post in the future. I am considering self-publishing and marketing is something I’ve only thought briefly about.

  • DIXIE

    Writing my book was mostly an anonymous effort – now I have to put myself out there?? Sounds like the book I need.

  • http://www.lindsey-bell.com Lindsey Bell

    The hardest part about book marketing is building a platform before you have a book.

  • http://www.maythek9spy.com KC Frantzen

    Super questions.
    Thank you!

  • http://www.gracereign.blogspot.com Paula Moldenhauer

    Thanks for the great advice. Here’s hoping you pick me for the free copy!

  • http://spirituality.peterdehaan.name/ Peter DeHaan

    It seems that many of the “creative” book marketing efforts that I’ve heard about are extremely time-consuming and have a minimal promise of results.

    I understand that I need to market my book, but I want have a reasonable expectation of actually selling enough books to make my marketing efforts worthwhile.

  • http://alabno.wordpress.com Anna Labno

    I didn’t win anything. So if I do win, I will consider myself really lucky.

    :)

  • http://www.uptoknowgood.com Sara Schaffer

    As a wife, mom and leader in ministry, I find it frustrating and challenging to find writing time. Marketing therefore has had a backseat in my priorities until recently. Now I am seeing they must go hand-in-hand, so I’m committed to a little marketing and a little writing each day. Even at the beginning of this very new year, I see results from my new daily habits. Thanks for the great tips, Rob!

  • Charity

    How to write a GOOD press release, how to market directly to buyers, and how to increase chances of review by a major reviewer (PW, ALA, etc.). Those are my current questions/areas of research. Hopefully I’ll win the book and they’ll all be answered!

  • http://livingthebodyofchrist.blogspot.com Connie Almony

    The book sounds great. I’ll be a the website if I don’t win.

  • Bret Draven

    Okay, I have already developed a pretty sound marketing plan.I guess my question is actually geared more towards author platform. One of the things I had planned on doing was setting up a Facebook page, and attempting to generate some numbers. Is adding excerpts from my book on the page considered a green-horn move?

  • Gretchen

    What I know right now is that I need to learn a whole lot more about marketing! =D

  • http://community.advanceweb.com/blogs/pt_4/default.aspx Janey Goude

    Thanks, Rob, for this post. Lots of great questions in the comments.

    What is most frustrating for me is an overall lack of objectivity in what to include in a marketing plan. So, I really appreciate you defining the platform in concrete terms.

    I’m hopeful your template has more specific, objective, measurable components. Appreciate you offering the giveaway and the discount!

  • http://www.rachellewrites.blogspot.com Rachelle Christensen

    I’m so excited about this post! I’m doing all kinds of marketing planning & work for my second novel which comes out in March. I’ve been looking for more ideas to capitalize on the successes I had with my first book and try new things for some of the stuff I tried that wasn’t as successful. Thanks, Rob!

  • Sandy Cathcart

    Your book sounds great and comes at the perfect time. Can’t wait to read it. I also like the advice to think of large groups who would be interested in my book. Thanks!

  • http://www.thechristiannaturalist.blogspot.com Terri Thompson

    I guess it just feels overwhelming… How to get your information out to a large number of the right people in the least amount of time.

  • Heather Blanton

    My daytime job is marketing manager for a group of motorcycle/ATV dealerships. We had a phenomenal year in 2011 and I’ve been taking notes all along on what would work for promoting a book and what wouldn’t. I’m eager to get this template/book to see what else I can learn!

  • http://www.darleneryan.com Darlene

    I’d love to hear some ideas for for finding the time for promotion.

  • Ellen

    SO HELPFUL! What a great article. Thanks! I’d love to hear more.

  • http://www.yourrecipesforlife.com Sue Anne Kirkham

    As a fledgling at all of this, trying to find good information on marketing a memoir-style manuscript is proving to be a challenge. The platform concept surely applies to this genre, but translating boilerplate recommendations into language applicable to selling my account of caring for a delighfully quirky stepmother with dementia can be daunting.

  • Howard S.

    This is a limb.

    This is me stepping out on that limb (after a very big meal and wearing non-grippy slippers).

    There is a lot of confusion over the talk of platforms and marketing. What is a platform? How does it relate to marketing? Is there a difference for fiction and non-fiction writers?

    An author’s platform is a *part* of marketing—like advertising and book signings. But while you can use your platform to help sell a book, the platform itself is all about building your BRAND as an author. Having an excellent brand is like having a Swiss Army knife—you can do a lot of things with it beyond selling books. (There are books about Swiss Army knives. So a Swiss Army knife CAN sell books, too!)

    “Great, first it’s ‘marketing’ then we got ‘platform’ and now you’re throwing ‘brand’ at us! I HA—!“

    Wait, don’t hate me yet. The concept of “branding”—building a brand—is pretty simple. Indeed, if you’re a fiction writer, you have already been doing this for others—that is, for every significant character you’ve created. All branding entails is doing things that make people think certain things when they see or hear a name.

    For example, what comes to mind when I say Scrooge? Bugs Bunny? James Bond?

    Now, for real people. How about Nicholas Sparks? Stephen King? Dr. Phil? Mother Teresa?

    If I told you two of those people are publishing new fiction books, one about some gory killings in Maine and the other about a story of lost lovers reunited, would you feel certain you knew who wrote which book?

    Odds are that you do not personally know any of those people—but you have an awareness of what they are known for. Stephen King isn’t likely to pen a love story and Nicholas Sparks isn’t likely to write a horror novel (at least not under those names). That expectation we have of them—what we think they represent—is their brand.

    I put Mother Teresa on that list because she is the perfect example of building a platform and branding. Millions of people share her religious beliefs but you don’t know their names. Why do you know hers? You know her in large part because of her extraordinary and consistent ACTIONS in pursuit of her unwavering beliefs. She went to extremes and demonstrated what she stood for.

    She was not trying to brand herself. Her beliefs were the basis for her platform. She then performed actions—consistent with her beliefs—to build it. In building her platform, she became known to represent certain things. What she represents is synonymous with her “brand”.

    Again, she did not TRY to build a platform or brand. They were natural consequences of her passion for doing what she believed. Her brand is so powerful because her platform was built so well by remaining focused on and consistent in her beliefs.

    So, as it pertains to writing:
    Marketing = Actions that create demand for a book.
    Platform = YOUR actions that SHOW who you are.
    Brand = How people perceive you. Your brand can help you sell books. It may also help you get speaking engagements, clients or teaching opportunities. It may even help you find the love of your life. (I write fiction, so humor my dream about that last one.)

    Both marketing and platform building require different strategies depending on whether the book is fiction or non-fiction.

    For most non-fiction, authors have to bring some demonstrable expertise to the publishing table. “Demonstrable” is critical—the publisher has to be able to show an audience why YOU are the go-to guru for this topic. How will the publisher know this?

    They will know because you can SHOW them that you are already the go-to guru. You have a wildly popular blog that your followers share. Your numerous Twitter followers get antsy when you haven’t tweeted recently. Your expertise and reputation make local radio and/or TV stations book you for guest appearances. You are publishing articles in your area of expertise.

    Those are some of the planks a platform is built with. All of them are acts of sharing your expertise. If you are writing a book, you believe you have something to share with others. Use your passion to find other ways to share with as many people as possible.

    For fiction authors, the biggest difference is that you may not be able to get an audience until AFTER you sell your book. However, publishers are still going to want to know how you intend to attract and retain readers.

    At this point, the difference between fiction and non-fiction authors is like the difference between one restaurant selling Italian cuisine and another selling American cuisine—you are catering to different tastes, however, you are still using many of the same tools and ingredients to create what your audience craves.

    The audience for YOUR fiction craves more of that yummy stuff you just gave them. They will eagerly read your blog as you drop hints about your follow-up novel. Your Facebook page has fans responding to poll questions that spark lively conversations on your wall. They will go to your website to find out behind-the-scenes things about your characters and their world. (Think of it as a place to offer some of the side-dishes of backstory that you had to leave off the plate of the novel.)

    Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, share your passion for your subject (not your book) with as many people as you can. If you are only motivated to sell books, people will see that and you risk becoming branded as a salesperson instead of a passionate expert who wrote a book. Remember, Mother Teresa SHOWED who she was THEN reached people through books.

    I am no Mother Teresa—but I can try to follow her good example.

    ———————————-

    Disclaimer 1: I mean no offense. If it seems blasphemous to speak of Mother Teresa as a brand, consider this: is it likely that people’s associations with the name “Mother Teresa” played a role in publishers deciding to publish books both about and from her?

    Disclaimer 2: I am completely unqualified to have written this piece. Therefore, it is entirely possible that everything I said is completely inane. If my rambling incites you to throw tomatoes at me, don’t hold back. (After all, I need to get my veggies somehow.)

  • http://www.yvonneortega.com Yvonne Ortega

    Thank you so much, Rachelle, for the post on Rob Eager. I have read books on marketing, but I want all the help I can get. There is such an emphasis on marketing, brand, and a national platform that I can’t afford to be left behind for lack of knowledge. Thank you for the offer on the marketing template.
    Yvonne

  • Dale Foote

    If a writer is one who is not yet published and an author is one who is, I am a writer and so the learning curve is steeper at this point. But I understand from this post that there is as much to learn in the marketing – platform development as their is in the craft of writing. Looking forward to the climb. Thanks!

  • http://tea4kate.com/ Kathryn Barker

    I’m grateful to be introduced to Rob Eagar and have signed up to receive his blog posts! The template for a marketing plan sounds like an incredible tool (very reasonably priced) for pre-publication and I am anxious to review it.

    Thanks again for sharing and loved reading everyone’s responses!

  • http://www.johuddleston.com Jo Huddleston

    About marketing: I am mostly an introvert and that stands in the way of my marketing. I plan to work up a marketing plan before I’m published so that my marketing attempts will be more successful. Rob, thanks for sharing your knowledge about marketing.

  • http://www.patriciaggriffin.com Patricia Griffin

    I have readers across the country who love my work and share their interest by word of mouth, but are there specific ways to marshall that enthusiasm a manner that helps gain wider attention? Besides Facebook, Amazon reviews and blogs, I mean.

  • Joanna Hyatt

    What a great idea! I’ve always thought the marketing portion on a typical book proposal was rather vague. This is a great way to really flush it out and get a concrete plan

  • http://www.keepinginstride.com Jenny Smith

    Love your tips each week. I would love to see how to write a good press release.

  • Pingback: Winners of the Marketing Plan Template | Rachelle Gardner()

  • http://www.JoLinsdell.com Jo Linsdell

    Wish I’d seen this post earlier as would have liked a chance at winning a copy. Great post

  • Janet

    Thank you so much for distilling what is most important into the four essential questions. That makes it so crystal clear what I need to do not only to put together a marketing plan, but also where to focus platform-building efforts.

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