In today’s publishing climate, nothing influences their interest more than the strength of an Author’s Platform. Crafting a great story is central to selling fiction. Besides this, if you also display an ability to help promote your books, publishers are more likely to want you. This applies to any novelist, including first-timers trying to land a contract to former bestsellers seeking a new deal.
Goldilocks will show you the important components of a Fiction Book Marketing Plan, so simply click/tap on each of the following links and be taken further down the page where you will find more details and examples of each component.
- Book Details
- Marketing Goals
- Book Description
- Author Biography
- Author Background Story
- 30-Second Marketing Summary
- Audience Description, Target Market
- Audience Location
- Sales Handles and Media Angles
- Why Is this Book Worth Discussing in the Media?
- Competitive/Comparative Titles
- Endorsements from Personal and Professional Contacts
- Author’s Personal Marketing Efforts
- Sales Leads and Platform Power
- Marketing Timeline to Reach Your Target Audience
* * *
A publisher cannot possibly do everything necessary to make your book successful. And most won’t even try. Increasingly, they want to know what you can do to help promote your book. Consider the following…
Marketing a novel doesn’t have to be complicated. You can boil it down to three simple questions…
- What positive results does your story create for your reader?
(Entertainment, inspiration, etc.)
- Who needs those results the most?
- Where do those readers congregate in large numbers?
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, the latter part can be the difference maker that determines whether or not a book ever gets published. Publishers gravitate to novels that they believe will sell in the marketplace.
How do you convince them that your book is worth the financial risk?
Show them a solid Marketing Plan.
Create a well-crafted author Marketing Plan that shows the details of your platform and your ability to promote effectively. 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.
What can you specifically do to market and promote your book?
Never discuss what you hope to do, only what you can and will do (without publisher assistance), given your current resources.
Many people write their Marketing Plan in extremely tentative fashion, talking about things they are “willing” to do if asked. This is deadly language. Avoid it. Instead, you need to be confident, firm, and direct about everything that’s going to happen with or without the publisher’s help. Make it concrete, realistic, and attach numbers to everything.
Goldilocks is providing a step-by-step process to help you create a powerful book marketing plan. It’s designed to move you past the basic levels of author promotion and think more creatively. You may not be in a position to execute all of the ideas that are listed. If you’re just starting to build your platform, that’s okay.
Gather as much of the information needed and you can skip areas that don’t apply, but strive to start implementing everything that is discussed. The more well-rounded you make your marketing plan, the more you enable success.
Before you get started, Goldilocks advises that you visit her Author Resource Center where she provides help in understanding about the importance of this author platform and gives detailed examples of each source.
Start your Fiction Book Marketing Plan with some specifics including…
- Title of your book
- On the next line put your name as the author of your work
- Publisher and publication date (when you start writing your marketing plan, you may not know this information until further down the road, so just leave a place marker to remind you that this information is necessary)
Describe in realistic terms your overall expectations for your book such as…
- How readers will be affected
Will they see similar life situations that you speak about in your novel?
Do you think that your readers may make changes in their lives because they can empathize with your characters?
- How many copies do you expect to sell in a year?
Don’t worry the publishing police won’t come knocking on your door if you over or under estimate your sales goals. This figure will depend on how much time and effort you exert to promote your novel.
Provide a brief description (100 words or less) of your novel’s plot and main emotional hook.
Goldilocks provides some help writing this description in her methodology/process section as follows…
Write out a professional version of your Author Bio in 150 words or less. In many marketing situations, you won’t get more words than this brief amount. You will be able to go into further detail below as you compose the following sections of your Marketing Plan.
Author Background Story
In 500 words or less, explain the background that led you to write this book.
- What personal experiences led you to decide to write this novel?
- Did you see a movie or read another novel which made you decide to put a different spin on its plot?
- In your profession, did you do some in-depth research which would lend credibility to a novel about its subject?
30 -Second Marketing Summary
Readers buy books based on the question…
“What’s in it for me?”
Therefore, summarize the reason why your novel answers this question in 2-3 sentences. Then, list 3-5 bulleted statements that explain the specific type of results that your readers will get from reading your book. In other words…
How does your novel inspire, entertain, or improve the condition of your readers?
Audience Description, target market
- Primary Book Purchasers
Give a description of the people who would enjoy your book the MOST. Don’t say your book is for everyone. Distinguish the specific kind of person who would really resonate with your story. Furthermore, explain the emotions they want to feel. Then, use statistics and demographics, such as age, gender, geographic location, to show the size of your primary target audience.
- Secondary Book Purchasers
Think of people who might want to buy your book to give as a gift or to recommend as a resource for those who might be looking for novels that mirror their life situations. List 2-3 types of these purchasers along with any statistics about the size of those groups.
List at least 10 places where your primary target audience congregates in large numbers that you can identify, either Online or off line.
- What Websites do they visit on a regular basis?
- Do they comment on some specific blog topics?
- Which magazines do they read on and off line?
- What radio stations do they listen to?
- Do they watch television shows that mirror the plot of your novel or character type?
- Are certain podcasts or webinars on their radar screen?
- What about events, do they show up at certain types of programs or events on a regular basis?
- Can you identify organizations where your prospective readers are active members?
Conduct research or talk to prospective readers to generate this crucial information.
Sales Handles and Media Angles
Why will this book sell?
List at least 3 clear ways that prove the sales validity of your book.
- Prove how your current Author Platform will help sales
- Describe any alliances or groups who’ve agreed to use your book as a resource.
- What about any special features of your book that can generate extra sales
Why Is this Book Worth Discussing in the Media?
Include at least 3 reasons why a radio or TV producer would want you as a guest on their show. Describe how your novel connects to any current trends, headlines, emotional needs or personal desires.
Find at least four novels that were published in the last year or so that are similar to yours. Make a special note if any of them were best sellers.
Include the following information for each selection…
- Title of the novel
- Author’s name
- Publisher if a traditional publishing route was taken. If the novel was self-published, so note.
- Publication date
- Price as noted on the book cover or look at Amazon, Title, New York Times best seller list or other top book sellers for an idea of what the novel sells for in the market.
- Sales data if you can find any information
- Briefly explain how your book is different, but don’t bash the other title.
You might consider…
- Is your plot easier for most readers to follow?
- Are the main character profiles presented more in-depth than the other title?
- If you have written a thriller, is your audience anxious to read “what happens next”?
- Does your novel describe emotions or life’s difficulties in a better way?
Endorsements from Personal and Professional Contacts
Show at least 3-5 endorsements you have from well-recognized reviewers or leaders, such as literary reviewers, influential bloggers, celebrities etc.
Keep each entry to two or to three sentences long.
If someone has agreed to give a testimonial that you’re waiting on, list their name including city and state where they reside or work and if they have a Website or E-Mail address.
Author’s Personal Marketing Efforts Sales Leads & Platform Power
Here you will list at least 10 ways that you specifically plan to market your novel yourself. Provide details for each point.
If you send out a newsletter, list the number of people on your E-Mail list.
If you setup your own book tours, list how many events you already have scheduled.
- Print or Online articles
-Are you planning to write magazine articles based on your book?
-What about whether you are a regular Contributor to any Newspapers, Websites, Blogs, or Magazines
-Do you send out newsletters?
If so indicate the following…
Monthly or quarterly print newsletter subscribers
Monthly or weekly E-Newsletter mailing list size
-Have your works appeared on bestseller lists?
Give sales statistics on previous novels that you have written
-Did you receive nationally recognized literary Awards?
- Media Audio/visual opportunities
-Do you know people who are influential in the media that could help you get on a show?
-Are you willing to commit a certain dollar amount to hiring a publicist to complement the efforts of your publisher?
-Do you have any regular media opportunities? Such as…
Television, radio or podcasts appearances done on a regular basis
- Public speaking opportunities
-Are you presently speaking on the subject matter of the book?
-Will you consider creating a timeline of speaking engagements?
-How many times per year and in what types of venues…
Conferences, churches, corporate seminars, etc.
-Indicate the total Events booked for the coming year, giving average Audience Size
-Are you a regular speaker at any national tours or conferences?
-Are you currently blogging on your subject matter?
If not, would you be willing to start a blog or participate as a “guest blogger” on someone else’s site?
- Website and Other Social Media Activities
Give your Website statistics…
-Average visitors per month and average per page views
-Total Blog Subscribers
-Number of FaceBook Friends
-Amount of Twitter followers
NOTE: In order for these statistics to mean anything to a traditional publisher the totals have to be in the thousands range. If they are not, then skip this section. Having small audiences here will indicate that you have a limited reach.
- Other Considerations
-Did you receive nationally recognized literary Awards?
Regarding professional alliances and affiliations
Do you belong to any organizations that could help you market your novel?
Are you willing to commit to purchasing a large quantity of your book (1,000+) because you have a ready audience who will want to purchase copies?
Marketing Timeline to Reach Your Target Audience
List specific action steps under each category to show how you intend to connect with your target audience where they congregate in large numbers. Use this section as a timeline to keep your Marketing Plan on schedule.
- Manage Personal Newsletters, Blogging, and Social Media: (Ongoing activities)
You should consider the following “weak” and “strong” examples as a guide to what you need to include in this section…
I plan to register a domain and start a blog for my book.
Within 6 months of launch, my blog on (book topic) already attracts 5,000 unique visits per month.
I plan to contact bloggers for guest blogging opportunities.
I have also guest blogged every month for the past year to reach another 250,000 visitors, at sites such as (include 2-3 examples of most well-known blogs). I have invitations to return on each site, plus I’ve been in contact with 10 other bloggers for future guest posts.
- Arrange Speaking Events and Book signings: (3 – 6 months in advance of your book launch)
Here are some examples to guide you…
I plan to contact conferences and speak on (book topic).
I am in contact with organizers at (name of conferences), and have spoken at 3 events within the past year reaching 5,000 people in my target audience.
- Contact Major Book Reviewers: (3 – 6 months in advance)
- Pursue Print Media and Magazines: (3 – 6 months in advance)
- Schedule National Radio and TV Programs: (60 – 90 days in advance)
- Arrange advertising efforts (30 – 60 days in advance)
* * *
Goldilocks hopes that you now have a firm idea about what information you should gather for your Fiction Book Marketing Plan. If you still feel uncertain about the actual wording that you should use, Goldilocks is only a click away and can help you to compose this document.
E-Mail her: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pick up the phone: 914-944-1474
Goldilocks Wishes you Success Publishing your novel!