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Planning a Promo Campaign

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on September 19, 2011

You’ve had a book accepted by a publisher or have decided to publish it yourself as an indie author. Once you pass the editing stages and the book is in production, what next? You plan your marketing campaign, that’s what. Do you have a niche audience, as in a particular topic or setting addressed in your story? Did your research and writing process suggest any possible blog topics? Jot these down.

Next make a list of what you plan to do and how much money to reserve for your promotional budget. Consider cross-genre marketing when making your plans.

 

ADVERTISING

Do you want to do any print or online ads? If so, determine where you’ll place those ads and how much each one will cost.

 

BLOG TOUR

Determine who you want to approach and send out queries. Or hire a blog tour coordinator. Make a list of proposed topics if you haven’t already done so. When you have spare time, write the blogs. Also solicit interview spots. Make a schedule with all your online guest appearances and post it on your website. Consider having a prize drawing from all blog commenters during your virtual tour.

 

BOOK CLUBS

It may be useful to write up a page of discussion questions for readers groups & book clubs. Tell your publisher these are available and post a note on the book’s page of your website. Mention that this discussion guide is available in your fan newsletter.

 

BOOK GIVEAWAYS

If you get author’s copies of your new release, you might consider giving some away at reader sites like Goodreads and Library Thing, besides offering them as your own contest prizes. Some writers groups like ITW and MWA offer book giveaways from members also.

BOOK TRAILER

If you wish to do a trailer, begin by reading my blog (scroll down until you find it) on how to create one yourself, or hire one of the many companies online who will do this for you. You may want to jot down the plot points you’ll want to get across in the video and hunt for images or decide what type of images will work with the text.

CONFERENCES

Which conferences will you attend to promote your new release? Sign up early to get on a panel and prepare the materials you’ll want to bring. Postcards or bookmarks? Giveaways? Business cards with book cover?

CONTESTS

Will you run your own contests or hire someone to do it for you? How about joining one of the online group blog scavenger hunts? What would you like to give away as prizes? Make a plan for the next few months and post your latest contest on your website and blog.

NEWSLETTER

Are you signed up at one of the newsletter mass mailing sites like Vertical Response? If not, you might want to do so now and upload your mailing lists. If you’re already onboard, this is a good time to weed out those bounces and unsubscribes. Pick a template that you can reuse so each time you’re ready to send out a mailing, you can just switch out the material.

PRINT MATERIALS

Once you have your cover art, you can design bookmarks, postcards, flyers, and business cards. Decide what you’ll need and where to obtain it and get cost estimates.

REVIEWS/ARCs

Does your publisher provide advance reading copies of your upcoming release? Whether he does or not, you’ll want to solicit advance reviews. Make a list of genre reviewers and bloggers and see who’s amenable to reading your work. ARCs can also be giveaways and contest prizes.

WEBSITE

Update your site with the new release info, add the book trailer link, put up an excerpt. Make sure your online press kit and sample interview are up to date. Every time you add a new speaking engagement or guest blog date to your schedule, update your appearances page. Check out other author’s websites for ideas on what to include in your own pages.

WRITERS GROUPS

Do your professional writing organizations offer opportunities to announce your new releases, post a video, do an author interview? Check out paid sites too, like Authors Den  and Savvy Authors, where for a small annual fee, you can have your own page. Or join Speak Without Interruption or Cybervillage Authors and post blogs.

Where will you find the time to accomplish all these tasks when you have to write the next story? Make your writing a priority. Work on promo activities only after you’ve finished your page quota for the day.

By planning your campaign as soon as you sell a book, you’ll save time later on that becomes more valuable as the demands of your career increase. In fact, think about marketing as soon as you start writing the story.

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12 Responses to “Planning a Promo Campaign”

  1. Great post on how to promote a book….thanks for all the insight and leads!!

  2. Thanks, Karen. So many choices can seem overwhelming. It’s best to focus on one task at a time.

  3. brendahill said

    Loved the info, Nancy. Very helpful, especially since this will be my first time with an ARC. I was provided a limited number of printed books by my former tiny publisher, then had to buy the rest – at a discount, of course, but still, it was costly. I like your organized approach and will takes notes.

    Thanks!

  4. More great advice – thank you!
    PamT

  5. Thanks for commenting, Brenda. ARCs take a lot of time and effort but it’s worth it when those reviews roll in.

  6. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a remark, Pamela! Feedback is always appreciated.

  7. This is an excellent and succinct overview–something that will be very useful to me as I plan for my next book, in June 2012. It seems far away but as I look at your list I can see that I have a lot to do between now and then.

  8. Jeanne Meeks - said

    Egad! But I still want to get my first one published. Very exciting! Thanks for the information.

  9. Yes, a very organized list and so helpful! One thing to add would be that for print advertising you usually need to submit your materials at least three months in advance. And if you plan to contact any readers groups, 3-6 months in advance is a good idea. Now I’d better get busy!

  10. Allison, thanks for the reminder. That goes for reviews, too. They need to be sent in about three to four months before pub date. It’s a good idea to notify booksellers and librarians in advance also so they can look out for your book in the publisher’s catalogue.

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