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  • Karen E. Osborne

Five Tips for Designing a Book Marketing Plan

Special thanks to our guest blogger, Mary Helen Sheriff, author marketing coach


All too often new authors jump into launching a book without a plan only to find themselves overwhelmed by the opportunities. Giveaways, ads, reviews, newsletters, social media, the list goes on, authors could work full-time marketing books and still not cover all the bases, not to mention waste precious time and money.


Designing a marketing plan can help authors to stay focused and make strategic decisions about where to direct their marketing efforts and dollars. Here are a few tips to get you started creating your plan:


Identify Your Ideal Audience


Correctly identifying your ideal audience is the key to a successful marketing campaign. You’ll want to winnow down your target audience to the people most likely to read and RAVE about your book. You can use your knowledge of your ideal audience to target ads, secure endorsements, direct your social media efforts, design your book cover, and more. For more on how to identify your ideal audience, check out this article.


Choose Strong Genre-Appropriate Book Covers, Titles, and Book Descriptions


Your book’s cover, title, and back copy description are the foundation of your marketing plan. If these are weak, your plan will crumble.


Even though you might think the cover you designed for your book is fantastic, it probably isn’t. Not only should your book cover be attractive and eye-catching, but it also needs to fit into genre expectations and be trendy, otherwise your cover won’t sell your book or will sell it to the wrong people who will then write horrible reviews. Hire a professional cover designer to design your cover.


When choosing your book title, look at titles of other books in your genre and search for trends, consider adopting such a trend. Also, search potential titles on Google and in Amazon to make sure another book doesn’t already have the title you are considering.


Your book description should between 150 and 250 words. You’ll want to write in the third person, present tense. Be sure to include a hook, use power words, and end with a cliffhanger.


Design a Professional Website


Your website is the front door to your author platform. Without one, readers and influencers will struggle to find you, and you’ll struggle to pull readers into your world. A clunky, unattractive, boring, old-fashioned website might prevent readers and influencers from even opening the door.


Spend time looking at other authors' websites noting what they include, what looks good, and what doesn’t. At the bare minimum, your website should include a summary of your book and a link to buy it, your bio, links to social media platforms where you are active, and a way to contact you. If you aren’t capable of designing a professional-looking website, hire a professional to make one for you.


Embrace Collaboration and Generosity


Don’t overlook the power of collaboration and community. Find authors who write in your genre. Read, review, and share their books. Email them fan mail. Make friends. You’ll be surprised by how many return the favor. Join writing organizations. Attend virtual and in-person bookish events. Like any other field, networking will take your career to new heights.


Choose One Marketing Focus at a Time


There are many ways to market your book. The key to not getting overwhelmed and losing focus is creating a plan with a timeline. Considering choosing one element of your plan to focus on each month. You might need to do maintenance on other elements, but choose something to go deep on and educate yourself around it. Spend a month focusing on your website, another month getting an author newsletter set up, another month learning everything you can about Facebook ads . . . You get the idea. For a free sample timeline, sign up for “Nuts and Bolts of Building Book Buzz”, my monthly marketing tips newsletter, here.


If you need more support in designing a

marketing plan consider taking my class: How to Market Your Book Without Losing Your Mind: designing a marketing plan. This course takes you step-by-step through the process of designing a comprehensive plan to get your book into the hands of readers. Learn marketing tips and discover opportunities for book launch success.


For those who already have a marketing plan and would like me to review it to provide feedback, consider purchasing a Marketing Plan Audit.


Best of luck on all of your marketing endeavors!

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