3 Ways to Improve Your Marketing Plan in 2021

Almost every blog, workshop, and website on the subject of self-publishing advocates for creating a book marketing plan even before your book has been printed. You will already have read about a number of marketing methods, from virtual book tours to book signings to book fair partnerships to glossy mailings featuring your book. Have you followed that advice?

Sometimes, even when we answer “yes” to this question, our sales numbers may not reflect the hard work and the (usually) good advice. You might even be following every piece of advice you’ve received to the letter. So, how could this be? And more importantly, how do we fix the problem?

The simple truth is that your book’s marketing plan may have a fatal flaw, and this flaw may be costing you sales. And truthfully, this is a common problem among self-publishing authors, which means both that you’re not alone and that we’ve figured out a couple of surefire ways to troubleshoot the issues.

Instead of looking at your book marketing plan as an enemy which is actively working against you, ponder these three questions. Your answers might just help reshape your marketing plan to be more insightful, more effective, and more successful at moving your book off of the bookstore shelves.

  1. Have you clearly defined your target market? When you wrote your first book, you just knew that everyone would love it. It would make you the talk of the town (or maybe even the talk of the nation or globe). It would be the “it” book that everyone would want to read. But … that’s a rather lofty goal. Many might even say that it’s an impossible goal, in that even the most successful authors (like Stephen King, Tom Clancy, and Jan Karon) aren’t able to reach everyone with their books. And that’s fine; they have developed loyal followings among readers who are committed to them and their books. That’s where their success lies, and even if you’re not a blockbuster breakout success on the scale of a Stephen King, one can learn from that core truth: loyal followings sell books. How, then, do you seek them out? First, ignore all of the white noise, and dispense with the idea that your book is for everyone. There isn’t a book on Earth that’s for everyone. So, who is your book for? What is your intended audience? Start locking in the details, from demographic details like age and occupation to the qualities they look for in books. Define your target audience with care, and with specificity. If you can’t name some specific characteristics, you won’t be able to market to them.
  2. Have you figured out what differentiates your book from the other books available to your target market? Can you tell us why your book is both different from and better than any other book on the market in its genre? Is there a lesson taught in your book? Are your characters easier to relate to? There has to be a reason why readers want to buy your spy thriller instead of the latest from John le Carré. As daunting as it is to consider as a competitor THE AUTHOR who leads the pack in terms of sales in your genre, doing so will help you figure out your book’s strengths. You aren’t just churning out another Vince Flynn action book; you’re publishing a book with its own strengths of plot and character. Find out what makes your book special and use that as your unique value proposition … in marketing as well as every other context.
  3. Have you updated your book marketing plan lately? The book marketing industry, like any other, evolves with blinding speed. If you don’t keep your plans up to date, your plan can easily become irrelevant and your book sales will flag. We recommend that authors review and update their book marketing plan at least once per year, and that they make sure to get other eyes on their plan than their own as well. Having that external insight is vital and important to making sure that every detail of your marketing plan serves a purpose!

Have your book sales been flagging and you can’t figure out why? Perhaps it’s time to consult with one of our Book Marketing Specialists? Right now, Outskirts Press is offering an instant 10% savings off the regular price of $349 when you claim 5 hours of 1-on-1 marketing assistance with a book marketing specialist. Enter promo code savetenbms at check out to receive 10% off instantly.

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5 Reasons You Need a Book Marketing Calendar

A book marketing calendar is a priceless document in the self-publishing realm. It contains valuable guideposts to steer your marketing and, ideally, includes ambitious but attainable benchmarks, such as promotion deadlines, book events and other to-do items in one place. It also should serve to inspire you to progress in your marketing efforts by making you accountable for your goals and the timeline for achieving them.

But where do you even begin to create a book marketing calendar? Here are five essential items to include on your marketing calendar for a successful year of selling:

  1. Literary contests. Your calendar should include submission deadline dates for literary competitions that interest you, as well as a list of submission requirements (or a link where you can find them). Remember to set a series of smaller goals for each step of the process so you can complete your registration on time.
  2. Book reviews. Some book reviews do have a submission window, so track these and schedule other reviews that aren’t time-sensitive for other times of the year.
  3. Book fairs and expos. There are many local, regional, national and international book fairs where authors can display their books and make valuable industry connections. Research ones that are appropriate for your genre and track registration deadlines and requirements on your calendar.
  4. Other marketing prompts. There are many little things you can do in between competitions and events to boost your visibility, such as book-signings, book giveaways, social media posts and advertising opportunities. You may wish to schedule specific types of activities for certain days of the week or month so you can easily keep track of your agenda. Social media Saturdays, book-signing Fridays, advertising on the 15th of the month, end-of-the-month giveaways, etc. This would also be a good place to note your monthly marketing budget.
  5. Resources. Add helpful links directly to your calendar for future reference. These should include book competition webpages, online forms, how-to articles and more. This will ensure the information you need is close at hand when you need it, and that you never miss an important deadline.

With careful advance planning and organization, you’ll save time down the road and will be prepared to take advantage of every opportunity available to you.

Want an even quicker path to a well-organized book marketing calendar? The new and improved Marketing Calendar from Outskirts Press offers more than 150 marketing tips, resources and deadlines to help you make 2019 your best year yet — all for just $25!

 

Save $5/Hour with Your Own Personal Marketing Assistant

In today’s market, it can be tough to know where to focus your efforts in order to effectively market your book. Don’t worry. We’re here to help!

This month, Outskirts Press is offering 10% off our Personal Marketing Assistant option. You’ll save $5 per hour with your own personal marketing assistant — a total savings of $25 off the regular $249 price. This option includes five hours of one-on-one assistance with a marketing professional so you can …

  • develop a marketing plan
  • arrange book signings
  • develop your social media platform
  • and much more!

Log in to your Publishing Center and select Personal Marketing Assistant from the Marketing Solutions menu. Enter promo code PMA-10pct at check out to receive 10% off.

Take advantage of these savings before the offer expires!