Many authors feel overwhelmed by marketing and not sure really where to begin. Others find marketing to be time consuming. And while we all know it is necessary, we often don't know if it is effective. Creating a plan to follow will help you feel more in control and thus less overwhelmed. The beginning of the year is an excellent time to make a plan. Knowing what you need to do will help you make the best use of your time and having it all written down will help you review what worked best.
Whether you have several published books or planning to release your first book this year, you will benefit from a marketing plan.
So where are you spending your marketing time and money this year? Here are a few things to consider making part of your plan.
Everyone is doing blog tours. The most successful tours are ones planned in advance. Pencil in the dates your are thinking about doing the tour. For more help planning your own tour, be sure to pick up a copy of my ebook Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.
Want to be featured on Book Bub, eReader News Today, Pixel of Ink, etc? As these sites grow the competition for the dates you want becomes stiffer. Check their guidelines for how often a title can be featured and set your schedule accordingly.
You can't be touring all the time. When would you work on your next book? But that also doesn't mean you can't do appearances. Actually you should shoot for two or three appearances on blogs each month. While you might not be able to set dates for the entire year for guest blogging, you can put together a list of blogs you want to appear on.
Social media events can be helpful marketing tools. Options include being the guest on regularly scheduled chats, setting up a Goodreads Q&A group, hosting your own chat or read along, etc. These events can be great ways for readers to interact live with their favorite authors.
Creating a mailing list and putting together a street team may be other options to pursue this year.
Radio and Print Interviews:
I've mentioned RadioGuestList.com and HARO as places to find radio and print interviews. The key to getting interviews is planning ahead. Radio shows and monthly magazines are often scheduling 3-6 months in advance.
Awareness Event Participation:
Does your book deal with bullying, human trafficking, adoption, mental illness, or a children's book? Then you may want to find out when the awareness week/month is for that particular issue and see what community or online events you can partner with. Many schools and libraries participate in Read Across America Day by hosting authors (some places have made it a full week of activities). There's also Children's Book Week that include activities both online and locally. Karen Pokras Toz released her book Millicent Marie Is Not My Name during Bullying Prevention Month. Her book deals with bullying and it was a good tie in to a number of activities online including the hashtag #StopBullying.
Festivals and Fairs:
Now is the time to submit applications for summer and fall book festivals. Before you get overwhelmed by the price of a table at one of these events, look into if they have a regional author/new author tent. Often you are given a set hour to do a signing and it is free. Some events also offer a shared table; use the contacts you have in the author groups you are part of to find a partner. You may even want to check with the organizers to see if your entire writers group can have a booth (for those who participate in a local group).
Merchandise and Swag:
It's always good to have swag on hand and planning in advance helps you save the most money. Bookmarks, key chains, mugs, etc. with your book cover(s) and website info printed on them make great giveaway items. Does one of your characters have a catch phrase that readers have latched on to? Check with places like CafePress about selling shirts, mugs, etc. with that phrase. If you are going to events have some items available for purchase.
Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the blogger behind Girl Who Reads and author of the how-to manual Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.