Self-published writers must have a marketing plan.
Self-published writers must develop and execute a marketing plan for their writing. This is no easy task. Traditionally published writing has a publishing team to handle the majority of the marketing. The self-published writer has only themselves.
Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, Blogs, Podcasts, radio, broadcast television, print media, paid sites and cable need to be engaged. We must set up websites and landing pages.
Each time the writer completes a social media task, another is waiting in the wings. If an approach is successful, we must revise the marketing plan to exploit the newly identified opportunity.
Networking is key. The writer needs to engage their network to bring friends, family, suppliers’ customers, and enemies into their self-publishing book marketing plan. We must convince perfect strangers to put their money down to buy your book or read your article.
Even if the writer has the money to engage a professional web builder, the designer will seek direction from the writer. A website is personal, so it should reflect the writer’s personality and desires.
What Does It Take to Self-Market A Self-Published Book?
To self-market a self-published book, it takes time. and planning. Lots of time and lots of planning. The time spent developing a basic marketing plan can be disheartening.
Many don’t understand that once written, marketing their book is its key success factor. We must give attention to selling the ideas. This selling occurs with fiction and non-fiction writing.
Self-publishing a book on Amazon, which no one sees, does not spread your ideas. Amazon has four million ebooks for sale. There were one hundred and sixty-two million ebooks sold in 2016 and 2017.
Unit sales of ebooks in the United States in 2017–162 million ebooks
For someone to read your articles or books, the items must be available. The writer’s toolbox needs marketing tools.
687.2 million total units print books sold (2017) US Sales
Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Twitter all work differently. Few people are cognizant of how to use them. When promoting my books, I have adjusted my marketing plan many times as I learned new information and as circumstances changed.
The marketing plan for a self-published book cannot be stagnant. It must ebb and flow as new information is collected and incorporated into the plan. The marketing plan must be flexible enough to change as more details, and specific information becomes available. The self-publishing writer needs to understand and have a detailed plan that encourages, wait for it, progressive elaboration.
What is Progressive Elaboration?
Per the Project Management Institute, in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PEMBOK), progressive elaboration is improving and detailing a plan as more details and specific information and more accurate estimates become available.
Progressive elaboration is improving and detailing a plan as more details and specific information and more accurate estimates become available.
Progressive elaboration applied to self-publishing marketing means we will update the marketing plan, sometimes daily, as it incorporates better information into the plan.
The Best Data
The best data points to collect are those that identify who and where to find your ideal reader. Once the ideal reader is identified, incorporate their characteristics into your buying analysis. The flexibility of your marketing plan is important. Change your plan to incorporate the new information as it is collected.
As learning continues, using the data, it becomes obvious which platforms attract your most perfect readers. Your ideal reader may only be interested in Facebook, not Twitter. The self-published writer’s marketing plan must change if the data points in a certain direction. The marketing success of a book can change direction unexpectedly. Marketing seldom works to the original plan.
An Example Marketing Plan
Above is an example of one of my marketing plans with the changes I made over the first week. There were twenty-eight tasks (each represented by a box) on that plan. Only two of them remained unchanged by the time the ebook had been for sale for six weeks.
The best marking plans take time to build and revise. Your writing will sit unloved unless you market it: the work required to build and maintain a marketing plan is well worth it.