Amanda Luedeke

July 24, 2014

Thursdays with Amanda: Do Sequels Deserve a Marketing Plan?


2013amanda2Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

I have a story for you…a story about one of my authors (and yes, I’ve asked and been granted permission to share said story). But to protect the innocent, and to add a touch of humor, let’s call this author DOG-TIRED.

Dog-Tired is your typical author. Dog-Tired has a number of books out and a bunch of writing to do and a few websites to manage and some events in the pipeline and, you know, a life to lead. So it came as no surprise when Dog-Tired emailed me and asked about the need for a marketing plan for his/her third book in the series.

Now, if there is ever a good excuse for not doing a marketing plan, this is probably it. A third book doesn’t necessarily generate sales in and of itself (aside, of course, from selling to readers who are staying on top of the series). That job still rests on the shoulders of the first book. So really, a third book can be thought of as no more than a nudge to buy the first book…and then the second…so that one can get to the third…

Which almost never happens. I mean what sane reader would commit to a series simply because a latter installment looked interesting?

So, Dog-Tired asked me about whether or not he/she had to create this marketing plan…whether or not it would be useful…whether or not it would result in any sales whatsoever…whether or not the publisher would even notice.

And I knew how dog-tired Dog-Tired was. I knew that Dog-Tired needed a break. That he/she had other things in the works, and so ignoring this one task (that always turns into many, many extra tasks) would probably be okay.

But I also had just written last week’s post on book-marketing slumps. And my belief in some kind of marketing plan being better than no marketing plan was fresh in my mind.

So I encouraged Dog-Tired to put something together. Didn’t have to be long or extensive or ground-breaking. Just a simple list, and I encouraged him/her to send it to his/her publisher.

Dog-Tired agreed wholeheartedly, even if not exuberantly. A small plan was made and sent off to the publisher.

And you know what? Within hours, the publisher responded with excitement and happiness. You see, they had no idea that Dog-Tired was going to be attending a certain convention…but now they knew! And they wanted to help! Suddenly, this event that Dog-Tired was going to do, turned into a team effort, thus maximizing the experience as a whole.

And that never would have happened had Dog-Tired not sent that marketing plan.

I know how tedious marketing plans can be when you’re in the midst of a series. I also know how easy it is to fall out of touch with your publisher’s marketing team. But this experience with Dog-Tired was a great reminder of how important it is to go through these motions…how necessary it is to keep your marketing team in the loop (regardless of where you are in your publishing journey). And how profitable it can be to have those teams behind you.

So this week, I encourage all of you sequel-writers to take a moment and put together a simple marketing plan that you can send to your publisher. Doesn’t have to be overly creative or complex. It just needs to show them what you’re doing, what you plan to do, and when. This makes it easier for them to help you! And it prevents the likelihood that they, too, will fall into a “sequel slump.”

Thoughts? What kinds of responses have you gotten when sending your marketing plans to your publisher?

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1 Comment

  • Jaime Wright says:

    You’re a great agent and cheerleader. What would writers be without teams!! It’s also comforting to know a basic marketing plan is still valuable too. Sometimes I feel I’ll have to come up with a special guest star at my book signings like … Jonathon Rhys Meyers or someone … to make it count 🙂

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