Chip MacGregor

March 8, 2016

What’s the fifth step in marketing your book?


Now that you know what your brand is, what your strengths and weaknesses are, what goals you’re trying to reach, and who your target market is, you need to make some specific choices. What are the basic strategies you’re going to use to market your book? There are a million things you COULD do. Maybe you’ve picked up a couple of marketing books that offer “101 marketing ideas,” or you’ve attended a seminar and heard other authors talk about a bunch of ideas they’ve tried. You can’t do them all… so what steps will you choose?
Will you focus on blog tours? Give away a lot of copies? Talk with reading groups? Redesign your website? Do some conference speaking? Distribute press kits? Try to get on a bunch of radio programs? Spend a lot of time placing articles with magazines and e-zines? Develop podcasts? Solicit dozens of reviews? Dig deep into the various Amazon tools? Network with key people? Focus on your blog readership? Use your associations or groups to get the word out? Develop a bunch of give-aways? Focus on broadcast media? Spend a lot of time at libraries? Visit targeted groups around the country? Participate in direct mail? Get involved in trade shows and conventions? Rely on key endorsements and recommendations? Do an author tour? Buy advertisements on the best websites? Try to steer sales to your website?
You can’t do them all. In fact, you don’t want to do them all, since they wouldn’t all prove effective for your book. So as you think about your target market, what are the basic strategies that make sense? As you think about your strengths and weaknesses, what are the strategies you definitely need to consider? What are the strategies you probably need to forget about? At this step, you’re simply picking the basic areas in which you plan to work.
And remember, most marketing gurus will remind you t0 think hard about your uniquenesses. If you’re a good “events” person, then decide you’re going to focus on event-based marketing strategies. If you have a book that appeals to a particular career field, think about strategies that focus on using networks and associations. Don’t assume what some writer friend tried will work for you — your book is different, and YOU are different.
So here’s where you make choices. In light of all the work you’ve done so far, what are the basic strategies that fit you, that fit your book, and that you think will help you to stand in front of your intended audience?


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  • Laurel Decher says:

    [I’m hesitating to post because the comments say 2 years ago even though the post is from 3 days ago. Anyway, here goes.] I have a suggestion for Laura Jackson: try using your time zone as an advantage during the school year. For example, if you did Skype visits with international schools in Europe or Asia that gives you a little more wiggle room during the school year. Also the school year goes much later in Germany (end of July), for example. The Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators (SCBWI)’s THE BOOK has a list of international schools and there are lots of SCBWI members all over the world. Maybe you can team up by sharing your school librarian/teacher expertise with an author living elsewhere. Just a thought.

  • Laura Jackson says:

    Great post.
    My debut YA released a few weeks ago, and while I’m doing a few things on the list, I’m struggling to get in front of my intended audience physically.
    I’m a school librarian, so I have connections getting my book into school libraries, which is fantastic.
    However, I can’t do many school visits because I’m working at the time when I’d have to go to a school. As a former English teacher, I’d love to go to schools and work with teachers on writing lessons while promoting my book (because with state testing, teachers don’t want to give up valuable teaching time unless it’s related to the curriculum). However, education is a field where you can’t take off whenever you want, and I wouldn’t want to lie, using a “sick” day when I know I’m not sick.
    So, I need to figure that out.
    Guess you learn as you go.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • chipmacgregor says:

      Yes — you hit on one of the real problems, Laura. An author needs to get out front of her audience, but it can be tough to do in person when you’re working. And that’s especially tough for you, since YA and children’s authors really need to use schools and libraries to get in front of people. A suggestion: think about maximizing your summer schedule.

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