Marketing Plan for The Secret of Kite Hill
So I wrote the book. Yay! Now what? Aha, now for the hard part.
If you care to actually sell a few of your hot-off-the-presses book, you’re going to need some sort of a plan. A marketing plan. What is marketing? Call it what you like, but it’s about selling, about getting it from your hands to someone else’s and having them, ideally, pay you for that privilege.
Note that this post will be a Work in Progress as it’s what I’m going to be using to market my own book.
Ideally, you should start your marketing before you finish your book. In fact, you can even start it before you start the book–it’s not a bad test of the waters to see how much demand is out there for your topic or genre. I’m not going to bother with a timeline here as in my case, I just wrote the thing and now I’m going back and addressing the marketing. Not ideal, but hey, I had a deadline.
Here are a few topics we’ll cover in a bit more detail below.
- Elevator pitch: 1 line, 1 paragraph and 1 page versions of the book
- Format: ebook, print, audiobook and more
- Promotion: how do you let people know?
- Social Media: Tweet your book, share your book, give it away, etc.
- Organizations, forums, groups: where do people hang out who might be interested in your book?
Have a look at a book on Amazon and you’ll see there are (or should be) a few versions of descriptions of the book. There’s usually a super short, maybe even a tagline or subtitle version, then a sentence or two, then a paragraph and then maybe a few paragraphs. These all have their place, but it’s important to have them all ready.
Warning: this is very difficult! But also extremely important.
Getting these right is of utmost importance for several reasons. For one, it’s the elevator pitch or the 10 seconds you have to “sell” the idea of your book to a stranger who knows nothing about it or you. Whew, tough! But it’s also an exercise in summarizing your book in such a short burst that you truly get at the heart of your story or topic.
Exercise: go read the 1 line and 1 paragraph descriptions of popular books and see how they pull you in–or not.
Work in Progress: The Secret of Kite Hill
Here’s what I have at the moment for Kite Hill. Now that I look at them, I know … they need work. Wow, this is hard.
Do you know who lives under your neighborhood?
You know in scary movies when you yell, “Don’t go in there!” We went in. Yeah, I know. Ask your 8-year old why.
I’m writing these right now off the cuff …
For adult/parent audience: Are you a helicopter parent? Do you hover over everything your child does and never let them scrape their arm or fall off the swing? Or have they scraped their arms and fallen off the swings so many times you’re convinced that you’re right to be a helicopter parent? What if you found a happy medium? Somewhere in between that was fun for the kids but also OK with you? Then let it go a little further and see what happens. You’re right there, they’ll be OK. Right? Let it go. Go in the tunnel, follow the dog, follow your inner child. You’ll be OK. I double pinky promise.
For youth audience: You’re walking home from school and you want to have a little adventure but your dad says, as usual, “No.” or “Next time.” or “We don’t have time.” What if he finally said, “OK, let’s go. Let’s do what you want to do.” Even if you thought it was yourself a little scary. Would it be fun? Scary? Maybe both? Li & Lu were on their way home from school and their dad finally said “OK, let’s go.” They went in where they probably shouldn’t have gone in. Want to know what happened?
You want to make sure that anyone who wants the book can get it in the form they’d like to have it. In the old days, that meant, uh, hard cover and paperback. Today, that might mean:
- E-book: Amazon, but also Barnes & Noble, independent ebook formats, etc.
- Audiobook: iTunes store (iBooks), Audible.com, Amazon, etc.
- Print version: most people still want paper pages in their hands. Let them.
- PDF: for places like Scribd and other distributors
- Podcast: can you split up your chapters and put it on iTunes?
There are certainly other formats out there, both lower tech and higher tech, that I’m not addressing. I’m looking forward to learning more about them.
Work in Progress: The Secret of Kite Hill
At the moment (May 4, 2014), I only have the ebook on Amazon. I need to add photos and illustrations and update the ebook file. Once I have that, I want to make it available as a print version (which doesn’t seem difficult). Then I want to do the audiobook and how (if) to get it on iBooks for Apple.
This covers a lot of possible ground: advertising, PR, publicity, contests, basically anything to spread the word about your book. If there’s one thing I’ve learned that you need to do (but is hard to do) is just this one word: scale.
Scale: how can you reach the most people with the most targeted effort? Not to just make it a numbers game, but how can you reach 100 times the audience with 1 times the effort? How do you get that exponential bump in traffic or sales or buzz? This, of course, is the hard part. But again, it’s not just numbers, you don’t want to buy a mailing list of a million people just because it’s a million people. Who are those people? Would they have the slightest interest in your book? Maybe. Better is to target your promotional efforts to the point where there’s a balance of your efforts, the number of people you’re reaching, but keep in mind the level of possible interest they might have in your topic.
Is it better to tell one person in an elevator about your book or scream from the rooftops? It depends on who’s in the elevator.
This section could be a book in itself: social media promotion for your book. So I’m not going to cover it in detail here. Also, frankly, I don’t have a ton of experience here so it’s going to be learning while doing. As noted above, I want the photos and illustrations in the book before I promote it further. So we’re back to points above that are of critical importance: Format and Elevator Pitches: are they ready? If not, then there’s little reason to promote something that’s not ready.
On that note, I’m going to stop here for the moment as in writing this I realize that I need to get those things done. I’ll keep this rolling here as I make progress.