The “-ize” Have It: How to Create a Practical Book Marketing Plan
Too many independent publishers use the Christopher Columbus method of planning. They do not know where they are going. When they get there they do not know where they are. And when they return, they do not know where they have been. This is not a good way to run a business. You can avoid this situation by writing a strategic, functional plan to market your books. For a view of a new planning formula, look through these "ize."
Recognize. A basic premise for successful marketing is to find a need and fill it. You do this by researching three major areas. First, discover what product opportunities exist. Second, learn the demographics and psychographics of your prospective customers. Finally, determine your potential market's size, growth, and competitive status.
Crystallize. According to a proverb, a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. But what if that step is in the wrong direction? Start your trek by deciding where you want to go. Write a specific objective and the date by which you will accomplish it.
Strategize. With your destination etched in your mind, begin to plan how you will reach it. Start by creating strategies in each of the Four Ps of marketing: Product, Place, Price, and Promotion. Should your product be a printed book, an audio package, or an ebook? Will you market it through the traditional bookstore channels or directly to non-bookstore buyers (retail and non-retail)? Answers to these questions will dictate your distribution network and discounts, which in turn impact your pricing strategy. Finally, describe how you will coordinate the elements of your promotion mix by manipulating your advertising, publicity, sales promotion, and personal selling strategies -- both online and offline.
Capitalize. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of actions you can take to market your book. However, most publishers do not have unlimited funds to perform them all. Therefore, you have to create your financial statements to determine how to allocate your existing resources.
Energize. Without action, planning only gives the illusion of progress. Now it is time to put your plan into action. Marketing a book successfully requires perpetual promotion and it is up to you and your team to do it. Perform each step according to the way you planned it and make sure to delegate tasks where needed.
Scrutinize. Action is not synonymous with accomplishment. You may be busy promoting your book but you may not be getting closer to your goal. Periodically assess your progress and make any changes that are necessary. Know where you are at all times -- having the right tools to collect and assess sales and consumer data is crucial for this step.
Realize. This planning formula organizes and directs your thinking and actions to best exploit available opportunities. It coordinates and unifies your efforts to make your budget more efficient. And it helps you regain your bearings and look back to see how far you have come.
Decide where you are and where you want to go. Then set your course for smooth sailing toward a new world of publishing success.
Brian Jud is an author, book-marketing consultant, seminar leader, television host and president of Premium Book Company, which sells books to non-bookstore buyers on a non-returnable, commission-only basis and conducts on-site training for publishers' sales forces.
Brian is the author of "How to Make Real Money Selling Books (Without Worrying About Returns)," a do-it-yourself guide to selling books to non-bookstore buyers in large quantities, with no returns. He has written many articles about book publishing and marketing, is the author of the eight e-booklets with "Proven Tips for Publishing Success," and creator of the series of "Book Marketing Wizards." He is also the editor of the bi-weekly newsletter, "Book Marketing Matters."
Brian is the host of the television series "The Book Authority" and has aired over 650 shows. In addition, he is the author, narrator and producer of the media-training video program "You're On The Air."