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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Marketing Your Book by Gail Z. Martin




Every marketing action you take, every dollar you spend, and every hour you invest should tie back into one of the goals you’ve identified for your book. If your marketing actions don’t support your goals, then either your goals are wrong, or your marketing action is off-track.

It’s easy to get so caught-up in all the opportunities to market your book that you stop evaluating whether each opportunity is going to help you achieve your goals. Clear goals will help you create a budget, prioritize your time, say “no” with less guilt and “yes” with confidence.

Remember, your ultimate goal is to let readers, who are interested in your particular kind of book, know that your book exists so they can buy it. You’re not trying to reach every reader in the world, only the readers who read the kind of book you’ve written. In marketing language, the readers who read the kind of book you’ve written are your “target audience”. To market your book effectively, you must either reach that target audience directly, or have your message relayed by people who do reach them directly (the media).

For authors of children’s books, realize that if your book is intended for readers under age 10, you are essentially marketing to the parents. If the book is non-fiction (health, parenting, nutrition, etc.), create a very detailed profile of the parent who is your best buyer (usually the mom) and focus your publicity on reaching her.

Children’s fiction books can do very well marketed through school or library appearances and library events. The trick is to make it easy for the host school or library to publicize your appearance far enough in advance that children look forward to it and ask their parents for money to buy the book. To the extent that you can provide flyers (actual copies, not just the master copy since schools are on very tight budgets), bookmarks, a local press release, a pre-event letter to parents (perhaps drafted for the principal or media center teacher), and hallway posters, you’ll see better results. Schools and libraries don’t have the time, staff or budget to do that for you. Offering some kind of age-appropriate giveaway with purchase can spur sales, but make sure that there is also something for the kid who isn’t able to buy.

Look for ties to established, high-traffic places that your target reader is already going, and reach out to those organizations as promotional partners. For example, if your main character takes Tae Kwon Do lessons and that’s important in the book, contact the local Tae Kwon Do programs and set up a signing. Offer to donate a portion of the price of every copy sold to the organization’s favorite charity, or to the organization itself.


Gail Z. Martin is the author of The Thrifty Author’s Guide to Launching Your Book Without Losing Your Mind. Available on Amazon.com and other online retailers, and in select bookstores.

11 comments:

Janet Ann Collins said...

Great article! The information about school visits is especially helpful.

J. Aday Kennedy's A Writing Playground said...

Gail,
These are excellent tips. I'm planning my first virtual book tour. The websites I'm targeting are the sites Moms and Dads visit. These are more than just the blogs and sites writers visit, because my book is a children's fiction picture book.
Blessings,
J. Aday Kennedy
The Differently-Abled Writer

Donna J. Shepherd said...

Thanks for the tips, Gail!

Susanne Drazic said...

Great information Gail. Thanks for sharing!

Chelle Cordero said...

Terrific article. I especially like the reminder that you need to focus & budget not only your money but your time as well in marketing.

As a romantic-suspense writer, m/f relationships and situations intended for mature audiences, there are markets I shouldn't be tapping into and others where my time is much better spent.

Chelle
http://ChelleCordero.com

Katie Hines said...

I enjoyed this article. I'm at the place in my book marketing program that I need to be contacting school librarians, but am waiting until the beginning of the next school year.

Penny Ehrenkranz said...

Gail, these are great tips. Since my book is MG, I especially liked what you had to say about promoting at schools and libraries. If you are looking for anyone else to review your book, let me know.

V.R. Leavitt said...

These are great tips! Definitely keeping them handy!
-Vanessa

NancyCL said...

Wonderful information. Thank you so much!

Karen Cioffi said...

Very informative; thanks for sharing!

Donna M. McDine said...

Great article...filled with important tips. Thanks!

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