Having worked in the publishing industry and with authors over the last 15 years, I’ve seen this a million times. A person writes a book. Person thinks they’re going to make a million dollars on their book. The book is going to be their retirement plan.
In reality, the typical self-published authors sells 250 copies. What makes you think your book is different? Because it’s yours, right? You know you’ve created something of value for the world. But without a solid marketing plan and a commitment on your part, your book is destined to sell 250 copies (or less).
The marketing phase of publishing a book is just as important, if not more important, than the actual writing phase. Sure, if you never wrote the book in the first place or if you didn’t spend the time to make sure it was truly a marketable product, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. But once you have that book finished, you need to invest just as much effort in getting the word out about it.
Remember that 1989 movie “Field of Dreams” with Kevin Costner? “If you build it, they will come.” I hate to break it to you, but publishing a book isn’t like “Field of Dreams.” If you publish it, readers aren’t going to just know about it and buy it. You have to help them discover it.
And marketing your book needs to be strategic. Don’t confuse “strategic” for “complicated.” Your book marketing doesn’t need to be complicated. You just need a plan.
Think of your book marketing as an investment—and by “investment”, I don’t necessarily mean money. It’s an investment of your time. An investment of your energy. You aren’t going to get a return on your investment if you don’t put something into it. And you can invest actual money into your book marketing, but you don’t necessarily have to.
Some marketing people will make it sound like really complicated to create a marketing plan, but it’s not. It’s just not. Keep in mind that with most marketing people, the more complicated they make it sound, the more they’re convincing you that you need the services they provide. Right?
But you don’t.
In addition to working with authors for the last 15 years, I’ve also been on the marketing side of the business. Creating a marketing plan is actually very simple. I’m currently working on my next book which will help walk you through it. For now, I have created this simple book marketing template you can download for free.
Having a marketing plan helps you stay focused on what you need to do and when you need to do it. Checking in on your marketing plan enables you to see what’s working, and what’s not, so that you can adjust your tactics as you go
After all, as Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.”