Updated: Sep 20
Whether you're a new author or you've been published for a while, at some point you may wonder how to sell more books. In this post, we're going to let you in on that secret...
You need a marketing plan.
Every business has a marketing plan. And writing children's books is no different: it's your career or side gig! But what exactly is a marketing plan and how will it help you sell more books?
What is a marketing plan?
In a nutshell, a marketing plan is made up of actionable strategies that are organized, intentional, and thought out in order to maximize your product's visibility and sales. It outlines an author’s specific marketing strategy that they’ll use to promote their written work to their audience. It should be a detailed, strategic document that specifies your target markets, marketing objectives, programs, activities, timescales, and resources according to your budget.
Let’s look at just some of the reasons you need a marketing plan:
Top 3 Reasons You Need a Marketing Plan
1. A marketing plan helps you raise awareness
It can take time and effort to gain traction and build a following, especially if this is your first book. Creating a marketing plan early helps you understand how you’ll gain interest in your book before and after publication. Remember: people can't buy your book if they don't know it exists.
2. A marketing plan keeps you accountable
Writing out a marketing plan will encourage you to get organized and stay on track with a system that's customized to you and your book. it's easy to think "oh, I'll do that later" but if you create a strategy that outlines what you'll be doing, how you'll be doing it, and when, you'll be more likely to follow through and achieve your goals.
With a thoughtful schedule, you’ll not only generate a buzz around your book’s release but also continue the momentum after publication.
3. A marketing plan makes you be specific
When you're first starting out, it can be easy to think "I'll just post on social media and get sales" but we all know (and if you didn't, now you do!) that it isn't that simple. What you post matters. Where you post and who you get in front of make a big difference. And how often you leverage social media will impact your overall results.
It's not enough to just pick a marketing strategy, you also have to think about all the logistics that it involves. Otherwise, you'll be wasting time and energy and your book won't end up in front of the right people.
That's probably my favorite part about building a marketing plan - it forces me to dig deeper into everything that I do, which really impacts my results.
So now the question is...how do you make a marketing plan? Let's dive in.
How to create a marketing plan
Your marketing plan is something that you can reuse with future books and tweak as you learn what works for you and your audience, but it should be specific enough that if a stranger picked it up, they'd be able to implement it! Detail is key.
👉 Step 1: Write out all the strategies you'll use in your book marketing plan
The more the merrier! A marketing plan is like a puzzle 🧩 - the more pieces you have, the more complete the picture. This means that you can't stick to 2-3 strategies and expect results. You need to do much more than that.
👉 Step 2: Decide what your goal is with each marketing strategy
If you're running Facebook ads is the purpose to get more email leads or to get more book sales? If you're doing library outreach, is the goal to schedule a book signing event for visibility or is the goal to sell your book to that library? Go through each strategy and decide what your desired result is for each.
👉 Step 3: Determine how often you'll be implementing each marketing strategy
Once you've decided what you're going to do and what the goal is with each, you need to decide how often you'll be working on that strategy. If your strategy is vendor events, how many do you plan to do each month or year? If the strategy is email marketing, how often will you send out content to your subscribers? And what will you do to grow your list + how often?
You get the idea.
👉 Step 4: Write it all out
Then, it's time to get organized. It doesn't matter if your marketing plan is in a Google sheet or on an illustrated posterboard on your wall - the content is the important part.
👉 Step 5: Optimize
As you execute your book marketing plan, you'll want to start looking at what's working and what's not. Start tweaking and making changes based on what you see. If something is doing well, focus more energy there. If something isn't working, try to figure out why not.
I know that was a lot of information, but I assure you: you've got this! Take your time to sit down and think everything through and before long, you'll be smashing those goals of yours. And if you find you need more help, be sure to check out our Marketing Strategies for Authors course.
Leave a comment below with your goals for this upcoming calendar year!
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