Blogger: Mary Keeley
I had a long Skype session with a client this morning. Our purpose was to brainstorm ideas to gain increased name recognition and to attract an audience for her book. She needed a plan.
Lately on this blog, we’ve talked a few times about the benefits of organizing and planning your work, your time, and your systems. But if you’re like me, the best intentions to maintain order have given way to the urgency of the moment more than I’d like. Year’s end is an opportune time to catch up and prepare, because launching into the next year organized, goals set, and with a plan in place reduces confusion and offers an exhilarating sense of confidence.
Similarly, a plan for promoting yourself and your book will eliminate confusion and missed opportunities. When it comes to promoting yourself and your book, it’s oh so easy for authors, who typically are introverted, to consciously or subconsciously put off thinking about promotion. It’s out of your comfort zone and feels unnatural.
But it is oh so necessary first, to attract a large enough following that will get you your first contract and then next, to gain the sales numbers necessary to obtain your next contract.
You’ve heard the saying, plan your work and work your plan. It is good advice for accomplishing anything, but especially that which is new or uncomfortable. Some may respond, “My manuscript isn’t ready to submit. I don’t need to think about promotion yet, do I?” The answer is yes, you do. The earlier you begin, the stronger your platform will be when you are ready to prepare your proposal for submission. Agents and editors want to see strong social media numbers on your proposal. It gives them an idea of potential buyers of your book. A power packed speaking and social media platform is essential for nonfiction authors.
Preparing a written, step-by-step, two-stage plan will help you to get the job done. You may have the luxury of addressing only one item at a time on your plan if you start early. Here is a skeletal plan you can start with and adapt for your individual use:
Stage One – Before submission of proposal to agents and editors: Begin to build an audience.
- Create author Facebook and Twitter accounts; add friends and followers.
- Create a website that communicates your personality and what you write.
- Start a blog and post consistently.
- Visit author and agent blogs and comment regularly.
- Create account on Goodreads. Interact with other readers. Write reviews of their books.
- Join Pinterest. Pin interesting photos (your own to avoid the necessity to request permission to use) that pertain to your work in progress.
- Gather business information for proposal: lists of bookstores, libraries, and churches you will approach to do signings or readings.
- Create one-sheet to give to editors and agents at conferences.
Stage Two – After book is contracted:
- Let social media friends and followers know when your book will be published.
- Ask Goodreads readers to review your book.
- Contact bookstores, libraries, and churches on your lists to schedule book signings and readings.
- Prepare sound bite for media that communicates your book’s message or story, your brand, and tag line.
- Prepare pitch statement for those to whom you will send review copies.
Cross off items as you address them. It will give you a feeling of accomplishment.
What can you add to fill in this plan? Which one or two are the hardest for you?