Think Marketing Before You Write

When I teach my Writing for Fun and Profit Series for at the colleges here in the Twin Cities, one of biggest surprises students get is authors, not publishers, are responsible for marketing their books. It doesn’t matter if the book is royalty published, subsidy published, or equity published–readers buy authors, not publishers, so it’s up to the authors to create the buzz about their books.

Before you begin writing, you should think about marketing your book–marketing to readers, that is, not publishers. Who is your reader? Who will buy your book? What content would make your reader part with his/her money to buy your book over another? You can do your own market research by asking people what they want to know about [insert your book topic].

Once you’ve got a handle on the content people want to read, you should come up with a marketing plan. As literary agent Michael Larsen said to me once, “the marketing plan in a book proposal is often what makes the difference.” Again, whether you’re looking for a publisher or publishing yourself, you need to sell books and selling begins with marketing.

Create your marketing budget, then consider what you spend as investment in your writing career, not as expense. The top-of-mind authors are not one-hit wonders. They author several books and market all of them. If your first book is a marketing failure, chances are you won’t publish a second book. No one wants to repeat a failing performance. And, even worse, no author wants to take responsibility for his/her “baby” failing, so typically someone else (publisher,  publicist, etc.) gets blamed instead.

Once you know what you’re going to write in your book (based on your market research), and you have your marketing plan (including budget), you get to determine what your marketing looks like. Make sure whatever you do to market your book is consistently first class. If your marketing image isn’t first class, you’ll never convince readers your content is worth owning, let alone reading and telling others about.

Finally, when you’ve planned your marketing well, you’ve invested in your book’s success, and you’re consistent in your marketing, you’ll gain reader confidence. And that is golden. When people feel confident they won’t be disappointed in your book, they’ll become loyal customers (yes, customers).

Think marketing before you write if you’re serious about your writing career.

Happy writing!

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2 Responses to “Think Marketing Before You Write”


  1. 1 pacquisitions January 9, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Great site and good information. Ever consider building your community by including the blogs of your own published authors under your blog roll?

    http://www.invisiblechildren.org


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