Do You Have a Marketing Plan?

With my previous post, “Prelaunch Book Jitters” I opened the subject about book marketing. I admitted after I self-published my first book, that I had waited too long to develop a marketing plan. In fact, I really didn’t have one at all. The first few months, sales were brisk for being a novice writer. However, the sales were from friends, and friends of friends. Each month my sales dwindled until I went two month with no sales.

It was a big mistake waiting so long to start a marking program. Yet, it was even a larger mistake not having one formulated at all. I remembered all those post advising me to prepare a plan and implement it. I read that an author needed a website as well as being set up on social media. I also read that social media would not succeed alone. You must have a large following and email subscriptions too.

I was already on a couple social media sites, but they were friendship oriented. I did post on them the availability of my book. My next step was to set up a website. Not knowing anything about building your own or having the budget to have one built for me was a major obstacle. It took me long hours and huge mistakes, but after a month, I had my site running. Now what was I supposed to do with it?

Since I utilized WordPress as my website platform, the resources were abundant. Everything I read advised an author to have a blog site. A what—? It was back to more reading and research, I started following individual author’s blogs. I quickly learned what sites worked and what sites didn’t. What seemed to be the common element for a successful site was to have a theme. A good theme along with good material, would lead to followers. My idea was to named my site “Getting to Know Chuck Jackson”.

I don’t know how to determine what is a successful blog site. In nine months, I published thirty-eight posts, I have over sixty WordPress followers and equal number of email subscribers. It was a lot of work, but the positive thing, it was a great education. The people I met following their blogs were gracious and always willing to support a newbie.

Now that I had a blog site, I was on five social media sites, and had some following, why wasn’t I selling any books? Back to the research to find out what I had done wrong and how I needed to remedy the problem. What I quickly learned, there was no tried and true marketing plan. In fact there were many plans, each claiming to be the successful one.

Over these months, I had received numerous emails from Dave Chesson at Kindlepreneur. In fact, I followed his instructions for setting up my blog site. As luck would have it, I got another email from Dave promoting his marketing plan for self-publishing authors. After two days, I completed his multiple step tutorials. His program seemed logical, yet very confusing. Then Nicolas Rossis published a post, “Don’t Advertise With Amazon Until You Read This. Now I had someone I had followed simplify the Dave’s marketing program.

I am delighted to report that in not quite two months, I have sold more books using this plan than I had sold all the previous months. It enabled me to break that friends and friends of friends barrier and I was now selling to the public. I even have a couple international sales. My regret is that I did not start a marketing plan earlier. It makes me wonder what my royalties might have been.

I’m not going to claim that this marketing plan is the best or am I going to attempt to explain it. If interested, go to the Kindlepreneur site and take the course. Also, don’t forget to go read Nicolas Rossis posts. He has now published a series discussing the do and don’t of the marketing plan. It is not difficult, yet it is a hands on and time-consuming process. So far, it has been successful for me.

Don’t get caught doing as I did.  My advice is to set up a marketing plan before publishing your book. Set up your goals and objectives for promoting your book. Remember it is a combination of: (a) promoting your writing and book on social media, (b) establishing an effective blog site, (c) promoting yourself by following other writers and getting them to reciprocate, (d) establishing a substantial subscription following, (e) utilizing a marketing plan that works for you. Each of the above on its own will not succeed, it takes all of them working with each other to make a winning plan. I wish you success.

20 Replies to “Do You Have a Marketing Plan?”

    1. Hi Nicholas,
      Your welcome. I’ve got to go back and re-read your post and follow ups. I’m unsure when to pull a key word versus increase the cost of clicks to be effective. However, so far so good on my plan.

  1. GREAT article, Chuck – and especially timely for me. Thanks for sharing your resources, too. Much appreciated.

    I think the fact that you got a website built in only a month is amazing – not “long” at all! Tho’ I realize it felt long since you had a book you wanted to market that seemed to be languishing, I’ve known people that took MUCH longer.

    xx, mgh

  2. Part II (your site “hid” the POST button when it was all in #1).

    My own WordPress journey, over 6 years ago now, was fraught with obstacles (some of them due to my i-net provider), so I was a month in the planning/learning stage alone. It was a full 3-months before I had anything but a site I considered less than what I wanted it to be – and longer still to populate it with posts I felt were worth reading. I’m STILL learning about what people like to read (and will!) and what is probably more suited to a book.

    Book marketing seems to be a different animal altogether. I think my dislike of most of “the socials” is a large part of my publishing delay. That and having a blog to maintain that keeps me writing there vs. finishing a few of my books and moving them into the publishing phase. Funny, because I set up the blog to encourage me to do exactly that. I’m inspired by your post to set up an actual PLAN (what a concept – lol).
    xx, mgh

    1. Hi Madelyn,
      Thank you for your warm comments. You have been a great supporter of my writing and a valued follower. Followers like you that are the ingredient give us the motivation to work at our writing.

      When you first start as a writer at ground zero, there is so much to learn and it is an uphill endeavor. Once you have a following, then you must also have a marketing plan. The plan I use is not difficult yet it is time consuming. The whole idea is to have your book placed predominantly on Amazon when customers go shopping. The plan has to work in conjunction with Amazon profit maximization system to be successful. This plan is one of many that authors are using.

      Again, I thank you for your continued support. HUGS

      1. Yes TIME consuming – that’s right on point.

        Successful bloggers are no strangers to spending a great deal of time on all sorts of blog activities – writing content, responding to comments, visiting blog buddies and commenting, etc. – and few of us have a great deal leftover to spend on activities that won’t move things forward – especially when the goal is to market a book which has already taken a great deal of time to write, edit, etc.

        That’s what is so great about your article — hearing that there’s a payoff for the time, vs. exhausting ourselves spinning our wheels.

        Since you already have a virtual relationship with your readers, we can trust your story and that your recommendations are those you used yourself and really feel are worthwhile — not simply some flavor of marketing hype likely to encourage us to spend more of that valuable time on something that would be, essentially, a side trip or only marginally helpful.

        It’s so nice to read your success story, and I know that it will continue to get better and better as you continue to market. Thanks again for sharing. I hope that you will keep us in the loop as you move forward. I, for one, would be interested in reading every little detail.

  3. Hi Chuck,
    Interesting post and timely for me.
    I also went a month recently without any sales on my ebook.
    I think I thought my book would just sell itself! My amazing publisher walked me through the promotion steps which helped. She even guest posted on my site about the necessary steps. I hope I can leave a link here:
    Her advice is in the article.
    I have more articles like this in the “monetization” category on my blog.
    May I offer advice? I looked in your sidebar but didn’t see your book cover with a link to purchase it.
    If you click my link, you’ll go to my site where you can see my large book cover and a blurb in the right sidebar. I’ve noticed on my “clicks out” people clicking my Amazon link.
    In the meantime, I clicked Nick Rossi’s link so that I can also get more ideas. It’s great we’re helping each other.
    I am good friends with Hugh. I see his picture here.

    1. Hi Janice,
      What a great surprise finding your warm comment on my site. Thank you for the advise on putting my book and link on my static page. I had to look around to find out how, but I located the widget. Younger individuals will benefit on your post about making money via a blog page. Mine is used to promote my writing, support to other writers, and sell a few books. I’m retired and i’m enjoying my writing as one my activities to keep the ‘ole’ brain still working. Thank you for your support.

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