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Three Must Haves for an Effective Book Marketing Campaign and Platform Building

Lisa Tener, Book Writing Coach

If you’re in the Facebook Group, Write and Create with Lisa Tener, then you know that I’m working on an interactive journal with prompts and some creative features to get people writing with ease and a sense of joy. And if not, SURPRISE! I’m working on a journal!

And I plan to release it in January.

Yikes. That’s soon!

My hope is that, through the interactive features, you’ll experience a sense of community–whether you’re working on your first book, your third, a blog post or a poem–or anything, really. During this time, it’s more important than ever to feel connected and, in my experience, writing can be a solitary act, but that doesn’t mean we writers need to be isolated.

I’ll be sharing a lot more about the journal and the writing and publishing process over the next few months. Today, though, book PR is on my mind and in my calendar–I just appeared on CNN’s HLN Weekend Express with Susan Hendricks to discuss creative mood boosters for pandemic-induced stress on Saturday and tomorrow (Thursday, October 1), I’ll be talking with Frank Mallicoat of KTVU at 3pm ET, noon PT on the subject.

While I’m in the midst of it, I plan to share the process, wins, foibles and insights in running an effective book marketing campaign. And, if you’re at the platform building stage, you’ll find this post just as relevant.

The 3 must haves are clear goals, knowing whom you’re serving (your audience or market) and a robust book marketing plan. You can substitute “platform building campaign” if you’re not yet ready for the book marketing plan.

What Do You Wish to Accomplish?

  1. Know Your Goals: What are your goals? Sell a certain number of books? Be known as an expert in your field? Get invited to speak (in person or virtually) to large audiences at conferences? Get booked for corporate trainings? To change forever the way people think about _______? (Fill in the blank.) To get people to act on a timely (or currently ignored) issue?

Only when you know your goals will you be able to develop a plan to meet those goals. Skipping this step can lead to big frustration and a small balance in your bank account.

And Who Are You Here For?

2. Know Your Market(s): Let’s take my book, for example. A journal for people who write (or want to or have heard that journaling can help them feel better and are curious to explore). Of course, I’m writing this book for the people I already connect with–you who read my blog, join my classes, work with me–usually first time authors who are just getting started with a book idea and want help fine tuning their book concept, getting the book written and publishing it, whether traditionally or self publishing.

In addition, though, I’ve felt for a long time that the creative tools I’m using and offering my clients, students, and subscribers can benefit those writing just about anything. The journal prompts, in particular, can help people express themselves in writing and feel happier during these challenging times. So, who are those people and how do I reach them?

My colleague, Kristin Meekhof, has been particularly helpful in this area of inquiry. I already work with many writers and authors in the health and wellness arena–doctors, therapists, coaches, meditation instructors, healers, nurses and others. And, given the health benefits of journaling, Kristin steered me to consider this as a major audience for the book. And here’s part of why I love that audience…

A Clue About Your Audience

I am this audience! When a mysterious (at first) health issue laid me low almost three decades ago, I began my healing journey and discovered alternative and complementary medicine and healing modalities. I became so curious, I studied Polarity Therapy just for kicks (to get a better understanding of how it was helping me heal).

The path of healing was rich and challenging and rewarding. Decades later, I continue to read books about wellness, personal development, dreams, spirituality, meditation, breathing techniques, qigong and other healing arts.

I often tell writers that there are two clues to your audience:

a) the people who come to you for services or help

b) people like you – those drawn to certain interests or areas of inquiry and with similar challenges.

So, consider writing a book for you!

Getting clear that I am writing a book for people who either want to write or are interested in personal growth and wellness helped me develop a two-tiered focus on my PR plan.

Now You Need a Plan

3) Make a plan that stems from your goals and vision, as well as your market–the people you’re here to serve.

Some might call this a “book marketing plan” but I hope your plan goes beyond a book. Those authors who are most successful at reaching readers create a sustainable business that brings in the resources to support all the marketing and PR activities you engage in to get your book in the hands of readers.

Besides, you probably have more than a book to offer your tribe or community. Maybe it’s the form of courses, coaching or consulting. Maybe you have a product or program to help people with the next step (particularly if you’re writing nonfiction, which most of my blog readers are). Think about the activities that will help you have the greatest impact in sharing your message, mission and wisdom, as well as the activities that will bring in income to make the whole process sustainable financially.

Your Book Marketing Plan

Your book marketing plan should include:

  • goals
  • market(s)
  • strategies (The big picture: how will you achieve your goals?): these strategies should relate to both reach and producing income.
  • tactics (How will you implement those strategies at the tactical level? Where can you reach your potential readers in a meaningful way likely to entice them to buy your book and get to know your work in a variety of ways?)
  • ways to analyze and assess the effectiveness of your activities
  • people to support you or as Kristin put it, “having a strong team  that integrates the strengths of each other.”

I’m still working on my book marketing plan. I’m just getting started on tactics. I need to create a schedule and budget, as well. So I’m going to save a more in depth look at planning for another post, but I hope these insights help you get started with your platform building or book marketing plan today.

Kristin pointed out to me that , “A good plan is also open to suggestions and feedback on a regular basis.”

On that note, I’d love to hear any suggestions or feedback you have for me as I walk this path. It’s been quite a few years since my first book launch and so much has changed!

Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

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