Self-Published: Create a Marketing Plan

If no one has told you yet you need a marketing plan. This will be your life saver as far as selling books goes. Last week I made a post about the four P’s of marketing. The first one is product and I think it goes without saying that you need a well-written book but relying just on writing a good book is foolish. The days of being able to throw a good book up on Amazon and it selling like hot cakes is over. There is far to much competition now on Amazon to not do any marketing.

So what is a marketing plan and what does it look like? Well first I want to suggest a book to you called the 1-Page Marketing Plan. Its an excellent book and can really help you create a marketing plan. In the mean time there are a few key things you need in your marketing plan.

Target Audience: Who is going to buy your book? Get REALLY specific. For example: My customer is 30 years old. She’s married with two kids and works a full-time and she uses romance novels as a way to escape and relax. If you don’t know where to start with this do some research. You can simply good “Who buys (your genre) books.” As you get further into your writing career your target audience will become more specific but start with what you have.

What’s your message?: When people think of your name what do you want them to think of? I would come up with one sentence that describes what kind of books your write and why they should read it.

How are you going to reach your audience: AKA where does your audience hang out? Are they on Facebook? Instagram? Do they prefer to walk into bookstores and pick up books? I can not emphasize enough how important this is. If you don’t know where your audience hangs out you can’t reach them.

Sales Funnel: “The purchase funnel, or purchasing funnel, is a consumer-focused marketing model that illustrates the theoretical customer journey toward the purchase of a good or service.” In today’s society I think its important to just straight-out write your sales funnel. If someone doesn’t know who you are how are you going to make them buy your product? There are steps involved to get from point A(Someone doesn’t know you) to point B(Them buying your book and becoming a loyal customer.) You need to write these steps out.

For example: Step One: I’m going to advertise a free e-book to collect email address. Step Two: I’m going to create automatic emails over the next week after they sign up so they can get to know me. Step Three: Educate my newsletter about new releases and hope they purchase my new books.

This is a simple sales funnel but basically you want to build a long term relationship with a reader and get them from point A to B.

Nurture Audience: How will you keep that relationship with your readers? In simpler terms this can be public relation or content marketing. You want to continue to give your readers content and attention. I suggest setting up a FB group for your super fans and show up in there often.

These are just some things to get you started and to start thinking about how to market your book. As mentioned before I high suggest the book 1-page marketing plan.

I can not stress enough how important it is to have a plan in place to how you will sell your book. Your book WILL NOT sell itself.

Self-Publishing Marketing: The 4 P’s

Hi! Today I want to go a bit in-depth on marketing as a self-published author. I went to school for marketing and it has helped me tremendously with my writing career, but I do realize that this is something authors really struggle with. I plan to start a series on my blog all about marketing but for today I thought I’d start with something simple; the 4 P’s of marketing and how they relate to your self-publishing career.

Product- This one seems pretty straight forward. The product is your book but it goes even deeper than that. Your product is your cover, your blurb, your genre, and your writing style. You are going to have a hard time marketing if you don’t have a good overall product. Covers are HUGE in indie publishing and you want to make sure you have a high quality cover because this is the first thing a reader is going to see.

Price-This is my favorite P to talk about because how you price your book determines who shows up to buy your book. A book that is priced at $0.99 and is available on Kindle Unlimited attracts a different fan-base than a book that is priced at $6.99 and is available on all platforms. Decide on a target market and that’s going to determine how you price your book.

Placement- I’m going to translate this to distribution. How are people going to get your books? Are you exclusive to Kindle Unlimited? Are you wide? Do you want to be in book stores? Libraries? This is all part of your marketing.

Promotion: This is what most people think when they think about marketing. Some examples of promotion is Facebook Ads, Amazon Ads, Goodreads Giveaways, Social Media, Newsletter emails, etc. Basically it’s how you are getting your product in front of your target market.

These are the basic 4 P’s of marketing. As I’ve mentioned I will continue to go into depth on marketing as a indie author but I think it’s good to talk about the basic’s first.

Review: The Magnolia Duet

I listened to the audio for both book and OMG Joe Arden did an amazing job with Mose’ss character. I’ve always been a huge fan of Magnolia and I have been waiting for her book since reading Ruthless Queen. Meghan did an amazing job bringing Magnolia’s character to life on the page. Magnolia is the most badass Heroine I’ve ever read. She holds nothing back and for awhile I really thought she wasn’t going to give Moses a second chance. Moses reminds me like a 1920’s gentleman… but in a good way. He drives a Rolls Royce and he just comes across as real smooth. Overall I think Meghan March did a great job with this duet.

Read Now

Blurb:

The thing about ghosts is they’re supposed to stay dead.
That’s exactly what I am, but I can’t stay away from Magnolia Marie Maison for one more day, let alone another year.
We’ve already got fifteen of those between us.
As it stands, she’ll want to kill me as soon as she lays eyes on me. And knowing her, she’s completely up to the task.
But I’m a man on a mission, and I’ve got everything riding on this.
So, here I come, Magnolia. This ghost is ready for whatever you got.
After all, there’s only one way I want this to end—’til death do us part.

Writing Strong Characters

Writing strong character’s is what can make or break a book. When writing a book you want the reader to fall in love with the characters just as much as you do. So how do you create strong and believable characters?

Create your characters beforehand

If you are a plotter this will be a no-brainer but for those who like to write by the seed of their pants this might not be so obvious. My characters are the only part of the book I plan out before starting. I like to have a good grip on who my characters are. I suggest getting a piece of paper and filling it entirely with stuff about you hero/heroine. What do they like to do? How did they grow up? What problems or issues do they have? How do they eat do they scarf their food down or take small bites? Write down everything even if it’s not essential to your story line. If you don’t have a good idea of who your character is your reader won’t either.

Be consistent

Once you start writing you might discover that your character is more self-conscious than you thought. Or maybe they are coming across on the page different than you intended. Either way you want to make sure you are consistent in your writing. I often have to go back to the beginning of my story and ask myself, “Is this something X would really say?” In the beginning you are still learning your character so make sure to go back and check for consistencies.

Dialogue, dialogue dialogue!

This is something that I personally struggle with but I’m getting better. You can tell a lot about a character by the way they talk. Are they a people pleaser? Do they say yes a lot when they really mean no? Do they have a accent and say the word Y’all all the time? Don’t forget that dialogue is going to be a huge part of creating strong believable characters. Also make sure the dialogue is actually matching who they are. If you character is uneducated they probably aren’t going to be using big descriptive words when they talk.

Your character will develop

Your characters should go through some kind of change. Isn’t that the point of a story, to see a character go through change? So just because you have this perfect plan about who you character is don’t forget by the end of the book they are going to change a little bit. They shouldn’t be a completely different person but there should and will be character development.

I hope these tips were helpful. Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter for more information.

Things I didn't know would happen while starting a business.

The things I didn’t know when I started running a business. The list could go on and on. I have read so many business books and listened to so many podcasts but nothing could compare to the reality of having my own company. I’ve been writing and publishing my own books since 2017, but it was only recently that I’ve created my publishing company. Along the way there are something I either complety missed in the business books I read or that aren’t just talked about.

  1. The rest of your life will probably fall apart/ fall to the back burner.

This was a big one for me and I think most women probably struggle with this one a lot. I take a lot of pride in having my life together. Before I started this business I always cleaned my house and got my laundry done on Sundays. I also sometimes meal prepped. I regularily took my car to the car wash. I had a regular 3x a week 30 minute a session workout routine. Oh the good ole days. That has all gone to hell. As women we sometimes believe the old myth that we can have it all. But, I’m going to break your heart right here and tell you that when you are growing your business other things in your life will fall apart. I regularily have a huge pile of laundry in the corner of my bedroom. Grocery shopping has become the biggest most annoying chore of my life and I won’t even get into the cleanliness of my house. I just want to let you know that it is okay! Don’t beat yourself up about it and instead embrace the messiness that is your life right now.

2. The ebbs and flows of business are very real. (Sometimes I’m extremely busy sometimes I have nothing to do.)

If, like me, you are used to working in a corporate setting this can be a shock to you. In the corporate world you go to work from 9-5 you have a moderate amount of work, sometimes busier sometimes slower, and then you go home at the end of the day. The ebbs and flows of having your own business is completly different. Let me give you an example; last week the only thing I needed to do for my business was schedule some instagram post. Thats it! For the whole week. This week from the time I got home from work at 5:30pm until I went to bed around 9pm I had to work on this manuscript. Then I would get up at 5am and work on it a couple of hours before work then I spend my lunch break at work going over it. Then I got in my paperback copies of another book which meant I had to do the final proof read for that. I also had to schedule all my marketing for the paperback because the release day is fastly approaching. I also had to work with my cover designer to get the cover made for the manuscript I was working on. I literally went from 20 min days last week to 8 hour days this week; on top of my full time job. So when I say the ebb and flows of business are extreme, I mean it.

3. Self-doubt and fear never go away.

Self-doubt and fear are going to be your companion through the entire journey. I think this is especially true if you have a creative business because no matter how long you’ve been doing whatever your doing its still scary to put something you made out there into the world. One way I’ve learned to deal with this is by creating a alter ego. The same way that Beyonce has Sasha Fierce. When I need to taking off my writing hat and put on my CEO hat I use a alter ego and I imagine that I didn’t even write this book my only job is to sell it. There a book on this called The Alter Ego Effect. If you are interested in how using a alter ego can get you to push through your fear and self doubt I recommend this book.

4. You can only run your business how YOU can/want to run it. (What can you manage? What do you want your daily life to look like?)

This was a really, really hard lesson for me to learn. I am guilty of reading all the books, listening to all the podcast, and following all the instragrams of successful authors and seeing what they were doing. At a certain point all of that has to stop and you have to figure out how you want to run your business. So many authors and people in the industry have said you have to write at least four books a year in romance to be successful. I knew from the beginning I didn’t want to turn out books that fast. I like to spend time with my characters and really bring them to life. And the idea of “rapid-publishing” isn’t true anymore. From what I’ve personally experienced Amazon doesn’t reward those who publish more frequently anymore. Rather your book sales good or not is all about the marketing you do. Two books a year is a great number for me. I can spend six months not only working on my book but also that gives me the time to get all my marketing and together. I didn’t start my business so that I could work non-stop and be exhausted everyday which would happen if I was turning out four or more books a year. I think you really have to back away from all the influence surrounding your business and what you’re “supposed to do” and think about how you want your business to be ran. Your business is YOU, YOU are your business. Do what feels good for you.

At the end of the day running a business is no easy task. There are a lot of ups and downs and obstacles that you didn’t see coming. My best piece of advice is to keep going. Keep showing up everyday and moving forward.