29 April 2013
Birds of the Nile
My Marketing Plan
Ever since I started my new regime (see my blog of 25 March) I have been threatening to talk about my marketing plan for BIRDS OF THE NILE. If you remember, I likened my working day to Julius Caesar’s Gaul – it was divided into three separate parts. Up to 11am I would be writing while my evenings would be spent either out at literary functions or at home on social media. In between I would be focussing on promoting the novel which is due to appear in the early autumn. So far this arrangement has proved reasonably successful – although not without hiccups. To keep up to date with those, you need to be reading Writing Life.
So now that things have settled into some kind of routine, I can take some time to outline the basis of the plan I have developed to generate sales of my book when it finally arrives. But before I do, here’s a brief aside.
A week or so ago, I went to Leeds to meet a fellow John Hunt Publishing author, Dan Ingram-Brown. We swopped stories and I came way with the clear impression that as far as marketing my book was concerned, despite being with a national publisher, I was the one who would be doing most of the work. I don’t think this is peculiar to JHP – from other articles I read I believe it’s common for aspiring authors to do their own promotional work. In fact, I’ve heard it said that these days authors are expected to use any advance monies to fund their sales campaigns. I’m under no pressure to lay out any cash but I’m thinking it might be sensible to do so. The question is, where best to spend it?
While I pondered this problem, I took another look at my original plan. Unlike Gaul, I had decided that my plan would consist of four distinct elements ie. Online, Face to Face Events, Book Signings and Other Media (Press, Radio, Magazine Articles etc.). And the first decision was not to overdo the Online element. I could doubtless reach a much wider audience through the use of social media but much of this contact is impersonal and I am not entirely convinced of its efficacy. There are thousands (if not millions) of other authors out there touting their wares and making oneself heard in this crowded space is difficult. Besides did I really want to spend more of my working life sat in front of a computer? I’ve already decided to do my writing using pen and paper to cut down on time at the lap-top – why not get out into the real world?
But I can’t ignore the power of the internet and some online strategy is essential. So for this element of my plan I have decided firstly to focus my energy on a limited number of available options. I will be on Twitter, I will keep a website and I will have a presence on Goodreads. I have no plans to be on Facebook or any other sites. Trying to keep more than that up to date is too much and I would prefer to do a thorough job rather than spread myself too thinly. Secondly, I have engaged the services of a social media consultant to help me link everything together and to maximise my online capability. I don’t have the knowledge to do this and although I would like to think I could acquire it (given time and patience), I’m supposed to be a writer not an IT expert. So a little hard-earned cash spent here I think is worthwhile.
I personally prefer to get face to face so I’m working up a series of events and personal appearances. To begin with I’ve focussed on Literary Festivals and I’m pleased to say I’ve had some success and I will be taking part in the Helmsley Festival of Writing, Darlington Arts Festival and both the Middlesbrough and Wolds Words Literary Festivals. I’ve also applied elsewhere and I hope to have more success in this area. I’m currently contacting writers groups in the area. So far I have a couple of bookings and I’m expecting some more soon. And when I get a publication date and I can be sure of getting some copies of the book in my hand, I’ll be organising some specific launch functions. This is all with the intention of building up my regional presence. It’s not quite a World Tour but I certainly intend to be out there ‘gigging’, and I like to think of it as the new Rock n’ Roll.
As to Book Signings and Other Media, I have made some preliminary enquiries but nothing concrete has happened yet. I sense that these opportunities will be more appropriate nearer the day but I’ll certainly keep you informed.