Marketing Plan: I
Scope: This plan is to help Floricanto Press Authors understand the necessity of developing an individual marketing plan for their books, and specific guidance about what to include in that plan, and how to use it to increase book sales. From the outset, we would like you to assure us that this book will be used in Chicano related classes. Assuming that, here are notes of the plan.
PLAN TO SUCCEED
We are very pleased that you are concerned about the marketing your title. This reveals to us that you are perfectly aware that publishing your book is just the beginning of a lengthy process.
People buy hard or digital books in one of three ways:
- They are BROWSING a bookstore (or surfing online), happen to see a book cover that appeals to them, pick it up, like what they see in thirty seconds or less, and then make a decision to purchase.
- They “hear” about a book from some other source, are led to believe it would interest them, and they SEEK it out for purchase.
- Or they are part of a CLASS CURRICULUM.
In the first instance—appealing to Browsers in a bookstore or a website—your best chance of having that happen during the first few months of your book’s existence is through the mechanism of scheduling and attending Book Signings, where you and your book are the center of attention.
The old book distribution model of “throw ‘em on the shelves and hope for the best” has been the single greatest source of new title failure than any other factor in the publishing industry. Granted for “best-seller” caliber books that are printed by the hundreds of thousands, and benefit from multimillion dollar marketing campaigns, the odds of that occurring are much higher, but they’re still banking on a potential buyer “tripping” over it and deciding that they might enjoy it, purely based upon its cover aesthetics and/or blurbs.
That’s why we believe the second and third methods listed above—marketingto potential buyers who then become Seekers and Professors for class use—gives your new book a greater probability of early and sustained success. Your book must be sold as part of your own CLASS CURRICULUM and promoted to other professors to incorporate it into their curricula. Remember, the Latino best seller, Bless Me Ultima has sold several hundreds of thousands of copies over several decades, mostly as class required title. And to successfully market any product, you need a plan, a Marketing Plan. Simply put: “To sell books, you have to sell books.” Although, Book Signings and Marketing directly to book retailers will be an integral part of your plan. However, your plan must be far more than that. You’ll quickly discover that if you take the recommendations detailed herein, your book will actually sell in greater numbers than if you don’t.
Bear in mind that the history of corporate America is littered with the decaying carcasses of many a product company who developed it with the marketing strategy of “If we build it, they will come.” Sorry, folks, they won’t come until you convince them that they should. To sell books, you have to sell books.
The Professional Path – A Long and Hard Road of Creating an Audience.
The main objective of this whole exercise is the creation, development, and the on-going growth of your audience. By the way, we do hope that this title is invigorated with your new titles to the point it will become the book to use in class. Your long-term professional success as a writer depends upon an ever-growing group of souls who enjoy your work, and want more of it on a regular basis. That group need not be infinite, but if they can one day be measured in the tens of thousands, or better yet, in the hundreds of thousands, you will enjoy a highly rewarding and lucrative professional writing career.
And when we say “over time” that element really becomes the key to getting your head around all of this. That is, if your first book sells 2,500 copies, you may have made 2,500 fans, such that when your second book comes out, you are not starting from obscurity and zero fans as you did before; rather those 2,500 may buy the new one, and let’s say you then reach 4,000 new ones. Now your fan base is 6,500, etc., etc.
Your Marketing Plan
A good Marketing Plan is designed to help you understand/identify:
- Who your Ideal Customer is Who your Competition is. They are many Latino Fiction. Yours is destined to be the best.
- How to Reach/Communicate with your Ideal Customer.
- How to Position your product and its Messaging to most effectively communicate with your Ideal Customer and convince them to buy your product.
- How to Establish Success Metrics to measure the effectiveness of your plan.
YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER
Who did you write book for? What does the person who would most enjoy your book look like? What are their interests? Are they rich or poor, educated or not, busy or idle? All these factors and many more can play a significant role in trying to figure out who it is that would be most receptive to hearing about your book and want to buy it.
Please, Manuel, list these niches:
- My class
- Hispanic organizations
- Affirmative action and Diversity groups, associations, public and private organizations.
- Schools, colleges and universities. These mean professors and teachers who will use in the class or included in a recommended reading list.
Do some research on your market segment/Genre. Who are the people who most enjoy your type of writing hang out? The point is, the more you know about the target profile of who it is you need to be selling to, this information will help you decide on the tools and tactics necessary to reach them and persuade them to buy your product.
Bear in mind that Identifying with Your Ideal Customer is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Obtaining mailing lists is but one example of a process that you need to invest time and energy to cultivate continually.
The Number One Priority of Customer Identification is the
Creation of a Customer List.
Every person you come in contact with, every email you receive from a fan, every book signing you attend, make a point to collect customer data and enter that information into a Master File of some sort. This could be as simple as a mailing list or as complex as a computer database. Hint: It might merely be an Excel Spreadsheet. The goal is to have a tool whereby you can send out information to this evergrowing audience on a regular basis. That is why we require 500 emails from every author at minimum. NACCS is a great source for this purpose.
Now, of course, your Customer Database will only be a fraction of your true total buying audience. You certainly can’t succeed if every reader of your work is someone you have physically met. Yet, that list of people you have touched and contacted and loaded into your database will serve as the “core” group by which you can begin a chain-reaction of “buzz” and “word of mouth” when you wish to communicate something important.
Floricanto Press broad-based mailing
To enjoy a broad-based email campaign is must do the following: Floricanto Press has a list of about 200,000 names, which needs to be constantly updated. This list was built, since emails became the way to communicate, by our customers and authors’ contributions. For you to benefit from this list you must contribute to it. It is a cooperative effort. The Romans use to say: Do ut des.
- Set up an Excel Spreadsheet or WORD for your Customer File
- Label Columns as follows:
- First Name
- Last Name
- Email Address
- FAX Number
- Input as many entries as you wish, one person per Row
- Think of a Subject Line
- Prepare Body Text/Graphics
- Email a copy of your Spreadsheet, Subject, and Body Text to firstname.lastname@example.org and our marketing department will import the file into our Email and FAX broadcast system for automated distribution. Easy!
Other elements of your Customer Identification process can come in large chunks, from getting the attendance list at professional conventions (NACCS, MLA, etc.) you attend, membership directories of organizations you belong to, press releases to associations’ email list, buying mailing lists from magazines and subject related organizations. You’d be amazed that with a little time, energy, and few bucks, you can get the contact information for literally thousands of potential customers of your book.
In fact, we heartily recommend that you carefully screen all email addresses you obtain, and try to limit them to ones that you have received mail from, or come from legitimate sources that clearly have an interest in reading your book/your genre/etc.
The next goal you have, secondary to the creation and continual maintenance of your Customer Database, is going to be a Media Outlet Resource List.
Media Outlets are sources of public exposure that fall more into the category of “News,” and therefore are free or low cost as compared to formal Advertising.
Armed with an understanding of the type of Customers you want to reach, you now need to identify a list of organizations that regularly communicate with these same people, and pitch your book to them in terms of a Special Interest item.
It is true that most media outlets refrain from accepting news submissions directly from authors, the same way publishers like to get submissions only from Agents. It’s that “gatekeeper” function that the industry enjoys to prevent it from being overwhelmed with input. Media Gatekeepers are the primary domain of Publicists. The Public Relations (PR) industry exists to maintain their own databases of thousands of media contacts to blast Press Releases and Pitch Pieces for stories.
If you have the financial means to afford your own personal publicist, it can be a very wise investment—although, like any professional occupation there are clearly good ones and bad ones, and everyone in between. If you explore the possibility of using a professional publicist, use common sense, get references, samples, etc. before making any commitments or giving anyone money. You’ll find with just a few Inter- net searches lots of firms out there who are eager to help you in this regard. Do your due diligence, and watch out for scammers. If something sounds too good to be true—it usually is.
On the other hand, there are some media outlets you can contact directly, like your local media. Don’t forget your friendly Latino journalist who is starving for Latino news and content: http://nahj.org/
You need to prepare Press Releases for your local newspaper and community papers. If for no other reason, having one of their own favorite sons or daughters get their book published is typically an interesting tidbit of news in most communities.
Announce your book’s release in any genre or subject matter related groups, whether they are found in online e-zines or printed newsletters. Most online groups have a “Submit News” area. Take advantage of it. Printed newsletters usually have an editorial contact name, address, phone number and/or email ad- dress in the publication itself—which means it’s a good idea to subscribe to several newsletters pertinent to your book’s genre or subject matter. If you belong to any online writers groups, be sure to post a notice of your book’s release.
Editorial Coverage is an excellent mechanism for potential book buyers to find out about your book. There are many genre related organizations or subject matter groups with their own magazines or newsletters that are happy to “Review” your book. Query them and ask them if they will, offering them a free copy of your book.
A low cost way to advertise your book is to seek out the events of your local charity and fraternal organizations. Each of these groups sponsors fund-raising events two or three times a year; i.e. Auctions, Dinner Dances, Rodeos, and other community support functions. To advertise and support these events, the sponsoring group usually publishes a brochure that outlines the activities of the event and provides advertising pages. The cost of placing the cover of your book in one the "adv." pages is minimal. Depending on the size of the event, you can expect between 300 to 500 people to thumb through the brochure. To maximize the effect, donate one of your signed books for auction at the event.
The US Mail
Don’t forget this handy resource! For mere pennies, you can mail flyers and postcards to lots of folks.
Now we haven’t arrived at the point in our discussion yet of “what” you say to your Ideal Customers, whether you’re addressing people on your Customer List, or via Media Contacts, or with Formal Advertising. For now we’re just categorizing targets by their access mechanism. Before we delve deeper into our discussion of what so say to these groups, and how, we first need to talk about your Competition.