Marketing Plan: III
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.
Editorial Coverage in Periodicals
Once again, this involves market research. You must identify what periodicals appeal to your Ideal Customer. Once you’ve done that, you need to send a Query Letter to the Editor, announcing the publication of your book, offering them a free review copy, and requesting a Review. Include some of the promotional materials from your Author Promotion Kit. Many magazine editors in genre related magazines are receptive to email queries. You will either get a Yes or a No. For all the Yeses, send the contact information to email@example.com and we’ll take it from there on your behalf. Set yourself a goal of targeting a minimum of four (4) genre or subject matter related periodicals to Query for a Review.
Favorable Reviews in the Press
This exercise is somewhere in between sending out a Press Release and Pitching an Editor or Producer. In essence, you are Pitching either a news editor or reporter. A professional publicist can help a great deal here, if for no other reason than in terms of the sheer number of media outlets they can hit quickly. But you can do a lot of this yourself.
Start with your local papers. With them you have the “home town kid done good” angle to work with. If they agree to review your book, let us know and we’ll send them one. Also send them your Pitch material and see if you can also score an interview out of it. Print interviews work just like radio and TV inter- views. They ask questions, you answer them. The finished product may look like a formal Q&A or the journalist may use your answers to write up a straight narrative. You’ll have little to no say in that. But if a good piece comes out on you and/or your book, you need to do two things with it:
- Send a copy to Editor@floricantopress.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. So you can also mail it to us if you can email it. We’ll post it on the website under your book’s description page soon as it is completed.
- Use it as part of your Pitch Kit to other media outlets and as part of your Intro Kit to Booksellers.
Set yourself a goal of Querying all your local papers within the first two months of your book’s re- lease. And when we say “local papers” that isn’t limited to the one or two major dailies in your town. That includes the smaller community papers and other daily papers from nearby cities and towns. Your rule of thumb should be: If you can drive to it in less than two hours, it’s local to you! If you live in Oregon, expand it to the Northwest.
Trade Events and Subject Matter Events Attendance
Start going to professional associations conferences. I would suggest SALALM, REFORMA, OLA, Community groups, NACCS, MLA, HACU, ALA, http://journals.dartmouth.edu/latinox/resource_center/academics4.shtml etc. Send a copy of your book to Chicano Studies Programs. https://www.google.com/#q=chicano+studies+programs
Every group has its own unique conventions and trade events, some big, some small. As a professional author, these events are part of your profession. Your purpose in attending these events is to increase your visibility and to sell books.
This is accomplished by:
Get on Author Panels. This isn’t hard to do. When you register for a convention, identify your- self as a published author and indicate your desire to be on panels. Most convention organizers are always scraping to get enough volunteers. Volunteer for as many panels as you can, but pick topics relevant to your experience and your book. This one activity alone positions you to the convention attendees as “an expert.”
- Hand out Trinkets and Toys. One of the more enjoyable opportunities you have at trade events is to give out bookmarks, tee-shirt, coffee mugs, bumper stickers, hats, or whatever promo items you thought to have made before the show and brought with you.
- Your eBook on a CD is a great giveaway. Do it! You can even find inexpensive software pro- grams at Staples/Office Depot that will print your cover art JPEG on a CD label and on a cover slip of a jewel case. Use your imagination! Have fun with it.
- Attend Parties. Most conventions at least have a Hospitality Suite where attendees congregate for libations and fellowship. Press the flesh, meet and greet, talk about your book.
- Wear your Badge. At most of the larger conventions published authors get credentials that visibly indicate they’re a published author. This is literally wearing a sign around your neck telling all the aspiring writers (who are also readers and book buyers) that you’re someone “famous,” who at a minimum has achieved something they still want to achieve, and therefore you are someone they want to meet and talk to.
- Bring Books. Make sure you have a stock of books for every event. Not dozens and dozens necessarily, but several. Hand them out strategically. We suggest you start in the book dealer’s room, targeting the booksellers. Always have a copy of your book with you at all times, so when you steer the topic of conversation to your writing, you’re ready to show it off.
- MOST IMPORTANT: Contact All Event Booksellers in Advance. Most trade shows list the participating Booksellers on their websites or event materials well in advance of the event. If not, contact the event coordinator and specifically ask them for this information. When you have it, contact those book dealers and let them know that you plan to attend the event, and if they’ll or- der copies of your book, you’ll be there in the dealer’s room to autograph them and ensure they all get sold. In fact, tell them that as you talk up your book during the event, you’re going to send attendees to those dealers to get your book from them. This is how you SELL your books during an event. The stock you bring with you is for strategic free samples and illustration purposes only. You may find that a dealer who you were unable to contact prior to the event is willing to take some of your stock off your hands at the normal wholesale price and resell at the event. Help him/her out!
Choose your events wisely. Many convention and trade events promise a lot more than they deliver. Make a point to talk to people who have attended the event in the past and try to get a good idea of what to expect before you go. Some events are too small to be worth your time and expense, others may be too big to get noticed in all the chaos. Do your homework.
Specifically target Latino related convention events, but don’t confine event participation purely to genre related conventions. Good events could be any well-attended events that will be excited to have you as a special guest and let you talk up your book. Set yourself a goal to attend at least one (1) major trade event per year, and at least three (3) regional ones.
Email and Fax Broadcasts
This topic was covered earlier. The deal is simple. You prepare the target list, we blast out the emails and faxes on your behalf. Set yourself a goal of setting up your Customer List file in Excel with at least 500 names on it within the first month after your book is released.
One of the tools in your Author Promotion Kit is your Post Card. Go to Kinko’s (or equivalent) and have at least 250 of them printed. Set yourself a goal of mailing out at least 50 per month for the first five months. Mail them to everyone you know, and work on a mailing list to liquidate all the rest. When you are out of postcards, print more and repeat.
Targeted Advertising (Online and Traditional)
First of all, please note that Floricanto Press is doing a lot of advertising on your behalf. In addition to all the tools and resources of the website, your book gets an Ad in Ingram Advance Magazine that goes to over 20,000 bookstores. The lead time on that Ad is four months, so it’s coming out in the magazine four months after your book comes out—which creates your window of opportunity to cultivate as much early buzz as possible. Floricanto Press also does periodical and other targeted advertising on behalf of specific titles and genres, as appropriate. In some instances we hire professional PR and Ad agencies to conduct formal campaigns. But there’s a lot you can also do on your own.
Don’t think of paid advertising purely in terms of Radio or TV spots. Those are the most expensive form of paid Advertising, and unless you have bags of discretionary cash, it might not be a very fruitful in- vestment. So consider some advertising alternatives.
Set yourself a goal to establish your own Advertising budget. Set that money aside, then go investigate all the Advertising possibilities available to you and the find at least one of them that fits your budget. Then buy your Ad! Don’t be afraid of advertising. When you have a household item to sell, you don’t think twice about calling the newspaper and placing a Classified Ad. You check their rates, pick a pro- gram that you feel comfortable with, budget-wise, and you place your Ad. There’s not a whole lot more magic going on here than that to actually do the same for your book. On the other hand, what your Ad looks like and says is critical!
POSITIONING & MESSAGING
Product Positioning and Messaging is truly an Art form, not a science. The magic words and images that influence people to buy things is what the Art of Sales & Marketing exists to do. You may not feel like a very talented sales person or marketing professional. Thankfully, for Floricanto Press Authors you are only being asked to execute your plan, and not necessarily have to come up with all the magic yourself. We do most of that for you, and strongly encourage you to stay on-message with the themes and images we create for you.
But at a minimum you are going to need to arm yourself with a good Query Letter and 30-Second Pitch, as was discussed earlier, i.e. Queries and Pitches that you’re comfortable with and feel confident using. You will need to work out a good opening verbal pitch for phone calls, book store visits, and interviews. If you haven’t done it before, getting your Pitch down can be a little frustrating at first. And you may find yourself experimenting with some pitches, which you modify over time or change completely, once you start to see what works and what doesn’t. But that’s the secret—learning by doing.
What’s key to remember here is that your creativity as a writer—as an artist—is being called upon to fulfill the “other half of the writing profession,” which is persuading people to read your books. It took one measure of your creative talent to create the book in the first place. But recognize clearly that writing the book is only half the job. The other half is to again apply your creative juices and talents to create and wield the “Tools of Persuasion” that are needed to compel an ever growing group of people to read and enjoy your work. These two elements of creativity mustwork together in concert. And you are an integral part of that process.
Look at the challenge of getting a good review, or a popular radio interview, or a top panel seat at a major convention with the same determination you used to submit your work to Agents and Editors in hopes of getting it published in the first place. When you queried Editors and Agents in the past, it was to convince them to read your stuff, in hopes they would like it and thus help you achieve your goal of becoming published. This process is in the same vein, except now you’re not selling your book in order get it into print, you are selling it to your Ideal Customer, News Editors, and Media Producers—basically a whole new audience. And to do so, recognize that you have the obligation to speak their language, and persuade them to buy what you’re now selling. But also recognize that as a Floricanto Press Author, you are not alone, and have lots of help—help that is exceedingly rare for authors in general. Take advantage of it!
Hey, you will make mistakes! That’s OK. That’s part of the process, too. You will not be warmly received by everyone. Some bookstore people, producers, interviewers, news editors, reporters, etc. can really be jerks, stupid, or both. Others you will find delightful and helpful. You therefore must learn to play the game by a law of averages. That is, if 20% of your attempts are effective, then you start to get an idea of how many places you have to hit to achieve your goals. Notice that “I want everyone on the face of the earth to love me and my book” is NOT one of your goals. The trick is to find out the subset of humanity who will love your book and then communicate to them.
YOUR ACTION PLAN AND METRICS
As we noted before, all of these elements may not be physically possible, practical, or even desirable for everyone. That’s OK. It’s a “model plan” designed to show you what’s possible, and an attempt to en- courage you to try some of these elements if you either weren’t aware of them in the past, or didn’t fully understand how to do so. So with all that in mind, let’s summarize what we’ve discussed.
Well, we’ve talked about a lot of potential tools and methods to get out there and push your book, build your audience, and develop your career as a professional author. But knowledge alone accomplishes nothing without action. You have to go do it. You need book on hand to be able to promote your book. Thus, we require that you must buy, at 45% discount, 50 titles from us before its release. Thus, you’ll have an initial inventory to draw from for your promotional activities.
Below is a summary of all the goals outlined in the preceding pages. Now is the time to sit down and use this list as a checklist to create a schedule of planned activity on a Calendar and then go execute your plan.
- Identify and Understand my Ideal Customer through Research Investigate my Competition through Research.
- Assemble all my Promotional Materials and Kits ( postcard, posters, website, facebook, twitter, etc..
- Set up my Marketing Plan Execution Calendar
- Two (2) Book Signings per month
- Four (4) Bookstore Visits per week
- Eight (8) Radio Station Pitches per month One (1) Radio Interview per month. Remember your local NPR and the radio stations in Latino markets: https://www.google.com/#q=radio+stations+in+Latino+markets See attachment below
- One (1) Local TV Interview in the 1st six months.
- Query a minimum of four (4) Periodicals for a Review.
- Query all your Local Newspapers within the first two (2) months Attend at least one (1) major trade event per year.
- Attend at least three (3) regional or national professional events per year.
- Set up your Customer File List of at least 500 names in the first month. Make NACCS your priority as a source for emails. Get Postcards Printed and mail 50 per month for 5 months Investigate one Ad Opportunity and place an Ad
This list represents our suggested recommendations. It’s up to you how many of these things you actually do, and in what quantities, or what new ideas you might add. The point is that you have a plan. Within that plan is a list of THINGS TO DO. Beside each of those things is a Date, a point fixed in time, when it’s going to happen. Then you execute your plan.
A plan isn’t really a plan if it isn’t “bounded in time,” which means it has quantifiable milestones and metrics. With the exception of the Research noted in the first two items (which should have a deadline!), all the rest of the items should involve specific quantities of actions or events. That’s what your plan needs. And once your quantities are defined, then you have something to measure against. It’s hard to know if your plan is working if there’s no way to measure it. Ultimately, your efforts will be measured in terms of book sales, but you need something more granular than that to know if what you’re doing is helping, hurting, or irrelevant. Therefore, for each item on your plan, you must define a success metric.
The success metric needs to be something you can physically observe and measure, to know whether your plan’s tactical element is working or not. Some of these will be easier than others. For example, if your goal is to schedule two book signings a month, and also to visit four stores a week, you are going to know very quickly if you’re succeeding in getting those Book Signing events on the Calendar. What you may discover is that for every ten stores you visit, you get a Signing scheduled. If you’re only doing four visits a week, or sixteen visits a month, you may not hit your goal of scheduling two Signings a month. Thus, you may see the need to increase bookstore visits to five per week, so you get ten every two weeks, and out of those ten you get a Signing and achieve your monthly goal.
How many of your bookstore visits result in book orders? A follow-up visit might be the metric you need to find that out. That is, keep a log of your bookstore visits, and schedule a follow up visit some number of days or weeks or months in future to stop back by and see if they have your book.
Every element of your plan should have a success metric assigned to it, and you are responsible to ensure that all your efforts get measured and adjustments are made to your plan to compensate for what’s working and what’s not. As you roll out your plan for the first six months you are going to have a lot of data points about your efforts that you didn’t have when you started. From that data, your plan gets refined again, and you keep executing. As your successful efforts begin to translate into increased book sales and royalties, you will discover more resources to do more and make your plan even stronger.
When we discussed earlier the possibility of it taking four or more years to build your audience to a level where you could work fulltime as a writer, understand that this is a goal—bounded in time. That’s not just a lofty aspiration or naïve hope. No, it can be a target for you to figure out how to get there from here, plotting, strategizing, planning, executing, measuring, adjusting, improving, until the job is done.
And when you achieve that goal, what you will discover is that you haven’t “arrived” at a place where you just kick back and don’t work anymore. No, you’ll have achieved a new life, where half of it is consumed with creating amazing new stories and the other half working to help more and more people find out about them and enjoy them. That’s a great profession, and potentially a most rewarding one—if you plan to succeed.