Over the last few weeks, we have defined the term "marketing plan" and worked to identify our "ideal readers" and other features of our market. We talked about sharing this information with our editor (or agent or whatever). Here are a few more things an author should consider before picking up the phone. EACH OF THESE IS A QUESTION FOR YOUR EDITOR but YOU SHOULD HAVE AN OPINION BEFORE YOU ASK IT...
1. Ask yourself how many copies of your book YOU want to sell. No, not one million. How many do you feel you can realistically hope for? This may be different than the first print run. This is something you should also discuss with agent/editor, too, unpleasant as it may seem because HAVING A SALES GOAL is helpful for your marketing plan. AND it helps, as you work through the remaining steps below to ask yourself if the elements of your marketing plan will HELP THE SALES TEAMS and are worth the effort in terms of reaching your goal.
2. Given what your publisher's marketing plan offers to do, make a list of questions as to how these bullet points will be implemented. For example, how many arcs are being distributed, where and how? Will you be allowed to attend any events at which arcs are being displayed? Do you have an opinion about how many arcs should be sent to bloggers and other reviewers? Do you have a list of bloggers you'd specifically like to receive an arc and how can this be implemented. Can you write a personal letter to go with the arcs?
3. What will you offer to do? Are there cities/towns you can visit inexpensively (staying with family or friends) to promote your book? If you can get there, can your publicist help connect you with bookstores, libraries, media outlets? Will you be doing giveaways (possible goodwill giveaways, such as query critiques or virtual school visits (on Skype)) and, if so, can your publisher post this information on their FB, Twitter, etc.? Do you have any special plans related to your non-writer life that can also be considered marketing for your book?
Don't just ask questions. Provide feedback, answers and ideas of your own. In these very challenging times in the publishing world, it is incredibly valuable and helpful to your editor and house if you are the kind of author who proves they want to meet the efforts of their publisher and take them further than either of you could do alone.
FINALLY, BEFORE YOU PICK UP THAT PHONE, realize that nothing is really free. Every minute you spend marketing your book is time you are not writing the next one. And producing good work is really the key to a long, fruitful writing career. So, once you've made your lists of questions, ideas, clarifications, and OFFERS OF STUFF YOU'LL DO, take a long look and make sure you have the time and energy and that you have a clear expectation of what each effort will yield, be it sales or the opportunity to meet librarians and educators, or a chance to see long-lost cousins, or maybe a bit of a smorgasbord. Draw a line through at least two ideas that are just too much work.
THEN...MAKE THE CALL! (Let me know how it goes if you want!)