Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Marketing Plan? What's That?

If you are asking yourself, “Why do I need to read this? My publisher takes care of all that stuff” then I say to you, “You need to get a clue.” The days of publishers taking care “of all that stuff” are gone unless you are a mega-blockbuster author. Nobody cares more about your book than you do. So show it. Be prepared to shoulder a lot of the promotion and marketing load.

When I submit to an editor or agent, I offer to share my multi-month book marketing plan. I want them to know I have thought about the business end of being an author. I am a professional, and I’m serious about promoting my books and my career.

Just what does a marketing plan look like? I’m not sure there’s a template out there, but there are a number of articles about how to create one. I listed those resources at the bottom.

I can share my nascent marketing plan for Prime Rib and Punishment with you. I’m pretty sure this isn’t the final edition, but there’s enough here to spark your own marketing plan, I’m sure. Sorry about the formatting. It got all wonky.

Also, my marketing plan is based on one I developed for Oak Tree Press. They required a 12-month marketing plan when you submitted your manuscript for review. This is PRE-CONTRACT, we’re talking. Impressive, right? OTP wanted to know up front about your commitment to making the book a success and what your plans were to make that happen.

15-Month Marketing Plan for Prime Rib and Punishment
Prime Rib and Punishment, 60,000 words, is book two in the “Dinner is Served” culinary mystery series. Personal Chefs, Alli Wesson and Gina Smithson find themselves teaching at the new Culinary Arts School-Glendale (Arizona) even though the Executive Chef hates “amateur cooks.” Add in a diet scam operation and a guy with a mafia connection, and things become . . . complicated. Murder is part of the complication. At the end of the book are recipes, mostly meat, that are mentioned in the mystery.

My audience is people who like to cook, enjoy the desert Southwest, mystery lovers, single women, and small business owners.

9-12 months prior to publication

         Compile list of potential reviewers for blurbs

         Compile list of bloggers who review mysteries

         Compile list of bookstores, kitchen stores, and other places for book signings
           Compile a list of podcast possibilities 
           Create media kit including: press release, questions for author, author bios 
                      (short and long), talking points for interviews, and brochure)

         Create book club reading kit

         Attend writing conferences and present on panels

         Seek speaking opportunities with libraries, Sisters in Crime, et al.
           Continue to compile e-mail addresses for announcement of publication 
           Weekly blog posts on sharonarthurmoore.blogpost.com with some mention 
                  of PR&P (recipes, character interviews, writing culinary mysteries,

                  information on topics in the novel, etc.)

         Monthly food column for small town paper with mention of PR&P


8-6 months prior to publication

         Create components for virtual launch on Facebook

         Contact cooking stores, book stores, former Glendale Sugar Beet Factory,

Cucina Tagliani restaurant to set-up real-time book launches

         Contact Glendale, AZ Visitor Center to see if they’ll carry the book

         Compile list of bed and breakfast inns to see if I can place the book with them

         Contact local Pampered Chef demonstrator to see if can partner
           Continue to seek speaking opportunities 
         Weekly blog posts (sharonarthurmoore.blogpost.com or samwriteaway.blogpost.com) 
                  with some mention of PR&P (recipes, character interviews, writing culinary 
                  mysteries, information on topics in the novel, etc.)
         Monthly food column for small town paper with mention of PR&P

         Contact bloggers for guest blog spots upon publication (include cooking blogs, as

                  well as mystery and romance)

5-3 Months prior to Publication

         Contact bloggers to set up guest posts

         Create business cards if cover art available (front: cover art and contact info;

                  back: recipe from PR&P)

         Continue to seek speaking opportunities

         Continue above activities as appropriate

Two Months Prior to Publication

         Create a series of e-mail messages and Facebook and Twitter posts to distribute

                  to 25 supporters to send to their followers over a one week period

         Develop my Pinterest board on PR&P

         Set up an Instagram account for promoting PR&P

         Contact local libraries to set book signing dates

         Continue blogging on my sites

         Continue above activities as appropriate

One Month Prior to Publication

         Contact local radio and TV stations to pitch cooking and book promo spots

         Contact area newspapers (Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff) for interviews

         Create a new YouTube video for “Alli and Gina’s Cooking School” channel and

                  promote on all my social media accounts

         Continue blogging on my sites

         Continue above activities as appropriate

Publication Month

         Big splash on release day from 25 supporters—social media blitz
           Virtual book launch on Facebook (4 hours with giveaways, quizzes, recipes,
           Blog tour with 15 guest posts
         Offer free book club reading kit on my website

         Cross-pollinate across my four Twitter accounts, five Facebook pages, and four


One Month after Publication

         Blog tour with 15 guest posts

         Post a few recipes from PR&P on website

         Create a new YouTube video for “Alli and Gina’s Cooking School” channel

         Continue other efforts from above as appropriate

Two Months after Publication

         Cross-pollinate across my four Twitter accounts, five Facebook pages, and four


         Continue blogging and writing newspaper column

         Continue guest posting on blogs

         Continue other efforts from above as appropriate

Three Months after Publication and beyond

         Cross-pollinate across my four Twitter accounts, five Facebook pages, and four


         Continue other efforts as appropriate from above

         Submit PR&P to Arizona Library Association Adult Fiction Book Committee

         Submit to Public Safety Writers Association published book award contest

         Book signing at the Pinewood Country Club

         Continue other efforts from above as appropriate

Please leave comments below for more ideas I can try or for your reaction to this plan. When authors work together there is nothing they cannot accomplish.





If you think others should read this blog post, please share on your social media sites. Here are some pre-made messages for you. And thanks!

Facebook: Authors need to be thinking marketing BEFORE they have a book contract. Sharon Arthur Moore Author shares her marketing plan for her next book, Prime Rib and Punishment. Check out her ideas and add to them at http://bit.ly/2uVngab

Twitter: Do you have a book marketing plan? @good2tweat posted her 15-month marketing plan for an upcoming book at http://bit.ly/2uVngab

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Fraud Teaches Writing

Every year our UU church has a auction to raise money for church activities. Not everything is an auction, however. Some goods and services are just outright sold. It’s fun, each year, for us to try to come up with a mix of old favorites from past years (caroling and chili supper party) along with some new ones (bid to be a named character in one of my books).

One of the items I sold was for a five-hour “How to Write Your Novel” class with lunch included. I figured it would appeal to a small group, and I was right. Three signed up and paid and two of those attended.

My plan for the day was simple: find out what kind of fiction they wanted to write and provide support structures to help them get there.


Neither wanted to write a novel, but they thought it would be an interesting experience and helpful nevertheless. That’s why they signed up.

And I think it was helpful to them. They were both eager participants and asked questions and offered suggestions. A good day I think.

However, I felt the guilt because, even though it was advertised as novel writing, they wanted to do memoir. I worried I let them down.

I know some basics of novel writing apply even if one is writing memoir. There’s a story to be told, after all, and dramatic tension and pacing are apt in memoir as well. I think I did provide an introduction to those elements, and others in common between memoir and fiction. Still, the niggling feeling.

You see, I know bupkis about writing memoir. Never tried it. Never wanted to. Almost never read it. So I was kind of a fraud, pretending to help them meet their goals, chase their dreams. I am in the exact same bind when asked to respond to poetry in one of my writing groups.

Do others of you who teach writing bump up against that? What do you do?