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Johne

A Simple Marketing Plan For Fiction Authors

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My friend Tim Grahl wrote a post for authors who have published a novel (or are preparing to) providing a simple marketing plan which takes only three hours per month to implement.
 

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THE GOAL: WHAT ARE WE DOING?

Of course, the goal is always to “sell more books,” but what else are we trying to accomplish?

According to the Connection System, we need to have:

  • Outreach: A way of moving people from not knowing we exist to knowing we exist.
  • Content: Putting content out in the world so potential fans will know we are a good fit for them.
  • Permission: A way to connect with fans that gets their attention and drives action.

All of these steps lead to building an author platform that allows you to sell more books.

 

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HOW IT ALL WORKS

When you write a review of a book in your genre, you’re creating Content that you can share with your current email subscribers and followers. It is also content that signals to people what you do and what you write.

By putting an email signup form on the review, you are getting Permission to stay in contact with readers long term. You’re also getting them to give your book a try by sending them an excerpt.

When you email the author and tag them on social media, you are doing Outreach by connecting with an influencer in your space. Also, many times the author will share your review on social media so you are bringing in people that have a) never heard of you before and b) read books in your genre.

Do this at least once a month.

It will take less than two hours to write the review. A half hour to publish it on your website. Another half hour to post it on social media and send an email to the author.

In three hours a month you will create twelve new pieces of content a year and potentially connect with twelve new influencers a year. Plus, you will slowly — drip, drip, drip — be building your email list with people that read books in your genre.

BOOK MARKETING IS NOT COMPLICATED OR TIME-CONSUMING

The most common reasons people avoid making progress with their marketing is because a) they don’t know what to do and b) they are afraid it will take too long.

Follow this simple plan to get started and you’ll see it make a difference.

 

 

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That is really wonderful, Johne!  Thanks for posting it.  It answers a lot of questions for the new author and the established author, too.  Thanks again.

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We subscribe to Netflix, Prime and Hulu for our streaming/TV watching needs. (Okay. I'm not sure watching TV is a need, but I'm also not sure reading is a needed either, particularly, since I prefer reading fiction, so let's just pretend they're needs here.) Each of them tries to pick out what else we'd like to watch based on what we do watch. Maybe once a year they're right.

 

And that's the problem I have with this plan for marketing. Have you ever read a book you liked so much that you contacted the author? (I have, so it's not like it never happens.) And, once you do, do you then ask the author what books they'd recommend?

 

I wouldn't dare for two reasons:

1. I rarely find a new TV show to watch because Netflix, Prime, and Hulu recommend it.

2. I'd feel obligated to read the books because the author went through all that trouble to recommend it to me. And it's highly unlikely I'd like it.

 

So would I sign onto an email list by an author? Nope. I can check out if he/she has any new books that might catch my interest again whenever I'd like. And it is rare that a book review does it for me for any other book. 

 

My plan is to go with why my readers chose my book in the first place -- because they like the story. With that, the content will be about the characters -- back stories and side stories. And since my stories are for kids, I have to sell the parents and teachers that my blog is kid-friendly. I'd love to open it up to a section where fans can ask me or my characters questions too.

 

After all, I've never contacted an author for a book recommendation, but I usually want to learn more when I do contact them.

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That's kind of what you would do in the nineties, not in 2019.  Sorry I'm not saying this well but my aphasia is kicking in something fierce today.  Anyway, maybe you could have a newer plan?

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21 hours ago, suspensewriter said:

That's kind of what you would do in the nineties, not in 2019.  Sorry I'm not saying this well but my aphasia is kicking in something fierce today.  Anyway, maybe you could have a newer plan?

Yay! Someone else with aphasia. At least we both get that when we say/write a word, it might be related, but it's not always the right word. 

 

But what's from 20 years ago?

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1 hour ago, suspensewriter said:

Boy, you have aphasia, too?

Yes, and no one ever bothered telling me why, or if I should do something about it. I do find it humorous at times. I can see the expression on hubby's face when I say something that isn't the right word, can replay what I just said in my mind, and occasionally can pick out the booboo. But ultimately, I usually have to ask him what I just said that made him have that confused look on his face. Then I can translate for him.

 

Also funny when I write, because it's both verbal and writing for me. The words are similar, but not how most people think of as "similar." They sound relatively close to the real word, but don't come close to the real meaning. "While" instead of "why" is one, (I wrote "when," but found it when I proofed), I get stuck on. Also "dive" and "divide." (And, this is where I realize the "divide" can become "decide." :$) But, if my life depended on it, I can't see what I did until the next day. So proofing instantly is hit or miss with me.

 

When it's not funny is when I do it to an authority figure. Cops and nurses are not amused when I ask "While?" They think I'm drunk, having a seizure, or am insane. It's not any of that. It's just a quirk in my brain.

 

It really is just a quirk. It's not who we are.

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