Thursday, September 24, 2015

Developing a Marketing Plan for Your Book

Now is the time to develop a marketing and publicity plan for your book

By Rachel M. Anderson, Publicist, RMA Publicity

For many authors, marketing is more of an afterthought than something they think about as they are writing their books. But if you want the manuscript you have poured your heart and soul into to sell, you need to put some thought into how you are going to reach readers. 
A good starting point is to determine your target audience, and no, not everyone who can read will be a good target! You need to step back and determine the characteristics of the person most likely to want to read your book. For example, a reader in his or her 20s is unlikely to take interest in a memoir about an Alzheimer's Journey. But people in their 40s and 50s with older parents may. By the same token, a senior citizen probably won't care for a novel set on a college campus. The ideal audience for that type of book would be older teens and those in their 20s.
Once you have determined whom you are writing for, it is time to give some serious thought to how you can best reach that ideal reader. I recommend you consider both publicity and marketing to promote your books. Contrary to popular belief, they are not one in the same. A good way to differentiate the two is to think of marketing as the paid side of things and publicity as the unpaid side. 
Marketing involves such things as book distribution, advertising and securing signings and tables at events. Publicity involves reaching out to the media to secure stories on TV, in the newspaper, on radio and online, as well as acquiring reviews.

Here are ten tips that will help get you started on a solid marketing and publicity plan:
1. Create a Website for your book. If you don’t have one, it will be hard for potential readers to find you and the media to promote you.
2. Launch a social media campaign. This is something you can and should do well before your book is in print to create a following/fan-base. An easy way to do this is to create a Facebook Fan Page for your book and contribute entries to it regularly. Fan pages are totally free to set up and offer a viral method of making contact with potential customers. The average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events. (Make sure you mention that you have a Facebook Fan Page on your Website.) 
3. Develop a list of places where your potential readers spend time and make plans to visit with them on their “home turf” throughout the year. If, for example, your book is about dieting or recovering from drug addiction, you should be attending regular support group meetings and telling people about your book. If you have a business book, join the local Chamber of Commerce and regularly attend meetings. 
4. Seek out non-profits and other organizations that would be most interested in your book and/or expertise and let them know about your title. If your book is about organ donation, for example, Life Source, the American Organ Transplant Association and the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), are good organizations to get to know.
5. If you haven’t done it yet, ask your friends and people you know who have purchased your book to write a review and post it on The more reviews and activity you have, the higher you move in the searchable listings. 
6. A lot of authors who started out by publishing just a traditional printed book have found that having their title available as an eBook as well significantly impacts the number of sales they get. According to a recent survey released by the American Association of Publishers (AAP) the market share of eBooks grew more than 1,200 percent from 2008 to 2010. 
7. Start a blog and contribute to it regularly, making reference to your book as often as you can. If people like what you have to say, they are likely to purchase your book. 
8. Pay attention to stories making their way through the news cycle. They may offer you opportunities to get on the news. 
9. Prepare regular press releases and distribute them to the media, or hire a publicist to handle this task for you. When you see a story in the news that you would like to comment on, don’t just think about it, do it! Those authors who send out regular press releases are more likely to become sources for reporters than those who don’t. The release of your book should mark the first time you reach out to the media, not the last. 
10. Spend some time researching the editorial calendar used by reporters to determine where your story would fit best. 

Need help executing your plan? RMA Publicity would be happy to help. We develop marketing and publicity plans for authors, offer writing and pitching services, and can also help with setting up book launch parties, book signings and other author events. Contact us for more information.

About the Author 
Rachel M. Anderson has more than 25 years of communications experience across a wide range of disciplines. She currently works as a marketing & PR consultant and publicist for RMA Publicity, a company she founded in 2009 to help small publishers and those who have self published promote their books to local, national and international audiences.  Rachel also has experience as a marketing and direct response copywriter, television newscast producer and assignment editor, television newscast reporter and newspaper reporter. She is currently an at-large board member with the Midwest Independent Publishing Association (MIPA) and writes the monthly marketing article for the Association newsletter.  

Rachel lives in the Twin Cities, but works with authors and publishers across the country. 

Rachel M. Anderson

Marketing & PR Consultant/Publicist
RMA Publicity 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Many authors, either self-published or published by major publishing houses, find getting the word out about their newly-released book to be a challenge. There are just so many reviews appearing in the major newspapers and they primarily focus on already established authors. How can an unknown writer raise his or her profile and get reviews to bolster book sales?

Publicity is key!

In order to maximize visibility for you, your brand, and your book, it’s best to use the following guidelines:

  1. Send review copies to the major media outlets that will review the book, including Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and other publications that will do an honest critique of the book.
  2. Build up your own network of supporters of your book, including friends and family. You want them to write reviews on websites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, GoodReads, and other book-specific blogs, ezines and sites.
  3. When you reach a specific milestone --like signing a book deal, the actual printed books arriving, etc., organize a party at your home to celebrate. At the party, read excerpts from the book and answer any questions from your guests. Request that they write reviews and post them after they’ve had a chance to read your book.
  4. If you don’t have any interest or talent in actually promoting the book and if your publisher is not investing any money in publicizing it, consider hiring a book publicist.  Getting publicity and speaking opportunities for an author – especially a new author – is a time-consuming endeavor. It’s best left to the professionals who have media contacts and have done book publicity for years. Reach out to websites that focus on book marketing to see which public relations agencies they recommend. With technology, it is no longer necessary for your publicist to be in your geographic area….they can work from anywhere to help you get the word out about your new book. Publicists can work within an author's budget and can be very cost-effective. If an article in a newspaper focuses on you and your book, it could translate to thousands of dollars of comparable advertising of your book in that same publication.  Hiring a Public Relations firm or consultant is much more economical than advertising, and has three times the credibility of an ad because the story is written by a third party. Publicists can help you with every step of getting you and your book out there to the local area and the world! For a comprehensive listing of book publicists, go to John Kremer’s Book Marketing Best Sellers website listing:  You’ll find yours truly under “T” (Tomic Communications)
  5. If you have no budget at all for public relations, you may wish to try to do it yourself. Start by writing a one-page summary of the book. Get a great head shot taken by a good amateur or professional. Include a color photograph of the book cover. Next, write a short biography of yourself and a pitch letter to the reporter you are trying to reach. Be sure to include a link where the book may be purchased (the Amazon page, for example) in your signature line.
  6. Creating a website for the book is another selling tool. Include sample chapters, a blog about the book, the media kit, a schedule of your upcoming speaking engagements (if you have any) and contact information.
  7. Six months or so before the book is published, ask for reviews or blurbs from influential individuals – including book reviewers at major newspapers. If your publisher doesn’t let you send the entire book, you can send the first couple of chapters, a table of contents (if it’s a non-fiction book) and your bio.
  8. Try to get speaking engagements in your local community. Ask your local bookstores, libraries, schools, colleges, if they are looking for speakers.  Make sure to send out a calendar listing of the event in advance to help draw a larger audience. Bring a box of books and designate an area following the Q & A for a book-signing. Expect to talk about a thirty minutes with 15 minutes or so of Q & A.
  9. Create videos and post them on YouTube to help create an online following. This is particularly useful for non-fiction authors who want to be seen as experts in their field.
  10. Be persistent! 99% of success requires hard work and persistence! Believe in yourself, your writing, and your book and your enthusiasm will draw people to you. They, in turn, will recommend your book to their friends and family. In some cases, that’s how a viral marketing campaign succeeds – through word of mouth.  
  11. Hire a publicist who really knows how to guide you in getting interviews and speaking engagements. Many offer much-reduced fees for independent authors.
  12. Good luck!

Charlotte Tomic, President
Tomic Communications, Inc. 917-882-5243,

Tomic Communications is a boutique public relations company that serves clients around the world. We assist in shining the spotlight on companies, authors, nonprofits and professionals to burnish their brand via strategic communications and planning.