What?! You’ve slaved over your manuscript making it the best it can be and NOW, you are being asked to write a proposal with the bulk of it addressing marketing and publicity. For a memoir, this is an even a harder sell at first, so you have to prove to your agent (if you’re going that publishing route) that you can sell your baby.
The marketing plan is the hardest and most difficult part of a proposal and it’s basically where agents can see if you have the evidence of a strong and robust platform. They might just sign you on if you show evidence that you have a very strong platform even if your book is “eh-eh.” Or they may want a super-duper manuscript and a great marketing proposal. ome authors are already brand driven and embedded and boy, do agents love this.
Keeping these points in mind, here’s what I’ve managed to learn in a very short time about writing the marketing plan for my memoir. And yes, just the marketing plan of my proposal is already twenty pages and growing. And believe me, writing the marketing plan for a book proposal IS a beast.
1. You HAVE to go beyond this notion that you have to just sell at the bookstore. Have to. I see a lot of authors promoting their newly published events at their local bookstores over on their Facebook page and it gives the impression to other authors that it’s the only way to sell and promote a book. Now, don’t get me wrong. Your local bookstore IS a great first place to start because your local community can champion you. But it isn’t the only place – there are TONS more and the bookstore is just the tip of the iceberg.
2. You must NOT (I repeat NOT) hold back from sharing anything that shows success. Don’t second guess your success. Show whoever’s reading that you are a shining star. Make sure they know everything and anything about your writing credits, Google + ratings, how many comments your blog got in the last six months, how many email subscribers you have. Don’t second guess the numbers because agetns wants to see everything and anything. They buy you first and they buy your book second.
3. Explore all possibilities even if you haven’t reached the “stars.”. This doesn’t mean that you have to have a dozen writing credits right now at the time of writing the proposal with national magazines, but you do need to show a plan for getting there.
Here’s an example from my own marketing section of what I mean:
Maria Shriver’s site featured articles and essays is one of the world’s best go-to resources inspiration on how to deal with some of life’s most complex problems and issues. I would approach the editor to see what possibilities exist for covering the book and/or submitting a story based on the book. (http://mariashriver.com/share-story/)
4. If you truly want to see a spike in book sales, you must get out of your comfort zone and explore every possible venue. This means online events, corporate presentations and sales, radio and television, anything in your literary local community, professional contacts and people you know.
5. You never know what little surprises lurk from the research. There will be blogs you didn’t know exist. It is at this place you start seeing your book as a “conversation piece” and where it can speak to potential audiences based on the themes of your book. You also start getting really super clear who your book is meant to speak to, and to whom it just doesn’t.
Man, I cannot begin to tell you how super important this document will be when it comes time to promote your book. You need a six month lead time for promotion and you’d be surprised how many writers do not have this marketing plan at their fingertips and they’re figuring everything out along the way. Please! Don’t be one of these people! Even if you are not going the traditional route, ALL writers traditionally, hybrid or self-pubbed, need this marketing plan to show their “path to success.”
If you are currently writing a memoir, I highly recommend purchasing this ebook, Breaking Ground on Your Memoir written by two of my memoirs, Dr. Linda Joy Myers and Brooke Warner. This little gem provided me with everything I need for writing and publishing success. The National Association for Memoir Writers offers it at an already low discounted price.