Most publishers and agents are now requiring potential authors supply a business plan or marketing plan. With new titles hitting the shelves at the rate of over 70,000 per month and an ‘In Print Backlist’ approaching 50,000,000 different titles then no longer can even the biggest publisher propel an unknown author into visibility unaided.
And in a world where readers are demanding direct contact with the author then only the active and most determined authors will survive. Publishers and agents can just no longer afford to take chances on a new author who will not help promote their own work. As a result, at some stage, if dealing with a professional publisher, a business plan will be called for. It needn’t be a grand affair, just something to show commitment to activity.
However, with permission, we reprint below a marketing plan we received a while ago to give an example of a well thought out and realistic business plan. We’re not suggesting you simply copy this when asked for a plan but at least this will give you a starting point for your own ideas.
At the author’s request, we have changed a couple of details to hide their identity but the plan remains as written. As a point of interest, this particular book rocketed straight to the top of the charts upon launch and has stayed there since. It consistently sells over a thousand copies per month and the author remains committed and active.
Business Plan for the Support of the Launch of ‘Windward Worlds’
I have realised that the opportunity of the internet can put my book launch on an equal footing with the launch from any major author.
I have studied the internet with special attention to social media with the objective of learning how successful books are launched.
I have realised that the most successful campaigns do not necessitate large financial outlay but they do require constant activity.
I have noticed that social media outlets respond very well to direct author contact.
My business plan is based on the results of this study and an interpolation that if I can gain local support I can direct that also into social media to boost the footprint of my book.
I believe strongly in my book and commit to remaining highly active in its support.
When the manuscript is accepted for publication I will:
1) Set up a Facebook account.
- Join high activity groups which focus on fantasy worlds (the theme of my book). I have counted over 50 groups which number in excess of 4,000,000 followers.
- Become active on these groups and add value to discussions.
- Subtly make it known I’m an author on the subject.
- Ask science department at nearby university if they have somebody who would comment on the eco-theories in my book.
2) Set up a Twitter account
- Find authors of books similar to mine and follow that author’s followers. The assumption is that say 50% of the people I follow will follow me. Target to build 2,000 followers this way.
- Post at least daily items of interest or funny items related to fantasy literature.
3) Set up a blog on WordPress Blog.
- Post weekly on items of interest to fantasy readers ensuring posts are keyword rich.
- Set Google to feed me news items relating to fantasy which I can then link to on the blog.
- Facebook and Twitter about the blog.
4) Set up a Goodreads account.
- Fill my virtual Goodreads shelf with similar books to my own
- Write intelligent reviews on these books at rate of at least one per week.
- Cross post these reviews to a review section on my WordPress blog.
5) Gain Prepublication Reviews.
- Make a list of all relevant book blog sites and send copies.
- Contact local high profile individuals with viewpoint on my subject and ask them to review.
- Swap manuscripts with another author and write reciprocative reviews for use in publicity.
Approaching launch Date
1) Post on Facebook and Twitter about the news my book is soon to be released.
- Ask for volunteers to review copies on Amazon and Goodreads.
- Post about prepublication reviews
- Post about my availability for charity events.
2) Write a blog about the imminent release.
- Post first chapter.
- Offer free copies for people to review.
- Twitter and Facebook about first free chapter
3) Contact local independent book shop to host launch party
- Invite local celebrity.
- Place teaser adverts in the local press.
- Invite local press to attend.
4) Target for early reviews.
- Send prepublication copies to review websites
- Invite another author to cross review.
- Send reviews to local papers for their own use.
1) Announce on all social media.
- Twitter about success of launch.
- Set up Facebook page for book and invite likes.
- Blog report reviews gained.
- Encourage friends and family to all order copies from Amazon and leave reviews.
1) Book Signing Events
- Arrange signing at shop which hosted launch party.
- Arrange signing at Waterstones.
- Obtain referrals from first events to book others.
2) Attend every local event
- Scan libraries notice boards and local papers for fairs, exhibitions and events
- Book a ‘Meet The Author’ stand at every possible event.
- Small advert in local press advertising my attendance.
- Invite press to attend. If they don’t, send a report for them to use.
3) Review watch
- Scan all sites for reviews of my book.
- Leave a short ‘Thank You’ where possible for each review.
- Post copies of good reviews on all my social media outlets.
I recognise that these days launching a book successfully is not an event, it is a process. This is a long term commitment to a career in writing and as with any career this requires daily activity.