hughes November 19, 2018

I can’t help but quote the late, great James Brown…”Please, please, please… (Please, please don’t go.)”

I beg you please don’t take your book to market if you haven’t developed a marketing plan. That includes:

– defining your target audience (visualize specific individuals you foresee purchasing the book)

– making a list of specific organizations that might

– hosting a book signing or speaking engagement

– developing promotional materials – sales sheet, web page, post cards and book marks

– writing an enticing book description

– determining ideal outlets for selling your book (internet retailers, your web site, independent book stores, speaking engagements, etc.)

What’s the worst that could happen? You could be one of those authors who never sells more than 99 books!

Marketing should not begin after the book is produced; it must begin before the book goes to press. Why not wait until the book has been printed? First of all, you’ll miss several crucial marketing opportunities. Secondly, if you wait until the book is in your hands you’ll feel under the gun to sell it and planning probably won’t be a priority for you.

Another good reason to think of marketing before your book is printed or published is the book cover. After all, you can’t expect your readers to judge a book without its cover!


In regards to your book cover, the marketing plan will help you determine the appropriate design, key words, and the content for the back cover. By developing a marketing plan, you’ll be forced to consider:

○ specific target markets

○ their interests and desires

○ their trusted and frequent information resources

Armed with this information you’ll be able to write a back cover description that entices prospective readers to open and purchase the book.

Target Market

Once you understand your target market, where they purchase books and whose opinions they trust and admire you’ll have enough information to identify the appropriate sales venues (internet retailers, book stores, conferences, etc.). I’ve included a sample target market analysis at the end of the book.

Here’s an example: I mentioned the client who’s writing a young adult fiction novel. She told me her target market was teens and young women aged 15 – 35. That’s a great start, but it’s not enough. With my help she was able to expand this description…

○ Primary target: black single women and single mothers ages 23- 30;

○ Secondary target: black young adult women & college students age 18 – 22

○ Tertiary target: black high school teens 15-18

Notice that we didn’t just say readers, but that we were specific about their sex, age, marital status and education – single women, single mothers, college students and high school students.

We also considered geography. The author lives in Atlanta, GA therefore this is her primary geographic target. We expanded this to include the Southeast region of the U.S. since it’s easy for her to travel to neighboring states for book signings and speaking engagements. She also has extensive contacts in New York so we included the Northeast as a secondary geographic market. Segmented the market this way does not mean preclude the author from pursuing national sales, it just helps her focus on specific regions.

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