Originally posted on CreateSpace
Step 1: Market Research– Any solid marketing effort should begin with research- discovering publishing and distribution channels and costs, learning what other books will be in competition with yours. This foundation for your plan should involve as much data gathering and fact finding as you can do. Are there titles similar to yours already available? What can you do to differentiate yourself from them? Tailoring your efforts to the preferences of your readers will provide them with added value and incentive to purchase your book.
Step 2: Create a Mission Statement– Developing a powerful, purpose-driven mission statement for your business plan is essential to helping you keep your goals and objectives in mind. A mission statement is a clear and compelling summary of goals, intended to focus your efforts in a specific direction defined by three elements: the purpose of your work, what steps you are taking to achieve the purpose, and the motivating factors behind why you plan to achieve your purpose. Your mission statement should inspire you to remain committed to your purpose, so be specific in describing the actions you plan to take.
Step 3: Document Your Goals, and Create Objectives to Achieve Them– When you make goals, you choose a destination on a map; by creating objectives, you choose your route to this destination. By putting your goals on paper, you will be better able to create solutions to achieve them. Will the number of copies you plan to sell be affected by the size of your target audience? Will you need to invest in a wider variety of marketing initiatives to compete with the number of titles in your category?
Step 4: Determine Your Distribution Strategies– Most self-publishing companies provide distribution channels online, so consider special sales outlets beyond online and bookstores. If your book is specific to a town or state, consider targeting retailers in that area for distribution. Gift shops, airports, or even restaurants are often eager to stock books that relate to them specifically. To determine the best channels for your book, seek out places your target audience shops frequently and begin networking with managers and decision makers.
Step 5: Strategize Specific Promotional Tactics– It’s important to think about how you will sell your book in advance of your publication date so you can take advantage of early sales. The momentum you build at the beginning of your promotional efforts will set the tone for future sales. As you form your business plan, determine how much time you can dedicate to each of the following areas: publicity, advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, and printed materials.
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