by Melissa Tagg
Over the last two month, I have been talking about creating an awesome marketing plan for your novel’s proposal. The goal is not only to wow agents and editors with your stellar marketing expertise, but also once published to be able to take this plan and put it into action.
Earlier posts include:
Part 2: Media and Speaking Engagements
Today, we’re going to talk about the biggie: Internet Presence
I helped teach a workshop recently during which one attendee proudly declared, “I’m not on the Internet.” Little hint: That’s probably not going to work in an author marketing plan. Not these days.
But even if your internet presence isn’t as hefty as you’d like it to be, it’s still important to let agents and editors know you are savvy about the online world and you’ve at least begun the process of carving out a place for yourself in that world. (Sidenote: My Bethany House editor found me through my online presence–both Twitter and my blog. So hey, it’s totally possible to begin building this piece of your marketing strategy before you have a book contract!)
The thing about social media is it’s probably not where you’re going to sell the most books…but it will help you build relationships with readers. It’s your way of saying, “Hey, I’m not going to just sit and wait for readers to flock to me. I’m willing to go to them.”
And there’s no need to despair if you don’t have incredibly high social media numbers. That’s not always the most important thing. It’s the quality of your content and the engagement of the followers you do have that really stands out, especially on the fiction side. (On the nonfiction side, yes, they are looking for BIG numbers!)
So here are the elements to include in the Internet Presence portion of your marketing plan:
- Website or blog: Include how often you blog, what kind of topics you cover, what kind of traffic you receive.
- Facebook: It’s probably smart at some point to begin a Facebook Page or Group rather than depending on your personal profile, but whatever route you choose to go, include a sentence or two about your Facebook activity.
- Twitter: If you’re on Twitter, talk about how often you tweet, what kind of tweets you write, and your plans for growing your following.
- Instagram: My favorite of all the social media platforms, I will admit. I wasn’t actually on Instagram back when I signed my first contract, but it’s been an awesome way to connect with readers lately. So if you’re active, include it in your marketing plan.
- Goodreads / Pinterest / YouTube / etc: What other social media platforms do you use? If you’re active elsewhere and especially if you have ideas for utilizing a platform in your marketing efforts, go ahead and include the details.
As I noted above, I’ve never had an agent or editor ask for my specific numbers, but I’ve heard from more and more friends that their agents or potential editors are asking for these numbers. Personally, if you are asked to list numbers, I think it pays to then go beyond the number. Talk about what kind of engagement you see across your platforms, what kind of content you post, what your plans are for growing your online platform…let the agent or editor know you aren’t just posting willy-nilly, but you actually have a strategy for your social media content.
A savvy marketer knows the internet presence portion of your marketing plan should go beyond social media platforms. Here are some other internet presence blurbs to include:
- Group blogs: Do you regularly post articles as part of one or more well-read group blogs? Make sure to include that and if you’ve had some really great engagement, perhaps even include links to your most-read pieces.
- E-zines and other online articles: Include any other online writing you’ve done for e-zines or popular websites. Also list online publications you plan to approach once your book has released.
- Blog tours: Many publishers will coordinate their own blog tours through existing book blogger and review programs. But it never hurts to let your publisher know you’re willing to help arrange your own blog tour as well.
- Connections: List any other strong internet connections you may have that could be beneficial when your book releases. This could be sites where you’d like your publisher to consider running web ads or doing giveaways, etc.
To sum up, the internet presence piece of your marketing plan is about so much more than a group of numbers. It’s about letting your prospective agent or publisher know you understand the importance of having an online presence, that you have a strategy and that you plan to do your part in growing your online exposure.
Join us in two weeks for a look at how libraries and launch teams add an extra boost to your marketing efforts.
Award-winning author Melissa Tagg is a former reporter, current nonprofit grant-writer and total Iowa girl. The second book in her popular Walker Family series, Like Never Before, was named by Publisher’s Weekly to one of their spring 2016 Top Ten lists. Her most recent releases include Keep Holding On (Sept 2016) and One Enchanted Eve (Nov 2016). Melissa has taught at multiple national writing conferences, as well as workshops and women’s retreats. Connect with Melissa at www.melissatagg.com or on Facebook and Instagram.