by Melissa Tagg, @Melissa_Tagg
For the past several months, we’ve 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.
Today, our growing proposal marketing plan is going to get bigger as we add both Cross-Promotional Opportunities and Book-signings/Events.
Okay, folks, if you want to prove you’re ahead of the marketing game, including a section in your marketing plan about cross-promoting is a great idea. And why wouldn’t you include this? Many of us already cross-promote without even thinking about it. We post links and share updates about our favorite books and authors. We talk with friends about recent book faves. As writers, we naturally gravitate toward others who write in our genre.
So your goal here is to let publishers know of any existing relationships you have with other authors and ideas for cross-promoting with those authors. For instance, a couple years ago two other Bethany House authors and I who write the same genre worked together to create (removed the word “some”) fun romance videos which we released around the time of our book launches. Some other author friends and I have put together a series of giveaways in which we’ve featured all our books–we had more than 10,000 entries in our last one!
So if you have any ideas for how you might band together with other writers to cross-promote each others’ books, go ahead and include those ideas briefly here. OR if you aren’t to the stage yet of having connected with many other authors, it’s okay to let the publisher know it’s something you’re working on. Let’s say you write “foodie fiction”–women’s fiction or romance with “foodie” elements. You might say something like this:
I am currently building relationships with several other authors of contemporary romance, especially authors of “foodie” books. I would like to explore cross-promotional opportunities, including group giveaways or recipe exchanges to attract readers.
It’s hard to get specific in a marketing plan about what book-signings and events you’d like to incorporate into your promotional efforts simply because, well, it’s hard to plan an event when you’re not sure when your books will be contracted and published.
BUT what you can do is let the publisher know you’re forward thinking and have thought through the details of planning an event.
Warning: Events can be costly and the ROI isn’t always, well, awesome. I work in marketing for my day job and this is something we talk about often. Events are fun. They’re feel-good moments. They can be successful when done well. But they can also be costly and draining.
(removed the first part of this sentence) When it comes to the marketing plan you include in your novel proposal, it’s great to simply let your publisher know if you plan to work on setting up book-signings. (Sidenote: They’ll often help with this!) If there are several high traffic bookstores in your area that regularly host signings, let the publisher know. If you’ve already built some relationships with local bookstores or libraries, include this information. And if you have a particularly good idea for a launch party at which you can guarantee a LARGE turnout, go ahead and include that. If I were to write this section for a new proposal, I might say:
In the months leading up to my book’s release, I plan to contact both local Barnes & Noble stores, one local BAM stores and two local Christian bookstores to schedule book-signings, if possible. There are also six independent bookstores–two of which are Christian–in my community, which I plan to contact as well. I regularly travel to Chicago, Kansas City and the Twin Cities, so I’m hopeful contacts in those places might be able to connect me with local stores there.
In addition, I will hold a launch party around the time of my book’s release. I can expect to draw 150-200 people, but in order to expand the scope of the event, I will pair it with an “online party” which will include a giveaway and newsletter signup.
That’s it for now! We’re winding down the marketing plan talk next week with a final post on Printed Materials, Bonus Materials, and Endorsements.
Do you have any questions about cross-promoting or events?