Marketing Your Novel: The Marketing Strategy!


Disclosure: I work for a marketing firm. While I have no formal education in marketing or business and would never claim to be an “expert”, working in online marketing for two companies over the last  four years has taught me a lot. This series will explore the marketing strategies I will use to promote my upcoming novel.

As I mentioned in my Friday Write-Day post a few days ago, some business-like details have fallen into place regarding the publishing of my book this year. This has allowed me to lay out a basic timeline and strategy for promoting and publishing my upcoming fantasy novel, The Warden of Everfeld: Memento.

In the spirit of transparency and sharing and generally trying to be useful to you all, I will share with you my marketing strategy for 2017 today. The turn of the new year is all about goals and whatnot, right? Well, consider this my “resolution” post.

Operation: Brandisizing 2017

Before we delve into my specific four-pronged marketing strategy, we have to be sure that we have specific goals to achieve. A marketing strategy is useless unless you have specific, quantifiable, and realistic goals!

My general goals for this year obviously include promoting, publishing, and selling my book, but that is too vague.

What’s the best way to sell a book online? Build an audience!

2017 Audience-Building Goals:
  1. 6,000 unique visitors and 8,500 views on RSPC
  2. Earn 450+ WordPress followers in 2017 (currently, we have 254, so we’re talking about adding 200 new followers)
  3. 1,000+ unique visitors on book-related landing pages (such as my synopsis page)
  4. 150+ Likes on the RSPC Facebook page
  5. 100 newsletter subscribers (more on this later)

Notice that I have not yet mentioned anything about sales. I will use the five metrics above to track the growth of our audience over the course of this year.

I will further break these numbers down into three important categories: Owned, Earned, and Paid media.

According to Titan SEO Owned Media is any web property that I actually own, such as this website or our Facebook page.

Earned Media is “online word of mouth” — or Engagement, as we have discussed previously. These are the likes, shares, comments, reblogs, retweets… any action by another user that helps spread my content around the web.

Paid Media is just what it sounds like: paying to have my content appear on other platforms. This can include paid ads or pay-per-click campaigns, for instance.

Owned Media will be easy for me to distinguish. I am deliberately not paying for any ads or “boosts” on the RSPC Facebook page, because I want to see how quickly I can grow that audience organically.

I can also use WordPress’s Referrals statistic to determine where traffic to the website is coming from. Currently the vast majority of our traffic comes from Google Search, which is a good sign for our Earned Media potential. That means that users are finding our webpages without us paying anything to promote them.

Before we move on to my plan for tackling these goals, I have a confession:

I do not have any specific sales goals in mind for my book, and it’s not because I haven’t thought about it. I simply do not know what to expect. I would be ecstatic for 50 strangers to buy my book. But I simply have no data to make a reasonable projection. Not yet, at least.

The Four-Pronged Strategy

I will be using four different marketing channels to try to achieve the five goals stated above:

  • Facebook
  • Pay-per-click advertising
  • Press releases
  • Email newsletters

As stated above, I will not be using the paid ads feature on Facebook. Instead, I will see how well I can gain an organic following. By “organic”, I mean the random Facebook users who happen to see RSPC content in their news feeds and decide to follow of their own volition. Our Facebook content, a form of Owned Media and Indirect Marketing, is currently centered around exclusive haiku (not published here) and a now-weekly feature where I share a YouTube video of whatever song I have been listening to on repeat.

Earned Media will come through Likes, Comments, or Shares on Facebook. I will add other types of content, but the key is that it has to fit my branding. It has to fit me.

It’s not natural for me to share pictures of cats all day, nor is it natural for me to post multiple times per day, or even per week! So I will not do those things just to get likes and shares.

RSPC is all about sharing ideas and creativity, so my Facebook strategy must reflect that concept.

Key Goal: #4 – 150+ Facebook Page Likes

Pay-Per-Click Advertising

PPC Advertising is a form of Paid Media and Indirect Marketing designed to drive traffic to a particular webpage or article. I will begin running PPC campaigns to drive traffic to particular webpages on this site.

The goal here will be to attract users outside of the WordPress realm to our website and generate interest in my book beyond our direct followers. I have not laid out a full budget yet, but I will likely aim for between three and five separate campaigns for a combined 1,000 clicks.

I will get into how I set up and run these campaigns in later posts.

Key Goals: #1-3 – 6,000, visitors, 8,500 views, 450+ WordPress followers, 1,000+ visitors on book-related landing pages

Press Releases

I will also be using an online press release service to distribute news about my books. For those who have never used them before, online press releases can help spread your brand’s online footprint, getting your news in front of more eyes, and improving search engine rankings.

This is also a form of Paid Media and Indirect Marketing, with the primary goal being online pickups of my press release by a wide range of other media outlets, from newspaper and magazine websites to blogs and RSS feeds. The tertiary goal is to drive more traffic to our website, and push sales of my book.

Key Goals: #1-3 – 6,000, visitors, 8,500 views, 450+ WordPress followers, 1,000+ visitors on book-related landing pages

Email Newsletters

We do not have a newsletter yet, so you haven’t missed anything! But we will be launching a newsletter in the next few months. This is a form of Owned Media, the goal of which would be to reach out directly to people who want to hear directly from me. This is a form of Direct Marketing.

The key difference between a newsletter and the other forms of marketing above is that the newsletter is opt-in. That means that I will only send newsletters to people who sign up to receive them directly. This will allow me to speak directly to specific people who want to be spoken to.

I will not give out details quite yet, but just know that our newsletter subscribers will receive exclusive news, sneak peeks, and content regarding my book(s).

Key Goal: #5 – 100 newsletter subscribers

Overall Marketing Strategy

As you can see, my initial marketing strategy is geared towards building my online audience — people who will likely be seeing my brand for the first time and will (hopefully) be interested in reading my book.

Again, I do not yet have any specific sales goals in mind, but the success of this early campaign will help me narrow that down. If 10% of my newsletter subscribers participate in any early sneak peeks or sales I run for my book, then I can more safely project at least that many book sales.

I will also evolve my marketing strategy as I move forward. If I find that one part of this strategy is not delivering the types of results I want, then I will need to adjust my plan. So that’s one of the main takeaways here:

Three Takeaways for Building Your Marketing Strategy
  1. Have specific, quantifiable, and realistic goals
  2. Tailor your marketing strategy to achieve those goals
  3. Be prepared to adjust or change your marketing strategy based on performance

References and Other Sources

Titan SEO, “What is Earned, Owned & Paid Media? The Difference Explained.”

Steve D

2 thoughts on “Marketing Your Novel: The Marketing Strategy!

  1. I happened across your blog and what really struck me was that you are someone who has a background in marketing but doesn’t have much experience selling books.

    Your background in marketing will serve you well, but I strongly recommend you read up on the techniques that successful authors use to sell books. You can find a lot of that information completely free at the kboards writers’ cafe.

    I cannot stress enough how important understanding the publishing side of things is to your eventual success, and from the blog posts I’ve read, I don’t think you’re focused much on some important aspects of the business.

    Best of luck to you.

    1. You’re correct- I do not have experience selling books, because I am currently writing my first novel. Once the second draft of my novel is complete, I plan to write about my publishing efforts.

      My marketing series has so far focused on preliminary marketing for my book, but the real campaign push will begin during the pre-sale period. Then, I will be able to delve into my experiences promoting and selling a live product.

      Thanks for the kboards recommendation. I will certainly add that to the other resources I’ve found as I move towards publication.

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