I promised that today I would have a look at marketing for the self-published. While I haven’t gotten to the publish button yet, my day job has been in marketing for the last five years. And marketing is pretty much the same no matter what you’re doing. Whether you’re promoting a charity event, a well-known brand or your debut novel, the principles are still the same.
There is a lot to take in when it comes to marketing, so I’m going to try and break it down as simply as possible over a number of posts. Today, I’ll give a brief introduction and I’ll try to add to the marketing knowledge pool on this website every other week, if not every week.
First of all, what is marketing? Put simply, marketing is about getting the word out, whatever that word may be. It’s about selling, but not necessarily selling a product or service. Often marketing is about selling an idea.
Great! So, where do you start? I could jump straight in and start talking about marketing channels and plans, key messages and keywords, promotional ideas and how to evaluate it all, but that would be one hell of a post and I said we’d start simple (I’ll cover the basics of that list in my next marketing post).
Instead, let’s start where all marketing students start. With the 7 Ps (hurray!). Just be glad you’re not sat in a classroom being told by marketing veterans, twinkles in their eye, about how there used to only be 5 Ps. Oh, doesn’t the world change fast…
So, 7 Ps. Not to be confused with the 7 dwarfs, and certainly not 7 swear words beginning with P (I admit I did sit back and try to think of 7…).
The 7 Ps of marketing:
Product – in this case, your book. This isn’t just about making sure your product is the best it can be (including editing, proofing, formatting and cover design) but also the blurb and researching your fellow authors and their comparable books.
Price – this is very important when it comes to marketing. Prices, especially in the current economic climate, can put off some readers. Planning the price of your book can also mean scheduling in promotional prices and freebie days.
Place – this is about where you will sell your book, be it via Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, iBooks, your own website or in physical bookshops and whether these are local and/or national. This will also influence the product, of course, and whether it is an ebook, physical book or both.
Promotion – the part everyone thinks of when they hear the word ‘marketing’. This relates to your promotional plan, which channels you’ll be using, when and how much it’ll cost.
People – this can relate to your customers as well as staff or partners. So in the case of a self-published writer, this can include your editor, proofreader, publisher/formatter and cover designer, as well as all those readers you want to read your work.
These last 2 Ps were established at a later date, primarily for the service industry but do also relate to marketing books.
Process – you need to think about how your book will be sold, whether it will be printed on demand, as a PDF on your website or as an ebook file, and how it gets from there into your customers hand/ereader.
Physical – usually this relates to the offices of the business in question, so you could think of this as your base from which you will produce and market your book. In this case, it can also include your online platform, as that is what the customer will see rather than a fancy reception foyer. Your website, any social media accounts and your blog can come under this P.
Is your head hurting yet? Don’t worry, it’s easy if you take it one P at a time. Write down notes for each one for your own book and you’ll see how much you’ve decided and where your gaps are. This is the beginning of your marketing plan, which we’ll broach in the next post.