For writers who are soon to be published, the idea of a marketing plan might seem so dry and commercial and not really something you want to focus on.

But wrapping your head around one key element of your author marketing plan: your MINDSET around marketing and visibility, is integral to the success of your book.

If you don’t understand this key piece of the publishing puzzle, you’ll have all sorts of unrealistic expectations from your publisher and be extremely disappointed when your book comes out and doesn’t do as well as expected.

I don’t want that for you!
By understanding, and i mean REALLY understanding how the traditional publishing process works, you will make more of an effort in your author marketing plan because you see that it’s completely essential to the sales of your book. 

You MUST think of your forthcoming book as a product

Your book is a product and you (as the author) are the brand.

I shared a little more about what goes into building your author brand in the masterclass, but you may not understand why you need to think of your book as a product.

There’s SO much that goes into the traditional publishing model but one of the mistakes most first-time authors make is thinking that the publishers are there to build their profile. The reason this is dangerous is because you then ‘rest on your laurels’ after signing the book deal, not realising that for traditional publishers, THEIR role is product creation, development and launch. YOU need to build your author brand in the precious pre-launch phase!

Consider this about the traditional publishing business model:

When you sign a book deal with a traditional publishing house, the reason it’s a HUGE deal for a publisher to take you on, and a financial risk for them, is because of all that they now cover in the product launch process:

>>Publishers pay for distribution (huge), they get you in bookshops, they pay you an advance, they also pay for the book’s production, editing and cover design. This is not small. Top publishers spend millions of dollars a year on product creation – YOUR product. Yes, you’re the creative genius behind the Intellectual Property, but THEY make it a real, 3-dimensional thing (and a quality one, at that!).

Here’s a few more details so you realise how important an author’s own marketing plan is to the sales of their book:

>>>>Booksellers receive a 40-50% discount on books they order (so if you see your book for sale for $30, the bookseller has paid $15 to your publisher PER copy.)

>>>>Distribution costs between 25 and 30% of the retail price of a book. Distribution is a big deal – this isn’t just storing and shipping it from warehouses, but the actual work of getting it stocked in stores. Publishers pay sales distributors to go around each month and ‘pitch’ new titles to key booksellers. The MORE work you can do on your author brand, the better it is for everyone.

>>> This leaves publishers to pay 10% to the author (only after you’ve actually paid off that advance, which only 1%, yes only 1% of authors usually manage to do) and use the balance to pay staff and fixed costs. To a publisher, you need to sell at least 10 000 copies for it to be worth their while to do ANY of this. 

So, you can see from the above that marketing and publicity is only the tiniest piece of the traditional publishing process. As publishers, they produce books. They’ll be printing 60-200 new books per year, so you as the author need to take responsibility for the marketing and publicity plan behind your book. Yes, they’ll help you where they can, but you are the very best person to market and publicise your own book and you MUST do this or it simply won’t sell!

book launch timeline marketing checklist

What goes into an author marketing plan?

If you haven’t read your book launch timeline make sure you do it straight away for an idea of the sorts of marketing activities you need to focus on prior to your book’s publication. Marketing activities are much more than creating a cutesie graphic for instagram. You should be creating a valuable pre-sales offer, optimising your website, building your brand assets and much more in this pre-launch phase. This is so that when you DO get to publication date, you’ve built momentum and word-of-mouth so that any media and publicity your PUBLISHER gets you is amplified by your own efforts! It also means you sell more books.
When you’re working on your marketing plan, you’ll be thinking of your audience first and foremost: what do they want to know? What will they appreciate you sharing? What will get them excited about the book you’re about to launch?

The bottom line is that publishers are the producer and distributor,  and you are the brand and product ambassador, if you will. As an author you MUST help with marketing and publicity or you won’t sell enough books to make it worth their while to

A: Ever publish you again or B: Keep your book in the warehouse.

>> Most publishing studies reveal that a new book, on average, will sell around 250 copies and no more than 2000 copies in its lifetime.

I want your book to sell, I want you to have a CAREER not just a disappointing EXPERIENCE in publishing, and I want you to be a success. The key to this is creating an author marketing plan that builds the foundations of a bestseller in the pre-launch phase. In the 6-12 months before your publication date you should be building hype, getting crystal clear on your author brand, polishing up your website and your image and getting set for success.

NOW available” 1:1 Book Marketing Sprints for authors!

Book Marketing Sprints are 90 minute sessions to offer you the clearest, simplest plan for quick wins and long-term success with your book sales.

You deserve to feel excited and confident in the process of preparing for publication day. You’ve worked hard on this book! With the right strategy, you can build hype, excitement, pre-sales and attention so that you sell more books on launch week – and far beyond!

When you invest in a VIP Book Marketing Strategy Day you walk away with:

Analysis of your book marketing and messaging from someone with 20+ years experience in publishing, digital strategy and online marketing so you get a custom-fit strategy for you!

  • A pre-call questionnaire to help me align your values, your comparative titles, your current ‘assets’ and your zone of genius to map the right strategy
  • A strategy to save you time, energy and frustration and make sure you’re set for more sales on publication date
  • 90 minutes 1:1 time so you can feel clear on implementation, software or any other resources you may need for this strategy
  • Recording of our call so you can replay and check you’re on track!
  • 6 month comprehensive custom marketing roadmap to follow and share with any members of your team

It’s time to get set for success on launch day – and beyond! 



Your Book Launch Timeline
Author Interview: Ruth Clare