Sunday, April 13, 2008

To Market, To Market a five year plan

As I wrote before the burn, I hope to blog once a week using a proper editorial calendar. I'll post said calendar as soon as I create it.

My goal is to blog every Sunday on Author Marketing, Writing Tips, Book/movie Reviews and Just for fun.

Let's begin with author marketing. I sat down with a couple of marketing friends who bemoaned the fact that authors don't know how to properly market themselves. I agreed, nodding my head wisely. But knowing all along that I, too, do the things they were complaining about. Missed opportunities and inconsistent marketing abound in a writer's life.

Let me tell you why...

With brands such as Pepsi and Coke, you have long term consistent products. All colas are not alike and consistent branding is essential. You brand by getting the product name OUT THERE-and keeping it in the forefront of people's minds.

But in today's current market, an author, writer, novelist needs to stay flexible in order to work. A writer may start out writing sweet historical romance-see my seven Morgan family novels by Avalon Books. (Saving Samantha, A Wanted Man, Lovin' Lana, Wyoming Wedding, The Marryin' Kind, The Bettin' Kind and The Lovin' Kind. All titles can be found on,,, and Even if their work is critically acclaimed, (A Wanted Man, the Marryin' Kind, The Bettin' Kind and the Lovin' Kind were all given starred reviews by Booklist Magazine.) the particular kind of story may no longer be in vogue with publisher's marketing departments.

So, in order to keep selling an author has to switch to say romantic suspense,(as in my up-coming novel, Mr. Charming) or paranormal or even contemporary romantic comedy. These switches are done usually without publisher sponsorship. So books are written in advance of selling and the author can have complete novels done with years between publish dates.

In other words, unlike Pepsi or Coke, the product is off the shelf for years at a time.

Facing this sort of market, it's difficult to keep your so called "brand" going. Why should readers care if it takes three years for a new publisher to discover you? You've lost your audience. You have to start your marketing plan all over again. It can be disheartening.

It was suggested that you combat this with a five year plan- a plan to sell certain flavors of books over five years...(Example-plan a series of five paranormal books.)Great-except your books were written at the tail end of a trend and the publisher only bought no one in the book biz wants to publish any more of those kinds of books...suddenly you need a new five year plan...and all that marketing goes to waste.

The solution is to base your brand on something that won't go away for three years...YOU- be active in groups, blogs, contests. Give talks. Write newsletter and magazine articles. Put out a twice yearly or quarterly newsletter. Keep your face and name OUT THERE.

If you think of your brand as a pyramid-the foundation should be your family, friends and loyal readers. Give them something to read like a daily blog (See mine on my website The next level should be writers groups and local librarians, booksellers and community work. Followed by national groups, conferences and speaking engagements. Leave the bookmarks and pens for the very tip.

Staying involved is a good way to keep your marketing base during periods of drought. It's a five year plan that works.

Finally, don't give up. The key to good marketing as an author is to write consistently good books. (I know, I know, you always write good books, it's why you're published...) It's still the key. No matter what you write or when, people will know you always deliver.

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