So there I was, an aspiring writer with a mission. What to do about the marketing part of my book proposal? Little did I know that the publishing industry was on the cusp or perhaps throes of profound structural change. I knew little about social networking other than Facebook existed. I thought that a website was just an electronic bulletin board.
I recall having found an example book proposal on the internet, so what I wrote was my best attempt at personalizing this, with a view to making it appealing to a traditional publisher. It’s a bit of a historical anachronism, in that it clearly doesn’t reflect an understanding of e-marketing, ebooks, social networking, and the direction in which publishing was going.
Without further adieu, here is what I wrote:
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Marketing / Promotion / Platform
The author is experienced and comfortable with public speaking, interviews, making presentations, and even hours of rigorous cross examination. He assesses marketing as an essential component of the book’s success, and approaches the marketing of the book as a military information campaign; i.e. a coherent series of actions coordinated with synergistic intent to maximize the commercial success of ONE.
The legal prohibition on disclosing the author’s true identity (due to the child protection dimension) is a factor. The author views this as a challenge, and plans to use it to the book’s advantage by exploiting it to create an air of mystery about the book.
As with the discordant notes of Monk’s piano, the genius will be in knowing which notes not to play as much as it will be in knowing which notes to play.
To ensure ONE achieves the critical mass to become a phenomenon, the author will exploit Gladwell’s “The Law of the Few” from THE TIPPING POINT. In conjunction with publisher and agent, the author intends to identify (and target) Mavens, Connectors and Salesmen in the pre-release phase.
The author will establish a pre-release website and utilize other internet methods to methodically build growth in pre-release interest.
Once the website is available to the public, the author will issue press releases to major magazines as part of pre-release marketing. The author foresees potential interviews with periodicals where the events behind the book are discussed, but the discoveries made due to them are mysteriously withheld or only vaguely alluded to so as to build anticipation for the book’s release. The author expects full periodical interviews after release.
The author is also willing to entertain any other marketing initiatives, bearing in mind the constraint on revealing his identity. In wanting to reach as broad an audience as possible, the author sees a Venn diagram of near perfect alignment of his aspirations and the commercial interests of the publisher.
It is the author’s intent to utilize a professional editor and to dedicate the advance and revenues towards promotional activities in support of book sales. He anticipates a commensurate commitment to commercial success on the part of the publisher. The author will define success by sales volume and not his personal net income.
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Some of this is correct. I did employ a professional editor. However, I found my fellow bloggers to have been at least as good if not better at finding typos, errors, and making constructive criticisms. I will be doing the press release thing before release, and friesenpress.com drafts this as part of my package. And I still want to maximize the number of sales v. profits, as I want to achieve the maximum social impact.
In terms of Gladwell’s “Law of the Few” and “Mavens, Connectors and Salesmen”, I suspect this is beginning to happen naturally via the wonderful contacts that I have made through blogging.
What I couldn’t have anticipated was the incredible value of the wonderful blogging relationships that I have established. In a sense, the correct way to market a book by blogging is by not blog flogging your book. It’s by blogging to build sincere relationships as opposed to shallow marketing and exploitation.
At least, that’s been my experience, and I’m having a hell of a lot of fun with blogging, even though it takes up a killer amount of time.
While I’ve come a long way since this naive first attempt at a rudimentary marketing plan, I still have a long way to go. I continue to learn along the way. I think the lesson here for aspiring authors is the importance of planning and of learning at least the basics of self-marketing.
If you can establish a basis of sales to demonstrate that you’re a credible writer with successful books and a real following, you’re far more likely to attract the attention of a mainstream publisher.
And, if you’re both an excellent writer and marketer, you just might discover that you don’t even need a mainstream publisher after all.