Friday, March 6, 2015

The Four P's and where to start for Marketing

So now that you figured out what you want from you writing life, how do you get it? You’ve done your research, your story is up for sale or you’re getting ready to hit that point. You don’t have a lot of huge connections, really it’s you and a few friends and a finished, polished book that you’re ready to show the world. Your hopes are high, you dream of USA Today best sellers and NY Times best sellers and top Amazon spots. You put your book up and it’s either not selling, not selling as well as you like, or you’re an overnight success.

What’s the next step? Well, look at your marketing plan. Don’t have one? Think that you need a degree for one of those? You have no idea where to start? Yeah, that’s how I felt too, ironically I am working towards my degree in marketing. So let me share a little bit of what I learned from my first class in marketing. Now I’m sure you’ve read a ton of books that tell you what to do and how to do it, but part of you is wondering why. This post is going to cover the very basics, called the Four P’s. I encourage you to sit down and write down, physically write down, thoughts in each of these sections.

Product: This is where to spot. Why? Because you have to know what you’re selling. Apply this to your writing, what genre are you selling? Is it better classified as something else? Are you selling great pieces of what you hope will be classic lit? Or are you selling Urban Fantasy? Do your customers know this? Does your brand reflect this? You may think this is easy and be tempted to put ‘books’ down as your answer. But is that it? Are those books a series? Do you do short stories? Do you have multiple series?

Price: This one is tough in the Indie world, we want to make money, but we don’t want to price our books too high. We often get frustrated with those who hit lists by selling their books at a low price. The Indie Romance Convention did a pricing guide, but sometimes people just aren’t willing to pay the prices for the longer books. Sit down and really look. Is your novella over priced? Is your novel priced appropriately? I encourage you to look at the top sellers and see what they are priced at, other than the .99 authors. You’ll see it is possible to sell a book at $2.99 and up. Are you part of KDP select and can run a promotion? If not, are you willing to do the work to run a promotion through all channels? (This requires to manually change the price) Are you at that point where you can do a loss lead (first book free)?

Place: I know authors who swear by KDP select, and I know others who do not. I make ¼ of my sales through other channels. I’m not willing to give that up to go to kindle only. I don’t think it’s fair to my readers. But Place isn’t only about distributing, though that is a big part of it. It’s about where your exposure is as well. Website up-to-date? Facebook page? Twitter? Does it all look presentable and point readers to where they can buy? Can they buy directly from your website? Are you active where you can be? Pinterest? Instagram? You don’t have to do all of these, but really consider where you might better be able to reach your audience.

Promotions: This goes back to price a little bit. Can you run promotions to help with the price? What about promotions in your newsletter? Giveaways on guest posts? Blog tours? (which can tie back to place) It doesn’t have to be expensive (though it can get expensive) and this section will expand as you grow.

Okay, get to brainstorming and writing! We’ll discuss how to start putting these things into a functional plan my next post. Happy marketing!

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