Schedule Your Promotions - Resolutions - Indie Pub It
This is part of a continuing series on small changes you can make throughout the year, instead of sweeping, scary New Year resolutions that tend to crash and burn long before you read this post.
Each suggested task is a year-long adjustment to your indie business that could reap some very nice rewards.
Indie publishing is a game won by increments. Most of us write in small doses because we don’t have the luxury of full time writing. We squeeze production into our spare time. We don’t hit best seller lists the first month out but (often) end up selling more over the long term than last month’s #1; a copy here, a copy there.
Check the intro post from January for more on this idea, if you haven’t seen it already.
Here’s the on-going list of tasks:
January: Review Your Backlist
February: Strengthen Your Sales Pipeline
March: Improve Your Hourly Word Rate (Prolificacy, Part I)
April: Write More Words This Year Than Last Year (Prolificacy, Part II)
May: Refine Your Production Process
June: Refine Your Production Schedule
July: Schedule Your Promotions
Now that you know where you’ll be in year’s time…
In the last two months’ posts I have explored the benefits of building a production schedule for at least twelve months out from where you are today.
Being able to build such a schedule depends on having a few ducks in a row, including:
a refined and regular production process, and|
a good grasp of how fast you write fresh manuscript.
All of 2015’s posts in this column have built upon these three intertwined and fundamental ideas.
Now that you have your production schedule nailed down (as much as any projection into the future can be cemented in place!), you can add a layer of sophistication to that schedule, by building your promotions around the schedule.
Advantages of Scheduling Promotions
Indie authors all understand that promotion is a necessity, but there are advantages to knowing what you’re going to write a year from now when it comes to promotion:
It gives you time to think and develop creative and different promotion campaigns.
If you’ve not used a production schedule at all, then the usual promotional tactic is to finish writing the book, or even be only days away from release, when you think “I should figure out how to promote this when it releases.” Time suddenly becomes an issue; you don’t have enough of it to dream up anything fancy, or research other peoples’ good ideas, and when you do settle on a promotion plan, all the really effective promotion venues are booked solid.
When you use a promotion plan, you know that six months from now you’ve got a “big” book coming out, and you can sit down now to research and plan the most effective launch campaign for it.
You also have time to think about promoting your backlist, in between launches, so that the sales momentum doesn’t stall across the year.
You can spread the financial load across the year
If your writing and promotion budget is tight (whose isn’t?), then knowing exactly how many “big” books you want to launch with a bang, and where they fall during the year means you can scrimp on promotion dollars now to save up for the bigger efforts later in the year.
Plus, you have the option of planning promotion dollars for marketing back titles in the quieter months when you don’t have big launches to deal with.
You can book promotion and advertising far in advance
If you’re working at least three months in advance, then many of the best promotion and advertising venues will have available “spots” you can book, for exactly when you want them.
This means you can grab busy-period spaces, too – and be part of the big Christmas and fall buying seasons, for example.
Cheaper Advertising Rates
Many advertising and promotion venues and locations will give you a discount for bulk advertising. If you can book six promo spaces across a year, for example, you might be able to get a 15% discount, or other bonuses.
If you know you’re going to need x number of spaces across the year, and on what dates, then often, you can arrange a discount or bonuses for yourself by working with the advertiser directly, and asking for the discount. Advertisers like repeat customers as much as any other business and if you can guarantee that you need x number of spaces and are willing to put cash down for those spaces, they’re most likely to consider your request.
You can create promotional opportunities
When you look at your production schedule across the year, you can adjust it to meet seasonal promotional opportunities. A Christmas-themed book, for example, scheduled to come out in late November or early December. Or Thanksgiving, or summer vacations. Romance writers love Valentine’s Day, too.
If you have a pet subject, you could schedule book releases around annual dates in that field: The Kentucky Derby if you’re into horse racing, the biennial America’s Cup Challenge in yachting, the Olympic Games for any sport at all, and on and on.
This sort of scheduling lets you tie the launch of your book into the annual event or season, and gives you a promotional energy that other times of year just don’t provide.
How to Schedule Your Promotions
Set aside regular time to think about, brainstorm and schedule promotion and advertising for your books.
Keep a roster of effective book promotion ideas and advertising venues. When you come across a new idea or venue, add them to the roster as “untried”.
Every time you launch a book, use one or two of your untried venues and ideas along with your most effective, tried and true strategies.
After every book release, review the promotion and advertising for that launch. Discard anything that was not effective (even your most trusted ideas and advertisers can go sour after a while). Keep what works, especially the “new” strategies you tried for the first time.
Look at your production schedule release dates. If you are prolific, then promotion will need to be fairly even-handed across the year, for every title launch and even for back-list promotion.
Out of that year’s production schedule, there may be one or two books you want to treat as “big” books – more promotional dollars and effort. More fuss and noise. Earmark those titles, and start thinking about their promotion now.
If you produce a new book every few months or even longer, then every new launch can be treated as a “big” book.
Add brainstorming and plan-building time to your production schedule, and also add the start dates for promotions for each title, and for your backlist. Once you have everything on the schedule you can tweak to make it fit more comfortably with your life/work/writing balance, and your budget.
Columnist: Tracy Cooper-Posey writes paranormal, urban fantasy and science fiction romance, and romantic suspense. She has been nominated for five CAPAs including Favourite Author, and won the Emma Darcy Award. She published 35 titles via legacy publishers before switching to indie publishing in March 2011. She has published over 50 indie titles to date. Her indie books have made her an Amazon #1 Best Selling Author and have been nominated four times for Book of the Year. Byzantine Heartbreak won the title in 2012. Tracy has been a national magazine editor and for a decade she taught romance writing at MacEwan University. An Australian, she lives in Edmonton, Canada with her husband, a former professional wrestler, where she moved in 1996 after meeting him on-line. Her website can be found at http://TracyCooperPosey.com.