How to Create a Marketing Plan

February 2006
by David Cole

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Occasionally, a publisher or
a self-published author puts a book in front of me and says, “I need your help
in marketing this book.” I think (but usually refrain from saying out loud),
“You mean, since you’ve skipped the marketing process, that you want me to help
you sell this book.”

Real marketing begins at the
moment a book idea is conceived, and it should affect everything you do. It
rests on a clear sense of who the book is for, how it will serve its audience,
how and where it will be sold, and how it will compete in the marketplace. It
involves—among other things—your choice of title and packaging, as
well as the price you charge.

Because a conventional marketing
plan is usually created downstream chronologically from authorial, editorial,
and publishing decisions, people fail to realize that the most important
marketing decisions have already been made. You can’t repair a marketing
mistake by selling harder.

Maybe the idea for your book is so
original and timely and the execution is so good that people see it and love it
and tell all their friends about it, so that, despite your lack of planning,
you have a success. This has happened. Occasionally. But you’re more likely to
get it right on purpose than by accident.

A Case Study Shows How

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