Marketing and Publicity Plans
Why Is a Marketing Plan Important?
Your marketing and publicity plan is crucial to your book’s success. A good marketing and publicity plan will:
- Show book buyers that you’re investing in the sales success of your title
- Establish that you know your audience and how to reach them
- Demonstrate specifically how you will drive customer traffic
- Indicate how your author will support the book through his/her activities
- Build word-of-mouth (“the buzz”) for your book and broaden the market
- Positively impact your book’s sales numbers
We realize that not all items in a marketing plan will happen – but we do ask that you create a plan that is tailored to your sales expectations.
Why Do We Ask for Plans in Advance?
The details of your marketing plan are important during the sell-in process – particularly when your titles are presented to buyers at national accounts. The more specific your plan, the more vigorously the IPS sales rep can argue for larger initial placement numbers (the “laydown”) and promotional space. Without a good marketing plan, it is unlikely your book will be promoted at the national accounts.
Keep in mind that your titles won’t have a second chance to be presented to the chains, so it’s important to have a preliminary marketing plan available 3-4, if not 6 months before publication. When a title misses the sell-in period, it is considered a “drop in” and is relegated to space available.
This section describes each category of your Marketing and Publicity Plan
Marketing and Publicity Budget. Only include this information if your budget exceeds $25,000.
Author Tour. If you have travel plans that will include a national or regional tour to promote the book, please list the specifics of this tour. An example of how this would look is:
- National 30-city author tour planned for Summer 2008, including New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago
- National 20-city drive-time radio tour planned for Summer 2008, including New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago
- Regional author appearances planned for Summer 2008 to ten cities in the Southwest, including San Diego, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Las Vegas
- Publicity and promotion in conjunction with the author’s speaking engagements in Denver, Fort Lauderdale and Washington, D.C., Summer 2008
Publicity. Publicity is about media exposure for your book. Publicity events can include excerpts (a reprinted portion of the book), features (a published article about the book), or reviews (a critique of the book). When listing your publicity items, be sure to include the words “confirmed” or “targeting,” depending upon whether the publicity event is booked or tentative. Be sure to include circulation data for all publicity items. For confirmed events, provide the date. Examples are:
- Excerpts confirmed in Redbook (circ. 2.3 million, 10-08), Vogue (circ. 1.3 million, 07-08) and Vanity Fair (circ. 1.1 million, 11-08)
- Excerpts targeting Elle (circ. 990,000), People (circ. 3.7 million) and The Economist (circ. 1 million/week)
- Review mailing targeting Rolling Stone (circ. 1.3 million), Vibe (circ. 850,000), Esquire (circ. 2.1 million) and Men’s Health (circ. 1.7 million)
- National radio appearances targeting NPR All Things Considered (840,000 listeners) and Air America (430,000 listeners)
- Regional radio appearances in Nashville, Asheville and Greenville (all in April ’08)
- National television appearances confirmed on Rachel Ray (1.2 million viewers, 3-08) and Martha Stewart Living (1.1. million viewers, 04-08)
- Regional television appearances targeting morning news shows throughout the Southwest, including Phoenix, Albuquerque, El Paso, Denver and Las Vegas
- Publicity in conjunction with the 60th Anniversary of the Creation of the State of Israel (The Holocaust Museum, Los Angeles, 04-08)
- Foreword confirmed by Suze Orman (nationally known financial guru), to be featured on front cover
- Testimonial confirmed by Liz Pulliam Weston (MSN Money Columnist); to be featured on front cover in burst
- Internet podcast interviews targeting online news sites including Fox News.com, abcnews.com and cnn.com
- Interview confirmed on Larry King (2.6 million viewers, 01-08)
- Review copies to be distributed to top 50 food-oriented blogs including Feed Me/Drink Me, The Good Grape, Grub Street, Burghound, Chowhound, and eGullet
- Publicity on your website (50,000 unique visitors per day) and e-mail blast to list of subscribers (est. 140,000) on 04-08
Advertising. If you have contracted to do print advertising, please provide the specifics about your ad plans in this section.
- Print advertising confirmed in Ladies Home Journal (circ. 3.9 million), Redbook (circ. 2.3 million) and Modern Bride (circ. 347,000) all in 4-08
- Radio advertising targeting top 20 markets including Los Angeles, Denver, New York and Houston
- National TV advertising on NBC, ABC and CNN (March and April 2008)
- Regional TV advertising in top 20 markets including Los Angeles, Denver, New York and Houston
- Online advertising confirmed on Travelocity.com, Expedia.com and WorldHum.com for 04-08, on home page, above-the-fold, with live link to Amazon book page
Promotion. This section indicates where your book will be promoted. Be sure to mention whether the promotional item is confirmed or tentative by using the words “confirmed” or “targeting”:
- Promotion confirmed on Epicurious.com (1.7 million unique hits daily) and RachelRay.com (748,000 unique hits daily) for March 2008
- Website publicity and book giveaway confirmed on Epicurious.com, thegap.com (3.4 million unique hits daily) and Babygap.com (1.7 million unique hits daily), all for 5-08
- Promotion targeting food-related websites such as foodnetwork.com and foodreference.com
- Niche marketing targeting membership of Overeaters Anonymous (est. 508,000 names) for at least 1 email blast in 03-08
Why Is a Publicity Plan Important?
The publicity component of your marketing plan is probably the least expensive and most effective use of your resources. Components of a publicity plan include:
- Press releases announcing the book’s publication, author’s appearances, and news events that relate to your book
- Feature articles online and in print that mention your book and author
- Excerpts from your book (often called serial rights) in online and print publications that are published before the book is available for sale
- Reviews in online or print publications; these can be based on ARCs (advance reading copies) or F&Gs (folded-and-gathered signatures) or on final books
- National/local radio appearances by the author or other spokesperson for the book
- National/local TV appearances by the author
- Author appearances in other venues, such as conventions or other speaking engagements
How a Publicist Can Help
Arranging for publicity can be time-consuming and involves a great deal of follow-up and follow-through. Free-lance publicists can often help with the execution of some or all of a publicity campaign. A publicist may help with the following activities:
- Create a cost-effective publicity strategy that involves some (or all) of the components listed above
- Advise clients with limited budgets on how best to spend their marketing dollars
- Write press releases, pitch letters, author bios, press kits, or requests for reviews, and arrange for distribution of Advance Review Copies (ARCs)
- Consult with publishers on how to structure an online marketing campaign, including creation of the pitch, collateral materials, campaign management, and execution plans
- Serve as a point-person for the media to contact regarding information about your book or author
- A publicity plan can positively impact sales. If you would like an introduction to The Morgan James Publicity Division, Planned Television Arts (PTA) or The Spizman Agency, please let us know.
Why Do We Ask for Weekly Publicity Updates?
Publicity updates keep us, IPS and their customers informed on the progress of your marketing plan. There are two places where your publicity updates can be important:
- Initial Sell-In: When a title is initially “sold in” to the national accounts, about 3-6 months before publication, it is important to have a publicity plan in place. The more complete this plan, the more vigorously the IPS salesperson can argue for a large initial placement and promotional space.
- Ongoing Publicity. As publicity events are scheduled, please keep us informed of these dates. We share these events with our reps that keep the accounts informed.
Significant publicity events can be a cornerstone of a book’s replenishment strategy. This means that a store (or a chain) will re-order your book and maintain good stocking levels of your book based on the strength of your upcoming publicity events.
How Do I Send in Publicity Updates to Morgan James?
We have a publicity template in Excel that is easily filled in and e-mailed to us. You may send in updates as frequently as every week or, if it’s more appropriate, every 2 or 3 weeks. Ask your ARM for the most current version.
NOTE: We ask that you provide information only on UPCOMING publicity events. From a stocking perspective, providing bookstores with a list of publicity events that have already occurred only serves to remind them of opportunities long-gone.