Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Guest Post: Shelli Johannes-Wells on Marketing at Different Stages

This is blog vacation week! And to celebrate, I've got a series of guest posts for this week...and a chance to win tons of free books! Today we're welcoming Shelli Johannes-Wells, a top marketer and agented author who runs the super-popular blog Market my Words. Thank you for guest blogging with me, Shelli!

Marketing for All Stages of Your Career
Marketing is something that happens throughout your career and it does change based on the phase you are moving through. Your target audience changes and therefore you need to adjust your marketing to fit the needs of the audiences. Here are a few things you can do in each stage:

Before signing with an agent
Your target is the agent. So keep that in mind as you begin your journey.
  • Write a great book – without a “product” there is no point in targeting any “market” or searching for an agent. The best way to gauge your writing is to better your craft, use beta readers, and join critique groups.
  • Write a good query letter with an irresitible hook – Elana Johnson has a great ebook and Casey McCormick does weekly agent spotlights
  • Begin building your platform – do whatever you feel comfortable with to begin (join an organization and get involved, blog, participate in conferences etc.)
  • Do your research – know the agents and their likes/dislikes. A lot of them are very active on Twitter and blogs and that gives you extra insight you may never get otherwise.

After the book deal (but before publication)
Now your goal is to figure your future target audience and how to reach them.
  • Immerse yourself in networking
  • Build a professional web presence – before you may have had a scarce web site or the beginning of a blog. Take it to the next level. Add a media kit, be sure your branding is consistent
  • Start developing an extensive marketing plan. Who are your audiences, how do you reach them, what relationships do you need to develop
  • Look at all the events around your publication date and start planning visits/signings/conference appearances/ etc at least 6 months in advance. It wont all be done but you want most of your stuff in place 3 months before publication.
  • Meet with your publicist and be sure you understand their role. Be sure you partner with them and know what they are doing and where you can pick up.
  • Focus on the larger target markets. Be sure your plan spans all avenues: online, in person, etc.

After publication
At this point, most of your marketing should already be in place.
  • So it is a matter of executing it and making sure it is continuous.
  • Find other ways to branch out of the mainstream marketing.
  • Now you can focus on the smaller target audiences.

I guess my point is that how you market depends on who you are marketing to. Agents, editors, readers, writers, librarians, bloggers etc. You need to know the audience, find out how to best reach them and then target them directly. This will change throughout the phases of your career and it is an ongoing process.
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