Much has been written about book proposals. But less has been written about book marketing plans. This is wrong!
What happens after your book is published has a great deal to do with whether you become published and profitable… or just published.
A book proposal is a direct-marketing document intended to persuade publishers to edit, print and distribute your book. It’s a sales piece intended to communicate the inevitability of your book’s success.
Your book’s marketing plan, however, is intended for an audience of one – You! It’s not intended for your publisher. Rather, it’s intended to identify the revenue streams that you will develop after your book is published.
Your marketing plan should describe profits you will earn above and beyond royalties from sales of your book. It should describe in detail your market and the steps you will take to earn this income.
The reason to prepare your marketing plan now, before you sign a publishing contract or write your book, is that the success of your marketing plan depends on the way your book publishing contract is negotiated.
Coaching and consulting
Let’s assume, for example, that you plan to use your book as a way of enhancing your visibility and credibility among your target market. At the simplest level, you will want to include your web site address at several points in the book. Knowing this goal, you can insist that the publisher agrees in writing to include your web site address in specific locations in your book.
Remember: promises don’t make it! Let’s take the worst case scenario. You and your acquisition editor agree that you can include five mentions of your web site address in the book. However, as often occurs, the acquisition editor, after signing the contract, fades out of the picture.
The new development editor then informs you that author’s URL’s can only appear in one place, in the author biography hidden toward the rear of the book. When this happens, what happens to your coaching and consulting plans?
Likewise, you may have planned to buy books in case lot quantities for resale and/or distribution to your prospects and clients. Understanding this before you sign the contract, you can include the right to purchase books for resale at trade discounts in your contract, ensuring your ‘book pipeline’ won’t get turned off.
If you know you want to offer telephone coaching at $75.00 a call, for example, you can negotiate written permission to promote this service within the body of your book.
Remember: promises are written on air. Only written agreements count!
Other back-end profit opportunities based on your book’s title include:
Articles, columns, newsletters
Teleclasses and seminars
Speaking and training
Choosing a web site address based on your book’s title
Free downloads of sample chapters from your web site
Fee-based web site services
The possibilities are endless, but nothing can happen if, after signing the contract, the publisher limits your ability to promote your business and your website in your book.
Thus, it’s imperative that you start by preparing a marketing plan that analyzes post-publication profit opportunities and describes the steps needed to make them happen. Only then are you in a position to decide if the publisher’s ‘boilerplate’ contract meets your needs.
The stronger your book proposal and the more experienced your agent, the more likely you’ll get what you want (need) in your contract.
Jay Conrad Levinson says the first volume of his Guerrilla Marketing series earned him thirty million dollars. But only about $35,000 came from the book itself. All the rest came from back-end profits.
That’s how important this issue is!