A Marketing Plan- Writing One For the First Time

I submitted a non-fiction children’s book idea to a publisher last week who required a one page marketing plan be included in the submission package.  I had never written a marketing plan before. I had to do quite a bit of research to figure out what it should contain. I found hundreds of suggestions on- line and after sifting through them I decided my plan would have five categories. 

Target Audience

I mentioned the age group of children and their parents I was targeting but I also suggested all the places I thought might carry my book-public libraries, university book stores, museum and gallery shops, school libraries, gift shops, independent book stores etc.  

Internet Presence

I let the publisher know I had two blogs of my own and contributed to a number of others. I said I’d be happy to do guest posts on blogs related to my book’s topic. I mentioned my Twitter account and directed them to my website. I told them I had a Facebook page I posted on regularly and I’d be willing to start a Facebook page just for my book. I said I had a family connection with a professional film maker who could help me create a book trailer to post on You Tube. 

Public Speaking Opportunities

I highlighted my past experiences as a guest speaker and mentioned some target audience groups I’d be able to address about my book. I listed topics related to my book that might be possible subject matter for  public speaking presentations. 

Possible Reviewers and Testimonials

I came up with a half dozen people I know who might be willing to post reviews or give a testimonal about my book. Some were experts in the subject area of my book, one an acquisiton head for the public libraries in a large city, one a published education expert and another an author with an established reputation.

Media Exposure

I listed local radio stations and print media that might be interested in a story about my book and mentioned connections I had with them. I offered to write a synopsis for  book seller sites and suggested a local venue that might be perfect for a book launch. 

Other ideas that I found on various website but did not include in my marketing plan…

Making flyers

Printing bookmarks to hand out 

Sending out mass e-mails to friends and family

Organize a book tour

List conferences you would attend to promote your book

Have some professional author photos taken

Discuss the potential of your book being turned into a TV series

List the strengths and weaknesses of your book

Create an executive summary

Arrange for your book to be displayed in store windows

Make posters

Approach sales reps for book companies

Explain how your book could be the first in a successful series

Make suggestions for an attention grabbing cover

I am getting ready to submit my book to yet another publisher who also requires a marketing plan and I’m realizing that because each publisher is unique each marketing plan submission will have to be unique as well. 

What are your marketing plan ideas? 

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Short, Seductive, Specific, Suck -Up Cover Letters

Bill Martin- Champion of Children’s Literature

Before You Start Your Novel

MaryLou Driedger is just beginning to write fiction and non-fiction for children after working as a teacher, newspaper columnist and free-lance journalist for thirty years. She also blogs at What Next?

MaryLou Driedger is a free lance writer with a long career as a newspaper columnist, curriculum writer and contributor to lifestyle, education and religious publications.

Sick Kids…

I‘m. Trying. To. Meet. Deadlines.

In a house of sick kids… and inconvenient school in-service days.

Trying to keep up with my editing deadline has been a challenge to say the least. My original goal was to have my novel through editing round numero uno by the end of October. Well, it’s the end of November and I’m not even half way… how could this happen?

I blame sick kids! LOL… Kidding. Kinda.

I’m missing my deadline though and I do have a deadline, a real one, not one set by me that I can move around as I need or for convenience (you know those deadlines right?) No, I have to have this manuscript ready for peer editing by the beginning of January. So the pressure is on, because this thing needs at least two rounds of edits before then.

So, this is the short blog from me to say



But, I still have hope. I work well with deadlines. I will prevail. For those of you with busy households – I. Get. It.

Suzanne’s first novel, Empty Cup, is an edgy contemporary young adult story about a seventeen year old girl who lives through life’s ultimate betrayal. Suzanne lives in Winnipeg, MB.

The Importance of Writing Exercises

David Alexander’s art puts it beautifully:lrgf

If you diligently read articles or books on writing there is one point on which they are all untied.

To improve your writing, write every day.

Do I hear whining? I don’t know what to write about.

Yes, I had that question too. I don’t lead a very exciting life so dismiss the whole what-I-did-today theme. No journals for me. No “Today I landed in Venice, where I will spend a thrilling week partaking in Carnivale.” But then that doesn’t require imagination. So I grasped at straws. On Google. And discovered they make straws in the hundreds of thousands. We make them.logic-and-imagination

Writing prompts. Writing exercises. They’re all over the world wide spiderwebs.I don’t like to read off my monitor, so I printed a bunch out and popped them in a binder. You can open a book, choose a random line, and fly with that. And not just text. Google image searches are a sparkling diamond mine of thought provoking images to work with.

In my writing group, we do a ten minute writing prompt at some point. I haul out a few prompts, we start the timer and—Silence—imagination at work. We just write anything that pops into our heads, the good, the bad, or the atrocious. The fiery, the funny, the futile. It doesn’t matter.

The game is to free-write unhindered by our inner editor and let the right brain soar to places unknown. It is practice— practice letting our creative side, even if you don’t think you have one, get precedence over that logical, everything has to make sense, no nonsense left brain. We needy Lefty when we outline and edit, but without Righty there’d never be Story.IMAGINATION_by_archanN

Still think free-writing is useless?

Just recently one of our group members polished up one of these free writes, and won grand prize in a short story contest.

And me? Going over some of my free writes, I pulled one out. Let’s see if this will take me a bit further. Well, 65 000 words later, I am revising my first manuscript, have finished first draft on a sequel and have notes for a third.

And I made a very important discovery when I started daily free-writes. That right brain, or the Muse, begins to fill in details, clues, solutions for story that don’t surface when we rationally, punctilliously outline. The more free reign you give your other half, the more efficiently right and left work together.

It’s like  (insert googly eyes here) —Magic.

Here’s my page of prompts and exercises to start you off.

PD dragonfly-libelula-bokeh-2770216-l http://dragonflydithers.wordpress.com/diverse-debris/

And here’s a link to weekly prompts I contribute to my group’s blog:

vi avatar http://vastimaginations.wordpress.com/category/imagine-it-prompts/

So—no excuses. Attack your keyboard, or flourish your pen!

Christina’s motto is:
“Some people see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say, why not?” (George Bernard Shaw)

Marketing for Introverts Lesson One: Leaving the Basement

Whether you define yourself as an artist, a musician, or a writer—it all means the same thing: Marketer.IMG-20130703-00930

This is a reality that I’ve bucked against, probably because I’m an introvert. In fact, I think my picture may be next to the definition of introvert in the dictionary. I love my alone time—hours spent by myself in the basement, writing, editing, and writing some more. But, I’m told, the time will come when I must leave the safety of my basement and venture among—people. Scary, I know.

comic conI decided that I couldn’t wait until I had my published book in hand to learn how to network, promote, and hob knob. So, when the request came to my inbox for volunteers to promote the Manitoba Writers’ Guild at Comic Con, I jumped at the opportunity. I was nervous, but I pushed myself.

Two Saturdays ago, I donned my Wonder Woman costume, hopped on the bus, and rode downtown. Let me tell you, riding the bus in a Wonder Woman costume is an experience. I got told “I love you” and got a couple requests for hugs. I kindly declined.

I had a moment of terror as I watched strangers pass the table. Oh, my gosh, how am I going to do this? My mean inner voice scolded me. power rangerSuck it up princess, you’re doing this! I broke the ice on a red Power Ranger. Nice guy. We chatted for awhile. From there it all flowed like water.

I learned a couple things:

  1. Meeting new people, especially ones dressed as comic book characters, is fun.
  2. Promoting something I believe in isn’t that hard.
  3. It’s not about a sales pitch; it’s about getting people talking about themselves and what they like.
  4. I love talking to new writers and encouraging them in their craft.

You may have gathered—I had a great time and would do it again in a heartbeat. It was encouraging to know I can step outside of my comfort zone and rise to the occasion. Instead of looking at the marketing aspect of a writer’s life with dread, I now look forward to it. Bring it!


Melinda Friesen writes short stories and novels for teens. She is celebrating the completion of her eighth novel while working on character sketches for novel number nine. She is the mother of four wonderful children and the wife of Superman. Visit her blog at www.melindafriesen.com.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy:

Which Character Should Tell Your Story?

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Melinda Friesen authored Enslavement, a young adult dystopian novel, released by Rebelight Publishing. When she’s not writing, Melinda works as marketing director and acquisitions editor at Rebelight Publishing Inc.

Three Plus One – Writing Books I Recommend

Over the years I’ve amassed a hefty collection of self-help, how-to books about writing.  All of them have been useful in one way or another, but three of these have honoured places on my jam-packed shelves.  They are books that, at different points in my writing career, shaped or steered me in significant ways. Without these three, it’s safe to say I wouldn’t be the writer I am today.

Recently, I discovered a 4th book to add to the honoured list.  So here they are, the three plus one books I couldn’t do without:

The Three…

Book proposal

How to Write a Book Proposal

Michael Larsen (Writer’s Digest Books,  2011) 

Back in my days of rookie writing, I had a non-fiction manuscript but no idea of how to market it.  After mailing the whole thing out to a publisher and waiting three months only to   have the entire package returned rejected, I sought help. Larsen’s How to Write a Book Proposal showed me the ropes and yielded my first contract.

Reprinted and updated since then, Larsen’s book is still a valuable tool for anyone wanting sound advice on the ins and outs of publishing.  Each chapter explores a component of the non-fiction proposal-building process and throughout the book Larsen provides solid examples and hot tips to guide writers, novice to expert, through every stage.

writing the natural way

Writing the Natural Way: Using Right-Brain Techniques to Release Your Expressive Powers

Gabriele Rico (Tarcher, 2000) 

When I first dipped into this book, I had my doubts.  The back cover boldly promised that by following its techniques I would “release” my creative potential and “turn the task of writing into the joy of writing” by harnessing the power of the brain’s free flowing right hemisphere. A few chapters into the book, I became a believer.

Filled with quotes, writing samples and inspiring exercises, Rico’s Writing the Natural Way was more than just an instructional guide for me.  It was transformational.  Even now – years later – the pieces I wrote then rank among my most creative, and when I find myself staring at a blank page, I still practice some of its principles to get the juices flowing.

writing for story

Writing  for Story: Craft Secrets of Dramatic Non-Fiction by a Two-time Pulitzer Prize Winner

Jon  Franklin (Plume: Reprint edition, 1994) 

A decade ago I took on a new teaching position and inherited an office with a sagging shelf of left-behind books. I found this one among the others.  It was dog-eared, a indication that it had been well used. I read the book and soaked up the information, intrigued by a style of writing that we now call narrative non-fiction.  Guided by Franklin’s book, I experimented with the form and boosted my storytelling power.

Since then I’ve acquired other books about narrative non-fiction.  They’ve all added to my skills and knowledge, but Jon Franklin’s book is still my favourite.  In this volume, Franklin   covers much.  How to sniff out compelling true stories.  How to organize information and breathe life into characters.  How to add splashes of colour and chart a course that carries the reader over hills and through valleys.

For anyone wanting a primer on narrative non-fiction, Franklin’s book is a great start.

The Plus One…

essential guide

Guide to Getting Your Book Published: How to Write It, Sell It, and Market It…Successfully

Arielle Eckstut & David Henry Sterry (Workman Publishing, 2010)

A thick guide, but oh so complete, savvy and up-to-date – an entire toolkit of practical advice on everything writing-related from pitching to agents and launching blogs to crafting knock-out proposals and using video trailers for marketing.  On practically every page, I found something new, exciting and useful.  Already, the book is a trusted friend, and since I am lugging it everywhere these days I expect it will soon be as dog-eared as the others.

Larry Verstraete (www.larryverstraete.com) is a Winnipeg educator and the author of 13 non-fiction books for youngsters.  His next book, Life or Death: Surviving the Impossible (Scholastic Canada) is set for release in Spring 2014.

Other blog entries that might interest you:

Great Beginnings 1: The Five Line Test

Great Beginnings 2: Six Classic Ways to Start

Great Beginnings 3: Where Beginnings Hide 

For Larry Verstraete, an award-winning author of books for young people, writing is all about the journey and often the perfect writing storm occurs when high adventure, science and history converge. An advocate for literacy, Larry often visits schools and libraries to share his passion.
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