Monday, November 10, 2008

GumboWriters: Sample Book Marketing Plan -- Part 1


Publishing & Marketing Plan

by: Jeff Rivera

Goal: To land an agent, to sign with a major publisher and eventually reach a Bestseller's List.

Phase One:

Working within your $500 budget the first goal is to turn that $500 into more capital so that you can use it to invest in more books and do more promotion.


· Consultation - $100

· Cover Design - $100 (see if you can get this for less or free with promise of including him in the acknowledgements or helping promote his services. Then you can use this money for more promotion or more books. Choose your cover carefully, it'll make or break the book. Even if you fall in love with the character and an expert such as myself suggests you don't use it then don't.

· Once you have your website etc set up (which is discussed below) then do a contest or a poll to ask people on the forum which cover they like the best. You can even include the first chapter in the post.)

· First Printing - $100 (set up)

· 20 books - $100 (including shipping to your home)

· Promotion: $100 (including setting up a domain name, website, etc. cheap $20 cards at Office Depot, you can do fancier ones later, if you're private about your phone number get a $5/month voicemail number you can get on the web. mailbox - $20/every 6 months)

· Note: You're going to need a lot more than just 2-3 days a month to promote. 1 full day a week and at least 2 hours a day to promote (if that means staying up a couple hours earlier or later then do it.)

Self-Publishing - The Basics

Step 1 - Make sure your novel is the very best it can be, it better hook us from the first line and not let us go until the very end.

Step 2 - Get it copy edited. The cheapest way to do this is hire a local high school teacher to edit it. You can probably get one for $100 but you can do it cheaper if you hire 4 teachers and ask each to edit 25 pages of your book as a favor, then you'll list them in the credits.

Step 3 - Make sure you have a kick ass cover. This is 90% of the reason why people pick up a book, they DO judge it by its cover. You can get someone for $100 but make sure they know the dimensions of your book which should be about 5.5 x 8.5. Your margins should be about .5 inch all around. They should deliver the cover in a TIFF format or a PDF format. Check with your printer on what they prefer.

Step 4 - Write a compelling back cover synopsis, if you can get an author or someone reputable to your target market to endorse the book put it on the back cover as well.

Step 5 - Turn your Word document into a PDF. Do it free by going to

Step 6 - Contact Roger Hellman at NetPub, you can tell them I sent you. ( They'll give you prices and answer your questions about printing your book. They can often have the first unbound book (galley proof) to you in about a week or two and once you approve that they can have finished books in another week or so.

Promotion Plan: Start small - Start Local

Identify your market: corrections officers, vatos, latinos, latinas, police officers, where are these people in your area? What clubs and associations do they belong to? What sites do they go to?

Step 1 - You'll need to first sell the first 20 books at a retail price of $10 each to raise $200 (you'll be breaking even with the set up costs and the first 20 books) Make a list of every single friend and relative you have access too. You should have a list of 100-200 people.

These will be your first buyers. These are the people that will buy your first 20 books. You will email these people, talk to them on the phone, or talk to them in person (which is the best way cause people like to buy immediately).

Out of 100-200 people at least 20 people will buy. Don't get mad at the people that don't buy or who flake out, they'll eventually buy. They are just procrastinators. Notice: you're not yet promoting or selling the book online or at bookstores, it's not time yet.

Step 2 - Use 100% of this money (the $200) to buy 40 books. These next set of books will be for the rest of your friends & family, work mates and perfect strangers.

Whenever your at a gas station, library, grocery store, etc, bring a backpack with copies of your books in it. Mention that you're an author to these people. Their face will light up. They'll ask you what it's about. You'll tell them in a nutshell (meaning in less than 30 seconds) and if you're likeable they'll buy your book. They'll ask you where else they can buy it, give them your business cards.

They may never read it, who cares if they do, but if you're likable and a little flirtatious and or outgoing 70-80% of the time if they have the money they WILL buy it. Genaro, tell them that the book normally sells for $15 but for them you'll GIVE it to them for $10. They'll smile and if they have the money they will buy it.

Step 3 - While you're selling this next set of 40 books you're going to be setting up your online presence. You already have your myspace page so don't worry about setting up a website quite yet until you've raised enough capital.

What you WILL do is go to: and check the domain names for or or something simple yet memorable like that, see if it's available. If it is get it, it'll cost you under $10/year. It'll take less than 15 minutes to set this up.

Once it's approved you want to go through and forward it to your myspace address. This is free once you've set up godaddy, also what is free through GoDaddy is masking your domain name.

So no matter what on the top of the browser it's always going to say or whatever you choose. even if they click on another link on your myspace page it'll still show in the browser.

Jeff Rivera: If you need help with your book promotion contact and we'll find a way to help you within your budget.