Yolanda M. Johnson-Bryant

A native of Colorado, Mrs. Yolanda M. Johnson-Bryant, aka That Literary Lady, currently resides in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina, with her husband. Mrs. Bryant is a published author, freelance writer, novelist, editor, ghostwriter and a literary, marketing and entrepreneurial consultant and advocate. She is the founder and owner of LW Media Group, Bryant Consulting and That Literary Lady. She is a columnist for Examiner.com, EzineArticles.com and other literary venues. Mrs. Johnson-Bryant is a member of The Nussbaum Entrepreneurial Center, Women of Leadership and Learning (WELL Women) and Toastmasters. She is also a member of Junior Achievement, the Women’s Resource Center of Greensboro, the Volunteer Center of Greensboro and other community organizations. Visit her at www.yolandamjohnson.com, www.lwmediagroup.com, www.bryantconsultingonline.com, and  www.thatliterarylady.com

Bryant Consulting


Marketing’s Four-Letter Word

I’ve heard many four-letter words in my lifetime; however, when I talk to my clients and other authors trying to sell their books, they become exasperated when I mention p-l-a-n. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, many are afraid of the good old marketing plan. You need one to successfully sell your books.

I’m an avid football fan. My favorite team is the Dallas Cowboys. Let’s say that I had no clue when and where the Cowboys would be playing. If no one knows about the game, how can Jerry Jones fill those thousands of seats in his state-of-the-art stadium? Their marketing team will devise a plan to create commercials, produce memorabilia, sell tickets, decide where to sell tickets, print ads, etc.—you name it. I assure you that they are making sure the world knows about the Dallas Cowboys.

The same rings true for selling books. If no one knows about our books, how do we expect to sell them? I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my favorite word here. Free. Marketing plans are free to create; however, if money is burning a hole in your pocket, you can always pay someone to do it for you. But don’t be afraid to dig in and create a plan. It may not seem like much at first, but as time goes by and you gain more experience, your marketing plan will be in tip-top shape before you know it.

Another one of my favorite words is research. Constantly research your genre and the industry as a whole; continually update your plan and apply some of what you’ve found to work for other best-selling authors to your own plan.

Below are a few identifiers that your marketing plan should include:

Your Ideal Customer

What genre do you write? What audience do you think will benefit from your story? I hear many authors complain that they’ve received a negative unfair review or comment. The truth is—and this is important—not everyone is going to like your work! Focus on the positive and those who do like your work. Trying to appeal to every audience will only leave you frustrated and nonproductive. This goes back to researching your genre. Go to review sites such as Amazon and browse reviews of people who write in your genre. Read what readers are saying—what are they looking for? What do they like? What don’t they like? Keep a “list” of those who do like your work—this could possibly become an email marketing list.

Research Your Competition

“Legally” stalk those authors who write the same genre as you. See what they are doing. See what trends they are setting. And, by all means, pay attention to how they interact with their readers. Authors who are cold, impersonal, and act as if their readers are beneath them don’t make many sales, and we all know that word-of-mouth spreads like wildfire.

Reach Your Target Audience

This can happen many ways:
• Book signings, workshops, conferences, and festivals
• Interviews: television, radio, Internet, podcasts, etc.

• Reviews. Remember, everyone will not like your work. Thank those who gave you a favorable review and those who didn’t. You never know, thanking someone who gave you a bad review can possibly turn them into a raving fan.
• Email marketing. This tool is underutilized. Use a service like AWeber or Constant Contact to create these lists.
• Social media. By now, you should know that one of my favorite words is free! Social media is free . . . currently. Get on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, Pinterest, YouTube, and any other social media site and talk yourself up!
• Advertising. There are so many ways to do this. Many businesses, both small and large, monetize their websites. Ask them if you can place an ad on their website. Advertise in the local paper. Be a guest on various blogs and advertise that way.

Show Your Product

Be creative as to how you’ll put your product in front of your target audience. We’re all visual, so promotional materials such as business cards, posters, pens, coffee mugs, and more are great ways to “show” your audience your product. Things like Book Trailers and well-done book covers are another way to show your work.

When I published my first book, I printed 3’x5’ posters. Hard to miss that one, isn’t it? During my books signings, many bookstores allowed me to hang it in their windows. It was so big that it was easy to see from various vantage points. You don’t have to go that big, but finding a good printing company that will print posters, postcards, business cards, poster stands, and other advertising material is a great idea.

Identify Analytics

This is of great importance. If you don’t know how many readers in your target market you’re reaching, you may be butting your head against a wall. You want to see a return from all that work you’ve done. Many of the email marketing platforms have analytic tools built in that will allow you to see things like open rate, click rate, referral rate, and conversion rate.

Another great tool is Google Analytics, and it’s . . . free! It can determine how many new visitors you have to your websites and blogs, as well as how many returning visitors. It allows you to determine where that traffic is coming from, who is sharing what content on your page and with whom, and where they are sharing it. Did I mention that it’s free?

I hope this information can assist you in compiling an effective marketing plan. Next month, I will be talking about Publicity Plans. Yes folks, there is a difference. Until next time . . . Sell! Sell! Sell!

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