You’re a writer. If your work is good enough, people will throw money at you, right?
Yes they will, but they need to know that you exist. And this means that you need a
marketing plan. What marketing works best? All marketing works. But you need to
keep at it, even when you seem to be getting zero results.
Let’s imagine a couple of scenarios. Writer A wants to be a fulltime writer. She
knows that in order to do this, she needs to sell X number of articles, and sell a
book proposal a year. Writer A knows that in addition to writing the works, she will
need to market them. Writer A creates a marketing plan. It takes her 30 minutes on
her computer. She decides that she will send out five article proposals a week, and
she will research and write a book proposal.
She slots the time to do those things into her daily schedule. She knows that these
tasks are non-negotiable. No matter what happens, she will perform those tasks
every day. Even on her worst day, when her car breaks down, her child needs to go
to the hospital, and she has a killer migraine.
Writer B wants to be a fulltime writer too. Like Writer A, she knows that she will have
to sell X articles, and sell a book proposal. Writer B doesn’t make a plan. She gets
started writing an article proposal. She realizes that she needs to gather research
resources, and sends out five emails.
Next morning, she downloads her emails and is instantly depressed. No one has
answered. She decides she’ll give her prospective sources a few more days to reply.
She goes on with her life. She’ll get around to the writing when her sources reply.
A week later, one of the sources gets back to Writer B, who suddenly remembers
that she was researching an article proposal. She rereads her notes. The idea has
gone flat. She’s no longer interested in writing it.
The point of these two scenarios is that real life is messy. It’s easy to lose track of
what you’re doing if you don’t have the process written down somewhere. This
means, create a plan, and then create checklists and check them off every day to
make sure that you keep working the plan.
QUESTIONS TO ANSWER IN YOUR MARKETING PLAN
=> Q: What kind of writing do you want to do and sell?
Make a list: copywriting (writing for business) projects, magazine feature articles,
novels, nonfiction books, etc
=> Q: What’s the market for each type of writing?
This section will take you the longest, especially if you’re a new writer. It doesn’t
help that many writers’ online discussion groups actively discourage talk about how
much writers get paid. However, you CAN find out. Here are some URLs which help:
When all else fails, ask someone who’s doing the kind of writing that you want to
=> Q: What makes your writing unique?
This is a “know yourself” kind of question.
=> Q: How much can you produce?
You must make production goals part of your marketing plan. If you’re a part-time
writer, how many saleable words can you produce a week? 2000?
If you’re a full-time writer, set a goal of saleable words produced for each day. Make
this a goal which is easily reachable.
=> Q: Create a list of target markets
This is self-explanatory. It’s a marketing database.
=> Q: How will you reach your target markets?
Email, mail, fax, phone?
=> Q: What’s your long-term monetary goal? How will you reach that goal?
Please set a goal for three years from now, a year from now, for this month, for this
week, and for today.
You’re less likely to waste time if you know that the hour you spent on the phone
cost you $90.
=> Q: How much are you making from your writing now?
If you’ve yet to make your first sale, that’s fine.
If you’ve been making the same amount for the past two years, that’s a danger sign:
you’ve hit a level that’s too comfortable for you. You’ll need to make a concerted
effort to get out of your comfort zone.
There you have it. Answer the questions and you have a basic marketing plan that
will work for you. Good luck.
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