Do’s and Don’ts of Marketing Plans

marketing_plan.jpgThe biggest don’t of a marketing plan is not having one!  The second biggest don’t is having one, even if it is just a handwritten list on a legal pad, but not following it.

A do of a marketing plan is to keep following it and not get discouraged.  If something isn’t working for you, try something else.  Maybe skip it and go back to it later or not at all.

A big don’t when creating or following your marketing plan is to have a really great book and do lousy promotion.  Your book needs to be presented in a professional manner to be taken seriously.  I receive books in the mail that author’s want me to review.  I get some packages that are very professional and well done; I get others that come with nothing, not even a business card.  I receive books for a variety of reasons, it could be for a review, it could be for consideration for my radio show, or maybe someone is just sending me a book as a gift.

When I get a book that doesn’t have any paperwork with it, I have not idea who sent it, why it was sent to me and what that author is looking for.  Do not do this!  If you do not have the resources, or money to create a press kit or business cards, type up a sell sheet and use that.  Never send a book without any paperwork; never send a book without telling the recipient what you want from them and what your call to action is.  Type your materials, I have received photocopies sheets of handwritten notes, and handwritten notes on legal pads ripped off the pad with a jagged edge.  I have to assume if this author is sending this to me, they are sending this same type of “paperwork” with all the books they send out for review.  When you send a book out for review it is extremely important to include the following:

  • A copy of your book
  • A personalized cover letter explaining why you are sending the book, and what you are looking for from them.  Tell the reviewer why this book is important to the readers of the review.
  • Your most recent press release that describes the book and its benefits to its readers or target audience.
  • A sell sheet AND/OR a sheet that professionally states the title, author, publisher, price, publication date and description of the book, including the trim size, binding and number of pages.

When you are putting together your book review packets a key point to remember that will help you with the creation of your documents is this:  The easier you make it for the reviewer, editor or journalist, the better your chances of something happening with your book!  If you include a press release for example, that can be used with very little effort on their part; you have done the work for them.  They can use your press release as is, or interview you further to elaborate on the topic, but the hard part is done.

Think about if you were receiving 20 books a day, some come with a sheet of hand written paper, some come with a bookmark, sell sheet and press release.  You would probably make 2 piles as the books arrive, the pile of books with documentation and the pile without.  When you have some time to read and review a book, which pile will you pick from?  The pile that makes your job easier.  You can spend less time to give someone a great review if they have done most of the work for you.  When you choose a book from the pile without any paperwork, you have a lot more work ahead of you; you might want to check the website of the author, if you can find it, or if they have one. You might want to see what other reviewers have said, or if the author has a platform.  Since that will take much more time and undoubtedly be frustrating, those books end up on the bottom of the pile. The people you contact to review your book and the media you contact to sell your story, are very busy.

Make things as easy as possible for them and you will have better results, and you will form a relationship with that person and have good results with them in the future.  The documentation along with how your book looks, such as the cover, author photo and more is someone’s first impression of your book and you.  If you show up in court dressed sloppily that is remembered in a negative way, if you show up in a suit that is remembered in a positive way. Do not be an incompetent amateur that sends books out for review in sloppy packaging, with postage due and messy handwritten sheets torn out of a notebook if you want to be successful.

This article is an excerpt taken from “Mosquito Marketing for Authors” part of Michelle Dunn’s Mosquito Marketing Series to be published in 2008.  Michelle Dunn, author of an award winning book has spent the last 18 years stepping into dangerous debt collection potholes.  She shares her hard-won expertise on debt collection with the titles in her “Collecting Money Series.” She is the founder and president of Never Dunn Publishing, LLC and her 10 year old Credit & Collections Association with over 1050 members. She is a writer, teacher, and consultant that has a contagious passion for her work.  Visit for more information.