3 Do it yourself Actionable Book marketing to-dos per day

By: R.G. Johnston

A “do it yourself” writer needs to DIY market, too.

Every self-published writer needs to do three actionable marketing to-dos, per day. It will help you generate momentum for your book, keep the momentum moving, at a profitable level, for as long as possible and eventually help shape your marketing plans.

Ideally, changes in strategy will occur naturally as you explore your market more and more–that’s been my experienced. Remember, actionable to-dos are designed to help you market your art and you; begin there and grow from there.

There seems to be something about doing three actionable items per day that’s mind-stretching. With two, you risk choosing actions that are not diverse, but my 3rd actionable to-do usually takes me to a new idea.

I applied for a vendor’s table at a Medieval Festival. I was turned down based on the fact that I couldn’t secure third-party liability, in time for the event. My three actionable marketing items I do, when I apply for an event, are: 1. Contact local writers groups and book clubs, 2. Contact the local library branch, to book a talk, 3. Contact local coffee shops, book stores, Facebook pages for advertising opportunities.

I decided, to do my publicizing in the closing letter–it was my last opportunity. It was a paragraph, asking them to keep me in mind for future events, or other local events.

I received an email the next day, inviting me as a guest author. I read a chapter, in my best Bard, dressed in the clothing of my ancestors. I sold lots of books, watched a jousting match and met a lot of interesting people.

Your actionable steps will help you refine and polish your marketing plan, too. Treat it as a tried-and-true template of things that do work and things that didn’t work, so well. Make note, where you can do better the next time.

Here’s an exercise to help you visualize the steps to three actionable items.

Take a digital sheet of paper and write in the center of the sheet, one marketing to-do; write three actionable tasks, branching off from it. Actionable tasks must be “actionable;” begin them with a verb–except think. Try to treat this process, as a form of mind mapping.


an example of three actionable do it yourself items, subject book party. The three actionable items for a book party are write guest list, mail invitations, book party venue


Keep adding 3 actions, branching off of each action. By charting it, you’ll be able to see where it branches off to a new marketing action/ idea. Your “marketing-map” will help you chart new marketing directions, as you explore the niches in your market in a non restricted way. New ways to connect to people, through your book, will appear.

In the above example, there may be more to-dos for each actionable item. For example, Mail invitations may spark a new idea, and branch off to “compose an email list” and “design an invitation email with links to buy your book.”

And, “write guest list” can branch off to: decide on the number of guests, decide which media to invite (newspaper, radio, cable, or all three), how many colleagues and how many family and friends.

Prior to deciding on the number of guests, you may have more actionable to-dos; to decide whether you book a venue that will accommodate the number of guests that you plan to invite, or plan to invite as many guests as the venue will accommodate.

Hopefully, you’re getting the gist of why you should chart. I found, at the beginning of my marketing adventure that my marketing activities had turned into a seven-headed monster.

The more you work at your chart, the more coherent market-directed plans emerge. You’ll be able to intuit who your customers are, connect to your customers and lower your “hit-and-miss” selling. Market-mapping will show a way to market your product. If you don’t know what your next step will be, you can look back to see what worked.

I discovered that web site visits went up 24-48 hours after I attended an event. I gave an e-book discount, on my web site, for the next week.

I learned from my mistakes: missed opportunities, wasted money and wasted time–with frustrating results.

During the course of your marketing, you do need to experiment and you should take a few calculated risks. Great things happen. I sold a copy of Vinland: the Beginning, to an American actor and his dad.

Struggling–at first–will soon be replaced by opportunities; they will appear like magic, because your marketing skill will feel like second nature. I don’t mean slipping a business card in everyone’s hand that you shake. You will be sensitive to opportunity, like visiting a locally owned book store when you go away for a weekend and feel that its part of your vacation.


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