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The "-ize" Have It ? A Quick Formula for Planning

Posted by Brian Jud on September 11, 2014 at 12:00 AM

Too many independent publishers use the Christopher Columbus method of planning. They do not know where they are going. When they get there they do not know where they are. And when they return, they do not know where they have been. This is not a good way to run a business. Avoid this situation by writing a strategic, functional plan to market your books. For a view of a new planning formula, look through these “ize.”

Recognize. A basic premise for successful marketing is to find a need and fill it. You do this by researching three major areas. First, discover what product opportunities exist. Second, learn the demographics and psychographics of your prospective customers. Finally, determine your potential market’s size, growth and competitive status.

Crystallize. According to a proverb, a journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. But what if that step is in the wrong direction? Start your trek by deciding where you want to go. Write a specific objective and the date by which you will accomplish it.

Strategize. With your destination etched in your mind, begin to plan how you will reach it. Start by creating strategies in each of the Four Ps of marketing: Product, Place, Price and Promotion. Should your product be a printed book, an audio package or an ebook? Will you market it through the traditional bookstore channels or directly to non-bookstore buyers (retail and non-retail)? Answers to these questions will dictate your distribution network and discounts which in turn impact your pricing strategy. Finally, describe how you will coordinate the elements of your promotion mix by manipulating your advertising, publicity, sales promotion and personal selling strategies – both online and offline.

Capitalize. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of actions you can take to market your book. However, most publishers do not have unlimited funds to perform them all. Therefore, you have to create your financial statements to determine how to allocate your existing resources.

Energize. Without action, planning only gives the illusion of progress. Now it is time to put your plan into action. Marketing a book successfully requires perpetual promotion and it is up to you to do it. Perform each step according to the way you planned it.

Scrutinize. Action is not synonymous with accomplishment. You may be busy promoting your book but you may not be getting closer to your goal. Periodically assess your progress and make any changes that are necessary. Know where you are at all times.

Realize. This planning formula organizes and directs your thinking and actions to best exploit available opportunities. It coordinates and unifies your efforts to make your budget more efficient. And it helps you regain your bearings and look back to see how far you have come.

Decide where you are and where you want to go. Then set your course for smooth sailing toward a new world of publishing success.

Discover strategic ways to plan for new opportunities at the APSS Book-Selling University sponsored by Bowker (



Brian Jud is the Executive Director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS –– formerly SPAN). Contact Brian at or


Categories: Lessons Learned and Tips from Authors, Marketing & Promotion

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