Thursday, May 16, 2024

Creating a Marketing Plan (that doesn’t take over your life)

Confession time: I love marketing. I know, most authors dread it, but to me it can be as much fun as writing my books. That said, marketing can become a serious black hole where time and space does not exist…*cue Twilight Zone music

            I’ve wasted my share of hours on Twitter (actually, that’s X now), Instagram, and whatever platform is the latest buzz. I had to set limits on the time I spend on social media, and how much time I spend on marketing in general. It’s very easy for marketing to take over your life, especially around book launch time.

            It took me a while to get this balance right. Here are a few things that worked for me:


1.     Set Clear Goals (try 3 at first)

When my first book came out, I tried everything I could think of. I sent postcards, attended conventions, and roamed around social media platforms telling everyone who would listen about my book. Some of it was effective, but a lot of it was a waste of time. I quickly realized that if I wanted to write the next book (which I was under contract for), I had to stop trying to do everything and focus on those marketing activities that were more effective.

            It helped me to set goals. For instance, I have a goal to write a newsletter once a week. I put in roughly four speaking proposals to literacy and writers conventions a year. I post to social media platforms almost daily, but I limit my time spent there (I use it as my watercooler/coffee break, since I’m a full-time writer).

This is me at a school visit (they are my favorite kind of marketing)

            Define what you want to accomplish, so you can use these goals to remain focused. Extra tip: split your time between in-person and online marketing, roughly evenly. That way, you’re getting your message out there on multiple platforms and reaching different audiences. Be realistic about what you’re capable of doing.


2.     Define Steps to Get You There

Once you’ve identified your (annual or quarterly) marketing goals, make a checklist of actions that will get you there. For example, a goal of four speaking engagements a year means you have to create a presentation to pitch, plus research so you can make a list of events you want to pitch it to. Those are clear actions you can check off when finished. Try to estimate the amount of time each task might take, so you can schedule them on your calendar, just like you would a doctor’s appointment or your kid’s karate lessons.

            If you have a book launch or other event surrounding your book (say, Earth Day for a book about the environment), you’ll want to make sure your marketing steps reflect your outreach goals. Be sure to plan ahead so you don’t miss an opportunity. If you want to land speaking engagements in 2025 for example, you’ll want to start planning your pitch and research where you want to put in a proposal now. Those proposal windows are often small, so you’ll want to be ready.

3.     Schedule Time for Marketing and Walk Away

As a rule of thumb, I make sure that I never spend more time on marketing than I do writing my next book, unless I have a book launch happening. I have to protect that writing time, because I want to have a new book to talk about in a few years. Marketing is fun to me, and I always have a marketing activity on my calendar. But once I check off the actions on my to-do list, I walk away.

            Accept that you can’t do everything. You’re not a robot, you know.


Tell me: what do you do to make sure marketing doesn’t take over your writing life?

Bonus Resources: you can check out my newsletter. I share writing tips just like these posts, plus inspiration every week.


About Fleur:

Fleur Bradley has loved mysteries ever since she first picked up an Agatha Christie book at the age of eleven. She’s the author of middle-grade mysteries Daybreak on Raven Island and Midnight at the Barclay Hotel (Viking/PRH), the Double Vision trilogy (HarperCollins), as well as numerous short stories, one of which was recently chosen for the annual Best Mystery Stories of the Year anthology. Fleur’s work has been nominated for the Agatha and Anthony Award and has won the Colorado Book Award, among others.

A reluctant reader herself, Fleur is also a literacy advocate and speaks at events on how to reach reluctant readers. Originally from the Netherlands, she now lives in a small cottage in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies.

You can find Fleur online at

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