If you’re looking for an advantage in the world of fiction book marketing, look no further than the 4Ps.
The 4Ps are some of the key elements for marketers to consider when putting together a promotional campaign.
But what exactly are they?
The 4Ps are broken down into:
Let’s take a look at each element in turn and consider how it can help you to sell more fiction.
1 – Product
Under the classic concept of the 4Ps, product refers to any type of good or service that is fulfills consumer demand.
As a fiction author, your product is your book!
Using this term doesn’t commodify or devalue your book in any way. Really, the opposite is true. The fact that your book is a product simply means it’s something of value that people desire enough to pay for.
So what are some elements related to product that apply to fiction books?
Any type of product should have enough demand to justify creating it.
Typically, products are seen to fulfill two types of demand – existing demand, or new demand.
As a fiction author, you will most likely be looking to fulfill existing demand. This means releasing a specific genre of book to a defined readership of fans, or if you’re more established, satisfying your existing readers’ demand for a new book from you.
Although it’s fine to write purely from the heart, if you want the best chance of success, you should write fiction that has a track record of commercial appeal, even if that is within a niche audience. Make sure you’ve thought about this before you even start writing!
The written content of your book is the main element of it as a product, but your book cover is also important to think about.
When readers see your book cover, they should instantly know that it’s the type of book for them.
You want a cover that both pops visually, attracting a potential buyer’s attention, as well as conveying that it’s the type of genre they are looking for.
A final consideration relating to product is the format your book is offered in.
If you were to release an audiobook, a paperback, a hardback, and an ebook edition, these would all be considered as slightly different products.
Like your main book itself, you want to make sure that every different format you offer has sufficient demand and is presented in a way that meets buyer expectations.
2 – Price
The second P within the marketing mix is price.
Although price might seem like a straightforward concept, there might be slightly more to it than you expect, so keep it in mind when determining your publishing options.
Here are three considerations related to price for fiction authors.
If you’re not sure how much you should charge for your book, look to the market to get a feel for what readers are already paying.
It’s a good idea to get an idea of the price range being charged for similar books, and then to find a point within that range where your book fits.
Sometimes, the price you charge will be influenced by the place you sell your book.
For example, Amazon has different price points for books that offer various royalty rates in exchange.
Make sure your intended book price is a good fit for the place you want to sell your book.
At times, you’ll want to deviate from your main price point for a short promotional campaign.
For example, around the time of launch, you might want to price your book cheaper than normal to attract reviews.
3 – Promotion
The promotion element of the 4Ps refers to the methods and means by which you market your book.
As indie authors, we only have a certain amount of resources at our disposal. It’s essential to choose wisely and select promotional channels that are both affordable and likely to produce a return on your investment.
DIY or done for you
Are you looking to promote your book yourself, or have a paid service promote it for you?
If you decide to invest in a promotional service, make sure the company you choose is a good fit for your fiction book in particular. You should look for a record of success promoting similar types of books.
Paid advertising can be an effective way to sell more copies of your book, but it’s also a fast way to lose money if you go about it wrong.
Make sure you have a solid understanding of targeting and budget control before you begin a paid advertising campaign for your book.
Social media is an attractive option for book promotion as it can be carried out for free.
If you decide to use social for promotional purposes, choose only the most suitable social networks and have a clear understanding of the results you want to get, such as downloads of a giveaway copy or people sharing your book with their followers.
4 – Place
The final element of the classic 4Ps concept is place.
Place simply refers to the location where your book will be sold, or sometimes, the specific place within that location.
For example, a bookstore would be an example of place, but a promotional display within that bookstore would also.
Place can refer to both digital or virtual locations, as you will now see.
Online stores are an obvious place to sell your fiction books.
Sites like Amazon have major reach and plenty of promotional mechanisms in place.
If you decide to sell your book online, think carefully about the pros and cons of which stores to offer it in, and whether to offer it through one retailer or many.
Place can also refer to virtual locations that feature your book, such as blogs that promote it to their following.
Just as your book cover should make readers feel like your work is for them, you should place your book on blogs where it will be similarly at home.
Although there will be plenty of virtual places where you promote your indie fiction, don’t discount conventional offline places either.
You might not be able to get your book into some stores without a major publisher, but indie bookstores could be more viable. Also, consider local libraries and reading groups.
4 Ps of Fiction Marketing – Action Steps
Now you have an understanding of what the 4Ps are, and how they apply to fiction marketing, let’s finish with four ways to take action on what you’ve learned.
- Try and brainstorm ten types of book with proven demand that you would be happy to consider writing. What kind of cover would you expect to see for each?
- What price would you expect to pay for a similar book to your own? Are there any occasions where you would be happy to pay more or less than normal?
- What would be the dream promotional opportunity for your book? Would you love to carry out a paid advertising campaign or is it more appealing to promote it for free?
- Where are the places, both online and offline, where your book would be most at home?
Hopefully, the 4Ps are a useful way for you to think about how to get your book out into the world so it can reach as many readers as possible.
If you’re excited about what you’ve learned, take action on the 4 steps without delay. Don’t let the momentum go to waste!