Monday, December 21, 2020

Forward Planning in Marketing and Writing

by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

We need to always think about future possibilities. In writing and getting contracts, this can mean developing an idea into a series or listening to needs around you and brainstorming ideas to full the needs. In marketing, it means building your platform continually and developing new marketing strategies. If you nurture ideas and contacts, you will move forward.

Future Cast
As I received word from my editor after handing in my latest book manuscript, that she loved what I did, I jumped on the opportunity. I thanked her, bubbled about some of my marketing plans, and then chatted about future book possibilities in my mind that turned into another contract. I did this easily because I already had long range plans and ideas.

Before my next book releases, I start a spreadsheet with contacts and promotion ideas. Once I hand the completed manuscript to the editor, I start contacting podcast hosts, scheduling interviews. And create mems and blog post ideas. That’s being ready for the next step. 

Plan for Reaching Your Dreams
When I started writing I only had one book in mind. Through prayer and wise advice from other authors, I realized I needed to know my passion and what God wanted me to share through words. Family trumped all else for me. So, I started submitting articles to family magazines and listing what topics to write about for current and future families, so I could impact the next generation of parents. That set my direction and goals and find my audience of people who wanted to grow their families.

Define your dreams. Brainstorm your passion, favorite genres, and possible topics or themes. In all you develop incorporate the dream. Follow writers who share your passion and find magazines, podcasts, social media groups who connect to that dream. Then you’ll be able to share ideas for articles and books when an editor expresses interest.

Take Advantage of Industry Changes
Keeping up with changes in magazine and book editors really helps. New editors often look for a new stable of writers. When you see a change and have written for that publisher or magazine, email and introduce yourself. Let them know what you’ve done and new ideas that might interest them

Watch for new social platforms of which ones are growing and which ones are waning in popularity as well as what’s hot such as stories, video, or other new type of posts. Follow popular writing groups and blogs to keep up with trends and changes.

When magazines change the size of what they print, or a publisher adds a new division, that’s the prime time to break in. Pitch an idea that will fit. I first broke into Focus on the Family’s magazine when they switched to a smaller size magazine. That meant they needed shorter articles and their backlog would no longer fit. I sold the first piece I submitted.

Utilize Social Media Connections 
Build your connections of target readers and influencers. Other authors are busy promoting their own books, so don’t rely on them as influencers. Connect to potential readers and tag them in your FB list or add them to a spread sheet. These followers are great to ask to be on you launch/street team or to invite to a special group.

Engage with those target followers. As you consider future book proposals start asking questions to gauge their interest and pinpoint their needs. That helps you write a better proposal and may inspire ideas for a series or other books. Invite them to sign up for your newsletter so you can grow your list.

Build Your Media Database
Interviews on podcasts, media, and print promote your book to different audiences so keep growing those contacts. I keep a spread sheet of those contacts that include the show’s name, host, email, address, phone number, and website. I continually add to those as I see where authors who write for the same audience get gust spots. I also search for other podcasts my audience follows and check out what they listen to regularly. I follow the one that might be a good match and then pitch my idea to be a guest when my book is about to release.

Schedule Time to Succeed
For any calling from God, we need to honor it. That applies to writing. So, before a new month or year begins, plan your future writing time. Let family and friends know the time is sacred. Always use that time to write, market, or study the markets. Also schedule and allocate funds for resources, training, conferences, and tools needed.

Prepare to Adapt
Be ready for life’s interruptions, changes, and unexpected opportunities. We live in a real world. Reality may mean focusing on one area such as your social media or articles. Whatever you can do, do it well. I never expected that I’d be good at writing devotions, but one I knew that I found ways to match my ideas to different types of devotions. Being a TV host dropped in my lap, but I used that experience to develop media connections as a strong part of my marketing.

Once you are prepared and prayed up, move forward on your plans with confidence.


Karen Whiting ( is an international speaker, former television host of Puppets on Parade, certified writing and marketing coach, and award-winning author of twenty-six books for women, children, and families. Her newest book, 52 Weekly Devotions for Families Called to Serve, uses stories, activities, and chat prompts to help families develop servant hearts and foster strong bonds in families who have members serving the community, nation, or world.

She has a heart to grow tomorrow’s wholesome families today. She has written more than seven hundred articles for more than sixty publications and loves to let creativity splash over the pages of what she writes. She writes for Leading Hearts and Connect with Karen on Twitter @KarenHWhiting, Pinterest KarenWhiting, and FB KarenHWhiting

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