As a professional marketer, I know just how many tasks can be involved in marketing a product. Businesses, especially bigger businesses, maintain specialized staff to take care of these tasks. As a writer, though, especially a beginning writer, all of these marketing tasks fall to you. Once your first book is published, you’re at risk of becoming consumed with (or neglecting) the great many marketing tasks involved in reaching the readers your book deserves.
You can’t do everything. You will need to make choices. The more time you devote to marketing the book you’ve released, the less time you will have to write and publish the next one. It becomes essential to choose only those tasks that 1) must be done and 2) will add the most value to your marketing efforts.
This is why a marketing plan is so essential. If you make these choices in the moment, you will likely be bogged down by marketing tasks that appear valuable, but don’t actually take you in the direction you want to go. On the other hand, if you take the time and think through your marketing goals, your opportunities, and your resources, you can weigh the different tasks that demand your attention and make an informed decision about which tasks provide sufficient value.
The hope is that, eventually, you will be able to hire the help you need to take full advantage of the many marketing opportunities that come your way. But, at the beginning, when you’re doing all of this yourself, you need to choose how you invest your time wisely. You may work “for free,” but there’s always a cost.