This post should probably go under publishing or marketing but since we always write about goals under writing here it sits.
So, what’s the difference between a strategy and a tactic? How do you come up with them? First, you need to know your longterm (over arching) goals. If you want to be a best selling author you’ll use a different strategy than if you want to make X amount of money per month. With that strategy there will be tactics. For example, If your main goal is to earn money now, you might price your book at $3.99 while if you want to build your email list and fan base, you might price it at .99 or free.(on Amazon, you have to sell about 8 books at .99 to equal the royalty from one sale of a $3.99 book) These prices are tactics to achieve a goal.
A tactic is one thing you do. Like making your first in series free, setting up a blog tour, or creating a Facebook event. These are pieces to the marketing puzzle but you need to make sure the ones you use fit together.
A strategy is the group of tactics you're using to reach your goal.
For example, with my new series, I want to bring in an extra $800 a month. In order to do this, I have a five book series (technically four books and a prequel) I will have the prequel novella priced at $2.99 and put it on sale .99 every 90 days or so for a certain period of time. I will also offer it for free when a reader signs up for my email list (List building tactic). I might offer it for free (audience building tactic) on retail sites but I'd rather not. A lot of people, myself included, download free books and never get around to reading them. This will not help my read through rates and so it won't help my goal. Charging .99-2.99 (tactic) will help ensure that people read the book (people are more likely to read what they pay for). And of those people, I will have a higher read through and there for more money. The next book (full-length) will be regularly priced at $3.99 or $4.99. Depending on how many early reviews I can get and how much interest there is in the series right away. Why $3.99? Because on Amazon, at $2.99 I'd have to sell 387 books a month to reach my $800 goal. At $3.99 I'd need to sell 286 books. That's 100 fewer books to make the same amount of money. You always make higher volumes at lower prices and putting your book on sale for $2.99 or .99 can help you if you need social proof like reviews or a ranking boost. Sales are just another tactic. Social proof (reviews and recommendations) are needed to sell more books. Using a sale to get that social proof, is a tactic.
It’s important not to get too focused on tactics. Keeping your eye on the prize, the goal, can be the difference between success and failure. Make sure you know what your long term goals are then test different tactics to reach those goals. What works for Suzy Author’s romance series might not work for your science fiction thriller but you can always learn from what others are doing.
What you need to do is figure out where you want to be in five and then in ten years. Do you want to have a certain number of books out? Making a specific amount in monthly income? Finish your series? Be a best selling author? Once you figure that out you can choose your strategy. To be a best selling author you’ll need to grow not only your own email list but also network with other authors in your genre. Networking is your strategy and a free book to grow your own list is a tactic. As you grow your list, you become a more attractive contact for other authors. Meaning, this tactic benefits your strategy.
There are a million tactics in this industry. You can use them all and get nowhere without a strategy and an end goal. Goals keep you focused, strategy keeps you organized, tactics get you where you want to go.
If you’re interested in tactics and strategies for goals like monthly income, becoming a best seller, or growing your email list, let me know. I’d be glad to share what I know and dig into how to achieve goals I haven’t thought about yet! Also, kind of feeling like I should write a post about pricing strategy... let me know if you'd find that helpful!
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