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SSA #001: Your 2023 Author Marketing Strategy

Jan 07, 2023

Read Time: 5 minutes


Happy New Year and welcome to the first edition of The Saturday Self-Published Author!

We're 7 days into 2023 and if 2022 wasn't all you hoped it would be, it's time to make some changes.

As the saying goes, what got you here, won't get you there.

So, today, I want to show you how to create a strategy for your author business that not only excites you but gives you direction and meaningful purpose.

It's time to envision what you want your 2023 to look like and plan the action steps you're going to take to achieve that vision.

Strategy determines where you want to go. Tactics determine how you're going to get there.


Strategy is something many authors struggle with, for a few reasons:

- They set goals but don't set out a plan to achieve them
- They set unrealistic expectations and so, take zero action
- They get disheartened when they don't see results within a couple of weeks
- Or, they just don't know how to create a strategy

As Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft is credited with saying:

"People overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years."

So, it's important to set realistic expectations within your strategy, but at the same time, you need to make yourself uncomfortable, even just a little, as it's within the discomfort that we grow.

Here's your action plan for creating your 2023 strategy that you'll actually stick to:

N.B. At the end of this action plan, I'll tie everything together with an example.


Step 1: Define Your Core Objective

This is easily one of the most exciting parts of creating your strategy!

Let your imagination run wild (but not too wild!) as you define what you want not only your career as an author to look like but also, your life as a whole.

Ultimately, you're an author because this is how you want to spend your days; writing books.

But what else in your life is important to you?

- Family
- Friends
- Hobbies/Interests
- Volunteering

And how does being an author allow you to enjoy these other areas of your life?


Step 2: Identify Your Lever-Moving Tasks

These are the tactics you will use to execute your strategy, that move you towards achieving your core objective.

Shiny Object Syndrome is very real.

There are 1001 different ways you could go about executing your strategy.

You don’t need to do it all!

20% of what you think you need to do, will be more than enough.

When it comes to marketing alone, the options are endless:

- Facebook Ads
- Amazon Ads
- BookBub Ads (Promos only)
- Twitter (organic)
- Promo Sites (Promos and Launches only)
- Newsletter Swaps
- Group Promos
- Kindle Countdown Deals
- Reader Magnets

You don't need to do all of this at once. Take your time. In fact, you may never need to do all of this!

If you've been an author for some time, you likely know already what drives the most results for you. Focus on those and double down on them.

If you're new to this whole marketing game, pick ONE platform to begin with (I would recommend Facebook Ads as they will get you traction quicker than anything else) and stick with it for at least 3 months, before you start trying something new.

If you want to learn how I run Facebook Ads that provide a 2-3x return on investment (and how you can do the same), check out Jumpstart Facebook Ads For Authors.

Spreading your time, energy, and money too thin, trying to be everywhere and do all the things, is only going to lead to burning yourself out and throttling the impact that just 1-3 of these tactics can have.

Clearly, once you've identified which tactics you're going to employ, you'll need to figure out specific strategies for those individual tactics.


Step 3: List Out Your Anti-Goals

What you don’t want to do is just as important as what you do want to do.

Of course, there are things we need to do in our businesses that don't exactly make us jump for joy, but they've got to be done (i.e. admin and auxiliary tasks).

Outside of that though, what are some things you've done in the past that you really don't want to do again?

What sucks the energy from you and is something you can eliminate without feeling guilty about it?

Perhaps it's something that you feel you should be doing, but when you're honest with yourself, really isn't moving the needle for you and you can legitimately remove it from your schedule.

Or, it could simply be bad habits you've formed over months or years that you want to eliminate.

For example:

- Working after 5pm
- Working at weekends
- Checking your phone every 7.5 minutes
- Posting on social media 5 times a day
- Spending too much time in Facebook Groups

Then you figure out how you're going to achieve those Anti-Goals.

Taking checking your phone every 7.5 minutes as an example; you could achieve this by simply leaving your phone in another room whilst you're working.

If you spend too much time in Facebook Groups, block off 15 minutes per day to engage in the groups and that's your lot. No more.

Over time, your days will be filled with (in the main), only the things that excite and energize you.

This also frees you up to work on the lever-moving activities in your author business and spend time outside of "work", guilt-free.


Step 4: Define Your Revenue Streams

As with tactics, focus the majority of your time, energy and budget pushing your core revenue streams.

Clearly, having multiple revenue streams coming into your business spreads your risk and you become less reliant on a single stream of income.

However, there will be less than a handful of revenue streams bringing in the majority of your income; they could be:

- Kindle (KDP)
- Kindle Unlimited
- Paperback (KDP)
- Hardback (KDP)
- Paperback (Ingram Spark)
- Hardback (Ingram Spark)
- Direct Sales (i.e. from your own website)
- Audiobooks (Podium)
- Foreign Rights

Over time, when you have the bandwidth, headspace and budget, you'll be able to increase the number of revenue streams.

Before that though, pick 1-3 revenue streams that are already proving themselves to be good performers and really focus in on them.


Step 5: Write Out Your Strategy

Setting an ambitious, but realistic, core objective or vision, is one thing.

There needs to be some form of action orientation around it, which is where the strategy comes into play.

For example, if your core objective for 2023 was:

Earn $250,000 in Royalties

Your strategy might be:

Publish 4 books per year and use advertising to push the books high up in the Kindle Store bestseller ranks to benefit from organic sales.

This strategy is a bit rough around the edges, but it gets my point across.

A pie in the sky vision means nothing without a strategy to actually achieve it.

Ancient Chinese Emperor Sun Tzu says it best in his book, The Art of War:

"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat."

What he’s saying here is that strategy and tactics work hand in hand together; you can’t have one without the other.

Or to put it another way…

Tactics without strategy is like getting into your car and setting off down the road with no clear destination in mind or route planned out.


An Example For Context

To wrap things up, here’s an example of everything we’ve just been through:

CORE OBJECTIVE: Make 6 figures per year from my books, without working 60+ hours per week so I can spend quality time with my family every single day.

STRATEGY: Working no more than 6 hours per day, publish 4 books per year on Amazon (Kindle Unlimited), with strong branding in a well-defined genre, write in a series, build up a loyal readership and harness the power of organic sales by achieving a strong bestseller rank.

TACTICS: Kindle Countdown Deals, Facebook Ads, Amazon Ads, BookBub Ads (for launches and promos only), Reader Magnets, Autoresponder and Monthly Newsletter


TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

1. Define Your Core Objective
2. Identify Your Lever-Moving Tasks
3. List Out Your Anti-Goals
4. Define Your Revenue Streams
5. Write Out Your Strategy

Don’t feel limited by defining a strategy as it doesn’t have to last forever. In fact, I encourage you to refine your strategy over time.

And tactics definitely don’t last forever; they will likely change before your strategy does because of the way the world and technology move forwards.

The most important step you must take is to create momentum and stay consistent.

As author, John C Maxwell, once said:

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.”

Today, that something is building your strategy. Tomorrow, that could be setting up your first Facebook Ad. It’s about getting started and taking intentional action.

That's it for this week; thanks for reading. See you next Saturday!

To Your Success
- Matt

Join 5,800+ Authors Learning How To Sell More Books With Facebook Ads Every Single Week

Discover Facebook Ads strategies, systems, insights and frameworks to help you become a six-figure author (you'll learn a bit about life and business too). 

Plus, I’ll send you my FREE Facebook Ads Mini Course as soon as you sign up.