You’ve identified your Strengths and Weaknesses, that’s half of a SWOT Marketing Analysis for writers. Now it’s time to look for Opportunities and Threats. Now before you get all cutthroat and say “Steven, Steven is a threat! That guy’s a jerk!” please realize that’s not what I’m talking about.
With the current climate and your genre, what are your opportunities? If you’re in the YA or MG genre, there’s always a search for the next great franchise to sell. The craze started with magical Potter, then romantic Twilight, and then dystopian Hunger Games. Is your sub-genre within YA un-tackled in this day and age? There’s an opportunity. If you’re writing dystopian YA, you have a real threat in the sense that you’re going to need some serious differentiators to get noticed.
Have you written the next “Fault in Our Stars?” Congratulations, you’ve inherited both an opportunity and a threat. Opportunity in that the book is selling very well and with the coming film, will sell even more so publishers and agents want to get them out fast. That’s the opportunity, now it’s time for a threat. Fault in Our Stars will be a quick comparison and will happen almost immediately if you bear any resemblance, whether you call it out or the agent’s assistant finds it in reading your first 50 pages.
Is your manuscript suspense akin to “Gone Girl?” Don’t mistake a Threat to mean that you need to disparage Gillian Flynn on the social media and spark a war with the writer. The second you do that you’ll get noticed, but for all the wrong reasons. If you have a unique differentiator like Hugh Howey’s Fallout Shelter USB, that’s an opportunity to separate yourself in a crowded market of agented and self-published madness.
These are the types of things you have to think about. If all you can do for a book trailer is stock imagery with rotating text and a real basic audio track, don’t expect it to make a huge splash. Create an incredible book trailer with motion graphics animation; top notched music and a voice over? Suddenly you have an opportunity to stand out. The question is, what opportunities are available to you based on the material you write, what your marketing approach will be, and what you can accomplish based on your capacity and budget. It’s tough because there’s never a single answer, that’s why you can’t find one.
What are your opportunities? What threat looms over your marketing and book sales? Chime in with the comments section. The conversation’s always live on Twitter @ThomasAFowler, use the hash-tag #WritersConquest. As always, keep checking my official website for the latest updates. Thanks so much for taking on the Writer’s Conquest.