Learn More on Focusing Your Promotional Efforts with the Four Quadrant Method by guest @PaulineWiles

By Rachel Thompson | #NaNoProMo

May 04
#NaNoProMo Day 4: Learn More on Focusing Your Promotional Efforts with the Four Quadrant Method by guest @PaulineWiles via @BadRedheadMedia and @NaNoProMo

There is so much information available on tactics which authors can use to promote their books – including all the great advice here during #NaNoProMo – it’s easy to get overwhelmed. This can lead to you spreading your efforts too thinly and not being effective in any of your methods. Or, even worse, you’ll slump into decision paralysis, where it all seems too baffling and you end up doing nothing.

To succeed in book promotion, while leaving time for writing and the rest of your life, it’s essential to focus your efforts. My favorite way of doing this is with the Quadrant Method. It’s a simple but effective technique you can apply to narrow down choices in many areas of your life.


What is The Four Quadrant Method for Book Promotion?

For book promotion, draw a sketch that looks like this:

#NaNoProMo Day 4: Learn More on Focusing Your Promotional Efforts with the Four Quadrant Method by guest @PaulineWiles via @BadRedheadMedia and @NaNoProMo

For each idea you’re considering, write it on the chart roughly where it belongs in terms of Resources (vertical axis) and Impact on Sales (horizontal axis). Don’t get hung up about exact positions, just go with a placement which feels reasonable.

Let’s say, for example, I want to approach an independent bookstore about an author event. It will take me several hours to land and deliver the gig, but I believe I can generate healthy in-person sales and reader connections as a result. I’d place that one high on both resources and impact:

#NaNoProMo Day 4: Learn More on Focusing Your Promotional Efforts with the Four Quadrant Method by guest @PaulineWiles via @BadRedheadMedia and @NaNoProMo

Resources represent both time and money. If, like many authors, both are precious to you, then measure the cost of your efforts as a combination. But, if you have a robust marketing budget and not much time, mark items as high in resources if they consume lots of time, with less consideration of money. And vice versa: if you have next to nothing to spend, but decent time to invest, then costly tactics score higher.

You’re unlikely to be able to forecast Impact on Sales accurately, and you may be okay with either a short-term sales boost or longer-term awareness building. You can use gut feel here, according to where your ideal readers hang out, the nature of your books, and things you’ve heard are effective for other authors in your genre.

Don’t confuse reaching people with conversion to sales: a tweet, for example, may be seen by hundreds of eyes, but if they don’t buy your book (or take some other valuable action, like subscribing to your email newsletter), the impact is low.

Quadrant Method: A Promotional Example

Let’s fill in the chart now with a few example items, using the scenario of an author who writes historical fiction with a strong, local setting:

#NaNoProMo Day 4: Learn More on Focusing Your Promotional Efforts with the Four Quadrant Method by guest @PaulineWiles via @BadRedheadMedia and @NaNoProMo

  • Bookstore event: we already placed that as high for resources and impact.
  • Join a Facebook group for local history buffs: this might place as low in resources (time) and low on sales impact.
  • Create a “fun facts” download for newsletter subscribers: medium in resources (time) and medium for longer-term sales opportunities.
  • Start a podcast: high in resources (time, money), low for sales impact.
  • Apply for a BookBub promotion: high in cost but very high for sales impact.
  • Guest post on a website for history fans: low-medium in resources (time), high for sales impact.
  • Ask local Bed & Breakfasts to sell copies of the book: low in resources (time), fairly high for sales impact.

Results of the Quadrant Method Exercise: Focus!

Continue to place your other promotional ideas on your chart. When you’re done, circle any which look especially fun or appealing to you. Then pause to consider your quadrants:

High resources, low impact (top left quadrant): Stay away from these. Don’t invest heavily if you don’t expect a strong outcome.

High resources, high impact (top right quadrant): Worth considering, but be sure to measure your results carefully.

Low resources, low impact (bottom left quadrant): These might be worth pursuing, especially if you have times when your energy is too low for writing, or if you have a few marketing dollars left at the end of the month. The ideas you circled are particularly worth noting.

Low resources, high impact (bottom right quadrant): These are your ideal activities to focus on. If any are circled, even better. Get started on them today!

You can come back to your quadrant chart whenever a new idea presents itself, and/or to adjust placements once you’ve tried a few ideas. The trick is to narrow your focus and give a few tactics your full attention. You’ll enjoy your promotional efforts more and your sales will reflect your judicious choices.


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Day 4 Giveaway

Pauline Wiles is offering a 30-minute coaching call to one winner to apply the quadrant method to your own book promotion options. (Value: $150)

Don't forget to comment below to enter to win!

#NaNoProMo Day 4: Learn More on Focusing Your Promotional Efforts with the Four Quadrant Method by guest @PaulineWiles

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Pauline Wiles...

…is an author, speaker, and creator of The Serenity Project, a year-long personal experiment in techniques to juggle author responsibilities and boost creative enjoyment. With 4 self-published books under her belt, she mentors other writers in the benefits of pragmatic self-care to promote both well-being and long-term career success.

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About the Author

Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge: How to energize your book sales in a month - created to help authors market their book. She is also the author of Broken Places (one of IndieReader's "Best of 2015" top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post IndieReader.com, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly. Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs,  #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with Melissa Flickinger) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish all live Twitter chats. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

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(20) comments

Sarah May 4, 2018

This is a technique that I’ve never heard of. Seems like a great way to prioritize or make decisions.

Reply
    Pauline Wiles May 4, 2018

    Sarah, it’s wonderful for all kinds of decisions – just vary what goes on the axes depending on what’s important. I love using this to structure my thoughts on a range of topics.

    Reply
Pauline Wiles May 4, 2018

Thanks so much for having me as a guest today. I’m really enjoying all the #NaNoProMo posts so far!

Reply
Pamela Harju May 4, 2018

This is a really interesting approach. I think I am in “spreading too thinly” boat at the moment!

Reply
    Pauline Wiles May 4, 2018

    Pamela, I’m exactly the same if I’m not careful. There’s such an “all-you-can-eat” buffet of promotional possibilities, it can be hard to pick just a few!

    Reply
      Pamela Harju May 4, 2018

      There really is, and being fairly new to it, it’s so hard to know what will work for me and my books.

      Reply
Julie Valerie May 4, 2018

This framework is so helpful, Pauline! I’ve been thinking about pursuing something that is high in resources … but probably low in the results I’m hoping to achieve. This post has given me so much clarity. Thank you.

Reply
    Pauline Wiles May 4, 2018

    Great, very glad this was helpful!

    Reply
Daniella Shepard May 4, 2018

The geek/engineer in me loves this. Will put this to good use.

Reply
    Pauline Wiles May 4, 2018

    Yes, Daniella, it appeals to my analytical side too!

    Reply
Andrea May 4, 2018

Great information. Very helpful.

Reply
R May 4, 2018

Great advice!

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Dana Lemaster May 4, 2018

I’d never considered looking at promotional options in quite that way, but it makes a lot of sense. Thanks for a well-written post.

Reply
    Pauline Wiles May 5, 2018

    Yes, Dana, it definitely helps avoid the temptation to try to do everything.

    Reply
Iola May 5, 2018

It’s years (decades?) since I was first introduced to the 2×2 matrix, yet I’d never thought of applying it to book marketing. Thanks for the idea!

Reply
Jena May 5, 2018

I had never heard of the quadrant method (Eisenhower matrix?) until this week- and now I’m reading about it again. Really liked how you applied this to books sales and I plan to study your post. Thanks!

Reply
    Pauline Wiles May 5, 2018

    It’s a nifty little method, Jena, with so many uses! I hope you enjoy exploring it.

    Reply
Rachel Thompson May 6, 2018

***We’ve picked our winner for Day 4 — please continue the conversation, though!***

Reply
Kelly Wilson May 12, 2018

I can easily feel paralyzed by overwhelm, not sure how to invest time and money into book marketing. Thank you for the 4 quadrant strategy, I can’t wait to try it!

Reply
Pauline Wiles May 13, 2018

Author overwhelm is one of my pet topics, Kelly!
Good luck with this method; I hope it helps.

Reply
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