Analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) for companies or products has been a regular part of strategic business planning for decades.
Big name business consultants including BCG, McKinsey and Bain have used this type of analysis. But so what? I’m just a humble author. Is a SWOT analysis helpful in marketing my book?
Humble author or not, this technique can provide insights helpful in selling anyone’s books. Though SWOT analyses has been used for big publishing houses, there’s little precedent for its use on individual books, perhaps because people believe that the expected benefit doesn’t justify the time required, or authors aren’t inclined to think of themselves as business analysts. However…
Before jumping into this, a little background on the nomenclature: S (strengths) and W (weaknesses) are things about your book that are theoretically under your control. An example of this is what you (or your publisher) priced your book at or what kind of cover you’ve slapped on your book. O (opportunities) and T (threats) are ‘external’ factors less under your control. Examples of this are how many competing books are in your space and the overall market conditions for your genre of books.
Importantly, SWOT isn’t an end in itself; it needs to lead to actionable steps by linking up with a marketing plan for your book and a budget. Planning cool promotion tactics is pointless unless you have the resources to accomplish the task – though you don’t necessarily need a lot of money to market your book, just your creativity and cleverness.
Aligned with the points above, a SWOT analysis should allow prioritizing action steps based on the importance of a given strength, weakness, opportunity or threat.
Also, SWOT analysis is a snapshot so it needs to be revisited as circumstances evolve; i.e. it’s a dynamic exercise.
My next couple of posts will apply SWOT to my books. Stay tuned. They’ll be posted shortly.
I write modern fantasy novels that are hopefully both exciting and literate. These novels include an on-going series about a near-immortal magician who grew up in Camelot and grew famous in San Francisco's 'Summer of Love'. He's still having adventures to this day described in The Lords of the Summer Season, The Lords of Powder, and The Lords of Oblivion. The books can be read in any order.
As author S Alessandro Martinez has stated about the series:
"Lords of Oblivion
A 1500-year-old wizard. A pair of savage druids raised from the dead. Modern day San Francisco. A wolf that takes no gruff. Blaisdell creates a fascinating world in this magical realism novel with smart writing, complex characters, and clever use of history and mythology. I was sucked in from the very beginning. I look forward to more of Bradan and Tintagel's mystical adventures.
Lords of Powder
Merlin's former apprentice, Bradan, is back! The 1500-year-old wizard, who is sometimes too smart for his own good, returns for another exciting adventure, this time in 70s Miami as he takes on the criminal world of drug trafficking. Blaisdell's smart, fast-paced writing and use of fascinating history and mythology keeps you on the edge of your seat as Bradan uses his wits, charm, and illusions to navigate the modern era and get himself into plenty of trouble.
Lords of the Summer Season
Being Merlin's former apprentice and living for 1500 years is bound to make you a few enemies. Travel back to the 60s with Bradan the wizard and his otherworldly wolf Tintagel. As Bradan juggles careers as a professor and musician, he must defend himself from his greatest threat yet: a literal god. Blaisdell continues with his clever, skillful, and imaginative writing that will keep readers eagerly turning the next page. My favorite of the Bradan books, Blaisdell dives deeper into the Arthur mythology, and brings the reader even more elements of magic and folklore, all the while weaving an entertaining tale of gods, wizards, ghosts, and 60s acid rock. Thoroughly enjoyable!"
Besides the literary side of my life, my background includes membership on a scientific advisory board for a non-profit professional organization promoting the biomedical and digital health business community in the greater Los Angeles area.
I’ve authored both basic research publications and business management articles focusing on the bio/pharma industry. My Ph.D. is in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota where I also conducted post-doctoral research in microbiology. And my BS is from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) with a double major in chemistry and cell biology.
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