How to Create a Book Marketing Plan That Works [in 3 Simple Steps]

Are you struggling to consistently market your book? You're not alone! Many authors find it difficult to create a consistent book marketing plan that helps them sell more books. 

But the truth is, without a consistent plan, your book will likely get lost in the sea of other books out there.

So in this article, we’re going to give you actionable steps (3 of them) to create the best book marketing plan possible.

And we’re going to focus specifically on a plan that will provide consistent sales over time.

In this article, you will learn:
  1. What a book marketing plan is
  2. How to prepare for your marketing plans
  3. What every book marketing plan should have
  4. How to put it into action

What is a Book Marketing Plan?

A book marketing plan is an essential part of the publication process. It is used to outline a strategy for promoting a book and driving sales. A well-developed marketing plan can help a book reach its target audience, boost visibility, and maximize sales potential. 

A book marketing plan starts by recognizing what type of readers are interested in your book's genre, where they hang out online, and which promotional tactics will be most effective in reaching them. 

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After researching these topics, authors should decide on specific objectives for their campaign such as building an author brand or increasing awareness around their new release. 

Once marketing goals are established then it is important to develop actionable strategies that include social media campaigns, advertising efforts, influencer outreach, email marketing and other online activities to support the book. 

Step 1: Get Prepared

Before you can start creating a steady marketing plan for your book(s), you have to have a basic understanding of book marketing techniques, as well as a few key items which include:

  1. Budget
  2. Audience
  3. Necessary fixes
  4. Your competition
  5. Your goals
  6. Your promotional material

Let's go through each of these one by one.

1. Budget

Book marketing is likely to cost you at least some money. While you can certainly make do with less, eventually you will need to spend money.

Having a budget ahead of time will give you a solid idea of what you can and cannot do as part of your book marketing plan.

2. Audience

Ideally this is something you figured out before you even wrote your book, but if you do not know, specifically, what your ideal audience is, you need to stop and figure that out first.

This starts by analyzing your genre, reading books by other authors in the same genre, and even discussing it with other readers.

The better you can understand your audience, the better your book marketing tactics are likely to bear fruit.

3. Fix What's Broken

Along the way, your book may need adjustments. You might find that the book cover is not matching the right genre, or that your book description could be improved.

If this is the case, a lot of your book marketing efforts will not return significant results. Therefore, it is important to do your best to correct these things before, or while you are implementing your book marketing plan.

4. Competition

Similar to your audience, it's a good idea to know who your competition is, and how you can best set yourself apart from that competition, while still maintaining everything that makes your audience love you.

5. Goals

Your goals are essential to your book marketing plan. If you don’t know where you’re going, you will never get there, so you should have clear lines that indicate where you are going, and what success looks like to you.

Keep in mind that you should still be flexible, and set realistic goals so you won’t burnout if you find yourself constantly “underachieving” because you were too ambitious.

I like to have two types of goals, one big overarching goal that acts as my north star, leading me in a single direction, and small, manageable goals that I can easily knock out, and that move me towards that larger north star goal.

6. Promo Materials

It’s handy to have promotional materials ready before you start your book marketing plan. You may have already developed these during your book launch, but it’s never a bad time to make more.

You can use programs like Canva or BookBrush to create some of these materials for you. We recommend BookBrush because not only is it geared for authors, but we’ve partnered with BookBrush to help create visuals for Atticus as well!

Step 2: Understand the Components of Your Marketing Plan

To have a good book marketing plan, we need to ensure we know every aspect of that plan, and how they can all work together.

You don’t have to have everything on this list, but it is handy to use as many as possible to maximize your book’s exposure and opportunity.

Here are some of the big elements of a good marketing plan:

  1. A book launch
  2. Email marketing
  3. Social media marketing
  4. Book promotions
  5. Advertising
  6. Events
  7. Peer outreach

Let’s go through these one by one…

1. The Book Launch

This is such an important topic, that we’ve got a whole master guide on the subject. 

The book launch is essentially where your book marketing plan begins, however, I’m not going to talk about it much here (read the master guide instead).

A book launch uses slightly different strategies to sell your book, involving a LOT of upfront work and focusing heavily on appealing to the Amazon algorithms.

For the rest of your book marketing plan, we want to focus on a more long-term, steady book marketing strategy that will keep your book making money for months or even years to come.

2. Email Marketing

Email marketing is still the single best way to reach your target reader. 

There are a lot of forms of marketing, but email is still the best because it allows you to “own” your list, and you’re not beholden to the many social media algorithms out there.

You should constantly be trying to grow your email list, and send reminders to buy your books. Obviously you don’t want to spam your list, but don’t forget that selling books is your business. Everything should point that direction.

3. Social Media

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of the latest social media trend. However, at Kindlepreneur, we recommend you pick…one.

That’s right. Don’t worry too much about trying to be on every social media platform available. Doing this will not only burn you out with all the work it will take, but it will also spread your efforts thin.

It’s better to pick one social media platform and really master it. Ideally, this should be the social media platform that your readers use the most.

4. Book Promotions

Any good book marketing plan should include a book promotion here and there.

Book promotions are when you discount your book and schedule someone to promote it for you. There are many book promotion services out there, and most charge a small fee, but if you play your cards right, you can easily get a good return from that.

See our list of book promotion sites to get started.

5. Advertising

And this is why we set a budget.

Advertising can be one of the most powerful tools in any authors arsenal. Not only does it drive sales, but I can also tell you valuable data about your book.

For example, you can test different headlines and hooks to see which ones perform better, i.e. which ones resonate more with readers.

You can then use that data to improve certain things about your book, including your book description, your book cover, etc.

In short, advertising is a great way to figure out what is wrong with your marketing and correct it from there. It also happens to be a good way to sell more books.

6. Events

I've talked about some events on Kindlepreneur, such as a book launch party, but selling directly to readers at a convention or similar event is a great way to sell books.

Granted, it is more uncommon in today's digital age for events to be used as a primary marketing strategy. However, I know some authors that are doing very well selling their books at events.

If this is something that interests you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with including events in your book marketing plan. But, like most things on the list, is it 100% required.

7. Peer Outreach

I really love a concept used in marketing circles called the “Dream 100”.

The idea behind the Dream 100 is that you find the top 100 influencers in your space who, if they were to promote your book, it would be a dream come true. Hence the name.

You want these people to be experts or authorities in your niche, but also maintain realistic expectations. For example, as great as it would be for Oprah to promote my book, I think it's less likely that this will happen.

Instead, look at different YouTube channels, podcasts, and fellow authors in your same genre. Then start reaching out to them one by one.

You will get a lot of rejections, but once you get one person to say yes, you can leverage that to get more yeses.

It's a great marketing strategy.

Step 3: Plan Your Book Marketing Timeline

Now that you understand the many elements that go into a book marketing plan, it's time to pick and choose which ones you want to use, then formulate them into a timeline.

Remember, this book marketing plan should focus on a steady, drip approach to marketing. You're not doing a huge push here, you are spreading your marketing efforts out over time to create consistent sales.

Here are some of the steps we will take:

  1. Timeline type
  2. Start with book promotions
  3. Run ads for information
  4. Create email and social media schedules
  5. Schedule outreach to your Dream 100

Let's go through each of these one by one.

1. Pick Your Timeline Tool

There are many ways to create a timeline, in which one you pick will depend on your preferences.

There are multiple options, such as using a calendar like Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook.

Others prefer to keep everything in a spreadsheet.

Personally, I like to use a spreadsheet to visualize everything first, then I use a to do list software to schedule everything out.

Whatever approach you take, is only important that you stay consistent, and that you are able to follow the timeline effectively.

2. Start with Book Promotions

When scheduling out your book marketing plan, I like to start with book promotions first.

The reason for this is, for most book promotions, you will need to discount your book in order to run them.

If your book is discounted, that will affect your other marketing strategies, such as what you post on social media, etc.

Plus, it's not always guaranteed to get the promotions that you want. BookBub, for example, is very hard to get.

Pro tip: BookBub allows you to resubmit your book every 90 days for promotion. As part of my timeline, I like to schedule my re-submissions to BookBub every 90 days.

Six once you know when your book promotions are scheduled, it'll be easier to do the rest.

3. Run Ads for Information

As mentioned above, ads can be a great way to test out various images and headlines for your book, and this is something you should be doing consistently over the course of your book marketing plan.

Now since this plan is designed to be consistent over the long term, I don't recommend huge budgets for your ads, unless they are already giving you huge returns.

Instead, I recommend a small budget, that you are consistently tweaking and measuring to improve your headlines and images.

As you do this, you would not only make new sales, but your marketing messages will increase in quality. This will not only help your ads, but your social media as well.

4. Create Email and Social Media Schedules

Once you know when your book will be discounted and on promotion, it's time to schedule out what you will say in your email and social media followings.

This can be a fun part of the plan, where you really feel like your book marketing plan is coming together, it's where you give yourself tiny wins, more frequently.

I recommend at least one social media post every day, and emails ranging from once a month at the conservative end, to once or twice a week. I know some that email every day, but make sure you know what to say in this case.

If you're worried about spamming your audiences, stick to the 80/20 rule, where 80 percent of your emails and posts are designed to engage with your readers, and only 20 percent is designed to specifically sell your book.

5. Schedule Outreach to Your Dream 100

Once you have assembled a list of your Dream 100, a.k.a. the people you would most love to promote your book, it's time to start reaching out.

Since their responses are not guaranteed, do not schedule their promotion in your timeline unless it is confirmed.

Instead, schedule your outreach. Start with the members of your Dream 100 that you believe are most likely to promote your book, and reach out to them first. Once you have a positive response, you can use that as validation when reaching out to others of your Dream 100.

This is why I do not reach out to everyone on my Dream 100 at once. I like to start small, then work my way up.

I would aim to reach out to two or three members of your Dream 100 every week.

Other Elements to Include In Your Plan

In addition to the above, there are many other ways to market your books. Consider including some of these in your plan if you so desire:

  1. Book reviews: Encourage readers to leave reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and other book reviewer websites.
  2. Giveaways: Host book giveaways on your website or social media to attract new readers and generate buzz around your book.
  3. Content marketing: Create a blog, YouTube channel, or a podcast to promote your book.
  4. Collaborations: Partner with other authors or influencers to cross-promote your books and reach new audiences.
  5. Author website: Building a website can be a great way to establish your author platform and reach new audiences.
  6. Online book clubs: Join or start an online book club and discuss your book with other readers.
  7. Book trailers: Create a book trailer to showcase your book and share it on social media, your website, and other platforms.
  8. Book bundles: Bundle your book with other related products, such as e-courses, to increase its value and attract more buyers.
  9. Online courses: Create an online course related to your book's topic and use it as a way to promote your book.
  10. Virtual book tours: Set up virtual book signings and interviews to connect with readers and promote your book.
  11. Libraries and bookstores: Reach out to your local libraries and bookstores, and offer to come in as a guest speaker.

There are infinite possibilities in marketing, so feel free to experiment and try new things! See our list of book marketing ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

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Final Thoughts

A consistent book marketing effort is essential for authors who want to see success in their writing career. It may seem daunting to create one, but it doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming. 

Start by focusing on the tactics that work best for you and your book, whether that's social media, email marketing, or attending events. 

Consistency is key, so make sure to set aside time each week to work on your marketing efforts.

Remember that a successful book marketing plan is not a one-time effort, it is a continuous process that requires dedication and persistence. The key is to stay engaged with your audience, build relationships, and always be on the lookout for new opportunities.

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