Create your book marketing plan by answering these 7 questions

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on them and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission (at no extra charge to you).

Do you remember Yogi Berra’s famous quote on the importance of planning? He said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up some place else.”

His wisdom applies to book marketing, too. If you don’t know what you want to accomplish with your book, you won’t know if you’ve done it – or how to do it.

That’s why you want to create a book marketing plan, even if your book is already published and available for purchase.

What’s a book marketing plan?

A book marketing plan is a document that outlines:

  • What you want to accomplish with your book
  • How you’ll do it
  • What you will need to spend to make that happen
  • When you’ll do the work involved

If you want to sell books, creating a book marketing plan isn’t optional – it’s essential. Even so, if you have no marketing experience, you might find the idea of creating a book marketing plan intimidating.


It’s not as hard as you might expect, though. It takes thought and effort, for sure, but it’s really just a matter of answering the right questions.

Here are the seven questions you want to ask and answer.

1. What’s my situation with this book?

Answer this by briefly describing your book and what makes it different from the competition.

Include what makes both you and the book marketable. Perhaps your book is on a timely topic or uses a new way to tell a story.

You might have unique credentials that qualify you to write the book, including professional experience. Maybe you’ve won relevant awards.


Address your publishing situation, too, by noting your publishing model and anticipated publication date. The latter is particularly important because it helps determine what tactics are available to you.

For example, if your book is already published, certain tactics – engaging your audience by requesting their input on your cover design, for example – aren’t an option.

2. Who did I write this book for?

This is your target audience, your ideal readers. It’s who will appreciate and buy your book.

It’s especially important to understand your target audience because the more you know about who will love your book, the better able you will be to reach them online and in the real world.

Need help with that? My short training program, “Who Will Buy Your Book? How to Figure Out and Find Your Target Audience,” will help.

When you know as much as possible about your ideal readers, you can research the social networks they use, the media outlets they pay attention to, even the types of activities they prefer.

You can have more than one target audience, but one will probably rise to the top as the most interested in your topic or genre.

For example, the primary audience for a self-help book about how to live with or help a hoarder might be friends and family. A secondary audience is therapists and other counseling professionals who can recommend the book to their clients.

3. What do I want to accomplish with my book marketing?

This is all about goals.


A goal is a broad statement of direction that is determined by your needs. In this case, your goals are related to marketing your book.

With good goals in place, you can look at each marketing tactic and ask, “Does this step help me achieve my goals?” If the answer isn’t “yes,” the tactic should be removed from the plan.

Goals are well-defined. They tell you which direction you want to go. Examples include:

  • To develop a fan base that will lead to increased sales of subsequent books in my fiction series.
  • To help position me as an expert in a way that will generate more clients.

4. What’s my book marketing strategy?

A strategy is your over-arching approach to promoting your book. It’s a “big picture” view that summarizes the thinking behind your marketing efforts.

Examples include:

  • To use my large fan base to generate massive buzz during the first few weeks of my book launch.
  • To focus on public speaking because I’ve learned that I sell a lot of books when people hear me speak.
  • To put most of my time into creating fun TikTok videos because my audience is there, my following is growing steadily, and I’m good at it

Your strategy helps determine what you’ll do to market your book, and when you’ll do it.

5. What tactics will I use to reach my goals?

Tactics are the things you’re going to do to get exposure for your book.

Tactics vary from book to book – it’s not a “one-size-fits-all” situation – but tactics to consider (among others!) include:

If you’re new to book marketing, don’t try to implement too many tactics. Start with two or three that will help you reach your target audience and learn to do them really well. When you’ve mastered them, add another tactic.

6. How much can I spend to promote my book?


This is your book marketing budget. Your tactics can determine your budget, or your budget can determine your tactics.

There are lots of things you can do to market your book that don’t cost anything, but if you’re serious about getting your book into the hands of the people you wrote it for, you’ll need to spend some money.

A typical book marketing budget might include training program fees, website design and hosting, tools, and advertising costs.

7. What’s my book marketing timeline?

Use a calendar for this. Build your timeline around:

  • When you will start marketing
  • How long you plan to continue (think long-term – I encourage you to market your book as long as it’s available for purchase)
  • When you will implement each tactic in your plan

For example, if you want to get reader reviews onto your Amazon sales page immediately after your publication date, get those review copies out to readers several weeks before the book goes “live.”

[novashare_tweet tweet=”A typical book marketing budget might include training program fees, website design and hosting, tools, and advertising costs.” hide_hashtags=”true”]

If you’re planning a virtual book tour, start building relationships with key bloggers at least six months before your anticipated tour dates. You want them to be familiar with you and your work before you ask them to participate.

Consider using a “reverse calendar” approach. This is one where you start with your end date in mind – the day your book is available, for example – and plan backwards from there.

Creating your book marketing plan

You can answer these seven questions with bullet points or paragraphs – whatever works for you. What matters more than word choice or format is that you capture this important information in writing.

When you’re clear on what you want to do to reach your book marketing goals, determine how you’ll get the work done. Can you do it yourself? Do you need to outsource any of it?

Remember to create that calendar detailing who will do what and when, complete with deadlines. If you don’t schedule the activities in whatever time management system you use, they might not happen. (Voice of experience talking here.)

Your plan is your marketing success blueprint

book marketing plan 2

To make it easy for you, I’ve created a free book marketing plan template that you can download and use immediately. It includes:

  • Instructions
  • Examples
  • Links to how-to information online
  • A fill-in-the-blanks form


Once you complete that template and start implementing your tactics, track your activities and outcomes.

Do more of what works, less of what doesn’t.

[novashare_tweet tweet=”Most books don’t become best-sellers as soon as they’re launched. They succeed over time because the author created, followed, and adjusted their book marketing plan.” hide_hashtags=”true”]

Success takes time

Use your book marketing plan – your blueprint – as an evolving document that changes as you learn more about book marketing, your ideal readers, and how to reach them.

Finally, remember that everything takes time. Most books don’t become best-sellers as soon as they’re launched. They succeed over time because the author created, followed, and adjusted their book marketing plan.

And that’s what you need to do, too.

Do you have a book marketing plan? Please tell us how it helps you in a comment!

Subscribe to the free Build Book Buzz newsletter and get the free special report, “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources,” immediately!

Similar Posts


  1. You have been a greatly informative instructor for me, Sandra. I have used your instructions, clues, tips and hints. I have obtained one author table event after my book launches next week, and am pursuing more of them. My book is a light read on mundane astrology (nations, leaders, celebrities, specific incidents, disasters, catastrophes, births and otherwise). Am I in the right place at the right time? It is short, 2-3 page chapters, 152 pages of text. I also free publish at Booksie. Part of my marketing plan, thanks to you, is to direct some of my FB friends, and others where I blog on culture and politics, to my work in progress on mundane astrology at my Booksie.com site to really understand the global energy setting at work in these times.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *