Have you written and self published a book, and you are seeking ways to promote it effectively? Do you want to learn how to write a marketing plan for a book? If you answered YES to any of the questions above, then i advice you read on. The success of your book hinges on how much effort you put in before launching the book. This effort doesn’t stop at the writing stage; it also comprises every step you take to promote your book.

Most authors get the writing stage perfectly right. I mean, they really cross their Ts and dot their Is. But many of them fail at the more important stage of marketing. They erroneously think they can wait until launch day, sit back, and watch the sales pile up magically. This is how many promising books—with huge bestseller potential—get killed.

So, the foundation of your book’s success lies in marketing, which is vitally important, but often forgotten by authors. However, this is not to mean that it is the only determinant of your book’s success. You must have a great book, first of all. Make no mistake, your marketing plan and efforts will go to waste if your book isn’t well edited or formatted.

Having discussed the importance of marketing a book effectively before launch, let’s now discuss the steps involved in writing a marketing plan for your book—since the marketing process itself requires adequate planning.

How to Write a Marketing Plan for a Book

1. Define your audience

Only a crazy author will write a book without having a specific audience in mind. But even if you have already defined your audience, don’t be tempted to skip this step, which simply involves putting down the details of that audience in a formal way. You will need to get this step right because it underpins everything else your plan contains. In other words, the rest of your plan will be focused on how to reach your defined audience.

While you might be tempted to conclude that your book is for “everyone,” it’s a silly idea. Some categories of people will need your book and will be interested in it more than others. So, figure out that group of people who will make up your core readership. Examples include sports-crazy youths, small business owners, bloggers, expectant mothers, unemployed graduates, and so on.

If you are finding it hard to define your audience, just ask yourself the simple question, “Who will buy my book?” Don’t get things wrong, though. If you sell children’s books, for example, you are targeting parents, not the children. Similarly, if you sell medical publications, you might be targeting medical librarians, and not medical practitioners.

2. Define your goal

While some authors write just because they feel a need to tell their personal story, others have dreams of seeing their books become bestsellers. Each author is different, so is what each perceives as success.

You need to define what your definition of success is. This is your goal. If you achieve it, you will have succeeded, and if you fail to achieve it, well…that’s failure. Whether your goal is to sell 200 copies of your book to a local audience or to see it become a global bestseller that will sell 1 million copies within the first 3 months of launch, put it down.

3. State your objectives

Your objectives are the steps you take in order to achieve your goal. If, for example, your goal is to sell 10,000 copies of your book within the first 3 months of launch, the you need to define some objectives as your “steps” towards” achieving that goal.

Like your goal, your objectives must be reasonable and realistic. However, you must bear in mind that there is a big difference between wanting to do something to achieve your goal and being able to achieve your goal. You must ensure that you have the necessary skills to implement your objectives.

Examples of objectives that may go into your book marketing plan include the following:

  • Get reviews from print sources
  • Organize personal events to promote the book (radio interviews, seminars, etc)
  • Figure out good online resources for promoting the book (social media, setting up a website or blog for the book)
  • Create outbound awareness campaign of you, the author, as an expert in your field
  • Identify non-retail opportunities to sell your book

4. Create a reasonable timeline and budget

Your marketing plan must be time- and budget-specific. We all have limited amounts of time, money, and effort. And marketing can quickly gulp all three, leaving you broke and exhausted. The rule of thumb is to pace yourself and your resources so that you can keep the effort moving along.

5. Summarize

After writing down everything as defined in the previous steps, summarize everything in or two pages. During the implementation phase, you can use this summary as a checklist when trying to figure out how far you have gone.