Self Publishing 101 - How to Write a Book Marketing Plan


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I’m sure you’re not too surprised to find out that your work as a self published author doesn’t stop when the presses finally start –actually, some of the most important work you’ll do to make your book sell STARTS now (if not a bit earlier…)

How often have you heard other self published authors lament their lack of sales? All too often, I’m sure – and all too often, good planning and a smart strategy could have changed those stories

A sound and sensible marketing plan for your book is just as important as the writing, design, and publication itself – no matter how wonderful your book might be, it won’t sell itself… and it’s highly unlikely for a new author (and even many well seasoned ones) that your book is going to jump off bookstore shelves without some help. Remember, in most bookstores, it has about 8,000 other competitors right next to it!

Your marketing plan should be built to identify the revenue streams you expect to attack. This document should be an outline on how you will achieve your income or sales goals, and it should identify in detail the market you see and how you will reach your sales goals.

Building a marketing plan.

You all know a book won’t sell itself? Right? Surprisingly, many authors DON’T understand this fact until too late – and they are disappointed with their sales performance. Every book needs some sort of marketing plan – something that sets your expectations and creates achievable goals that you can attack in an orderly fashion.

But – how do you create a marketing plan for your book? There is a ton of great freeware, even more that you can spend lots of money on, that all help you create a marketing plan for selling your book. But – before you go to the exciting effort of spending time and money on downloading software, open up your trusty word processor and follow me…

Who will buy your book?

The secret to sales success is to target your marketing as directly as possible to your potential reader – and have it be someone who is reachable.

“Everyone will want to read my book!" Sorry, but that doesn’t work. Even the absolute best selling books – that sell 2 or 3 million copies in a year - only penetrate to about 3% of the reading population. Sales success for your book will be driven by defining a very clear picture of who is interested in your book.

They must be identifiable: Make a list! Which groups would be interested in your book? Why? Who is next? Why should the need or want your book? (remember this – someone is more likely to buy something they NEED before something they WANT)

What is your definition of success for your book? What is your GOAL?

Some authors write for themselves and their faimilies only – they don’t dream of their books as bestsellers in the marketplace. Some authors write for a very specific personal need to tell their story. Some have unique insight into very specific topics. Many have dreams of seeing their book in the front of Borders or Barnes & Noble. Each author is different, but you MUST decide what your real definition of success happens to be. We don’t want to pursue a goal that may not be what you actually feel is important.

Marketing & publicity is a long-term, consistent and concerted effort – it never ever happens overnight, even though it may seem to for some people.

Create a reasonable timeline and budget

All of us have finite amounts of time, energy, and money. Marketing can eat up all three very quickly, leaving you alone, exhausted, and broke. The game is to pace yourself and resources so that you can keep the effort moving along. This is where your planning in Chapter Three works it magic - without looking at the “big picture, " most of us would never know how much of our precious resources should be devoted to each aspect of the game. Organization and prioritizing are the most important part of the process – and you may find yourself returning to and rewriting sections of your plan.

That’s it – the building of a book marketing plan in a nutshell if you will. Let us know if we can answer any questions, and thanks for reading

As always - if you like this information (and found it helpful) please feel free to post it on your site, put it in a blog, toss it in your newsletter, or in general spread it around. Please just give us credit here at .

May you have success in your creative efforts!

Ray Robinson is a partner in Dog Ear Publishing a self publishing services company specializing in delivering “high touch" services to the author community. His company provides a full range of services to authors, from editorial to page layout to marketing and fulfillment. Visit the web site for a complete discussion on marketing your book.


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