Three Considerations for a Marketing Plan:
Book, You, and Brand

Authors want an easy fix for marketing their book. Preference is usually for someone else to market it. But both cases would be wrong. Books don’t sell by themselves and at we spend an incredible amount of time teaching authors how to get the most mileage out of their published works. Authors have to get out the word about their book. No one else is going to do it. Not even the publisher. And sales certainly do not happen by accident.

There are three variables to determine an effective marketing plan.

Your Book

No two books are the same, so no two marketing plans are the same. Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and genre specific books are all going to be marketed in different ways. Note that each will have a different audience. You’re not after readers. You are after specific readers who want to read your type of book. Focusing on all readers is a waste and unproductive use of your time. Drilling down even further, even when you have written, for example, a mystery, you must decide what kind of mystery you’ve written and what audience will read it. Readers of noir and readers of cozies are different and they mix as well as oil and water. Determine specifically who would read your particular book. You will find the answer to that within the pages of your book itself.

You: The Author

By thinking about you, we’re thinking about your specific personality. Some of us are introverts, some extroverts. Some are even introverts who can act as extroverts. Determining your personality will help you develop a marketing plan that doesn’t, for lack of a better phrase, stress you out. Go with who you are. If you’re an extrovert, consider speaking engagements. Keynotes; conference and writing panels; TV, radio, and podcast interviews are perfect for you. Based upon the subject and type of your book, determine general gatherings such as libraries, or specific genre conferences and festivals such as Killer Nashville, or business presentations at your local Chamber of Commerce. If you’re an introvert, use your skills as a great writer for guest blogs; your own blogs; social media posts, replies, and interactions; and other internet marketing. Regardless of introvert or extrovert, use your website as your business card and your newsletter signup as your connections. Make your site search engine and user friendly (in two clicks a curious visitor should be able to find whatever they are looking for). Promote others on your blog and use reciprocal links. This will also lift you in your search engine placement. If you have deep pockets and not much time, you can buy ads (not always effective) or seek help from hired publicists (but you’re still going to have to be involved day-by-day to keep the train on the track). Regardless, it is up to you to be the central and primary marketer.


Each book you write will have its own marketing plan based upon its intrinsic qualities. In all your promotions, though, the real thing you are promoting is you, your brand. Don’t let the book itself take the forefront. Keep the spotlight on you (unless one book is all you have in you, which is fine). Doing so will help you tremendously in the promotion of your next book because your inroads have already been made. Seek out digital footprints that can easily be searched years after they are done (things with permanence). These include print coverage (most print publications have an online component) and online coverage. Focus your marketing efforts on your local story, your regional story, national placement, and even international coverage where this specific book warrants. Your brand (you) needs to always be as close as an internet search. On all coverage, make sure the interviewer or the person who posts your guest blog always puts a link back to your website.

Bestselling books do not happen by accident. Your book is original. Your marketing plan will have to be, as well. Don’t follow anyone else’s plan. Do the work. If someone guarantees a preset plan without reading your book, run. Follow the three considerations mentioned above and you’ll be miles ahead of other writers. Why? Because you’ve taken the time to get to know your readers.

Clay Stafford is an international bestselling author, but also a former publicist for Universal Studios, PBS, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Stephen King, and more.