How to Build a Marketing Plan for Your Nonfiction Book

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Day #21


Guest post by Stephanie Chandler (@bizauthor)

ID-100275908Before you launch a new book, it’s essential to build a marketing plan that will help you reach as many potential readers as possible. Without a plan, chances are high that you’ll sell very few copies. Consider the number of titles available on Amazon (well into the millions). Your book cannot rise to the top or even be found without assistance. You must go out and help bring readers to your book.

Marketing plans come in all types of formats. Yours can be written out in a document or developed as a checklist of tasks. I prefer the checklist format because marketing is task-driven and I like to check off the list as I go.

Here are some steps to take to begin building a book marketing plan:

  1. Define Your Audience: This step is essential and often overlooked by new authors. You need to identify your niche—whom you want to reach and how you will serve them. For example, if you’ve authored a book on healthy living, you will potentially cast a broad net if you try to reach anyone and everyone interested in this topic. But if you narrow your focus and market to stressed-out moms or people with food allergies, you’ll have an easier time locating—and connecting with—your audience.
  2. Study Your Competition: I don’t believe in obsessing about competition, but I do believe in being aware of what they are up to. Investigate the top three to five books that compete with yours, and figure out how your book is different. You will need this information to better position your book with readers.
  3. Write Great Sales Copy: You will need written copy for your book, which will go on the sales page, in promotional materials, in media announcements, and online. This copy should describe the benefits for the reader. What problems does your book solve? How will it enhance the reader’s life? Spend time crafting several versions of descriptive sales copy: short, medium, and long. Keep this handy, as you will find many reasons to use it as you go.
  4. Build Your Book Marketing Plan: Begin making a list of marketing tactics, and keep timelines in mind. There are tactics you will need to tackle before the book is released, during the initial launch, and on an ongoing basis. Here are some sample tactics:
    • Create a pre-sale page on my website with a purchase option
    • Build or purchase a list of media contacts
    • Send review copies out to media contacts
    • Book a venue for the launch party
    • Write an email announcement about the book for clients
    • Write an email announcement about the book for family and friends
    • Add the cover image to my social media headers
    • Update my social media bios to include the book title and purchase link
    • Send out media announcements

    Remember to build a timeline for your plan with dates so that you stay on track. Your plan may also include things like hiring people to help with the process (web designer, graphic designer, virtual assistant, social media manager, publicist, etc.).

You can download a free book marketing plan template here (Excel spreadsheet).

About the Author

Stephanie Chandler headshotStephanie Chandler is the author of several books, including The Nonfiction Book Marketing Plan: Online and Offline Promotion Strategies to Build Your Audience and Sell More Books. Stephanie is also CEO of Authority Publishing, specializing in custom book publishing and social media marketing services, and Nonfiction Authors Association, a marketing community for authors. A frequent speaker at business events and on the radio, she has been featured in Entrepreneur, BusinessWeek, and Wired magazine, and she is a blogger for Forbes.

Photo courtesy of hywards | Amazon links contain my affiliate code.


  1. This is a very useful article! And the “book marketing plan template”… wow… a treasure. Thank you, Stephanie & Nina!


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