If you’re a first-time author researching how to market a book, you’ll soon read about the importance of having a marketing plan to guide your campaign. Reaching target readers takes finesse and isn’t something that’s easily achieved is a random approach. Instead, it requires focusing on media and online opportunities related to your book. The need to plan affects fiction and nonfiction authors equally and includes identifying target media, developing key messages, crafting pitches, and deciding the optimal time to make them. Nearly always, you’ll want to be promoting your book as it is launched. Book marketing plans don’t need to be overly long, but they do need to include all the vital elements.

Knowing your audience is something you’ll need to develop a marketing plan and consider as you write your book – who will find it entertaining, interesting, or helpful? Writing the content to appeal to your audience’s interests will guide your marketing campaign to reach those readers. Many books today have several target audiences, and each may require specific media outreach. When all work together, you’ll have a larger potential audience of book buyers and better chances for success. Publicity strategies align with target audience segments and their interests.

Identifying competing authors and books is also helpful as you develop your marketing plan. You’ll be competing for the same readers, and you’ll need to explain why your book is the best one in its genre. Veteran publicists often remind authors that it takes more than telling people about your book. The trick is to position it as best without directly criticizing others. Setting a budget is also needed as you plan a marketing campaign. Be realistic, and don’t overspend, hoping for brisk sales. If they materialize, you can increase your spending as you go along. It’s essential to stay in line with your book’s revenue.

Many businesspeople and professionals today write books to promote themselves and their businesses. For them, the book PR campaign is more about personal visibility and business leads than selling books. For them, marketing budgets may be based on company sales and the need to promote to a broader audience. Therefore, spending more than an author who is only trying to spark book sales is reasonable. A definitive statement about your book also helps with marketing planning. It’s something that will appear in many of your materials and that you can use when talking to people.