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How to create an ultimate book marketing plan for authors

5 minute read

Publishing a book won’t make you a famous writer, but effective marketing will. After all, potential readers should find out that a new book has come out, which may brighten their leisure.

You don’t need to hire an advertising specialist to create an effective marketing plan. Do it yourself with our ultimate guide. Let’s dive in! 

1. Evaluate your current situation

First, let’s find out: Is this your first book, or are you already an experienced writer? It results in how well readers and the writing community know you and how well you know them.

If you are an aspiring indie writer, be ready to learn a lot: How the book market works, what the pros and cons of each self-publishing platform are, which company to choose, etc. This research requires a lot of time and effort. Therefore, here is a tip: If you decide to become an indie author, not only write a book but also study the industry in detail at the same time.

The next question is: Have you finished your book, or are you still working on it? This fact determines which marketing techniques you should apply. After all, it would help if you started doing something six months or a year before the publication of your book. For example, to collect an email list or create an author’s website.

In principle, you can catch up on all these steps, even if there are three months left before the release of your book. But it won’t be easy.

Also, think: What’s your superpower to stand out from your competitors? Do you have an atypical composition of a novel in the genre? Do you use unusual characters? Maybe you’re writing the world’s first alien and fantasy series. It is essential to show your uniqueness in the literary world.

What about your book cover and marketing materials? Eye-catching visuals are integral to your advertising messages on the website, social networks, and newsletters. If they’re not ready, hurry up.

2. Study your target audience

You can’t move forward without knowing your target audience. This information helps to find a unique approach to potential readers, using their tastes, preferences, and character traits.

Are you wondering how to determine your target audience?

  1. Start with defining your genre. This step will narrow down the audience from billions to millions of readers.
  2. Prepare a value proposition by answering the following questions:
  • What is your book about?
  • What’s your book’s aim?
  • Why must people buy your book?
  • How can your book influence someone’s life?
  • What emotions and mood does your book evoke?
  1. Create a detailed portrait of your reader. You must include demographics (gender, age, income level, education, family status, occupation, social status) and psychographics (interests, hobbies, opinions) here.

3. Analyze your competitors

Your competitors are writers who published books of the same genre, with the same target audience, and probably write on similar topics. That’s why there is no need to reinvent the wheel – learn from your rivals. Make their experience the basis for your marketing plan and improve it. 

How to analyze competitors?

  1. Go to a bookshop or visit the online Amazon store.
  2. Choose the book category of your genre.
  3. Select bestsellers.
  4. Make a list of bestselling authors.
  5. Explore their websites and social media pages and sign up for newsletters.
  6. Think like a reader, not as a rival. 

You should answer the following questions:

  • What type of content do they publish? 
  • How often do new posts appear? 
  • What is the audience’s reaction? 
  • What information do newsletters contain? 
  • What do you like or dislike most? 
  • What is missing?
  • What offline events do they visit? 

Write down your answers, highlight common things that work, and consider how you can supplement this plan.

4. Set your goals and deadlines

Time to move on to specific actions – set goals and a timeline. Remember: Don’t expect to achieve all possible goals with one marketing plan. Each aim needs particular tactics. 

Instead, choose 1 or 2 goals. It’s particularly relevant for aspiring authors. You should concentrate your effort and time on one aim to achieve it, then do tons of things at once and don’t get any results. 

Remember that a writer’s career is a long-term job, so you don’t need to achieve everything right now.

What goals to choose? Let’s be honest: If this is your first book, you shouldn’t aim to get rich. Aspiring authors should work on building recognition and developing a fan base.

Here are some examples of goals you can set:

  • Get new readers
  • Sell 1000 books in 6 months
  • Get an invitation to the TV show
  • Reach out to a famous literary podcast
  • Organize a public speaking event
  • Earn 2000 dollars
  • Become an Amazon category best-seller.

Setting a goal in general terms isn’t enough. Add specific numbers to them. For example, instead of ‘Sell a lot of copies,’ try ‘Sell 1000 copies.’ 

Also, it’s essential to set deadlines; for instance: Get 100 new readers in 6 months.

These numbers and dates help track your marketing plan’s progress and effectiveness. They will show that something doesn’t work and needs to be changed.

5. Assess your budget

Unlike traditionally published writers, indie authors pay for everything themselves. Therefore, estimating the budget, you can spend on marketing is vital. After all, some methods require money (for example, Facebook ads or creating a website). Other tactics are free but need time (blogging or social media posting).

If your budget is limited, prefer cheap or free marketing tactics. Fortunately, the digital age provides many of them. However, remember that some things should not be skimped on, such as the book cover design, as it is the basis for all promotions.

6. Choose the right strategy and tactics

Well done! Now you know your current situation and target audience and even set specific goals. It’s time to develop a marketing strategy with particular tactics.

This strategy should be based on your goals and the time remaining until your book is published. It is better to use fewer tactics, which will 100% bring results.

You should understand that if your book comes out in a week, you will hardly have time to collect a vast email list of potential readers. If you want to add ARC readers’ reviews, you need to take care of this a few months before the book’s release by sending them your manuscript.

Here’s a little guide to help you figure out what to do depending on how much time is left until the book’s release:

  • 6 months or 1 year before release:
    • Sign up on social media
    • Create an author’s website
    • Start collecting email list
    • Develop your blog
  • 1-3 months before release:
    • Order a book cover and marketing materials
    • Find ARC readers
    • Keep blogging and developing your social media pages
  • 1-2 weeks before release
    • Publish reviews
    • Send newsletters
    • Announce the release through your channels
    • Plan offline events.

As you can see, it is better to start marketing the book as early as possible.

Here is also a list of tactics you can use in your strategy depending on your goal:

  • Create a book trailer
  • Do a book cover reveal
  • Cooperate with fellow authors
  • Start a podcast
  • Visit book festivals and events
  • Start Facebook and Instagram ads campaign
  • Write guest posts for literary resources
  • Give an interview on the radio
  • Create printable stuff for your readers
  • Make a virtual book tour
  • Start TikTok account.

You can find more tips on how to build an effective marketing plan by joining Getcovers free email course.


Every marketing plan starts with evaluating your current situation. You should understand how much time you have before the book release, what makes you different and what you already know about self-publishing.

Then it’s vital to study your target audience to find a unique approach to potential readers. And don’t forget about competitors. Their selling experience can become the basis for your marketing plan.

While setting goals, add specific numbers and deadlines to track your marketing effectiveness. Choose tactics that suit your aims, time, and budget.

Use our free template to make developing your marketing plan easy and convenient.

Have you ever created a book marketing plan? What was the most challenging part?

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Vasylysa In her spare time, Vasylysa likes reading books, writing fiction, gardening, and walking. She hopes to publish her own book and become a famous author one day.
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