Avoid A Book Marketing Plandemic in 2023

woman making a book marketing plan

Let’s get your book marketing healthy and thriving this year. Here’s what the doctor recommends…

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

There is a marketing adage that says, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Unfortunately, most authors and publishers fail to plan. For example, when asked to define their target market, their response is, “Everybody.” When questioned on how they plan to market to everybody, their reply is to get into Barnes and Noble and then get active on social media. In other words, they plan to fail and open themselves to book marketing plandemic.

Thankfully, there is a way to prevent this affliction from occurring. Here are specific actions you can take to immunize yourself and avoid developing the plandemic — or cure it if you are already stricken.

Inject yourself with passion

Use your writing passion as the foundation for your book marketing passion and convey your sense of purpose to prospective buyers. Your enthusiasm will help them believe they can transfer the power of your content to themselves.

Have a big message, a big idea for how buyers can use your content. You inspire people when you have a dream that is bigger than theirs. According to Angela Duckworth (Character Lab), “I define grit as a combination of both perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Not just working hard, but also loving what you do.” The pursuit of happiness begins with the happiness of pursuit.

Don’t expose yourself to negativity

You cannot hang out with negative people and expect to live a positive life. APSS (Association of Publishers for Special Sales) member Anna Mhlambi says, “Your life is what it is today because of words spoken to you, in years past, by yourself or someone else who was responsible for you… Have you allowed your dreams to die because someone has told you that you are not good enough? Don’t give up hope — you can turn your life around.”

Negative people love to tell you what they really think of your book. But opinions are like noses — everyone has one (and they all smell). You are influenced by the people with whom you choose to surround yourself. Some say “No,” some say “Now,” and some say “Wow.” Choose wisely.

Distance yourself from self-limiting book marketing

Don’t succumb to these two killer plagues: selling only through bookstores and restricting your promotion activity to social media. There are more books sold every year to non-bookstore markets than the year before. These include retailers such as gift stores, airport stores, supermarkets, discount stores, etc., and non-retail segments such as corporations, associations, schools, and the military.

Do not rely only on social media for your communication with your target buyers. There are other promotional tools you can use at different times — online and offline — to accomplish your marketing goals. Create a more effective marketing campaign by adding these four actions to your promotion mix:

  1. Publicity (press releases, media appearance, podcasts, blogs, and book reviews).
  2. Digital advertising and direct marketing can reach many consumers simultaneously with the same message and at a relatively low cost per exposure.
  3. Sales promotions using giveaways and sales literature to remind and generate awareness.
  4. Personal selling at trade shows, networking events, and through sales calls on non-retail buyers.

Quarantine for seven days (the seven Cs of marketing)

Spend a week in solitude to think about your goals for next year and how you will reach them. Breathe life into your endeavors by organizing these Seven Cs of marketing into a functional, practical book marketing plan.

1. Customer

Who is your target buyer? Define your target readers with the Five Ws: Who are they (age, education, income)? Don’t forget non-bookstore buyers! What do they want to buy (printed book, eBook, audiobook)? Where do they shop? When do they buy? And Why do they buy (the problem they want to solve)?

2. Content

When people ask you about your book, do you describe it as a 6″x9” softcover book with 300 pages? Or does your description spring from your belief in your content and message and how you can provide value to the reader?

5 Steps to Self-PublishingPeople do not buy books per se, they purchase what the information can do for them. They do not want a diet book, they want to look more attractive and be healthy. Corporate buyers want to use your content to sell more of their products or motivate employees. Associations want more members. Schools want better students. Retailers want store traffic and higher profit per square foot. Librarians want to help their patrons. How can your content help people in each segment reach their goals?

3. Convenience

Three key factors for selling real estate or books are location, location, location. Have your books available where your customers shop rather than only where you want to sell them. Do your buyers shop in discount stores, airport stores, wholesale clubs, supermarkets, pharmacies, or dollar stores? If so, try to distribute through Symak Sales or ReaderLink so you can get your books placed on those stores’ shelves.

4. Communication

Writing your book does not get your message to people. You still must communicate your message to the right people at the right time. Get your target readers engaged with your communication by describing the benefits of your content. Customize your message to each target segment not by telling what your book is, but what it does. Connect with them through a message that is irresistible to the recipient.

5. Cost

Authors and publishers frequently misinterpret the concepts of price and cost. Price is what they consider necessary to cover their costs and provide a profit. Buyers do not care what the cost is to the publisher, but what the cost is to them. Is the value they get from reading your book worth the amount of money they spend to get it? What is the cost of available alternatives? Successful marketing recognizes that people are willing to pay more if they perceive the value worthy of the additional cost.

6. Competition

Some authors say they have no competition. If that is really the case, they should re-evaluate the size of the potential market. A book about how to start your own country probably has little competition — and even less opportunity for sales.

Regardless of what you may think, every book has competition. In retail sales, you compete for shelf space, media placement, airtime, readers’ wallets, reviewers’ time, etc. In corporate sales, you are competing against budget money, coffee mugs, and other sales-promotional products. Know how the value of your content stands in comparison.

7. Context

Do not fail to plan. Write to your passion but translate it into successful marketing performance with a plan. Organize the previous Six Cs into a purposeful, practical, and functional living plan.

Fuel up and get to work!

Planning is like laying track for a railroad. It establishes a solid foundation, provides a path to your destination, and controls deviation. And it helps you to continue moving toward your destination when uncontrollable or unforeseen events occur. But just as the track does not propel you forward, neither does your plan. Your passion and productive actions provide the fuel for the engine, taking you on your journey to success. Start planning now so you can start the new year full steam ahead.

Here are two acronyms to help you sail the Seven Cs of marketing toward a healthy, plandemic-free future:


Get FITT by increasing the Frequency (daily action), Intensity (passion), Time (that you apply to marketing), and Type (the assortment) of your book marketing actions.


DARE to do better every year. Discover new markets in which to compete; Adapt your marketing plans to better fit your books, personality, goals, and resources; Rid yourself of negative thoughts that could be dragging you down; Empower yourself so you do not let the naysayers hold you back.

I wish you success and happiness in whatever the future holds for you — or what you make it hold for you.

Book Publishing Plan guide

Related Posts
The Seven Steps Of Book Sales To Non-Retail Buyers
10 Secrets To Successful Book Marketing
Why Does Digital Book Advertising Matter?
How To Promote A Book On YouTube
Find And Create Opportunities To Sell Your Book



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.