When Should Book Marketing Begin?

Many first-time authors don't spend much time thinking about book marketing until they've finished writing their book, perhaps when they're putting together a book proposal. However, you should think about your book marketing strategy well before getting to that point.

"What can I do to market a book that doesn't even exist yet?" you might ask. Good question.

Here are three specific book promotional activities that you can focus on early on:

Market Research

If you care about your book selling and actually reaching readers, you must conduct some form of market research. This is when you determine if there's even an audience out there looking for the kind of book you want to write. It's also when you look into the competition so you can tell if your planned market is already over-saturated or if there is still plenty of room for a new author or book. That's not to say the market has to determine whether or not you pursue every book idea you have. But it would be foolish to write a book that you plan to sell without at least understanding your target market first.


Something else you can start working on early is your author platform. Not sure what an author platform is or if it applies to you? Read "What is an Author Platform?" first.

Book Marketing Plan

You should also focus on your book marketing plan from the start. What kind of marketing budget will you have? Where will you promote your book online? Offline? Will you seek out speaking engagements, organize book tours, or plan other events? If you plan for this book to be part of a series, how will you promote your series branding in addition to this single title? Now is the time to lay out your plan so you can build appropriate relationships and save enough to cover the marketing tactics you want to pursue so you won't be left scrambling when your book is ready to launch.

Can you think of other book marketing ideas that can be pursued before your book is written? If you've already published a book, do you wish you would have been better prepared for the marketing side of things, or did you start early so you could jump right in at launch time?

This was originally published at BusyAuthors.com.

Profile image for Jennifer Mattern

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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6 thoughts on “When Should Book Marketing Begin?”

  1. Nice post for writers just starting to think about marketing! All the info & advice out there can get overwhelming. Speaking of book marketing, I just downloaded your “One Page Marketing Plan Template” from the Resources section and am finding it very helpful in getting more organized! Thanks 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by Keri. I agree. There’s a lot of advice out there. And unfortunately a lot of it is bad advice. Weeding through the garbage (like “you should post links for people to buy your book on all of your social media accounts each day”) is a bit of an art. My suggestion would be to stick with people who have a solid foundation in marketing and PR. They know what they’re doing, and they know how to adapt new tools to reach those goals. The risk comes from listening to too many other authors and thinking that something that worked for them automatically translates into “everyone should do this.”

      I’m glad the template helped. 😉

  2. I think it’s important for authors to build their personal brand before they publish. Reserving a Twitter handle, creating an author website and Facebook page, etc. allow the author to present themselves professionally. When searched by either potential readers (or even a publisher) they will have a presence and be taken more seriously.

    • Definitely Karina. It’s always smart to start building your platform before you publish (and if you failed to do so and already published, you really need to start now). It’s also important for authors to remember that this can be as important for fiction authors as it is for nonfiction authors. The example tactics and tools you mentioned are a good place to start.


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