Book Marketing by Ned Barnett

Book Launch Plan &
Ongoing Book Marketing Plan


The following is an outline of an effective book launch & marketing plan, one based not only on extensive experience in the launching & ongoing promotion of non-fiction & how-to books, but also on several specific book-launch & book-marketing plans I recently created for client authors, including one that I created earlier this month. This is up-to-date information, useful for both novelists & non-fiction book authors.

The strategies & tactics are well-established as both effective & cost-effective. These strategies are offered in outline form; consider this a “menu” of options to adopt & implement when making your own specific book marketing plan.


While you can wait until your book is written, edited, designed & produced before you start thinking about marketing & promotion, take my advice & create your own plan (in outline) at least three months in advance. This will give you time to pull together the tools you’ll need before you launch your book, so that the moment you say “start the presses” you can already be in full marketing mode.

Do it now & you’ll thank me later.

• Create the tools needed for launch

o Real-World Promotion
 Procure or create home-town area, regional & national media lists
• Types of media contacts
o Reporters
o Editors – Newspapers
o Editors – Topical Magazines
o Editors – Topical online news sites
o Show bookers & producers (broadcast, satellite & online radio talk shows)
o Show bookers & producers (cable, broadcast & online TV news & talk shows)
o Topical bloggers
o Topical podcast programs
• Target
o Topical media contacts (what’s your book about?)
o Lifestyle media contacts (authors are “lifestyle”)
o Business media contacts (if your book is a business or how-to non-fiction books)
 Promote to & through real-world groups related to your topic:
• Identify topical groups in your market area
o Local chambers of commerce
 Specialized topical (Black, Hispanic, etc.) chambers
 Regional (hometown & outlying communities)
o Local business & professional society list
o Local writers groups
• Find them online
o Google Search
o Meetup Search
• Attend & participate in topical group meetings
• Seek to be scheduled as a topical guest speaker
• Secure opportunities for placing articles in the groups’ newsletters
 Create News on demand: Online Surveys
• Focus surveys on your novel’s “issue” or background topic; OR,
• Focus surveys on your non-fiction book’s core theme or topic
• Pre-launch, conduct a series of 6-12 online market research studies to be used to create on-demand press coverage
o Release two during the pre-launch period
o Release four during the launch to sustain press interest
o Release six every couple of weeks after launch
 Survey your book’s topic (novel or non-fiction)
 Survey public’s relative interest in your topic
 Survey “what-ifs” related to your topic
 Surveys topical lifestyle tips
• Publicize findings
o Write up findings
o Release them to the news media
o Leverage the value of the findings to get on-camera, on-mic or other interviews
 Pre-launch publicity
• Email promotions about your book:
o To existing contact lists
o To purchased, targeted contact lists
• Pre-launch press outreach to schedule press interviews
o Press releases
o Press tips
o Media advisories
o Press pitches
• Position yourself as a topical expert with media decision-makers

o Create Blogs, Social Media & Online Pre-Launch Promotion Tools
 Create a book website (or at least a book section of an existing website)
• First, create a website outline plan (think of it as an architectural drawing of the website) – your website outline should include:
o Home/About (about the book)
 Videos
 Newsletter
• Include a sign-up page
• Include an archive of past newsletters
o Author as Speaker Page (include calendar & promotional tools)
 Speakers Pitch Kit
 Videos of talks given
o News Media Page
 Author bio/backgrounder (not a resume or CV, but an engaging narrative, a “selling bio”)
 Include downloadable author & book cover photos
 Kudos & testimonials
• Pre-publication praise for this book
• Praise for previous books (if any)
 Press releases/press advisories
 Existing press coverage (not links, but the actual coverage, because links sometimes “disappear”)
o Social Media (links)
o Buy Now Page
 Link to Amazon/Affiliate page
 Direct sale page (including autographed books)
 Gear and Swag (hats, t-shirts, coffee mugs, etc.)
o Contact
 How to reach you as the author for:
• News Media Interviews
• Speaking Invitations
• Other Contacts
 Include a special “book” email just for this purpose
o Ask the author (FAQs)
• Create the website in WordPress
• Include a blog section (including video blogs)
o The written blog section should include:
 A series of 6-12 book-related blogs to load pre-launch
 Another 6-12 “timeless” blogs ready to be posted
 Create an ongoing inventory of timeless blogs
• Maintain an inventory of 6-12 ready to go
• Work off inventory instead of scrambling
o The video blog section should include:
 A series of 6-12 short video blogs to load pre-launch
 An inventory of 6-12 other ready-to-go video blogs
 All of them featuring or hosted by you as author
 Create some featuring a guest interviewer on camera
 Maintain a series of 6-12 on-tap (timeless) videos
• Make the website clean, accessible & informative (not gimmicky)
• Make sure the book’s website is bullet-proof (this is like proofing a book)
 Create your book’s Social media pages for:
• Facebook
• Twitter
• LinkedIn (especially if your book is a business/self-development book)
• YouTube
• Others Social Media Platforms (based on recommendations of your “personal Social Media team” – people you know & trust who understand Social Media better than you do)
• Don’t overdo it – three or four is about all most can keep up with
 Become a member of all possible online Facebook and LinkedIn groups
• Focus on groups that touch on the your book topics
• Learn each online group’s rules (& follow them lest you get banned)
• Begin participating – become known in groups pre-launch
o Provide book topic-appropriate tips or observations
o Reply to others’ posts leaning on your expertise
o Always note your post is taken “from the forthcoming book”

o Sales & marketing
 Create a professional “graphic standards” kit based on the website’s design
• This will allow all tools created to have a “family” look
• This will make all tools look professional, even on a budget
 Identify target markets for bulk novel or non-fiction book purchasers
• For all such groups, target decision-makers:
o Topically-related business execs
o Topically-related business HR execs
o Topically-related business association execs (chambers, etc.)
o Topically-related business Non-Profit organization execs
o Topically-related business Trade association execs
 For example, Tom Clancy sold thousands of copies of his first novel, Hunt for Red October, through the US Naval Institute, a non-profit membership organization
 Lawrence Block example
• He created a character (Hit Man series) who was also a stamp collector when he wasn’t killing people for hire
• Suddenly, Block was:
o Being interviewed in stamp collecting magazines
o Speaking at stamp collector conventions
o Selling a LOT of books to an audience he’d otherwise not have reached
 Don’t forget topical or general book clubs
• Churches (if the book has a faith-based elements
o Use cover art to create monogrammed swag to sell online to fans:
• Coffee mugs
• T-shirts, polo shirts & hoodies
• Baseball caps
 Initially sell your swag on Café Press
 When volume builds, produce & sell directly
 Use swag to generate revenue while building a proud, loyal fan base
 Also use swag as:
• Marketing promotional tools
• Give-aways
• Thank-you gifts
• Cross Promotion
o Tie in with:
 Any existing books you’ve published
 Any consulting or other business you operate

Launching the Book

• Launch publicity (building demand)
o Facebook groups – offer tips or insights “based on the ___ book”
o Email launch details to your platform
o Issue press releases & conduct press interviews
 Press releases
• About the book & the launch of the book
• About launch events
• About breaking news linked to the book’s topic
• Conduct online market research themed to the topic
 Press events
• Topical book/news press conference
• Donation events (donating books or proceeds to topically-related non-profit)
• Position yourself as a topical media “expert”
o Expertise is “based on the forthcoming book”
o This works for novels, too – some novelists who’ve done this include:
 Clive Cussler
 Tom Clancy
• Note – both Clancy and Cussler were guests on the History Channel Modern Marvels program I hosted, “Submarine Disasters,” based on their novelistic topical expertise
 Brad Thor
 Vince Flynn
 John Gresham
 Lawrence Block
o Guest Blogs “based on the ___ book”
• Launch parties
o Platform party – invite those locals already in your network
o Fund-raising party (for selected charity or cause)
o Bookstore parties
o Other Parties
 Thematic target Market parties
 Alumni Association
 Church (if you’re a member)
 Civic groups (local)
 Writer’s groups (local & regional)
 Virtual parties (online parties)
o Party agendas:
 Welcome everyone with a brief talk, 3-5 minutes tops
 Have a big-screen 3-5 minute video introducing the book & its topic or concept – this video should
• Not repeat what you just said
• Not run more than 5 minutes – shorter really is better
• Lots of MTV flash (fast-cuts, not long scenes)
• Include, if appropriate, topical celebrity cameos
o Sports/entertainment figures
o Local media figures
o Local prominent pastor
o Local prominent politician (non-controversial)
 Hold a raffle/silent auction for a designated charity
• Raffle/auction consumer gifts donated by local businesses
• Raffle/auction consumer gifts donated by topical business allies
• Offer your book (one for each raffle winner, or for each big-ticket item winner)
• Sell raffle tickets (revenue) donated to a named charity
• Grand prize – a weekend with you in a great “party” city
 Cause Marketing book signing – “a portion of each book sale goes to charity”
o Make the parties:
 Fun
 Festive
 Informative
 Charitable/cause-oriented
 Low-Key your sales efforts
 Always have book signings, and stay as long as people keep lining up
• Platform Marketing
o Enlist your platform to create:
 Beta Readers
 Launch Day Reviews
• Amazon
o It helps if they buy your book before they review it
o Offer a low-cost/no-cost Kindle book on Day-One
• Goodreads
 Referrals
 Sales – books and swag
• Coordinate Amazon Sales
o Set a date and a time
o Leverage the platform to reach the Amazon Bestseller list on Day-One
o Mobilize on Social Media
o Mobilize using email
o Consider using a Kindle marketing service to achieve
 Fast, favorable reviews
 Early sales
 Category Bestseller status
 Having read his three books on Kindle marketing, I recommend:
• Richard McCartney, Kindle Book Promotions
• (
• Contact me for an introduction and a discount

Creating & Using Sales-Oriented Buzz to Sell Books

• Topical Non-Profit Organization Volume Sales

o Identify target groups tied to your book’s theme (fiction or non-fiction)
o Create programs to incentivize group participation such as:
 Stage an organization-specific book-themed video-production contest
• Registration fees to attend talk go to sponsoring organization
• Part of registration fees go to purchasing the book (the host organization has to buy the book in appropriate quantity to participate in the contest)
o The group can become an Amazon affiliate & channel your book’s sales through there
o Offer volume/bulk sales (including host-group “branded” book bulk sales) to groups who find your message on-target
 Using books for organizational fund-raising
• Loss-leaders for public fund-raising donations to PBS, NPR stations
• Create video, audio hour-length programming (with on-air fund-raising donuts) to tie PBS, NPR stations to the book
o Motivational Speakers/Motivational Programs
o Churches – if the book is topically-appropriate, (this includes many how-to & even some novels):
 Develop a program for churches, to help their parishioners (with the topic of the book)
 Create Church-oriented book-themed small group study guides – packages for churches, including
• The book
• Spin-off booklets (consider, for kids & young adults, comic books)
• Suggestions for sermons
• Small-group bible study, including videos
 Develop a book-themed sermon contest with donated cash prizes
• Include special program for kids & young adults
• Include age-specific & life-phase-specific programs for adults
 Set up ways (Skype, for instance) to provide “live” programs where you talk with them (& videotape these talks for use by other churches)
 Offer to speak at these churches in Sunday School, bible study &/or church services on dealing with book’s topic (where appropriate) – where you (or they) would sell books that you’d then autograph
o Community Centers & Senior Centers
 Create a secular book-topic-themed program that is in other ways comparable to the church program
 Attend events to speak & sell (autographed) books
o Alumni Association
 Speaking events (with reading & signing)
 Books for re-sale (fund-raising)
o Consider creating a book-topic summit event that would bring together experts to explore new & alternative ways of dealing with the book’s topic
o Create a 501(c)3 not for profit, the (book topic) Foundation
 Use it to funnel & tax-sheltered income (ask your CPA or attorney how to do this legally) through cause marketing – at least a percentage of each sale going to this worthy cause (check the Harvard Business Review, November, 1996, for insight into the positive impact of cause marketing)
 Use it as a recipient for donated funds, which you would use to support your movement (the movement being a non-profit can only help it to grow)
 Use it as a “think tank” to prepare documents useful for marketing purposes, paying it a donation in exchange for the documents
 Use it to build credibility with the news media – with you as Executive Director or Chair, you’ll have another element of credibility
 Use it to create a dba publishing company, which will reduce taxable income & make it easier to funnel revenues & income through this tax-exempt non-profit
 Use it as a credibility “front” when dealing with other non-profit causes, including churches, youth organizations, community & senior centers, colleges & universities, etc.

• For-Profit Organizations
o Businesses linked to the book’s topic
o Self-Help Organizations (if appropriate)
o Motivational Speakers’ Organizations

Leveraging Your Book for Media Success

• Use the book as credibility to generate breaking-news topical press coverage
o Identify topics to be covered – create Google Alert key-word searches
o Create news media contact list
 Reporters
 Editors – Newspapers
 Editors – Topical Magazines
 Editors – Topical online news sites
 Show bookers & producers (broadcast, satellite & online radio talk shows)
 Show bookers & producers (cable, broadcast & online TV news & talk shows)
 Topical bloggers
 Topical podcast programs
o Identify breaking news events tied to the book’s topic
o As soon as the event breaks, develop a “take” on the breaking news topic that ties your “take” to the book
o Write a short, pithy, high-impact blog (basically, what you’d say in a radio/TV interview) – 250 to 750 words will do
o Write a brief, hard-hitting email pitch to news media targets (include link to blog)
 Begin with credentials (“I am the author of …”)
 Say why you’re writing (“I can put this breaking news into context for your audience”)
 A one- or two-sentence pitch on what you’d say
 Include the link (“Here’s basically what I’d tell your audience”) to the blog
• (More detail on how to) create your own news using a survey
o Make sure that your questions will elicit newsworthy information regardless of the results
o Conduct periodic SurveyMonkey online market research on elements of the book topic to generate compelling, media-friendly “statistics,” with book-related topics
o Conduct targeted SurveyMonkey online market research about specific breaking news stories that will help the media put the story in context
o Analyze the findings in terms of the newsworthy hooks
o Write a short, pithy, high-impact blog (basically, what you’d say in a radio/TV interview) – 250 to 750 words will do
o Write a brief, hard-hitting email pitch to news media targets (include link to blog)
 Begin with credentials (“I am the author of …”)
 Say why you’re writing (“I can put this fascinating research into context for your audience”)
 A powerful one- or two-sentence pitch on what you’d say
 Include the link (“Here’s basically what I’d tell your audience”) to the blog
o Solicit & write guest editorials when topical breaking news hits (USA Today, etc.)
o Write blogs & guest blogs when topical breaking news hits (search out blog sites in advance that would be ideal for these)
o Court controversy (this creates news, which the media likes)
 Publicly challenge “experts” who give bad topical advice (in the media)
 Make bold claims about your insights into the topic
 Find other ways of being constructively controversial – don’t go overboard, but be sufficiently controversial to be newsworthy
o Create elevator pitches for all occasions
o Create & submit topical “contributed articles” (which are like blogs, but which target publication in the news media) along with guest editorials
o Provide targeted members of the news media with review copies of your book
 Identify the format they prefer (Kindle, print, audio, etc.)
 Make sure they actually write reviews of books
 Make sure they reviews that cover your book’s topic area
 Determine what format they’d like (print, digital, audio)
 Include with the book a pre-written review, such as one written by “Professor Ned Barnett” (i.e., any person with credentials) – because often the news media doesn’t have time to read & review a book, but they will publish an authoritative book review)

Leveraging Your Book for Business-Development Success

• Create a fan-based platform of followers who could become individual clients, referral sources, readers & more
o Create a Facebook Group targeting your fan base
 Invite fan targets to join & participate in that group
 Post to this group anywhere from 1-to-7 times per week (posts can be scheduled) – no more than two per day (unless replying to comments) as you don’t want to overload your fans
• You should create at least one blog per week based on your book
• You should promote the blogs (& companion video blogs) on your FB page & via social media to your platform/fan-base
 Include links to your web page blogs, news stories, other of-interest material
 Include contests (video testimonial contests, etc.)
• Include member & non-member voting for best video – but DO NOT allow the votes to actually decide the winners – you do that
• Offer as a prize a weekend in Vegas or Orlando or even NYC or Washington DC where you & the winner can “hang out” at a few key places, especially those thematically-tied to the book
 Invite members to create reviews on Amazon
 Invite members to create video reviews for your YouTube channel (you decide which ones are appropriate & control posting)
 Include live-streaming video webinar events
 Include incentive programs for referral-development (getting fans to “share the wealth” by inviting others to become fans
 Invite members to contribute stories, anecdotes, etc., for future/forthcoming books (give them a chance to get some skin in the game)
 Include a calendar & invite fans to come to your events wherever they are
o Be active in no more than three or four Social Media sites (for instance, Facebook, Twitter & either Instagram or Pinterest (or, for more business orientation, LinkedIn), along with YouTube, which is vital but separate
 Create at least one video blog per week to post on YouTube that is topical to your book
o Identify the targets – what organizations or individuals do you want to target (i.e., who do you want to have as clients)
 By type or purpose
• Churches
• Senior centers
• Community centers
• Chambers of Commerce
• Trade and professional societies
• Author groups (this can work for all published authors)
• Schools & colleges, including alumni associations
• Other ______
 By financial structure (non-profit/for-profit)
 By geographic region
 By other factors
 Individual targets (what are their characteristics
o Create contact lists (consider using Fiverr or similar)
o Create Facebook Groups targeting each of these markets
 Invite targets to participate in those groups
 Post to those groups from 1-to-7 times per week (posts can be scheduled in advance)
 Include links to your web page blogs, news stories, other of-interest material
o Kindle Promotions (as noted above, use Richard McCartney’s service, Kindle Book Promotions) – – in my estimation, he’s the best (I’ve read his three books & talked with him extensively)
• Create video “trailers” for your book & post to YouTube
• Join the Independent Book Publishers Association & use their marketing services for specific promotions (libraries, for instance, or book fairs)
• Aggressively court the LVCVA convention center’s list of incoming events, pitching yourself as a “last minute” speaker to cover cancelations
o Have programs ready for “luncheon speeches,” “spouse program speeches” & “after-dinner speeches” (at least these three)
o Create video samples (90-seconds to three minutes, tops) of you talking on these topics
o Create a series of pithy, hard-hitting pitch emails
o Stay on top of this
• Publish a new edition every year – use the same basic book, but add just enough new material to justify a “new” edition – this will increase chances for media book reviews & keep the book “current” (think of the “what color is my parachute” series as a model)

Review Your Plan

Every 90 days, review your plan & update it based on what’s working & what’s not working.

Every six months, review your plans for follow-up books to keep the pipeline filled (you want to publish at least two books a year for five years, but these can be targeted spin-offs of your core book, such as “Livin’ The Dream” After A Divorce/After the Death of a Child/ (etc.)

Every year, publish an update of your core book, & use this as an excuse for new reviews, new book tours, etc.

Keep reading – stay on top of not only your topic, but the latest “word” in promoting ebooks & POD print books, & use what you learn to enhance your book sales strategies.