A Roadmap for Book Marketing for Novelists

We novelists want to be read. Otherwise why would we publish our work? Well, it is so gratifying to hold the book and see it on the shelf. But it’s the readers’ joy in reading is what it’s all about. Otherwise, why publish?

To be read, we need to market our books. But how to do that can be overwhelming and feel like a big black box you can’t open because 1) there are so many choices out there on how to market; 2) there are so much advice on the “right” way to market that clashes — confusing!; and 3) you may be afraid to actually to do the work because of well, many reasons. (I’ll address this aspect more below.)

To bring some clarity and offer an overview roadmap, let’s start by defining our terms.

What is book marketing?

Marketing in the broadest sense is reaching those who you wouldn’t normally connect with and sharing your message with them. Marketing is a relationship. You’re putting a message out there in the hopes that people will see it, connect with it, and take an action or see it and feel something. Ideally both.

In today’s world, we can do this for free. All it requires is our time, attention, focus, and desire.

Your marketing message as a novelist can be many things specifically (more on that later), but in its essence you’re inviting potential readers and fans into the experience of your book, and they want that experience — whether they were actively (consciously) searching for it or not (subconscious desire).

As in all relationships, marketing requires that you know who you’re communicating with, why you’re communicating with them, and what the give/take relationship is.

By give and take, I mean that all healthy relationships are in balance. You give; the other one receives. They give; you receive. It feels good, reciprocal, and fair.

We want readers to buy (or borrow) our books and read them, but we can’t control that part of the equation. We don’t hit that BUY button; the reader does.

Your Marketing Message

Your marketing message requirements:

  • Keep it simple.
  • One experience per message. (Emotions!)
  • One invitation or request per message. (Also know as Call-to-Action or CTA.)
  • Craft your message for one audience, not everybody.

Types of Marketing Activities

I see marketing as any outreach activity, be it online, in person, involve your presence or just your marketing.These activities can include but is not limited to:

  • blogging
  • ads
  • live presentations
  • press releases
  • webinars
  • social media
  • email list
  • handing out bookmarks at the supermarket

What book marketing isn’t

Marketing is not selling or doing sales, though sales can be an end goal of marketing.

What are your goals for marketing your books?

We can market to influence people to buy our books, or we could market to spread awareness, or to invite people to subscribe to our blog or join our mailing list, or just follow us on social media.

Your Roadmap

This is a proposed roadmap and like all maps it’s only a way to get to where you want to go. It’s not THE way.

Here are the steps you can take.

1. You want to learn how to market your books, even though it may be hard, challenging, scary.

2. Know your WHY… know why you want to market your books.

3. What are your marketing goals? Specific outcomes invite you do specific marketing messages.

4. Define your values. What’s truly important to you?

5. Define the values conveyed through your novels.

6. Know your genre and how your book fits in it and is unique.

7. Define your Author Branding Statement and make it unique to you.

8. Know how you like to do outreach/marketing or be willing to explore what you like and what you don’t like.

9. Define your ideal reader by his or her demographics, and most importantly, psychographics.

10. Decide on a specific marketing message for a specific goal and craft a campaign to make it happen with start and end times.


If you would like to get help going through this roadmap, then check out our core class on marketing and branding for novelists here: https://school.bethbarany.com/p/branding-for-novelists. This course was built from over a decade of experience both as a novelist and helping authors and will save you a ton of time, frustration, and heartache. And it’s specifically for novelists.


Beth Barany, Coach and Teacher to Novelists, Author of PLAN YOUR NOVEL LIKE A PROFounder of Barany School of Fiction, Beth Barany is an award-winning novelist writing magical tales of romance, adventure, and mystery. She is also an international trainer and workshop leader. Most recently, she taught her “Plan Your Novel” course (now a book!) in Saudi Arabia at Ithra.


Beth loves encouraging writers to share their stories with the world, for together we can vision our future. She specializes in helping writers experience clarity, so they can write, revise, and proudly publish their novels to the delight of their readers.

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