Planning the most successful book marketing campaign requires knowing yourself and your audience well. Reaching target readers with compelling messages is necessary to gain visibility and generate sales. The campaign elements must highlight strengths, such as what makes your book better than others, and overcome challenges if they exist. It’s vital to plan your marketing and publicity program long in advance and be on time to execute it as your book launches. You’ll undoubtedly adjust your campaign as it unfolds, but a clear strategy and budget are needed for success.

Before anything else happens, you need to identify your book’s target readers. They are people who, because of their needs and experiences, are looking for information on your topic – or the type of entertainment you provide if you’re a novelist or other fiction writer. It works the same with media members who you’ll pitch, or have your publicist pitch, for coverage. Their continuing interest in your topic makes them likely to find the book interesting to write about or discuss. Their coverage in articles or interviews will help you reach their audiences, which in turn are members of your target reader groups.

If you’re interviewing publicists to promote your book, be clear with them and yourself about your expectations and intentions. Candid and advanced discussions about what’s possible for your book will ensure you’ll be satisfied with the campaign results and gain the most from experience. The classic reason for writing a book is to sell copies (or downloads), but other motivations are gaining popularity. For example, it’s increasingly common for business people to pen books to promote their businesses or themselves. Media tours for book launches are valuable publicity.

Most authors have short and long-term goals for each book project. The short-term ones are generally about book sales or media opportunities. The longer-term ones can be about business and career development, cultivating a ready-made audience for future books, or beefing up one’s resume. You also are wise to think through time requirements and your availability. When your book launches, you may spend several weeks meeting people online or traveling to promote it. For some writers, it can last a month or two, and you need to be available. You’ll get good results when you can put in the time.