I don’t have to tell you that marketing and Public Relations (AKA PR) can make or break your book launch (and long-term sales). If you’re not actively trying to connect with your target audience in meaningful ways, then it will be hard for you to grow your fan base. In a perfect world, your readers would come to you, but with so much other noise out there, you need to meet them at least half way to ensure they can find you.

Some companies promise results – to “get you out there” with their latest and greatest tactics and technologies – but the reality is that unless you have a brand foundation as an author in place, their efforts will fall flat as well. Also, just because something is the latest and greatest doesn’t mean it is right for your marketing efforts.

You have a lot of options available to you when it comes to marketing and PR, most of which need proper strategic planning. The challenge for you as an author is to pick the right options that will give you the highest return on your investment (of time AND money!). Once you decide how you want to market your book, you then need to put the work in to develop your strategy completely before you even think about executing.

Here are a few questions you should be able to answer before you embark on your marketing and PR strategy for your book launch:

  1. Who are you? We’re not going to get too philosophical here, but you should be able to tell your own personal story of who you are as an author and why your target audience should be interested in what you have to say.
  2. Who would be interested in your book? When you can answer this question, you will have identified your target audience. To get to your answer, think about the genre of your book(s) and the types of people that read those books. No sense marketing to someone who would never pick up your book to read!
  3. Why would your target audience want to purchase your book? This is an important step that is often skipped. You need to be able to articulate – in writing and when you are speaking to people – what makes your book so great. What sets you apart (your differentiators) from other authors in your genre (technically, your competitors!)?
  4. Where does your target audience hang out? Do a bit of research to find out where your target audience does their research, what organizations they belong to, their social media habits, and what their buying habits are. Once you can figure that out, you will have a better time picking your channels to use for your marketing and PR strategy.
  5. What are your goals? Once you have identified who you are and who would be interested in your book, you need to set goals so you can identify what a successful marketing & PR campaign would look like for you. Is it sign-ups for the pre-launch sale list? Book purchases? Launch event attendance? Audience chatter/participation?


When you can answer these five questions, you can sit down and use the information to decide what kind of marketing & PR strategy you should run. Your audience and your goals will dictate what channels you use to reach out and your differentiators will help you determine what type of content and messaging to use on each channel. While it means you need to invest more time in the beginning to help set yourself on the right track, it is worth it in the long-term.

If you do choose to work with an agency to help you build and run your marketing strategy, make sure they are willing to take the time to either build the foundations before you launch, or listen to what you have to say if you have already done that legwork.


Candace Huntly is the founder and Principal of SongBird Marketing Communications, a Toronto-based boutique firm that works with clients to take their strategy and brand to the next level. She is an expert at telling brand stories and getting them shared through the right channels. She is conducting one of the workshops at Author Summit 2015, PR for Authors.