Book Proposal Basics – Your Marketing Plan

Your proposal is where you tell the editor and agent how you will partner with them to market your work. This can be a challenging section to write. The idea is to present the connections (platform) that you have or can create to promote and sell your book. These are things that a major publisher cannot do for you.

Here are a few ideas, though this list is by no means exhaustive:

Social Media

Here is where you include the links you have on social media. Include the number of followers you have. Start with where you are most visible. As you write your book, spend about a half hour a day on social media to build numbers on at least one or two platforms to show you can reach readers who are interested in you. Make this a fun part of your day. Choose one or two platforms that you enjoy and concentrate on those. Be present on others as well so readers who prefer those platforms can find you.

Be sure to include your web site and blog, if you have one.


A newsletter shows that you are making genuine connections and not just meaningless numbers. Since newsletter subscribers have to opt in to receiving news from you, these are legitimate contacts. I know, I know – we all want the big numbers, but we also want to show that people are looking specifically for us and our names because of a personal connection. Many publishers view this as more important than a huge following on Twitter because some followers are bots, not real people.

Read Nathan Exley’s post “3 Ways to Grow Your Author Newsletter” for help.”

Build a Launch Team

Your launch team is a collection of people who will use their networks to help your book sell beyond your own connections. Thomas Umstattd has a great post on talking about creating a team for your book.

Be Friendly

Include a few personal tidbits that you don’t mind the public knowing. Be bright and cheerful. Have fun!


Your turn:

What marketing helps can you add?

What is your favorite social media platform?

Where do you find out about books on social media?

Which author has the best social media presence, in your opinion?


18 Responses to Book Proposal Basics – Your Marketing Plan

  1. Avatar
    Maco Stewart May 2, 2019 at 5:15 am #

    Thanks, Tamela. I’ve been working on an author Facebook site to drive traffic to my (God willing finished this weekend) author website. One thing I’ve been playing with is the boosting function for business Facebook posts, to see what people like and/or engage with the most. People go wild, of course, for funny/true/poignant images/emojis. I’ve never spent more than fifteen dollars doing this, but sometimes the results go far beyond what they predict. Generally speaking, the more amusing, the wider the appeal. I believe the email list is the most useful thing to cultivate.

  2. Avatar
    Terry Whalin May 2, 2019 at 6:55 am #


    Thanks for this article about the marketing section in proposals. Yes the concept is important but this section is a critical element in every proposal. Social media is good but does the author have an email list and how many people are on that email list? The more numbers they can include the better from my experience. When I worked inside a Christian publisher many years ago a number of key members of the pub board (vice presidents of sales or marketing for example) told me they always flipped to the marketing section first–then if it had something of merit they would return to the first page and read from there. I found it very telling about the importance of a solid marketing section.

    Straight Talk From the Editor

  3. Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser May 2, 2019 at 7:09 am #

    Marketing’s a fight uphill,
    and you’ve got to build a tribe,
    so I’m talking with a crystal
    to crack that cosmic vibe.
    The astrologer I’ve hired
    is charting planets’ courses,
    and I’m feeling real inspired;
    he predicts celebrity divorces.
    You’ll soon meet my shaman,
    he said he would be coming,
    and he’ll summon all the laymen
    with cool mystical drumming.
    And if all by the wayside falls
    I’ve got a box of voodoo dolls.

  4. Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser May 2, 2019 at 7:27 am #

    Tamela, if I may add a PS…

    Rachel Held Evans, a client of Rachelle Gardner at Books and Such, is gravely ill, and in a medically-induced coma.

    She and her family need our prayers; she’s got two very young children.

    You can follow updates posted by her husband here:

  5. Avatar
    Jennifer Mugrage May 2, 2019 at 7:29 am #

    No book >>> nothing to put in a newsletter
    No newsletter list >>> no agent or publisher will ever look at your book

    I’m not on FB or Twitter. I don’t find out about books through social media … I find them via personal connections IRL, blogs, “often bought together” on Amazon, and physically browsing in the library.

    I blog about my research and related topics, and I’ve met some great people through this.

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray May 2, 2019 at 7:38 am #

      Actually, Jennifer, you can write an author newsletter. You can talk about your journey to publication, the ins and outs, ups and downs. And you can add a few personal items like favorite recipes, holiday gathering stories, pictures of pets, whatever. Hope this helps!

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray May 2, 2019 at 7:43 am #

      Oh, and allow me to add, that it’s a good idea to get on social media, on the platform you use and enjoy most. Keep those personal connections, too!

  6. Avatar
    Damon J. Gray May 2, 2019 at 7:37 am #

    Tamela, I am really enjoying this series, and I thank you for faithfully presenting it week after week. I’m saving every one of them for future reference!

  7. Avatar
    Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D. May 2, 2019 at 8:46 am #

    HI Tamela:
    I post on my website and blog twice a week, each. I then put a link for my Facebook friends ans ask them to share my postings. Sometimes, they actually do it! I need to work on my platform more, for certain.

  8. Avatar
    Kay Turner May 2, 2019 at 6:23 pm #

    This is such valuable information. Thank you for guiding us through the maze, and for providing us with tips and inspiration.

    I particularly love the comment about how a newsletter can be more effective than Twitter, and I love your suggestions for content.

    All of you are so helpful, and so encouraging. I love your daily emails, and save every one of them.


  9. Avatar
    Bryan Mitchell May 3, 2019 at 5:09 am #

    I got a lot of work to do on building my platform. I added a MailChimp widget to my blog, which I haven’t used in ages. About to revamp it with something more relevant to what I’m doing. Thanks for these tips. One thing I’ll add is using StoryOrigin, where you can share mailing lists and potentially increase the number of subscribers. I haven’t used it yet. I still need to get the blog back in action and add a few more subscribers as well.

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