SMART Book Marketing Strategies Every Author Needs to Know

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SMART Book Marketing Strategies Every Author Needs to Know


Image (c) Maira Kouvara


If you have ever googled the term “Goals” you have probably come across the SMART mnemonic for goal setting. But, just in case you haven’t: SMART goals are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Results-Focused and Timely (or some variation along those lines, depending on who you ask.)

SMART goal setting is the tried and true method for setting EFFECIVE goals and for reaching those goals. But I want to talk to you about how you can apply SMART goal setting to your Book Marketing Strategies.

SMART Book Marketing Strategies that Every Author Needs to Know

To Ignite Book Sales and Fan Engagement


Example of a stupid Author Strategy: Sell a lot of books, be a huge success, get published by one of the Big Guys, be on the Best Seller lists.

Oh, sure. I hear you. “Those aren’t stupid goals. That sounds pretty great to me.” I know, right? Me too.

The thing is, as far as goals go ,these are pretty lousy from the stand point of having a plan to act on. What is a plan right, but a goal laid bare in all her naked glory and undressed down to the barest detail?

So, before you do anything. Before you even plan to do anything, you must know what you are hoping to achieve. You must set a SMART goal before you can have an effective book marketing strategy.

What is a SMART goal for an author? There is no one-size-fits all answer, so I’m sorry if you were looking for one. But there is that lovely old trope, SMART, to teach you to create a SMART goal that fits what success looks like to you. Since, over the course of the life cycle of any one book and over the life span of your writing career, you will have the opportunity to set goals for yourself many times, learn how to set goals that you can use.

A book marketing strategy that centers around SMART goals will take you places.


Specific goals are, I’m not going to lie, probably the hardest part of any book marketing strategy. It’s a great reason to get it out of the way first thing. Specific goals have big ol’ fat numbers written all over them. What goals you set depend on what is important to you in your career as an author. What success looks like for your first novel might not be your measurement of success on your fifth novel. But, one thing is certain, having clearly stated, specific goals to guide your book marketing strategy is Charlie Sheen at a Hookers and blow contest: winning.


Specific Goal examples: 


Book Sales/ download Percentage increase in sales/ downloads (what percent increase?)Hit a target number of sales/ downloads (what number?)
Social Media Number of fans/ followersRankings ScoresIncrease in Engagement Metrics
Recognition Reach # rank on best sellers listsGet a # of reviews
Professional Attend a conference (name the conference)Have X published by (format,  date, etc)
Writing Complete, start, reach milestone in (project)Reach target word count/ page countwrite every day for x days in a row



If you have been specific enough in stating your goals, measuring them should be very easy to do. [some tool assembly may be required but that’s a different post] If you are self published, you should know how to check your books sales stats. If your publisher provides you with statements, you should be able to read and understand the information. 

Beyond knowing if you reach your goals, being able to measure along the way allows you to adjust course if you aren’t on track so break your goals down into measurable chunks as well.

Example of a non-specific, non-measurable goal: Gain a wider fan base on facebook. Are you successful if you spend $20 on an ad campaign and you gain one new like?

A measurable goal would be to increase engagement by 50% this month. If by the 2 week point you are not seeing an increase in post clicks, likes or shares then you can adjust your post times or types and start changing things in time to still reach your very specific goal.



If you set unreasonable goals, you have no real chance of achieving them. Well so what, if you say you are going to be the next Stephen King by New Year and you fall on your face. The trouble is that you begin a cycle of not achieving your goals and being okay with that. You become accustomed to failure. It might not seem like a serious thing, but the debilitating cycle of discouragement has sown it’s seeds.

By setting Attainable or Achievable goals, goals that are a stretch, ones you have to work hard at, but none-the-less, ones that you can reach. And then, by reaching them, you are creating a positive feed back loop. By reaching small milestones and working toward reaching attainable goals you internalize your success. Your positivity and optimism, even growing confidence, tell the world that you are the real deal, and all of this leads to even more success.


Results- Oriented

Your goal should be aimed at achieving a desired outcome. This goes hand in hand with setting goals that are achievable. You want to set goals that are going to get you objective results, things that you can act on. To say that your goal is to be a popular writer, how would you measure popularity, how do you become “popular?” It’s far to broad a goal to be one that is results-oriented. The result your goal is aimed at should be crystal clear.

A goal that is clearly focused on your desired result will be more likely to help get you there because it gives you something to act on. A road map to success.



Goals that have specified deadlines and bench marks built in help you to measure if your efforts are working and they keep you on track.  To create time-bound goals, specify how long you are giving yourself to reach your desired outcome. This keeps you on track and holds you accountable. 

In fact, it is wise to have several bench marks. For example if your goal is to sell 2,000 copies of your book over the next two years, you should plan to have 1,000 sold after one year and roughly 84 a month. If you get to the end of the first quarter and have only sold 100 copies, it might be time to step up the efforts.


SMART Principles in Book Marketing Strategy

Over the course of your writing career, heck after lunch, you will have the chance to set and change your goals many times over. Your goals, living in flux, will overlap and intertwine. Your book marketing strategy will be constantly evolving. Having a framework that is second nature to you for setting good, solid, SMART goals will help you stay on track, stay motivated and be more successful.



title tag: SMART book marketing strategies every author needs to know

description tag: Book marketing strategies don’t just materialize out of thin air, they take planning. These are strategies to use for any marketing plan because they work.

keyword: book marketing strategies

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