Sunday, March 14, 2021

How Much Should Authors Spend On Book Marketing?


An author recently asked me to give her an idea of how much she should spend on book publicity. Though I wanted to say “Everything you have,” I knew that it was not the right answer. The truth is it depends on a number of factors.

Let’s start with one’s budget. Just how much money do you have available to spend? Don’t mortgage the house but don’t cheap out, either. You need to invest in your writing career, but not at the risk of debt.

Next, you should identify a list of what you could or should be doing to market yourself and find out what you could or should be doing to market yourself and find out what it costs. You have to choose how to spend your money wisely.

Third, look at your goals and your mission. What do you hope the marketing and publicizing of your book will do for you? Is your bottom line judged purely by book sales – or does it come in other forms?

For instance, if you are looking to use PR for the book as a lead generator for your business, paid speaking engagements, or to sell some other product or service, then that factors in to what you should be spending on marketing. However, you may spend money to promote this book because  you simply want to share a helpful, empowering message that changes people’s lives. In that case, your decision is based less on money and more about what that money can buy. Then there are some who promote this book hoping it will establish a brand for an author and help them to launch future books or to get film rights sold. In that case, you push for a bigger spend because so much is at risk.

Fourth, what you determine to spend, aside from it depending on what things cost, what your goals are, and how much you have, shall depend on what you can do so that you don’t need to pay another to do it. List your skills. Identify your time availability. See if you can do for yourself what others would charge you to do. You may just decide it is easier to let a professional do it all and that your time is more valuable in doing other things.

Fifth, you need to closely look at all of the things you could be doing, such as advertising, social media, events, traditional media, book awards, social media, networking, telemarketing, direct mail, etc. and determine what things cost and compare to their chances of success and likelihood of a pay-off.

Sixth, you need to look at timing. When is the right time to market your book. Is it too soon? Too late? Just right? Is the book timely and relevant?

Seventh, reflect on your results. How much have you done so far. How well did it go? What happened from your activity? Never throw good money after bad, but also do not give up without trying.

Investing in branding, publicity, and marketing is obviously a personal decision. You must customize your initiatives to serve your needs and goals while not breaking the bank to do so.

Some guidance to follow is this: 

·         Where possible, do a little, and test it. Make sure it was a big enough sample size and that you gave it some time to succeed.

·         Review the metrics on every expenditure, but realize there are possibly long-term, intangible benefits to something that you did.

·         Do your research, ask questions, then make a decision, and open your wallet. Inertia or sideline watching won’t sell books.

·         Stretch your comfort zone, invest in your future, and take a risk.

Authors should see marketing as the thing that can give them an advantage – an edge – that can help them advance their writing career. Eventually, regardless of what you spend, word-of-mouth will either sink or galvanize your book. You just need to invest enough to get to the point where a big enough word-of-mouth can spread.

Roughly, authors can easily expect to spend thousands of dollars on consultations, trainings, seminars, and conferences. They can also expect to spend thousands on securing media coverage, including paid book reviews. If they need a surrogate to execute their social media, that is thousands of dollars more. So is advertising.

So how much should you spend on book publicity?

A lot…

·         If you can afford it.

·         When you have big goals.

·         If there are marketing services/products that look worthwhile to purchase


·         If you have some budget flexibility.

·         If you can put it to good use.

·         If your book is decent and a professional can actually help you.

·         If you plan to build your future writings and career around this book.

A little…

·         If your book is a hobby or passion project.

·         If you know how to do something yourself, such as web design or social media.

·         If you really have few discretionary dollars to spend.


·         If you think your book is not any good.

·         If your book has limited readership potential

·         If your budget availability is quite low.

·         If you plan to do everything yourself, such as reaching out to the news media and posting regularly on social media.

I am happy to take your money – and I am happy to use it wisely! Let’s promote a winner!

Contact Brian For Marketing Help!!

Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand.

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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2021. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: 

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