A Good Marketing Guideline

How much money should you spend on marketing your book? This is a question that new authors and small publishers often ask.


I recently heard a former vice-president of marketing for Thomas Nelson share his rule for how much money to spend on a book marketing campaign. This gentleman said that his marketing expenditure rule is to plan to spend at least $1 per book you want to sell. So, if you want to sell 50 copies of your book, plan to spend $50. If you want to sell 1,000 copies of a book, plan to spend $1,000.

I think that this rule is a decent rule of thumb for book marketing expenditures. However, I think it is a guideline, not a rule. A rule implies that if you do “this thing”, then “that thing” will happen. A guideline suggests that doing “this thing” makes it more likely that “that thing” will come about.

Just because you spend $500 on marketing does not mean that you will sell 500 copies of your book. Knowing when and where to spend your marketing dollars is just as important as how much you spend. It is easy to squander marketing dollars on services and advertising that may not produce any results. Conversely, some authors spend very little on marketing and end up selling many copies of a book.

I think that planning to spend $1 per book you want to sell on marketing is a good starting guideline. If you are planning your marketing budget, I encourage you to use this guideline as a starting figure for your marketing budget. Since many independently published authors and small publishers don’t have a lot of money to spend on marketing, the $1 per book guideline is an attainable goal.

Asking other authors what types of marketing have given them the best return for their investment and using cooperative marketing programs are two ways you can make good use of your marketing dollars so they are not squandered.

Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) strives to help independent authors and small publishers spend your marketing dollars wisely by offering information and affordable cooperative marketing opportunities. Right now, CSPA is offering a summer special on our membership. For just $120, you can join and receive membership through December 2016 (that’s 18 months of membership for less than $7 per month). Membership signup is available on our website.

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