Create an Awesome Marketing Plan—Part 2: Media and Speaking

by Melissa Tagg

Last month we began a series on creating an awesome marketing plan for your novel’s proposal. The goal is not only to wow agents and editors with your stellar marketing expertise, but also once published to be able to take this plan and put it into action.

If you missed last month’s intro post, you can check it out here.

Today, we’re going to talk about the first two ingredients to an awesome marketing plan recipe: Media & Speaking Engagements


This is the part of your plan where you’re going to let the agent or publisher reading your proposal know that when it comes to media, you don’t plan to sit around and wait for media attention to come to you…you’re going to go after it yourself. You’re also going to impress them by doing your homework ahead of time, too.

So in this section, tell the publisher that you will actively seek out coverage at any publication you can think of: your hometown newspaper, your local newspaper, college alumni magazine, community sections of larger papers, etc. Don’t be vague, but actually list publications by name. If you can get ahold of subscriber numbers, list those too. Here’s the publication list I included in my very first proposal:

  • Des Moines Register. Circulation: 120,000 (daily), 200,000 (Sunday edition)
  • Juice, Des Moines Register. (Targeted at 25- to 34-year-old demographic)
  • Daily Freeman Journal (hometown newspaper), Webster City, Iowa.
  • Sioux Center News (where I used to be on staff). Circulation: 2,500
  • Northwest Iowa Review (leading weekly newspaper in Iowa). Circulation: 6,000
  • Northwestern College Classic (alma mater publication). Circulation: 15,000
  • Northwestern College Beacon (alma mater newspaper).

But don’t stop with print publications. Just like you did with print, list radio stations and TV media at which you might be able to snag interviews. If you have any personal connections at local stations, be sure to mention that. For instance, in my day job, I work regularly with local media, so certainly didn’t hesitate to include that.

One note here: You may thinking, Shouldn’t my publisher be sending press releases to all these places? Answer: yes. Hopefully their marketing department will do that.

But you’re going to take it a step further! You’re going to send personal emails or even better, make phone calls, pitching yourself and your story, finding a way to make your book’s release relevant to whatever audience that particular media group caters to…you may get a “no thanks.” But on the other hand, you might find yourself with a nice little article or radio interview. I’ve had luck with both.


This part of your marketing plan is pretty simple: Here is where you want to list not only some past speaking engagements–to give the agent or editor an idea of the speaking platform you’ve already got–but also list any upcoming speaking gigs.

And don’t stop there. If you don’t have any speaking gigs, then let us know what you plan to do to grow your speaking platform. For instance, I told my publisher I planned to work on identifying book clubs in the central Iowa area and schedule in-person speaking engagements. I let them know I was already in the process of lining up Skype appearances with book clubs in different states. I talked about my plans to approach local libraries and churches

But I’m not a speaker!
You know what, if you’re not a speaker and you know you never, ever, ever will be…it’s okay to skip this part of your marketing plan. BUT don’t write it off too quickly. Maybe you aren’t comfortable standing on a stage speaking to hundreds…but what about speaking to a small book club? Or a women’s group in some local churches? Maybe you’ve taught a writing class or two. Those things count.

But if speaking isn’t your sweet spot, that’s okay. It’s great to stretch yourself. But it’s also great to play to your strengths.

Do you have any questions about the Media or Speaking pieces of your marketing plan?

Stay tuned for part 3 of this series during which we’ll dissect the Internet Presence piece of your marketing plan.


Award-winning author Melissa Tagg is a former reporter, current nonprofit grant-writer and total Iowa girl. The second book in her popular Walker Family series, Like Never Before, was named by Publisher’s Weekly to one of their spring 2016 Top Ten lists. Her most recent releases include Keep Holding On (Sept 2016) and One Enchanted Eve (Nov 2016). Melissa has taught at multiple national writing conferences, as well as workshops and women’s retreats. Connect with Melissa at or on Facebook and Instagram.