Takeaways – The marketing idea package that works for self-published books

Product marketing and increasing conversion rate

  • Cover: Have an excellent cover! This is one part of the books, that you should pay for it, if you want to get a good one! Based on our experiences 2 out of 5 books fail just because of non-professional cover design
    • I recommend designers on Fiverr like Rebecacovers, Nskvsky, or Design9creative (check their works before you order)
    • 99designs could be a good alternative, but price doesn't indicate always the quality what you get, but as generic rule try to get a design somewhere between $100-400 (cheaper range), $500-1000 (expensive range)
  • Amazon product listing: Review the description, no double line breaks, no grammatical errors etc.
  • Amazon Author Central and author profile: Create one! People want to know who wrote that book
  • Put a kind review request message at the end of your book where you ask honest feedback about the book. Include a direct link to review your book on Amazon (this way you could double your future review count)

The marketing materials

  • Create an engaging landscape image(s) about your book, it could be either a real photo of your paperback book
  • Create a short trailer about your story (read our detailed article about this topic) post it on Youtube and TikTok (for younger audience)
  • Write a Press Release article about your book at length 900-1,000 words
  • “About author” media kit: Author bio, author profile picture, link package
  • Author's website: Create a simple (one page) website. You can either use WordPress or Wix for this purpose. Register your author name as .com domain for this purpose

Book marketing action list

  • Netgalley: Get those initial reviews to your book. Reviews are essential at the beginning, strangers won't buy books without reviews.
  • List your book on several book catalogs (Goodreads, LibraryThing, Bookbub, Listal)
  • Research and submit your book to relevant Listopia lists on Goodreads. This is essential, because later readers may vote on these lists, and Listopia could be a very effective long term marketing platform
  • Select one main social media platform (either Instagram, Tiktok or Facebook) and commit to it. Always use your author brand not your book's title. Post frequently on the platform, without steady content don't put much effort on social media. Learn to use hashtags
  • Create your own mini “funnel” by utilizing Linktree or Bemyfan. You can handle your most important links (Amazon, website etc.) centralized
  • Publish a Press Release (It is better to do with a professional agent, if you are unfamiliar with PR Newswire and PRWeb) Never use cheap distribution service (there are only several big players behind every service), because the reach of your PR may decline drastically
  • Answer questions on Quora in topic which is connected to your book (put your primary links out to your profile page), it is a good opportunity primary for non-fiction authors
  • Include your book in book lists. This could be both good to increase the book's reputation, and to gain long-term traffic to your book's Amazon page
  • Put your book on several book lover websites: There are literally hundreds of sites out there. These websites are good to gain instant impressions to your book. Always check the sites before ordering any listing (try our network)
  • KDP Free and Countdown promotion: One strong tool for self-published authors. You can set a promo in every 3 months, and you need to utilize this. Amazon grants extra visibility for these books, which is great. You can further promote the book (like on Bookbub) during these promo periods, which will increase the effectiveness

Our agency hence is a small we try to cover several parts of the above tasks, check our services here.

If you are interested in details of book marketing, continue reading this article.

A good book isn't enough

If you have published a book before, you probably know it already – publishers publish and rarely promote. They can distribute books based on orders, but this is pretty much it. The marketing falls on the writer's shoulders. This is especially true for new authors. If you want a bestseller, it is not all about exceptional writing (its the bare minimum), but marketing it as well. At this point, you will waste most of your time marketing your new book instead of focusing on the next one.

The best time to set a strategy is before the book actually comes out. There is a momentum that writers must take advantage of. Of course, a bit of experience will also help – there are specific strategies applied based on the genre, author, audience, location and so on. Getting there could be a challenge and this is why many good writers get lost in mediocrity.

No matter how good a book is, it becomes worthless if no one can find it.

And without the right marketing technique, it will remain there. While interacting with your readers is a great idea, marketing skills take time to develop. This is when you realize the importance of professional book marketing services – they have what it takes to put your name out there. Here is everything you need to know upfront.

The biggest misconception about book marketing

While we love the on-demand marketing approach which is great for self-publishers. New authors may believe they could get a comprehensive marketing agent service for $10-100, which isn't reality.

Let me show you a typical story:

I will just finish my new book in 2 weeks, new it's time to start marketing. Ok, let's see some options.

Our self-publishing author searches some marketing services on Google. And finds some promising one with good feedbacks. Maybe he also checks trustpilot and the provider is legit.

Great! Let's order it! I want to maximum exposure, so I will choose the $100 package.

After sending the cover and all the necessary information about the book, our self-publishing author waits for results.

One week passed after the release, nothing. Maybe readers require more time to read the book, but after the author checks KDP Reports, he or she quickly realize, that nobody purchased the book. Nobody!

The author quickly checks the order page, where the promotional surfaces and website links are available. Everything seems legit, but what happened?

Marketing isn't about instant success! It's more like nurturing a small tree. To get results, you need to first do your homework!

You need to feed this small tree with “marketing actions” (select reasonable book marketing services) frequently. And the result? Well, truth to be told, at the beginning there would be fewer results, but once your “tree” will grow higher, your book's visibility will increase and of course visibility influences sales numbers.

The truth is that you could really outsource this nurturing process to marketing agents. But it will cost thousands of dollars. And note everybody is capable to finance this.

It all starts with market research and a plan

Sounds like a bullshit? Well, it isn't! Understanding the market is essential! Also understanding the essential marketing steps, is more like a learning process for authors.

Did you know that understanding and using the right keyword in your book's subtitle, may highly increase the chance to get your book ranked in Amazon search results?

Book marketing begins with a thorough market research. As a writer, you should already have some clues about who the ideal reader is. You write for a niche. It could be a children's book or perhaps something for a science fiction fan. Some books are more popular among young adults, while others tend to be more successful among elders.

A market specialist will identify your books niche and try to adjust the marketing steps according to the book's specialty. In a case of a children's book, parents are looking much different materials than in case of a YA romance book reader. At this point, you will know what the reader wants, meaning it is fairly simple to know what to give them. At a first glance, it makes more sense to research the market before actually writing the book.


After all, you cannot write about something that you are not passionate about – at least not in a good manner. Therefore, the specialist will identify the market based on what you have already written. There are still a few things they can change, such as identifying niche keywords. Just to give a clue “historical romance” is a very bad keyword, it is a very broad category of books. “Regency historical romance” could be a much more accurate keyword for your book.

Identify things you like and things you dislike

The first step is extremely important because you understand everything you need to know about your readers. You know what they want, as well as what they expect from you. You know what their main hobbies are, as well as where they like to spend their money. Now, your marketing campaign – just like your book – will be based on things you like.

Certain activities can be more entertaining, whether it comes to interacting with your potential fans or joining discussion boards. Some others may not be that exciting. It is up to the marketer to find out what works for you. Do not settle for anything – if you are not comfortable or excited about something, simply mention it upfront. Your whole marketing plan will be based on these things.

Apply the plan

Further on, you will have a plan that must be applied in the smallest details. The marketer will come up with a doable plan based on things you are comfortable with, as well as your strengths and interests.

Some parts of the plan are entirely up to the author, while others are more than essential.

Who will perform the plan?

Well, this is an important question because in 2021, most likely the author or a close friend will perform the marketing plan. Of course there are a lot of marketing agencies out there, but their service will cost thousands of dollars plus another thousand for covering their costs. If you have a smaller budget, you need to sacrifice your time and spread your marketing costs over many months (for example, order 2-3 marketing actions per month, $200 per month in total).

What could be the results of the performed marketing plan?

  • Sharing interviews and going to podcasts to send your message to your audience.
  • Sharing messages and ideas through blog posts in the niche associated with your book.
  • Writing freelance articles for various publications that draw attention from readers.
  • Creating marketing campaigns based on videos shared over social networks.
  • Using search engine optimization to ensure your website or blog will gain notoriety.

Now, some aspects in marketing can be easily changed. If your book has not been published yet, you might make an impact with a different title or perhaps a different cover. Some other aspects will target your book after its initial release, such as a professional description or plot when the book goes out for sale on various platforms. After all, you want a plot that will hook potential readers in straight away.

What book marketing and promotion may involve (Ideas)

Your book will make it to dozens of promotion websites. We usually searching for the book in Google. If we have more than 100 relevant results, we know that the book has a marketing history. If the result shows only Amazon links, then we know we are at the start line.

Basically, your name should be displayed to dozens of thousands of potential readers. You will reach some of the book lovers websites out there – what truly matters here is the exposure to plenty of eager readers trying to spot the next best release. Whether it is a website listing or a social media exposure you need to do some background check.

Then, in a world dominated by social media, chances are your book will easily get some good shared if exposed to the right audience. Different channels, groups, pages or profiles with an impressive exposure should mention your book (Reddit, relevant Facebook groups, Instagram influencers). Thousands of people will become familiar with your title – several of them will go further and read the plot too, while some of them will actually buy it (this is why cover, description and reviews are essential). Only a minority will recommend it further (this isn't typical in case of new author's books).

Netgalley

We already wrote a longer article about Netgalley, which is potentially the best way to start your marketing journey. Your book will receive both exposure and influencers may find it easily. It is also recommended put your book on this website before the or close to the release. If you put your book before the release the readers coudn't leave a review on Amazon which is essential for a self-published book. Yes, we want to build up both the author's and the book's reputation in long term. Truth to be told Netgalley is one of the best book marketing service to get your book reviewed.

Email marketing

Some marketing services also feature impressive email lists. Plenty of people subscribe to get a daily or weekly email with the latest releases and perhaps a few recommendations based on what they like to read. A reputable service will most likely have thousands of active readers in the email list – another massive exposure.

Then, the book may come as a direct recommendation from people and businesses with notoriety (this is why it is essential to remind readers to do this at the end of the book). Some of the best book marketing services on the market often collaborate with influencers in the respective night or market. You should send your book to professional reviewers (like Kirkus), as well as amateur bloggers with a good following base. The more exposure you get to potential ideal readers, the better.

When book marketing pushes for online algorithms

Joint venture partnerships represent another common technique applied by marketing services. A reputable service comes with various partners in similar niches, which may involve author newsletter swaps or collaborations with authors in similar genres.

Amazon Advertizing (AMS)

PPC (Pay Per Click) techniques are also used. Amazon Ads (AMS) is a potential option for authors. Your targeting with these ads should be optimized to your audience, by selecting the right keywords, or researching similar books in your genre. While such campaigns are not difficult to make, it takes research and experience to maximize the ROI of such a campaigns.


Keyword research and search engine optimization will not be overlooked either. Your book should rank well, yet this process takes time (up to 6 months).

Goodreads Giveaway

Do a giveaway on Goodreads if you have a larger budget. So professional and professional will also get copies to read your masterpiece and write about it. Such things also contribute to the efficiency of your search engine optimization campaign. Website listings and promoted list articles (like the following service) will also improve the Google present of your book. There will be numerous backlinks sending potential readers to your book, helping your notoriety online. Try to include your author website's adress into these campaigns, which will also increase your website's SEO.

All these things together will help the book grow indirectly. While classic marketing is focused on your potential audience, readers and genre fans, organic marketing will help your book gain notoriety and rank well in search engines.

Why use book marketing services?

Marketing can go in two different directions – online and offline. In a world where everyone uses the Internet for literally anything, the digital field of marketing seems to be stronger. Imagine someone hearing about your book on the radio while driving. They would have to remember the title or your name and look it up at home. It won't work.

Imagine a television campaign. It costs lots of money and it targets a bunch of people – many (80%) of them may not even be interested in reading, not to mention your genre. It is a general campaign and not a specialized one. In other words, the return on investment will be close to null – far from what you need as a new author. So, why do you need to plan your own marketing action plan?

  • Explore the complex techniques of modern marketing, establish the audience, rely on SEO, direct marketing or organic growth and manage ad spend.
  • Create content to establish you as an industry expert, sounds a little bit silly in case of fiction books, but yes, as an author you need to identified as “sci-fi expert” (just think about John Scalzi).
  • Develop interactive and creative resources for both your author brand and your newly released book (creative real life photos works great, in the era of Instagram).
  • Deliver your book in a social manner over multiple social networks, pages, profiles and groups for genre fans.

Marketing or publicity services?

All the above mentioned projects and ideas will come together in a solid campaign. While techniques are similar regardless of the book, the ideal reader and your audience will make the difference in terms of customization and long-term efficiency.

Book marketing services bring in a plethora of methods to get potential readers to find out about your book, see the title everywhere, fall in love with the plot and buy it. A marketing campaign will not be successful overnight, but over months. Successful results may turn the book into a bestseller – or at least a successful title.

Publicity is different, yet the two fields may often overlap each other. Publicity is mostly about press coverage – by press meaning blogs, news websites and so on. From some points of view, publicity is simply a marketing channel. It is not always a specialized or customized one, but a general channel.

Publicity is suitable for certain industries or professionals, but not always for books. A major movie star, a musician or someone with fame could benefit from a publicist. On the other hand, the marketer is more suitable for those trying to gain further visibility – just like pretty much everyone in the book industry.

Even a reputable writer with a few successful ventures in the past will require marketing for a new book. Sure, a good amount of fans and followers will gain access to the book straight away, but the more you sell, the better.

Press Release about your new book

We usually recommend big networks like PR Newswire, Prfire, GlobeNewswire, Pressat and PR experts who are doing the whole process for you.

PR writing is a whole other art of business writing, try to outsource this task to a professional writers. Once you are working on the PR article try to focus on the unique parts of the book, why is the story outstanding? Sometimes a background story of the author is much powerful than a single summary of the plot. Put emotions to stand out.

Book Marketing Websites

Try to be diverse in case of posting your book on different websites. It is a great way to gain visibility for your book. These services are working best when your book's page is well established (the book has many reviews, and excellent description).

Some of the best converting big websites on the market, they are focusing mainly on discounted deals or free promotions.

  • Goodreads (we wrote a longer article about this website and Listopia lists)
  • Bookbub
  • Robin Reads
  • Book Cave
  • Booktrib

Some websites ideal for self-published authors.

  • Newinbooks
  • Joelbooks (order)
  • Drmelmessage (order)
  • Bargainbooksy
  • 1618 Words (order)
  • DigitalBookSpot (order)

And there are some romance focused websites.

  • Myromancereads
  • Birdsheaven (order)
  • Pretty Hot

KDP Countdown deal and Free promotion

A very effective way for promoting your Kindle book. This opportunity is ideal for self-published authors who have time for planning:

  • Creating social media posts
  • Posting the promotion dates to Book Marketing Websites (see above point)
  • Running AMS (Amazon Ads) or Google ads during the campaign dates (to get further traffic)

You could run Countdown or Free promotion campaigns in every three months. Honestly, if you are lack of time, the a KDP Countdown deal or free campaign could make a boost as standalone campaign (without any further work), this is why we strongly suggest to use this method.

Conclusion

As a short final conclusion, book marketing services can be quite diversified and what works for some writers will not work for everyone else. The sad truth is that releasing a book and making it available for sale on all platforms will not necessarily bring in any sales. It is like dropping a gem into the sea. There are hundreds or even thousands of self-published books going out on a weekly basis, so marketing is mandatory. Our biggest pain as book marketeer, that we occasionally find excellent books that had never the chance to become a best seller.

What if you have good marketing mix but your book still don't sell? How to boost sales and conversion? Try to check for other ideas!

It makes no difference how good your book is. A good marketing campaign can turn an even less good book into a bestseller until its ratings start going down based on readers' reviews. At the same time, a masterpiece could be left buried without the proper recognition – and no matter how good it is, it will never go up by itself.


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