23+ Book Promotion Ideas – How To Market Self-Published Books
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No matter how good your book is, chances are it will never sell if you fail to give it a good marketing campaign. Unless you are a reputable author and everyone is waiting for your new release, no one will ever look for your writing or give you a try. Instead, you need a solid marketing campaign and the good news is you can actually do many things yourself.
Learning how to market a self-published book is not as difficult as it may seem. Sure, there are marketing companies out there with years of experience. But then, if there is something you can actually do yourself, go for it. Small things can work wonders in the long run if done by the book. So, what are the best book promotion ideas?
1. Come up with video shorts for your book page
Whether your book page is on Amazon or any other platform, you need to come up with some short and fun videos. Such videos will allow the readers to know you better and get a more realistic idea about your style and what to expect from you. You can literally take videos with your smartphone and share them on Tiktok.
Now, what should you actually record? The best part is that anything works. Talk about some of the characters in the book. How about your inspiration? Maybe you could come up with a few tips – especially if it is a non-fiction book. There are no limits whatsoever, as long as your videos are fun and enticing. Also if you are using Tiktok, don't forget to link your book in the profile!
2. Improve the Amazon book description
Sometimes, a few changes in description will work a very long way when interested in self-publishing book marketing. For example, your Amazon book description will be much more engaging if include information about
- “Why”, why did you write the book itself?
- The set, where the story takes place?
- The main characters, who are in the story, what motivates them?
- and the
But then, there are plenty of other points. You can add html tags
- <h1>Headline 1</h1> or <h2>Headline</h2>
- <b>Bolded text</b> or <u>Underlined text</u> to make certain text elements stand out.
- You can add bullet points into the text using <ul><li>Point 1</li><li>Point 2</li></ul>tags etc.
Use AI to improve your books description, Peppertype.ai is a great application to give ideas and rewrite your Amazon book description.
3. Use NetGalley for Amazon reviews
As a reader, you are more likely to pick a book with thousands of reviews over a book with five reviews. Sure, if you like the author or you want to try something new, you might as well pick a brand new book with no reviews at all – most people will not do that though.
Getting reviews is a difficult task these days, but NetGalley makes it easier. This platform is a blogger, librarian and reviewer at the same time. NetGalley works with advanced reader copies, which are sent to readers for reviews. Readers love getting new books, while authors get some reviews.
Don't forget you aren't able to put your book as a self-publisher on NetGalley directly, you need to use a marketing agency who will handle this task for you.
4. Offer a Kindle Countdown or Free promotion
This idea is suitable for books published on KDP. Even if your book is a hardcover release, you can also have a Kindle version for it. KDP Free is a setting allowing you to bring up your book for free. It will give you some great reviews, which will boost the sales later on.
The offer is usually last 3-7 days. After the promotional period the price tag will jump back to the original one. Amazon puts your deal in it's own deals section, which has great traffic, but in order to further push it towards readers list your temporary book deal also on third party websites. Overall this is one of the best working method among the many book promotion ideas.
How do you feel when you see one of those generic covers that look like they were designed in the 1990s? What if you didn't have time to pay attention of the cover during the publishing process?
You do not feel like reading such a book that has old-fashioned or low quality cover. You may not realize it, but your book might have the same impact on potential readers.
Get some honest third-party reviews on your cover. Consider changing it to something more modern. There are no rules at this point because it normally depends on what type of book it is. If you are not sure about it, seek help from a professional designer.
6. Do a Goodreads Marketing
Unlike Amazon or other platforms that sell books, Goodreads has an incredibly high engagement rate from readers. It gathers together some of the most avid readers out there and the best part about it is many of them will actually take their time to write reviews and put the books they read in specific categories.
Getting a Goodreads listing is not difficult. Since you are there, you might well come up with an author page and interact with potential readers. But there are a lot of other tools that are also as handy as the simple listing itself, like Listopia lists, sharing a quote or simply be a part of several book reading clubs.
7. Get influencers to review your book
Send them a direct message on Instagram or email and ask them about their review process. Obviously, you need to discuss this before the review process starting. You cannot request 5* reviews, since Amazon accept only unbiased reviews. More importantly, you need to choose someone who is actually specialized in books reviews and knows the rules.
If you contact an influencer be always polite, they receive literally hundreds of requests every day. Working together should be a positive experience on both sides. Take several minutes to check their website, social media to understand the style they use to share the reviewed book. Maybe this point is time consuming, but it works pretty well, since you will get honest feedbacks to your new book.
8. Share on special platforms
There are plenty of options when it comes to sharing. Most people inevitably think about social media – sure, it helps. Get into some reading-related groups and discuss your book – you can make it authentic and tell everyone that you are the author or just pretend to be a reader.
But then, sharing goes further than that. Social media platforms are more diversified than ever. Websites like Wattpad could also help you gain some exposure, use only the first chapter! Answer questions on Quora connected to your book's topic (ideal for non-fiction books) and put your own book's title in your headline. Take part in Reddit discussions, people check each others profile frequently. Sooner or later, more and more people will gain interest in the title, especially if they also get to know the author better.
9. Involve friends and family
Most authors choose not to, yet friends and family represent a good channel for advertising. Try to see it this way. You advertise for your book everywhere, on every possible channel. A friend or family member may have another 200 or 1,000 friends – as well as potential readers. Your job isn't to sell them a book, your task is simply to request help in marketing. They will love to do that!
Forget about being hesitant. Share your book promos and pictures with family members, no matter if it is a fun video or a mobile photo – send a direct link to your book is just as handy. After all, you will be shocked how positive and thankful they will be to involve them in this journey.
10. Create a one page website for your book
You will need a so-called garage to park every book you write. Chances are there will be more than just one book. Most authors choose various platforms – social media channels, Goodreads, Amazon and so on. However, having your own website will work wonders in the long run.
Without a website, it feels like you are renting space to market for your book. With a website, you basically have a home. You no longer live in someone else’s space, but you have your own. Integrate your website with a Medium blog, add an email signup form, and use Amazon Affiliate links.
11. Use particular hashtags to gain notoriety
Regular posts will give you exposure among your friends and followers. Sharing posts in groups will give you more attention from people who might actually be interested in the book. But then, there are plenty of people who follow hashtags as well – people who you have literally no connection with.
Hashtags like #amwriting, #writerslife, #fantasybooks, #scifiwriter, #writerprobs, #writerproblems and so on will draw attention from others. Hashtags are working well on Instagram and Tiktok. You will notice likes and followers from all kinds of random people who have some interest in what you do. You might as well learn from other authors – some of them do follow these hashtags.
12. Interviews and podcasts
Whether it is local radio, a national one or just someone with a good follower base doing website interviews, such things may seem a bit intimidating, especially if you have never been in the spotlight. There is nothing to worry about though – you can do it like a pro by providing honest answers. Learning how to market a self-published book may imply getting out of your comfort zone too, but it's ok.
Many podcast hosts prefer upcoming authors and new writers – you might be surprised at how many options you have out there. Look up online, check out with radio stations and focus on shows aimed at readers – this is where your biggest opportunity hides.
13. Get into a book club
Find local book clubs and join them. There is one major benefit – you know everyone involved with these clubs likes to read. Those people already love books and they enjoy the idea of finding the next best book. Find some local ones and connect with them – simple as that.
For example, you could attend a meeting and hand out some free copies – sign them. You can also get the book listed in their groups – a bit of advertising regarding the meeting too. Talking about lists and online clubs, you can also find paid lists.
There is a misunderstanding connected to global or online book clubs, you can't get your own book to them, simply because they select their titles to read. There is no way to “push” them a new title, especially if you aren't part of the book club since years. Try the above method always with local book clubs!
14. Write a press release
Even if you have never written a press release, you can outsource this task to an experienced freelancer. There are a few general rules you need to follow and there you go. Where do you submit it? There are lots of options but as general rule try to push as many spaces as you can (this is where an experienced freelancer is essential).
Online outlets can go in more directions. Some of them are specialized for readers, but it isn't typical. Try free alternatives first (like NPR, PR Log, Free Press Release, Open PR, PR.com). Some others are more general, but with paid option you can get almost everywhere (Newswire, PR Fire).
15. Write monthly newsletters
Assuming you already have a website, get people to sign up for your newsletter. Provide a call to action button and ideas all over your social media channels, as well as your official website. Initially, you will only get a few fans to sign up, but numbers will go up as time passes.
Keep in mind that these newsletters must be fun. Avoid boring stuff. Even if nothing new is happening in your life, write about the next big podcast or event. Provide a few references to your book as well. More importantly, these newsletters should go out monthly, rather than weekly.
16. Research your competition
This is not necessarily about your direct competition. Sure, keep an eye on other writers in the same genre – the same level. See what they are doing – if something in particular brings in a great interaction, it is perfectly fine to copy the idea and customize it based on your book.
But then, it pays off researching prolific and reputable writers too. Sure, they already have a massive fan base, so anything they write will make it to the news, whether they want it or not. They do not even have to try too hard anymore, but you can still learn a thing or two from them.
17. Join forums and discussion boards
This is not necessarily about direct marketing. Sure, you could join a few reading forums (like SFFWorld) and use the section to introduce new writers or releases. But then, you can also join general discussion forums – make sure you actually have some interest or you will lose your motivation in no time.
Use the signature to link to your book – perhaps a quote as well or maybe a picture if allowed. How do you get exposure then? The most important thing is to get involved. Simply discuss, join all sorts of chats and have a good point of view. People will find interest in you and want to know more about you.
18. Attend all reading events you can
Learning how to market a self-published book also implies coming together with people who share common interests. There are all types of events and conferences that you can attend – many of them aimed at authors. Self-publishing book marketing is also about socializing and meeting these people.
You will talk to other people, find out what they have written, but also provide some information about your own book. It helps to have a few business cards with you too. Keep active and get engaged – you want people to find interest in you.
19. Host book release parties
It does not have to be something fancy or posh. Simply get in touch with local bookstores or similar venues and ask them if they would be interested in hosting a book release party. They will help with the advertising as well, so you will get a bunch of people who might find interest in your book.
You can also go on a so-called book tour. Get in touch with more bookstores from different cities and set some dates. It will take a bit of time to organize everything, but it is totally doable. If you are willing to travel, you can also consider attending local reading clubs.
20. Use book promotion sites
Always check the website if it has valid audience. Similarweb or checking site authority with Ahrefs are both good ways to validate a webpage. Remember these website offer temporary exposure (usually 1-2 weeks) till you book is at the front page. Some of them is specialized for discounted or free ebook promotions, on these places you can only submit your book if you have a Kindle countdown or free ebook deal already set up in KDP.
21. Have a proper pricing strategy!
If you have a 100 pages book, and you are a brand new author on the field, and you Kindle book price tag is over $10, you pricing strategy is most likely way too aggressive. We researched the ideal prices for different books, and we found that there are certain criteria that influence the price tag of the book:
- Book format (cost of print)
- Author's brand
- Length of the book
- Review count, marketing history of the book
- Genre (business or fiction book)
Our research is based on Amazon best seller books' prices. Our findings the guide itself are available under the following gig as gig extra.
22. Start a giveaway
Goodreads giveaways are attractive and not just for readers. The idea of getting something for free is exciting for everyone. Even if they do not read, people are quite likely to do whatever the giveaway asks for – plus, they are more willing to read a book that they get for free.
Free book giveaways imply giving out one or more books. But the good news is that lots of people will share your event, bringing in even more exposure.
23. Amazon Ads
Some of the book marketers says that this is the best way of marketing, for self-publishing authors we need to do it the clever way!
- Never promote a book under 15 reviews on Amazon
- Have a stunning cover, or every click will go to waste
- Use ultra specific keywords to maximize ACOS
- Understand which type of ads are working for your book (Keyword/Category targeting etc.)
- Non-fiction books with unique keywords (like programming books are in advantage)
To learn more about Amazon Advertising get our visual guide.
+1 (1) Have book readings
Find some of the most exciting parts of your book – perhaps ask people who have already read it – and organize some book readings. There are lots of options there, but ideally, you should go for people who might be interested in what you have written.
For example, you could arrange book readings at retirement homes, high schools, coffee shops, libraries, churches, hospitals, rehab centers, community events and so on. No matter what you choose for your self-publishing book marketing campaign, make sure it is relevant to your book.
+1 (2) Partner with clubs and organizations
This idea can work wonders if you write non-fiction. At the same time, it depends on what it is.
Partner with these groups and they may get your book promoted for free. You might be the voice for their cause – totally worth a try. Of course, this idea will not work if you write fiction.
+1 (3) Make a trailer
When learning how to market a self-published book, having a trailer for it implies going the extra mile. You are practically taking your marketing campaign to another level. A trailer may imply some expenses – actors, a professional and so on. Even if there are no actors involved with it, it pays off hiring someone who knows what they are doing, rather than making a random trailer yourself.
Bottom line, it may seem a bit difficult to learn how to market a self-published book, but it is definitely not impossible. What works for some people will not work for everyone else. At the same time, one technique will never be enough – you need to come up with a mix of different ideas, figure out how they work and make as much as possible out of this campaign. Select your favorite book promotion idea and make the first step now!
Do you need help in book promotion?Promote my book
My profession is online marketing and development (10+ years experience), check my latest mobile app called Upcoming. But my real passion is reading books both fiction and non-fiction. I have several favorite authors like James Redfield or Daniel Keyes. If I read a book I always want to find the best part of it, every book has it's unique value.