Marketing your self-published book

Book marketing banner

For many self-published writers, it is a challenge to switch from the inward focus of writing to the outward focus of marketing. The reasons vary. Some writers have are shy introverts, while others simply feel overwhelmed by the task.

Where to start your book marketing campaign?

Generally, a writer should use their strengths and focus their marketing strategies in those areas. First, assess your trouble spots when it comes to promotion. Get advice if necessary. Then fix the easy problems. For example, replace a bad author photo or a poorly designed book cover. Next make a timeline to tackle more difficult obstacles (e.g. fear of public speaking, the need for a new website). It also might be useful to go to writing workshops and events and talk to other writers about their marketing experiences.

It is also  important to find a good organizing tool to help you track marketing tasks, ideas, and deadlines. Some people prefer paper lists and wall charts while others prefer online tools. Workflowy is a useful online organizing tool (see review of it and other similar tools here).

Book Marketing Advice for self-published authors

ALLi – Book promotion
Creative Penn – Promotion tips
Paul Jarvis – Book launch check-list
PW – Using email lists to market your book
Greenleaf – Amazon Author Central
David Gaughran – Digital book selling basics
Judy Cullins – Book promotion 101
10 authors – Book promotion mistakes
BookBub – Examples of promotion
Anne R. Allen – Make use of “Look Inside” feature
Jane Friedman – The strategic use of free ebooks

Advice from The Hot Sheet: “you don’t need a huge budget to have a successful digital marketing campaign. McCarthy urged, ‘Make small bets. Run $10-a-day targeted ads, A/B test, move quick. You don’t need a big budget to get a fire going.'” (Marketing panelist, Digital Book World, 2017)

Author Photos and Bios

Here is a checklist to help you avoid the main author photo problems:

  • First, does the photo look professional? Get a professional photo done if  at all possible. If not, get help and advice pick your author photo.
  • Second, check your clothing. Will what you are wearing look dated in a a few years? Are you wearing patterns? Keep your look simple and wear solid colours.
  • Third, have you fallen into the ‘writing prop’ trap? Try to avoid using cliché writing props in your photo (e.g. laptops, bookshelves and typewriters).
  • Fourth, check if the style of your photo matches the style of your genre. For example, if you write noir crime fiction, it might look odd if your author photo has a soft romantic style.
  •  Lastly, do some research. Check the links below for examples and tips to improve your author branding.

Anne R. Allen – How to write an author bio
StandOutBooks – Examples of good author photos
Jane Friedman – Why authors need a professional photo

Public Speaking Tips

Presentation Skills A series of simple steps you can take to be prepared.
Toastmasters Clubs Get practice public speaking (clubs in most cities).

Book Marketing Companies

Cameron Publicity (UK)
IamSelfPublishing (UK)
Smith Publicity (US)
StandOutBooks (UK)
Book marketing services are also offered by self-publishing companies.

Author Marketing Experiences

Melissa Leong – Why self-publishers can’t afford humility
Mark Dawson – Build a fanbase with Facebook
David Penny – Facebook ad experiment
 – Experience with a publicity company
Beverly Ackerman – Publicity is a time investment
Steal My Book! – Peter Montford – When piracy is publicity
Diana Stevan – Library author fairs 

Social Media for writers

40 hashtags for writers
Twitter etiquette for writers
How authors use Instagram
Q College Digital Advertising courses (Victoria BC)
Goodreads Author Promotion
Tips for writers who hate promotion

Share your writing

Wattpad – Building an Audience
Wattpad – Revenue for Writers
Canelo – Online publisher
Big list of simple online writing platforms

BC Books

BC BookLook is the website for BC Book World News. They invite BC writers to submit their information. Click here for guidelines.

Finally, here is a helpful talk by an experienced author coach. During this talk, Matthew Ashdown explains how authors often get in their own way when it comes to marketing their book.

Did you find any of the resources listed especially helpful? Do you have an idea for a resource that should be listed? Feel free to send an email.

Note: Links and information are for research purposes and do not replace professional advice. Accuracy of third-party websites cannot be verified. Links do not indicate endorsement.

Updated January 2018