What’s The Best Way To Promote My Self-Published Book?
Here are five tips on how to promote your self-published book.
My post title should be credited. I have been asked how to market a self-published book or how to promote a book so often.
I won’t, however, because it would end up being a very long list of credits.
So I apologize to all those who have asked me these two questions. But I doubt you will be upset that I haven’t mentioned you by name.
What is book promotion?
Always remember that any publicity is good publicity.
There are hundreds of free and paid ways to promote a book or ebook.
But I will focus on the basics and proven ways to spread the word and attract potential book buyers’ attention to help you gain book sales.
To put things into context first, here is one clear way of thinking about how to promote your self-published book.
Book promotion is designed to get people to find your book, and NOT find people to get your book.
With that said, let’s look at ways of promoting your book and getting people to find you as an author, and your books, of course.
Gaining organic traffic from Google or Bing search for your blog is, by far, the most powerful way to promote your book.
Readers who find your website or blog through Google or Bing searches are much more likely to be interested in your book topic, genre, or themes.
It’s because these factors are what they are searching for and how they find you.
However, you need a website or blog with a .com address to gain a reasonable amount of search traffic.
I am not exactly sure why a .com address works better than .net or country codes such as .co.uk, .fr or .ca, for example.
While I’m not an SEO expert, I have the feeling that country code domains may be geo-targeted by search engines. So it restricts indexing.
All I know for sure is that after having changed three of my sites to a .com domain, the resulting increase in traffic for each site has been remarkable.
I can only presume from experience that Google and Bing give preference to .com addresses.
After changing my Just Publishing Advice address to .com, my daily traffic is now more than ten times what it was before I changed, and it continues to grow organically every day.
On the same thought, free blogs and websites such as Google’s Blogger, WordPress (free), Weebly, and Wix gain very little organic traffic.
So they are far less beneficial for promotion.
But they are free, and if you can’t afford a hosted website, they are definitely better than nothing to attract potential readers.
If you have a website or blog, always remember to link it to your social media accounts.
You should also add it to your email signature. You can also use your blog to help build your mailing list.
Even if you don’t have a blog, you can still attract attention by guest posting on other blogs as part of your book marketing strategy.
Related Reading: 17 Book Promotion Ideas You Can Do In Ninety Minutes
2. Social media, yeah, yeah
Social media is a must to promote your book or short stories, but it can be extremely time-consuming.
If you aim to write and sell books, use your social media platform judiciously. It can so quickly become an enormous time waster.
Limit your social media exposure to only a few popular platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
Don’t spend hours posting your Amazon buy link each day, as this will only drive people away.
Use social media to connect, communicate, reply and inform, and hopefully, attract followers. Use it to spread your author’s name, not to advertise your books continually.
Think of social media as a spider web. Continue to make it a little larger every day by following some people, making new friends, and extending your reach.
Concentrate on building your presence on one or two social media platforms and not on every site available.
Very importantly, however, make sure you use lots of image links to attract a better click-through rate for your promotion on social media.
People are now well-trained by Facebook and Twitter to click on images rather than text links. This is especially so for phone and tablet users.
Always use images to promote your book and blog posts to encourage people to read your book.
If you spend more than an hour per day on social media trying to promote your books, stop.
Limit your time and get back to writing a new book.
If you want to maximize your social media reach but spend far less time achieving it, you might consider automating your blog for social media posting and book promotion.
3. Forget that everything is free
If you want to prepare and promote your book, whether self-published or published with a small press, you will have to pay at some stage for certain services.
If you are building an email list, services such as Mailchimp are only free for a very small number of contacts. As you grow, you will need to pay a monthly charge.
You might consider hiring an editor or a proofreader.
When you publish your book, you need to select two genre categories and seven KDP keywords.
Your selections will be critical to your chances of success because they will enable readers to find your title using the Search feature on Amazon and other retailers.
You can do your research for your selections for free by using Amazon or Google, but you might want to invest in premium software for the task.
For real-time access to Amazon buyer data, you might consider using dedicated software to research your KDP category and keyword selections.
At the very least, you should use a premium writing correction tool to help you prepare your manuscript.
Grammarly is the first choice for a lot of writers.
However, another option for authors is Prowritingaid, which is less expensive and is particularly suited to working on long documents such as manuscripts.
You can check our listing of the most popular grammar and writing checkers.
If you think that everything should be free when marketing your book, good luck, but making money doesn’t work like that.
Nothing much ever comes for free, especially a profit.
You don’t need to break the bank, but you should certainly consider paying for a great cover. (How many times have I said that?)
Homemade covers are the worst way to promote your title because they scream unprofessional with poor-quality cover design.
If you can’t afford anything else, pay for a fantastic book cover.
Think of it this way.
A great cover might help sell a poor book, but a poor cover will never help sell a great book.
Great covers sell books. Homemade covers are an instant buyer turn-off.
Remember that Google and Bing image search will index your cover. So what better way to attract buyers than with a fantastic cover?
A poor cover will fail to take advantage of this opportunity.
So forget about using your expertise in creating a below-average cover using Microsoft Word. Spend a little money on a professional book cover.
4. Buy affordable book promotion
You can’t do it all by yourself.
Most authors, especially new authors, have a small online footprint. So paying to have your publicity spread much further makes good sense.
There are many free and paid promotion sites, and it is worth registering with some of them.
But you don’t have to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars for effective promotion.
Another viable promotion tool is Facebook Ads. Be careful, though, as advertising your book on Facebook can become very expensive.
Facebook Ads are good for launching a new book, but never expect that your investment in ads will be recouped in sales.
A more cost-effective way to use Facebook Ads is to attract Likes to your Author Page.
Investing in page Likes is a good way to increase your online presence if you are a new author.
Added to the fact is that you can sell your books directly from your Facebook Page. So building up Likes is going to gain more potential buyers.
Again, invest wisely, and don’t chase dreams of becoming a bestselling author in five minutes.
A few hundred page Likes is usually enough to attract more free organic Likes.
You might also want to consider an online book tour for a new title.
But check what you get for your money carefully before you commit.
5. Offer a free series starter
For some authors, this may mean writing a new book or two.
But in today’s ebook, Internet, digital-driven marketplace, free series starters are a proven winner when it comes to book promotion.
Never think about how many ebooks you give away as lost sales.
Think about the fact that every ebook you give away is a potential means of attracting a new ebook buyer.
If your free series starter book trailer or book description grabs readers, every free copy you give away will help you sell more ebooks.
Perhaps you could offer your ebook to an online book club. You never know!
Make sure, though, that your free series starter is complete with links to the rest of the books in the series.
Draft2Digital can help in this regard as they offer automated updating of other titles in a series.
Summary of how to promote your self-published book
Of all the tips above, I believe a free series starter is the most cost-effective promotion tool a self-published author can have.
It costs nothing and will promote your book day in and day out on all your retailers.
If you don’t have a series, free ebook campaigns on Amazon with KDP Select or other retailers from time to time can similarly help in attracting new readers.
If you have published a printed book, you could also consider offering copies to a local book club. You never know; the members might like to meet you for a book signing!
Promoting your book will take a lot of effort. But if you combine the tips I have mentioned, you will have most of the important promotional bases covered.
Looking through long lists of free promotions and advertising opportunities can chew away at your time.
But there are many time and cost-effective ways you can boost your book promotion. So consider what is important to you.
For most authors, it is your valuable writing time.
If you pay a little for web hosting, advertising, book promotion, and, most importantly, book covers, it is money very well invested.
But, of course, always invest wisely.
Related reading: 9 Book Promotion Ideas That Never Really Work
16 thoughts on “What’s The Best Way To Promote My Self-Published Book?”
Thanks for sharing such blog!
I also want to go for self-publishing. This blog has helped me a lot. I have now clarity on various points.
I have published a self help book which was created from my auto biography which is not published. I just don’t know what I should do in promoting. There is a lot to be said from all of the challenges I experienced throughout my life. My life has been based on overcoming tragedies traumas survival. I would love to hear about what I should do.
Thanks for sharing. I’m always on the look out for free ways to advertise my ebooks. Periodically, I give away some of my ebooks free. But, it has been difficult letting people know that my blog, “The Witty Freelancer” exists. The information on your site is invaluable to me and love your website’s design a d layout.
Keep up the good work because I visit often.
Thanks a lot for sharing!
My problem right now are the fact I’m not a country with English language background, so I written my book on our native language. Ok, but in the end, it restrict me a lot too, including the tools for new readers and I can’t afford a translation.
You are correct. Every author loves to get paid, but personally I am not hoping to be a millionaire. I would like to be read and get feedback. and my publishing experience hasn’t been encouraging. I am planning to publish my next book on my blog. There will be no pressure to sell and I will know how many are reading on a given day.
Why do so many people push to give away their first book for free?
I worked hard on it and I should be paid.
You can’t walk into a barnes and noble and ask for a free copy of a first book in a series.
Might be smart to write several books in the series before publishing the first, and then release them quickly to keep readers engaged in your series after the first freebie book. Good luck!
I’m a new author. Don’t have much experience so I’m learning from you guys. I will try some of the suggestions made and I’ll keep you guys posted.
I write and publish story books. How can I advertise my books and sell in large quantity?
Great post , really useful
If nothing is ever free, then why offer my book free?
Now I’m going to contradict myself here as there was a Morgan Rice PlayBook that was for free that made me keep buying the rest of the books in the series. So far I stopped at 7 as there are 17 books and at $5 a pop it adds up quick.
I am a winner of the 2017 NaNoWriMo novelist contest in November where you need to write 50,000 words by the end of the month. After leaving myself with such a cliffhanger on my first read through I had to know more of my own story so I pumped out another 50,000+ words by the end of December.
Today I am still editing the first book. Although this will eventually turn into a series, does it pay for me to offer my first book for free if I have yet to write more than two books? Is this something where I make my third book or fifth book that I offer the first one for free?
I’ve just started a new self-publishing bookstore. Please give me some valuable tips to explore my business.
I’m not sure you’d have a similar percentage increase had you moved from a .co.uk to a .com as you had moving from a .ch domain. Many ch domains will be language specific, whereas co.uk and .com are English (forgive me for stating the obvious!).
A lot of your Web traffic will be generated as a result of your ‘English’ relevant meta data and whatever criteria the latest version of Googles’ Search Optimisation programme is designed to capture – which changes constantly.
In the same vein we can overdo time spent on social networking, we could do so on website optimisation!
Thanks for the regular tips on this and other threads though. I just thought I’d throw my pennies worth in for that element!
I definitely agree that not everything is for free, and that investing money in good quality book promotion is a key part of seeing success in terms of sales and growth.
I’d love to know if anyone reading this has any experience using book promotion sites. I know Bookbub has a really good reputation, but there are some sites on there I haven’t heard of, and would love to get any opinions on?
I definitely agree that offering a free series starter is one of the best ways to build a readership as part of a long term strategy. I think using Facebook ads in conjunction with a free series starter book as a way of getting emails and building a list is one of the most effective approaches out there.
Also, Amazon ads seem to be taking off right now, a lot of people having some good results there!
Thanks for the great content!
Personally, after signing up for BookBub, I never saw an increase in sales whatsoever – so much the opposite that I wondered what I’d just bothered with. On the other hand, the day after I submitted (for a small fee) to Pretty Hot and JustKindleBooks (I checked to see if I was indeed featured, and found that I certainly was), the downloads for my free promotional book did increase slightly, but still not to the degree described by the guys at PaidAuthor.com, which is where I discovered these sites. Where they gained thousands of downloads for the book they did the trial on, mine were around 30-ish, which was still quite a step up from being relatively non-existent before signing up. Where I was gaining 1-2 downloads before the free promotion at .99, after the promotion I haven’t had any downloads nor orders for the print version for days. Honestly, I want to invest money in a promotion site that will actually get my name and my book out there, but it’s sort of like roulette – you don’t know what’s gonna hit and when. I really don’t have money to just throw away on mediocre promotions. Best of luck to you!
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