book promotion

A Guide to Self-Published Book Promotion

Ann O'Brien

May 9, 2022

Writing a book is a commendable task but finding readers is the next step after publishing your book. Authors who decide to self-publish their work have to find creative and beneficial ways to get their recently written work into the hands of readers. But productive book promotion strategies don’t have to be difficult. So let’s take a look self-published book promotion strategies to introduce your latest work to readers.

Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs)

A great way to get the word out on self-published books is to utilize the strategy of sending out early copies of your book to other authors or reviewers ahead of time. An ARC doesn’t have to be a final copy of your book so if you printed an early version of your book with no cover art, for example, or in a less expensive binding, these would be perfect to send as an ARC. While large publishing houses typically use ARCs to gin up interest in new authors or in hotly anticipated books, self-published books can also use this strategy to build excitement for their books, too.

Ask for Reviews

Books with reviews tend to be more popular with new readers since they can get a feel for an unfamiliar author’s work or hear from a “real person” what the book read is like. Reviews are one of the most effective book promotion strategies. Ask your friends, family, and professional colleagues to read and review your book as soon as possible. Reviews on sites like Goodreads, Library Thing and Reedsy Discovery can help more readers discover your writing so ask trusted friends to give honest reviews that can help elevate your book’s presence.

Author Websites

A fun, interactive book promotion strategy is to create an author website. Free sites like Wix make it simple for even non-techy people to make a beautiful website. Use the site to post teasers about the book, the publication date, and cover art as well as links to social media. Add in any links for your book sales on eCommerce sites like Amazon, Etsy, or other large retailers so visitors can buy your book when it is available. Craft an appealing author biography for yourself and even consider linking your favorite reads or other book-related links to generate interest in you as well as show readers what kind of writer you are.

Be a Guest on a Podcast

Live and recorded podcasts are wildly popular, so seeking one out for new authors is a great way to get your name and book title out to a large group of people quickly. Connect with podcasters that specialize in your book’s genre, work in your area, and podcasters that have unique or fun shows. Many podcasters love to scoop new writers or publications so offer the opportunity to be the first to discover a new writer!

Contact Book Clubs

Lots of libraries, organizations, and area groups have book clubs. Contact local and distant book clubs to offer up your book for consideration. Prepare a compelling book blurb to send along with a link to your website or social media sites where they can learn more about your book, you, and your writing style. Since book club members have to buy, borrow, or download books their club members use, sales or downloads will increase if it was chosen and book club members might even write a review of the book afterward, too.

Make a Trailer

It’s undeniable that videos are the most popular way to get new information across quickly to the masses and can be an effective book promotion strategy. So creating a video trailer for your book is a way to take advantage of this trend that turns your written words into an exciting movie trailer. Free software like iMovie or Adobe Express makes turning your book into a gripping short video that can be uploaded to YouTube, social media platforms, your author’s website, or sent out via email to subscribers to create interest. Something as simple as choosing great pictures, audio clips of text from your book and interesting graphics on a short video can leave potential readers wanting more and lead them to buy your book.

Sell Your Book at Events

In-person sales are an excellent way to sell your self-published book. Customers love to meet the author, so attending events in person to sell books, talk about the story, and answer questions about yourself and the book is sure to increase sales. A variety of events are potential bookselling places:

  • Craft Fairs – Many schools and organizations host fund-raising fairs, sales, or events. Hosting a table might involve a small upfront cost but attending the fair allows authors to meet customers and discuss the book. Consider using some display pieces about the book or show pictures or videos relating to the content to catch people’s attention. An “About the Author” display is also a good idea especially if you are connected to the community or have an interesting link to the book, book topic, or even the organization hosting the craft fair.
  • County or Town Fairs – The local vendor area is often part of small-town or county fairs. Selling your book at one of these provides the potential to meet customers in a relaxed setting as well as the opportunity to discuss the book’s contents at length. If your book is geared toward the younger set, consider asking if you can host a “story time” to read a portion of the book to event attendees.
  • Festivals – Seasonal, holiday, or other types of festivals may provide an opportunity to become a vendor. Authors can promote their books for sale at festivals and interact with customers to provide first-hand knowledge about the book, content, or the author.
  • Library Events – Local libraries often host book clubs, author’s days, or other literary events. Contact them to see if you can come to represent your work and sell copies. Offering to donate a book to be considered as a part of their collection is also a good move to help get your book in front of more readers. For children’s books, ask if you can be featured at a kid’s storytime or other children’s events like some libraries host during the school year for preschool-aged children or over the summer for children in the lower grades.
  • Book Fairs – Sometimes publishers, booksellers, or book dealers host literary events. Attending a book fair provides an opportunity not only to sell your book but to also meet other authors, publishers, and book dealers. Those connections can help you potentially make more sales as well since they can connect you to other similar events, cross-promote your book with theirs, or even foster interest in your book being picked up by a large publishing company.

Social Media Blitz

Omnipresent social media is a must for self-published book promotion. Snag a username connected to the book title or your name and use it across multiple platforms to use social media for book promotion. Once the username is established, search out to other authors, fanbases, and groups that might be interested in your book, topic, or theme. Begin interacting with them and mention your book when the opportunity comes up. Link all of your social media bios to your author’s website and place a social media link on your website back to each platform. Create a hashtag (#yourbooktitle) for fans to find your book and use it across all platforms to connect all posts. Consider “promoting” posts by paying for them as advertising to reach larger numbers of potential buyers. Link all posts together with your hashtag and links to your site. Instagram is great for using pictures or linking your book trailer while Twitter is perfect for posting book lines, “sneak peaks,” behind the scenes info about the book writing or researching process as well as bio information about the author.

SEO Strategies

Using search engine optimization or SEO strategies is key to getting your online content read. Look up your book, content, and topic on multiple platforms as well as on search engines like Google to see what keywords or phrases are commonly used or queried by people seeking information about the related topics. Then, integrate those into your website content as well as social media content (use a hashtag with them) to connect them to the larger conversations as well as help steer online searches to your website content and your book promotion.

Getting Started

Self-published books can be promoted just as effectively as any other book but authors have to create different avenues to get the book in front of potential readers as well as raise awareness about the book to audiences that might enjoy it. Start by using a self-publishing house like Publishing Xpress that will help you create beautifully bound copies of your book and then create a plan to help readers find your book.

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