by Ashlee McNicol
I am asked quite often the best ways to market a book. The most frequent questions I get revolve around making it as cheap as possible yet capable of reaching the widest audience. For that, here is a list of 150 DIY ways to market a book. I’ll do another blog post next week with some more marketing options. Stay tuned! And most importantly, put it to use.
1. Create a stellar book within your genre.
2. Make a list of your goals with your book and proceeding books. Include timelines of when you would like to reach each of those goals.
3. Insert that information into an effective marketing campaign that details strategic marketing efforts.
4. Establish your niche. What do you want to be known for?
5. Research your target market by looking at the demographics of who would be interested in reading your book.
6. Gear your advertising toward your target market in all venues.
7. Figure out your budget to see how much you are able to save for advertising. If you are unable to spend any money on it right away, consider free options.
8. Create an author page on Facebook.
9. Slowly transition to using your author page as your main source of advertising. Engage with your readers.
10. Invest in great software or an illustrator to create a dynamic book cover.
11. Write a catchy book summary and include it in publicity.
12. Write a friendly and intriguing author biography to help your readers get to know you.
13. Find a catchy song that reminds you of your book. Play it in the background to start out presentations or meetings. Catch people off guard.
14. Always smile. Be sociable.
15. Write spin-offs of your independent book or series.
16. Have someone take pictures of you writing, reading, or designing on your computer. Put them on your social media to make it personal for readers.
17. Create a comic on your book.
18. Create a book meme.
19. Register as an author on Google.
20. Participate in Google Books.
21. Create collages and pictures with the book cover, quotes from the main characters, and links to buy the book.
22. Insert a page in your book requesting readers to write reviews and to post them on your social media.
23. Keep track of and publicize fantastic reviews that you receive.
24. Create a blog with a unique name and use key words to post the blogs.
25. Create a book launch team to gather beta readers, a loyal fan base, and free promotional instruments.
26. Offer a list of future publications and the anticipated dates of publication on your website.
27. Team up with local businesses as a greeter when they have special events.
28. If you write murder mysteries, host a murder mystery night at a restaurant or library.
29. Create a presentation on your book and the characters.
30. Create a Goodreads account and communicate with your readers there.
31. Use LinkedIn to establish contacts with your professional author name.
32. Use Twitter to network, advertise, and promote sales. Make a hash tag for your books and get people excited about it.
33. Create a list of local media you would like to cover your story.
34. Write your own press release and offer it to the media to get your name out there.
35. Take a marketing class or two.
36. Accurately select the genre of your book.
37. Treat all of your contacts as people from whom you can learn. Take notes on people’s mannerisms and be more in-tune with character dynamics. This can strengthen your story and characters.
38. Take advantage of word-of-mouth advertising.
39. Network with other authors and watch how successful authors do it.
40. Appeal to all types of people: visual, textual, and audio with your marketing efforts.
41. Decide if you want a pen name or two, research the limitations, and outline the promotional benefits.
42. Create a Youtube channel where you talk about your book, neat ideas, or the genre itself. This can be easily shared and viewed, and it is a fantastic way to let people know what you do.
43. Create a book trailer and ask your fans to share it.
44. Ask loyal fans to create their own book trailers for your work.
45. Work on search engine optimization (SEO). Research it. Know it. Learn it.
46. Participate in blog tours online through an interview, a giveaway, or a full blown takeover.
47. Respect copyrights and give organizations credit where needed.
48. Share any time you participate in a blog tour, media stunt, or something geared towards your novel. It will help you to be publicly known.
49. If you completed a series a while back, write a novella or short story showing where the characters are at in their lives and what they would like to do in the future.
50. Schedule book signings with local bookstores and other places. Choose locations in high-traffic areas.
51. Be creative and friendly when meeting new contacts. Talk about your ideas and what intrigues you. Exchange cards.
52. Have someone take pictures every time you host an event or participate in an event. Publicize them on your social media.
53. Give a shout-out to the organization every time you host an event.
54. Ask your friends and family to stop in to the book signings and look around to help people feel more at ease when they approach you about your book.
55. Host presentations on your book in high-traffic areas.
56. Host presentations on ideas surrounding your book (i.e. If you are a new author, more people may show up if you are hosting a discussion on the struggles of women between work and motherhood rather than a discussion on your debut novel itself. You can simply integrate that into the overall discussion.)
57. Include a schedule on your website that labels all of the events that you will be participating it. Make sure it can be found easily, and make sure it is booked strategically per your marketing campaign.
58. Increase the volume of publications you produce on an annual basis by giving yourself daily word count goals, creating a daily schedule, and outlining future novels in advance.
59. Have a professional author photo shoot done and put the pictures on your social media and author website.
60. Decide if you want to write full time (as most of us do) and invest your time into writing, marketing, editing, and networking.
61. Post fun or informative videos on your social media.
62. Make a list of people you know that may be interested in your book and make sure they know about it.
63. Create an email signup list and make it easily accessible on your website.
64. Offer a free book, free short story, or another perk to increase the amount of people who sign up with their emails.
65. Create a newsletter and update it with information on your latest work, future work, an about the author section, tips for success for authors, and fun ideas for readers.
66. Engage with your readers. Ask for their input.
67. Create a craft that authors can take advantage of for their books and series (i.e. a homemade accordion file with pictures of the books on the outside of each page so that it can be used as a promotional tool at book signings and events).
68. Ask readers to post pictures on your social media when they sight characters out in daily life. This can be a fun way to see what readers envision your characters to look and act like.
69. Figure out the kind of pricing strategy that you would like to adapt.
70. Offer free short stories on your website so that potential readers can review your writing style and follow you to keep tabs on characters they know and love.
71. Make a list of five specific things you feel sufficient at in terms of marketing and five areas in which you feel you need to improve. Capitalize on these areas.
72. Make business cards that include a link to your website. Pass them out when meeting new clients.
73. Establish a nice relationship with bloggers and participate actively on their blogs.
74. Visit a seminar or webinar on marketing.
75. Pay for a campaign on Facebook to drive readers to your site.
76. Outline relevant blog ideas on a weekly basis based on the kinds of things that might be going on during certain time frames. Be considerate of your target market and what they desire to read about.
77. Post helpful articles and tips for other authors. If they like it, they may share it.
78. Organize giveaways and events around special times for your target audience. Do not publish a piece around the same time a renowned author in the same genre publishes theirs, or risk being overlooked. Be strategic.
79. Convert your book to audio form.
80. Create a Google+ account and host hangouts to engage with your fans.
81. When a new book is about to debut, host a giveaway event. Record events such as this one to upload online.
82. Post interesting articles on your book after the debut, including fun facts that you didn’t know about the setting.
83. Organize a fun activity with your readers, where they help create a fun short story. Everyone posts one sentence to one paragraph to create the story.
84. Do a book tour in the city where the book takes place.
85. Write out locations that you would like to hit on your book tour, and map them out. Contact schools and other potential lecture destinations in order to schedule the events months in advance.
86. Create fliers and ask local businesses if you could hang them on their bulletin boards.
87. Register for a PO Box where you can receive fan mail.
88. If readers send you pictures, mail them back to them with your signature or fun freebies.
89. Participate in writing contests.
90. Add yourself to online groups or organizations of writers in your genre.
91. Add yourself to online reading groups in your genre.
92. Create a list of ten facts readers don’t know about the characters in the story. Seep some of these facts into your promotional techniques.
93. Host contests and giveaways.
94. When you debut a book, send an email to Writing Magazine.
95. Sell your books through several distributors.
96. Host a contest by asking fans to draw pictures of certain scenes or characters in the book. The winner may receive a signed copy of the book or some other promotional tool.
97. Order or create posters, post cards, bookmarks, and other promotional tools.
98. Change your employment status on social media to “Author.”
99. If your book involves food, partner up with a local restaurant to serve the popular dish and host a read-aloud. Contact the local newspaper to cover the story.
100. Seek a writing mentor. Aspire to surpass him or her, but respect and follow their lead.
101. Contact the local television station to schedule an interview.
102. Contact the local radio station to schedule an interview.
103. Give advanced copies of the book to the organizations hosting the interviews so that they have plenty of questions for you.
104. Host a party for the release of the book.
105. Host an online Facebook event for release of the book.
106. Put a “Countdown” app on your website showing how much time is left until your book debuts.
107. Choose publication dates based off of your target audience’s schedule throughout the year. For instance, moms may not have time to read during the back-to-school season, so plan around it.
108. Engage with Reader’s Digest.
109. Include a link to your social media on your website.
110. Always respond to comments on your blog.
111. If your story relies on a very detailed adventure setting, create a map and publicize it.
112. Post fun “fill in the blank” statuses.
113. Dress for success, and consider your audience.
114. Always have a copy of your book handy.
115. Publicize teaser stories from the eyes of your main characters before the novel debuts.
116. Write articles that direct people to your author website.
117. Reach out to celebrities who support your cause online.
118. If you wrote an independent book a while back, write a novella or short story showing where the characters are now. Remind your audience why they read the book in the first place.
119. Create an elevator pitch for your book so that you can sum it up for everyone who asks what it is about. Make sure it is catchy.
120. Differentiate your book from others in the same genre and make sure that distinction is known.
121. Donate your book to organizations and host a charity read-aloud if the book pertains to a certain organization.
122. Purchase t-shirts, hoodies, and book bags with your book design. Sell them to fans or offer them as prizes.
123. Put a quote from your book at the bottom of your email signature beneath your name, title, book, and website link.
124. Create a Facebook page for the main character in your book. Advertise your book there, and treat it like a real person’s Facebook page by updating statuses.
125. Create a “shared in” picture for the debut of your book. Simply create an advertisement of your book with your social media links and website URL on the bottom and have everyone share it. Every time someone shares it, they can write “Shared in (insert state here).” That’s a great way to gain exposure.
126. Convert your book to an ebook.
127. Host a “creative” night at local coffee or smoothie shops.
128. Outline your book as a sitcom or movie and pitch it to producers.
129. Always visit local author book signings and establish a relationship with local authors. Networking does wonders.
130. Take advantage of social media exposure activities with pages like Book Candy.
131. Write a series. Don’t let the characters’ lives stop with one book.
132. Go to local coffee shops and restaurants and pitch ideas about potential food and drink name ideas based off the theme of your book.
133. Use Excel to create a trend analysis and keep track of sales over select periods of time.
134. Make appearances at places where your target audience spends their time.
135. Make your Facebook author page public.
136. Visit local universities and host events to build awareness on certain activities.
137. Create a fun trailer to propose to your book launch team.
138. Host a fun “speed reading” event to spread awareness and discuss literature with other likeminded individuals.
139. For one day, offer a percentage of the proceeds for your book to a certain organization or charity that you like.
140. Read up on the SWOT analysis, and plan your book around this.
141. Do not read reviews on your book everyday.
142. Create your own promotional tool kit. Keep it handy, and have it ready when you are on sales calls or visiting schools.
143. Do not overflow your social media with advertising.
144. If you include a link on social media, add a little blurb. Give people a reason to look at it.
145. Network with people using sites such as meetup.com
146. If a book is a limited edition, make sure the cover reflects that.
147. Link ways to purchase your book on your author website.
148. Create a survey to see what readers like the most about your books and things that they would love to see in the future.
149. Do a “prediction” blog or post to see where readers hope the story will go or what they think might happen.
150. Give shout-outs to other authors in your newsletter when they release new books.
Guest post contributed by Ashlee McNicol. Ashlee is the author of YA Fantasy series The Secrets of Ghastillanda, as well as non-fiction books on marketing and creative strategic development for small businesses. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she enjoys facilitating community involvement through teaching.