How to Promote a Book: 15 Top Marketing Strategies

Whether you’ve self-published a book or gone down a more traditional publication route, it can be useful to know how to promote a book yourself.

After all, publishing a book is only the first step in getting people to read it. Developing an effective marketing strategy is necessary to just make people aware of what you’ve published, let alone spend money on it.

Part of the book promotion process is intrinsically linked with self-promotion. As an author, you can’t just focus on marketing your book, but also on yourself. By getting your name known in the right circles, your current novel as well as future works will benefit by association.

There are many different approaches you can use as part of your marketing efforts, depending on your skills, budget, and audience. Read on to learn about how to promote your book.

1. Use social media

Social media is an essential tool for all sorts of marketing, and it can be important for book promotion too. Twitter and Facebook are the big two options, but other sites like Reddit and Quora can be great for contributing in online discussions, sharing your opinion, and making your book known to more people.

The key to effective social media marketing is being active. Don’t spam your followers’ timeline, but you should give them a reason to follow you and keep reading what you post rather than trying to sell your book at every opportunity.

Focus on the social media sites that you have the biggest following. If you don’t use social media, then you don’t have to try out this method of book promotion. However, it can be useful to grow your list of follows anyway in order to assist with future marketing efforts.

A book against a black background with pages fanned open.

2. Book promotion sites

One straightforward way to promote a novel is by using book promotion sites. Websites such as these allow authors to pass on the hassle of promotion.

Book marketing services will promote novels through various channels, such as social media, newsletters, and on their own website.

These sites will have larger established audiences (such as on Twitter, Facebook, and their mailing lists) compared with many individual authors, so there is a much higher potential for how many people can be reached through their marketing methods.

3. Create a visual book trailer

Not every book needs to have a trailer, but this marketing technique can be impactful and make your novel stand out from the crowd.

A trailer on Youtube can be easily shared across various social media platforms and leave a more lasting impression than a tweet or poster.

Creating a book trailer can require money unless you have the skills to do it yourself. However, it doesn’t have to be prohibitive, especially because the trailer needn’t be too long or of a Hollywood quality.

4. Setup an author website

An author website is a useful way for potential readers to find out a bit about you and your book. It’s also useful to be able to link to your personal site on your socials, as an alternative to spamming links to your book.

Your author website should include a bio so readers can get to know you a bit better, as well as information about your book.

It could also be a good place to put exclusive content to help get visitors to the site even more interested in your book, such as a sample chapter.

A laptop showing a WordPress blog. A newspaper, cactus, and bottle of water are next to it.

5. Start a blog

In addition to an author site, setting up your own blog is a great way to start getting more people to become familiar with you and your voice.

If you know a how to optimise your blog for SEO, you can focus your blog posts on getting organic search traffic in order to reach more and more people.

You should write about something you’re interested in. As a writer, these could be general writing tips or more specific advice about publishing within your genre.

Make sure to include calls-to-action within each blog post to encourage readers to check out your book, and then just keep pumping out new content. The more visitors you get to your blog, the more potential buyers.

6. Use a newsletter

If you have your own website and/or a strong social media presence, you should also try email marketing. Use a mailing list provider such as Mailchimp and you can start out doing this for free.

The benefits of using a mailing list are that you can curate a list of followers who you know are interested in you and your work. Compared to social media, a newsletter can be much more effective at converting subscribers into sales.

7. Contact bloggers and influencers

Sometimes the most productive way of marketing your book is getting others to do it for you. Bloggers and influencers provide a great option to reach wider audiences because of the loyal followers they will have.

The key to this tactic is choosing the right people for the job. The bloggers or influencers should already create content related to your book. That way, you know their audience will be interested.

Often, you may have to pay. After all, that’s how influencers make their money. Some bloggers might be willing to promote your book free, especially if you offer to promote something of theirs in return, but an alternative is to write a post for them.

8. Write guest posts

Offering to write a guest post for someone else’s blog is one of the most effective ways to get your voice out there. Rather than being restricted to your own group of followers, you can directly reach someone else’s.

Better yet, unlike other marketing methods you can write exactly what you want. If you can craft a well-written, interesting article, the readers might be interested in what else you write.

9. Appear on podcasts

In a similar vein to guest posting, you can also appear as a guest on a podcast. This is a great approach to book promotion because podcasts can have a large audience of interested listeners.

There are plenty of podcasts for writers that dive into subjects around literature and creative writing. Find one most interesting to you and most related to the topic of your book to 

Recording equipment set up for a podcast.

10. Create your own podcast

Appearing as a guest on someone else’s podcast can be effective at promoting your book, but for longer-term marketing success you could also consider starting your own podcast.

This is one of the most time-consuming book marketing methods: you need to write a script, record the audio, edit it all together, and publish it on different platforms. Plus, you’ll then have to consider how to promote the podcast itself!

It also requires a bit more technical know-how when it comes to using software to edit each episode.

However, if you can do it right and releases episodes on a regular schedule, you can end up with a loyal audience who will be keen to buy any books you publish.

11. Write articles on LinkedIn

Any audience that you have, no matter the platform, should be utilised as part of your book promotion strategy. That includes LinkedIn.

If you have a good number of contacts on LinkedIn, make sure to tell them about your book.

But don’t simply promote it and ask them to read it. Instead, write articles that are more suitable for LinkedIn. For example, discuss the process you went through in writing your first draft, or explain how you struggled with a particular problem and managed to overcome it. 

You could also write about other people who helped you with your book, such as beta readers, editors, cover artists, and marketers. They’d appreciate a shout-out!

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12. Share with friends and family!

This may be many writers’ first step, and there’s definitely no harm in telling those close to you about your new publication.

However, don’t expect them to buy your book and definitely don’t pressure them into it. After all, you shouldn’t expect many (or any) sales from them.

The one extra benefit of sharing with friends and family is the word of mouth that might follow and help spread interest in your book.

13. Turn your novel into an audiobook

Just because you’ve published your book, it doesn’t mean there isn’t more you can do with it.

Audiobooks are rapidly growing in popularity. They allow people to read books when they weren’t able to before, such as during commutes on the road or while cooking dinner.

Because some people almost entirely use audiobooks as opposed to print or ebooks, you are leaving an entire section of the market untapped if you don’t choose to provide an audio version of your novel.

You don’t need to read and record the book yourself (although you can if you really want). Consider using an online service to outsource the job and find a narrator perfect for your book.

14. Include an eye-catching cover

By the time you start thinking about marketing, you may have already decided on a cover to use for your book. But there may be room for improvement and you can always go back and update it (especially if you’ve self-published).

The term don’t judge a book by its cover doesn’t ring true when it comes to book promotion. Whether you like it or not, potential readers will judge your book by how it looks, and bad first impressions are almost impossible to recover.

If your front cover looks cheaply-made or amateurish, then that’s how your book overall is being represented. A professional book with valuable, interesting content worthy of peoples’ money will have a cover befitting that quality.

There are plenty of artists out there capable of creating stunning cover art. The cost doesn’t have to be too much, but a small price is worth paying for having a cover that you can be proud of.

15. Write another book!

While it may not be the quickest or simplest way to promote a book, one of the most effective marketing strategies is to just write another.

The more books you publish, the wider reach you have. Two books will double the chances of a new reader discovering you.

Having multiple books also has a cumulative effect on your sales. If someone discovers and reads one of your books, they are likely to be interested enough to buy a second, then third and so on.

You’ll also be seen to have greater authority and legitimacy as an author. Potential readers may be more interested in reading your work if you have multiple publications compared to only one.

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