Book Marketing: The basics
There are countless ways to market and promote a book and the list below covers some of the everyday and some of the most creative.
Before setting out to promote your book, it's also worth noting that book marketing and book promotion are not the same thing. Marketing centers on what the book publishing business calls “discoverability”—ensuring that you and your books can be found by the right readers.
And on ensuring that the promise you and your book is making to them is clear.
Marketing answers a reader’s implicit question whenever they meet a new writer or book: would I like this author, this book? Is it for me? If your marketing is properly set up, they’ll quickly be able to answer that question.
So marketing is ongoing. It includes your author platform, your book covers and descriptions and reviews, your email lists and associated funnels, your digital and physical assets like banners, ads, bookmarks, and postcards. You might refresh your marketing look and feel, periodically, and you’re always tweaking here and there, but essentially the marketing keeps on rolling along, taking in each new book within an author brand that expands and refines.
Book promotion, by contrast, kicks in around a particular book and a particular point in time. It’s a push that has a start and end date and can take many forms, including book launches, virtual or real-life book tours, advertising, and other purchased promotions.
Before you get into book promotion, you need to ensure you've covered the marketing basics:
- Set up a transactional author website, with a professional and interesting author bio, and a store page that makes your book available to purchase easily. Use the latest search engine optimization (SEO) techniques for authors while building your website and adhere to Google guidelines.
- Understand the difference between ACCESS and influencer marketing
- Know your books' genre, niche, and micro niche
- Know your “comp authors”, comparable authors in your genres, who write the books that are most like yours. Look them up on Amazon and other retailers. Read their websites. Buy and read their books.
- Understand how you're building your author platform. Recognise that this takes time and every bit of book promotion adds to its size and strength.
With all that in place, you're ready for book promotion ideas. Consider and adopt the ideas below in a spirit of exploration and experiment. And don't forget to measure your ROI. It's now how much a tool costs that's the question but how much it will return. Analyze your return on investment for each promotion you try, so you know what works and what doesn't for your particular books.
Our thanks to the ALLi team and advisors, particularly BookBub, Reedsy, IngramSpark, and Written Word Media for this list.
- Cross-promote with other authors. In building your mailing list and social media profile, you may have accumulated readers who have granted you access to their contact details. By teaming up with three authors who write similar books and have roughly the same audience size, you can instantly quadruple your reach.
- Select categories on Amazon where you have a chance at being a bestseller. Reaching the top spot in your category on Amazon delivers benefits, including prestige you can use for promotional purposes and additional exposure on the platform. When selecting your categories, pick some where the #1 book ranks relatively low on Amazon’s Best Sellers Rank
- Use book recommendation services like Bookbub, Bargain Booksy and Book Gorilla. In order to be accepted, you will have to offer your book for free or at a minimum discount of 50%+ for a limited period. Fees depend on the price and genre of the book. e.g. for a deal on Bookbub’s hottest category of crime fiction, the listing fee is currently about $400 for books being offered for free, and about $2000 for books being sold in the price range of $2–$3. This may sound costly but members report good ROI and benefits accrue to other books and lead to more reviews. Here is a comparison of the best book promo sites: https://selfpublishingadvice.org/ebook-discovery-book-promo-services-review/
- Reach out to the press. Email relevant media sites a pitch for a book and offer a free copy. Be sure to use a catchy subject line and opening sentence. Follow up by sending a press release and personalized letter with the book.
- Find relevant guest blogging opportunities. Reach out to blogs focused on your genre with recent posts, lively comments, and an active social media presence. If they’d like to accept a post from you, create valuable and original content, and carefully edit each post to make sure you’re delivering polished content.
- Participate in podcasts. Agree to participate in interviews that would effectively reach your target audience. Interviews can be a great way to share your perspectives without needing to write much original content. Take advantage of these opportunities to increase awareness of your author brand and your books.
- Run targeted social media ads. Sites like Facebook and Twitter let you target ads to a fine-tuned audience based on preferences users have expressed on those social platforms. This lets you advertise the book to people interested in similar books or genres.
- Use keywords used by the best sellers in your category. When you look at your author comps, words or phrases that readers search when looking for a work just like yours. Note them and use them.
- Create a permafree gateway book. For example, the first book in a series can be permafree as a gateway to the rest of the series.
- Promote a full-priced book in a discounted book’s back matter. Authors see a 2.2x higher increase in sales of other books in their series if links are included in the back matter of the discounted book.
- Discount the first book in a series. Hook new readers into a series by pricing low. 77% of bargain readers buy full-priced ebooks, so getting them hooked on a series via a discount often leads to full-priced sales later.
- Temporarily discount a backlist book to drive sales. Choose as low a price as possible to drive the highest volume of sales. 95% of bargain readers have purchased a book from an author unknown to them because of an ebook price promotion.
- Run a price promo. If you’re promoting a new release, running a price promotion for a backlist book can help drive sales for the new book. Or try discounting the new book once it’s built up a solid platform
- Run a price promotion in a foreign country. Discounting a book in foreign markets can be a great way to drive ebook downloads and revenue in those regions.
- Create a relevant video series. Create mini documentaries on a book, or get more creative. For example, for a chick lit book featuring a hairdresser protagonist, create a cute series of hair tutorials featuring hairstyles from the book. For a middle grade mystery featuring a magician, create a magic trick tutorial series. Publish the videos on YouTube and your other social channels.
- Run a Google AdWords campaign. Target keywords that your audience would likely search for to find books similar to yours. Create several versions of ad copy within each ad group and let Google automatically run each variation and determine a winner.
- Time book promotions with current events. If you can strategically promote a book during specific seasons, an annual event, or when something pops in the media, take advantage of that opportunity and be a part of the conversation.
- Write and syndicate a press release. Create an informational press release announcing a new book. Link to both the new release product page and your own website for SEO purposes. Use a free press release distribution service to syndicate the press release to news websites and blogs.
- Brand your social media header photos. An author’s social media images — such as on Facebook and Twitter — offer a great branding opportunity for authors. Update your cover photo with branding for your latest release, preorder, or price promotion to make sure everyone who comes to the page knows about it.
- Join the Goodreads’ author program. You can create your own profile page to share about yourself and your books, seek reviews, organize book giveaways, host discussions regarding your books, add your books to the appropriate lists on Listopia where they can be seen and voted for by your target audience, and more.
- Make your blog posts easy to share. Make it easy for fans to share your book news and other blog posts by optimizing each post for social sharing. Use tools like AddThis or ShareThis to add social sharing buttons alongside each post, and ClickToTweet to create clickable tweets.
- Make each social media post visual. Tweets with images get 150% more retweets, and Facebook posts with images account for 87% of total interactions. Instead of text-only updates, include an image of the book’s cover or a teaser quote. This can encourage fans to click, share, or like. Tools and image libraries like Canva, Shutterstock, and iStock can help.
- Run a participation contest. Have fans share your post, comment on a post, or like a post for a chance to win a free signed copy of a book or another fun prize, and cross-promote the contest on your other social media channels.
- Run a fan art contest. Get fans to upload fan art of a character or scene from a book on your blog or Facebook page — or have them share it using a hashtag on Instagram or Twitter. Choose a winner to receive a prize (and then get permission to use that fan art in your marketing).
- Ask questions and encourage participation. The more your fans and followers engage with your updates, the more exposure you’ll get — their friends will see their comments in their news feeds. So make sure to involve fans in a two-way conversation.
- Pre-schedule social media content. Doing social media marketing doesn’t mean spending all day online. Use tools like Buffer, TweetDeck, or Hootsuite to schedule your day’s or week’s social media content in advance. This will free up your time for writing and other marketing efforts.
- Pin important updates on your feed. You can pin important announcements about new releases, sales, or contests to the top of your Facebook page and Twitter profile. You only need to post the content once, then you can simply pin it for higher visibility!
- Host a release party. Run a contest on launch day giving people many opportunities to win prizes, such as a free copy of a book, gift cards, posters, and more.
- Post behind-the-scenes peeks. Photos of your drafts, early covers, a character sketch index cards laid out for plotting, your cat lying on your notes, or something to show your personality and a peek into your mind space .
- Create inspiration boards — art that inspired you when writing certain scenes, fan art for your books, pictures of other authors or creatives who inspire you.
- Run a trivia contest. Have participants email you the answer, where each correct answer is worth points. Send winners a free book or a creative prize. Readers love a fun challenge!
- Host author Q&As, as a one-off, or a monthly event. Many authors host Ask Me Anythings on Reddit. Submit an AMA to the IAmA group or peruse Reddit for genre-specific subreddits, such as YA Writers and Fantasy Writers, to find opportunities to host an AMA.
- Host a Q&A via Snapchat and YouTube. Have fans send questions directly to your Snapchat account, and answer them later via a live or pre-recorded video on your YouTube channel. For tech-savvy authors, this twist on the traditional Q&A is an innovative way to keep readers engaged.
- Create reader communities A street team is a group of fans that volunteer to promote an author. Fan clubs are groups where readers can congregate without the expectation of helping with promotional activities. A virtual book club where participants read a designated book or chapters and discuss them.
- Launch a Facebook group with other authors. For example, The Jewels of Historical Romance has a Facebook group of over 2K members that 12 romance authors created. They cross-promote each other’s books, hold monthly joint giveaways and contests, and announce new releases. It’s a free and creative way for each author to expand their fan base.
- Create box sets and bundles at discounted prices
- Bundle the first few books in a series. Include the first two or three books of a series in a box set to promote a full-price book later in the series. This can be a great way to hook readers and make them invested in the characters so they’re willing to pay full-price to know how the tale ends. Promote the next book in the series in the box set’s back matter.
- Include exclusive content in a box set. Adding a novella or short story to a box set could provide an extra incentive for readers to purchase (instead of buying the books separately). Existing readers might also purchase the box set for the bonus content they haven’t seen before.
- Publish a multi-author anthology. Partner with other authors to create an anthology of novellas or short stories. If you promote the collection to your audiences, you can each increase your exposure by reaching the other authors’ audiences.
- Participate in live events
- Hold book signings at bookstores and conferences. Signings can help drive word-of-mouth exposure and reviews. Don’t feel obligated to give away your books for free. Many authors sell books at their signings — purchase a checkout tool like Square to process credit card transactions at a cost of 2.75% per swipe.
- Give a talk at a relevant conference. Flex your public speaking skills. As a published author, you can talk about a variety of topics, including the subject of your book, your writing process, your publication journey, and the experience you’ve had promoting your books and connecting with readers.
- Concentrate marketing efforts in a single week. Bestseller lists are based on the number of units sold in a single week. Target one list to optimize for its cycle. Focus your campaigns, including price promotions, social media contests, and email marketing within one week to boost your chances of hitting the list.
- Pitch a book as a holiday gift. Depending on the type of book you’re promoting, the giftable nature of a physical book may help boost print book sales, especially around the holidays. Consider timing your price promotions and ad campaigns around holiday or special, relevant events to boost sales and visibility.
- Donate books to relevant organizations. If you’re promoting a middle grade book, consider donating a few copies to a summer camp, children’s hospital, or school libraries. If you’re promoting books that appeal to an older demographic, donate to retirement homes, hospitals, and community centers. This can help spark future word-of-mouth sales.
- Regularly refresh your metadata. Choose 3-5 keywords that best reflect the content of a book based on current trends and how readers are now searching for that content. Swap these keywords into your metadata (such as in the keyword fields and description).
- Take tips from the most popular books in your genre. Examine titles, cover designs, typography, word choice, reviews. Copy down words and phrases that connect with and characterize your right readers. Include these in your own design and metadata.
- Look after your Amazon Author Central accounts in all territories that have AC. Keep your biography, photos, videos, events, and details of every book you have published up to date.
- Get your book into libraries. See our guide.
- Continue publishing new books. Nothing sells backlist like frontlist.
More Book Promotion Ideas from ALLi members
For a while on the blog, on the last Saturday of each month, members of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) shared creative, thoughtful, unusual and sometimes plain off-the-wall book marketing tactics that have effective promoted their self-published books on the ALLi blog. We've gathered together 5o+ of these book promotion ideas.
- “Have a copy of your book sticking out of your bag,” suggests Sue Johnson. “When you go to the supermarket, choose the longest queue. Usually people get so fidgety they start chatting (providing they’re not focused on their phones). I’ve sold a few books like this.”
- Fiona Cameron reports: I did a book signing (one book!) at the car dealer’s when picking up my new car (the salesman’s wife had a copy of my latest book).
- ALLi’s children’s author advisor Karen Inglis: “A sash window company just came to quote to upgrade the windows in our house and towards the end of the visit the guy asked me what I did. When I told him, he asked to see my books. He then took photos of them and ordered two of each to be posted and signed for his kids who are home-schooled! In fact he beat me to it when he asked what I did, as I had already planned to ask if he had kids. So the message for all of you children’s authors: make sure you have your books around the house when tradesmen or women call and, if they don’t say anything, ask them if they have kids and see where the conversation goes.”
- “My street had a party on Sunday. Got talking to a couple of neighbours. Gave them a few postcards promoting my latest children’s book. One lady said she would hand them out to her gym and look at it online for her granddaughter. The other lady said she would come to the book launch.” Julie Day, British YA author
- “My CV includes a mention of my writing. At a job interview last week, two of the three interviewers took an interest in my books.” – Anonymous (to safeguard the author’s current job!)
- The wife of Welsh author and ALLi’s technical manager David Penny recently sold copies of his medieval Spanish crime mysteries to American tourists to whom she’d got chatting on a train journey. When they asked what she did for a living, she said “We’re retired, but my husband writes books” and proceeded to give them an enticing summary. “That sounds like just our cup of tea!” came the reply, as they pulled out their ipads to make an online ebook purchase. That was their holiday reading sorted.
- Debbie Young: “I keep a copy of one or two of my books in my handbag even when I’m not sure there’ll be a marketing opportunity. I just gave a copy to a fellow guest touring the Ingram plant when we got chatting about what we write, and another to a famous author who was by chance sitting next to me by chance at a story night. I know that was giving rather than selling, but I count it as cheap and useful marketing, as each book only costs a couple of pounds to me.”
- Thomas Shepherd, England: “I was sat in near stationery traffic for 4 hours on a bus on the A34 due to nothing more than out of phase lights and people’s inability to roundabouts… I got talking to someone reading a book on her kindle on her Paperwhite. Managed to sell her my then debut novel and preorder my forthcoming book.”
- “I’m writing in The British Library in London today. I brought along a copy of Killer’s Cut for legal deposit as the one I had mailed had gone missing in the post. The two women behind the information desk said they loved the look of the book. Could they read it before it went in to legal deposit.” Scottish crime writer Wendy Jones.
- London book designer Rachel Lawston threw car door magnets into the mix, saying “I was once asked to design one of my indie authors to promote their new book and website.” Australian author Ryn Shell agrees: “I used car door magnets for decades. I found them effective.” And Lousie Walters takes it a couple of steps further “I have decals on my car, advertising my forthcoming book. I thought it would be an easy and cheap marketing ploy. I also have flyers with the same design with a quote from the book on the back which I’ll pop in with all my mailings from now on, including Christmas cards.”
- Leave your book or promotional material on public view as a conversation starter. Leaving the Cheltenham Authors Alliance meeting last month, we spotted local author Alan Moyes' poster for his book on the back shelf of his car, carefully placed on the pavement side where people would walk past and see it.
- “I have my books on sale at a local art gallery. I rely on people being intimidated into buying something, and £8.99 is a lot less than the price of the art.” Jane Davis
- This month Irish author Lorna Sixmith, who writes books about being a farmer’s wife: “I’ve started by contacting a number of farm shops that sell gifts as well as food. This started in November, and, to date, my books are stocked in seven farm shops and by the Scottish charity, RSABI. I supply on a sale or return basis and I pay postage if they take a full box (30 books) and try the books for at least 3 months. So far, two stockists have ordered a second box with one book selling particularly.”
- “I went into a local convenience store and, just on a whim, asked if they would sell my book. They said ‘sure’ and put it near the counter! All I could think was why didn’t I ask before?” Anne Richardson American author of Celebrating Grandmothers
- “Obviously, as we all know, it’s really hard getting books into bookshops, but I have been trying other businesses. A lovely dress shop in Shoreham, Apres Chocolat, is selling Who’d Have Thought It? very successfully, mostly because the owner and her staff loved it. Also Shh!, the wonderful women’s sex shop and emporium in Hoxton is selling it, and we are going to do an event there on dating in mid-life. I have also got Southwold Summer Theatre selling it, mostly because they’re mentioned in the novel.” Christine Webber
- Kathy Joyce did a signing in the foyer of Waitrose, her local supermarket, one Saturday morning and sold more there than at any other signing despite the title misleading one or two possible customers. A comment of ‘I make my own’ could be forgiven given my Lit Fiction novel being entitled Thicker Than Soup.
- “My local ‘gift and all sorts of lovelinesses’ shop stocks my books and actively promote them too.” Anne Stormont
- Debbie Young: “I’ve sold my Christmas collection of short stories via gift shops before, and I was thrilled to spot my stories of love and marriage, Marry in Haste, not only in a wedding-themed window display at Kondi Gifts in Bristol, but also prominently displayed on a table inside. Strong covers can work as handy accessories for window-dressers. Ask yourself what shop window your books would look at home in.”
- Karen Myers: “My first series has a tie in with the foxhunting crowd, and I sold far more books in the local shops that cater to those people than in standard bookshops.”
- Shelley Wilson: “I did really well last year when I signed up for a string of craft fairs. At each event I was the only author and that was my USP! It helps to think outside the box when marketing your novels.”
- Wendy Jones, Scotland: “I was part of a craft fair in a local shopping mall. I was at the bottom of the escalator between floors. I dressed up my book table with a purple tablecloth, a hangman’s noose, some syringes and some bullets. As people came down the escalator they were looking at my table. I, dressed in my christmas jumper and a santa hat, said This is your chance to get your crime books signed by a smiling Santa. It worked as it made people laugh, and most of them came over and bought books.”
- “We collaborated with Cafe Coffee Day (the Starbucks equivalent in India) to provide in-store branding for the book, have sample copies available for people to browse, as well as provide people a discount code for the book.” Ritesh Kala, India
- Elizabeth Ducie, England: “The most successful outlet for my first short story collection was the petrol station on Halden Hill on the A38 in Devon. They put the stand by the till and it sold out very quickly. I reckon it was holiday makers on the way to Cornwall, anticipating wet weather.”
- Irish author Lorna Sixsmith: “I contacted a henparty online shop who are now stocking my books (just ordered another twenty of each one), so it must be doing okay. I guess people look for fun gifts that will give a laugh at a hen party, and the price point of a book works too.”
- There’s something exciting about using your books to commit random acts of kindness by quietly leaving them somewhere readers might find them. British novelist Janet Pywell, who lives on the Kentish coast, turned one of her books literally into a beach read: “Last Easter I left twelve copies of my book on the beach and around Whitstable for people to pick up, read and pass on.”
- If you’re ever quoting another author on the front of back cover of one of your books, or in the acknowledgements, it’s worth considering sending that author a jpeg of the appropriate image, so they can share it how they think fit. (Plus of course an actual copy of the book would be courteous, so they can physically show people and tell them about your book too – it all helps you reach more readers.
- “In one of my novels I had the idea a detective would set his morning routine by listening to the local BBC radio programme. I included the actual presenter and the real programme. Then I sent them a copy and said, “You’re in a book…” Next thing I was being interviewed on BBC Radio. I must admit it all worked out rather well. The host reviewed the book on Amazon and liked it so much I sent her the second in the series as well, which she also mentioned on air. All in all a very good result.” – Ian Andrew, Irish novelist
- ALLi author Russell Phillips, who writes about military technology and history, was on the receiving end of another author’s tactic. “A friend of mine wrote a short story featuring an alternate version of me, as a thank you. Being the narcissist that I am, I shared it on social media.”
- Julie Day has flagged up her intention to take advantage of a national event to promote her recently published children’s book about living with Asperger’s Syndrome (which Julie has herself), by tapping into National Autism Awareness Week at the end of March. “I plan to do a library event to raise awareness of it along with my book.”
- Wendy Jones: “I approached my local paper to ask if they would like to do a story on me and my unique angle: ex-Army officer turns to a life of crime. They loved the hook, interviewed me and sent a photographer round leading to a full page feature. Sometimes crime does pay. It’s worth thinking outside the box for an angle.”
- Lorna Sixsmith, Ireland: My most successful press release was entitled “5 Ways to attract an eligible farmer at the ploughing championships” (which is Ireland’s biggest agric event). The event gets lots of publicity so the journalists were delighted to talk about something humourous and quirky. I was sick of talking about the different types of wellies and how they attract different farmers by the time I was finished!! but it worked – was quoted at length in an article in a national farming paper, got a national radio interview, about 6 local radio interviews from all parts of the country and about 3 local paper features. I was selling the book at the event so it was great.
- Crime writer writer J J Franklin: “I invited folk to enter a competition to have their name in my next book by filling in a slip with their name and email and putting in a tin. I started this at my book launch for Echoes of Justice in Waterstones in Stratford-upon-Avon and a few other places. The competition was to have their name in my third book in the DI Matt Turrell series, of which the working title is Moment of Death.”
- English children’s author, Chris Casburn: “Our local group of indie authors are running a #summerreads promotion on Facebook. It’s a mix of book promotion and writing tips. I sold 90 books from my Creatures of Chichester series at my last one.”
- “My historical novel based on a real journal of a Michigan pioneer woman is sold in two local museums in the area.” Cindy Rinaman Marsch
- “I was doing a book signing at a Christmas Fayre. They had Disney characters and Superheros. I took photos of Elsa and Spider-Man with my books and posted on social media.” Wendy Jones
- Russ Phillips: “My wife got her children’s book mentioned in her employer’s internal newsletter. They’re always looking for stories, and were very happy to give her a mention.”
- Derek Murphy, Taiwan: “Pretty easy one: Google your keywords – you’ll probably see one of Goodreads’ lists on page one. Add your book there and get your followers to voted it up. Easy to do and long lasting.”
- Christine Nolfi, USA: “I set up a link in Book Funnel for Second Chance Grill (Book 1 Liberty Series; Women’s Fiction). Then I sent out a Goodreads Events invite to 3400 readers offering 200 free copies to celebrate the February arrival of my new Wheaten Terrier. I also linked to a blog post about losing Nala in December, and Lucy’s impending arrival. I’ll hit the 200 download limit today or tomorrow. More importantly (and this is important because I’m between heavy promoting months), I’ve seen a surge in downloads of the other Liberty books in the US, Canada and UK. Equally important, I received a flurry of comments from readers on the GR event page and in private message. Clearly I struck a chord with WF readers. I’ll now expand the promotion to my newsletter this week. Take-aways: 1) People buy from people. The more “human” our author persona, the more readers with whom we’ll connect. Those readers will then remember us–a critical consideration, given the abundance of books available. 2) The best promotions aren’t necessarily the ones that cost money to implement.”
- Finnish author Helena Halme’s tweet to local papers in two towns in which one of her novels is set led to a super article in the Helensburgh Advertiser (hundreds of miles from where she lives)
- Ann Richardson, an American author living in London, highlighted that she’s landed a great gig that will enable her to subtly plug her book Celebrating Grandmothers – a regular column on a blog that reaches 30,000 subscribers aged 60+. Given that her bio at the end of the piece includes links to both her book and her website, she should be gaining lots of new readers this way.
- British novelist Lynne Pardoe, who says “I joined my university alumni association and listed myself as an author of social work fiction.” If you discovered that someone you were at college with was now a published author, wouldn’t you want to know more about her books, and maybe even give one a try? This has to be a low-budget option worth pursuing.
- “My book tells how I traced the origin of a mysterious string of beads. In the book I describe how I commemorated the person who gave them to my grandmother by weaving a new string of beads. A lady in my knitting group read the book and asked me to teach her to head-weave. Next month I’m going well-equipped- loose beads, loom, the original string of beads – and several copies of the book.” – Katrina Kirkwood, from Norwich.
- “A few months ago I was having a clear-out before moving from London to Rome. I came across a battered old pair of mountaineering boots I was unlikely to wear again. I write books about mountaineering, so instead of putting them on eBay I decided to run a giveaway on my blog. A few days later I received an email from the winner to say thank you. He was an armchair explorer and said there was no chance of him ever needing the boots, but he did read books about mountaineering and it was the first time he had ever won anything in a competition. The giveaway landed me 100 new sign ups to my mailing list in just a couple of days. Some of them may have been mountaineers who were just after a pair of boots, but nearly all of them are still subscribed, so hopefully most of them are readers too.” – Mark Horrell, British author of non-fiction
- Welsh author Karl Drinkwater: “Put stickers on everything, promoting your books. Particularly on parcels. They may get seen by various people. One of those people could see the sticker and buy the book and become a lifelong fan. So stick them on everything, really. Not the cat though. She doth protest.”
- English author Julie Day uses her promotional postcards in a creative manner, such as the following: “When I get round to sending used postage stamps to a charity, I might put in one my postcards as a compliment slip.”
- Jay Artale: “I use business cards that have the front cover of my book as the front of the card, and a universal book link on the back of the card. This creates eye-catching brand awareness, and they're easy to carry around to have on hand to give out or leave on cafe tables.”
- “I had already come up with the idea of turning a couple of short festive stories into Christmas cards last year – it’s just about viable to print a slim book for the price of an upmarket greetings card via CreateSpace. But I missed a trick with my wedding-themed book until a reviewer kindly contacted me out of the blue to say she was planning to use Marry in Haste as a wedding card too! It’s already stocked as part of the wedding gift range in a couple of local gift shops, but it’s slim enough and cheap enough (£5/$8) to use as a card too.” Debbie Young
- British author John Lynch goes to events wearing a hat and t-shirt that not only had one of his book covers on the front, when he turns round the QR code is on the back.
- “I’ve put bookmarks in a few local cafes.” Maggie Christensen, and US author Ky Owen loves the power of the bookmark. “I leave bookmarks at places like my dentist’s office,” he advises. “I’ve sold at least one book that way, which is one more than I’ve sold through Twitter. And if you see me, ask for a bookmark. I always have some with me!”
- Helen Kara, England: “When people tweet or email to say they’ve bought one of my books, I offer to post them a signed bookplate for it, free of charge. I commissioned the bookplates from a professional artist and, while I have no way to calculate the return on investment, they seem to go down well. Some people tweet pictures of them, and I’m sure they promote conversation about my books and my work.”
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Do you have a book marketing technique to share? Let us know what tactics you use to promote your book.