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$100 To Promote Your Book – How Best To Spend It?

$100 to Promote Your Book – How Best to Spend It?

“If you had $100 to spend to market your new book, what would be the best way to spend it?”

Author Solutions Not recommended for self publishersThis question was posed recently to ALLi members on our private Facebook forum – an invaluable resource on which to gain advice from experienced self-published authors. True to form, plenty of advice was forthcoming within minutes, from all parts of the globe – India, Canada, USA, New Zealand and Europe! Below are some of the responses. Which would you choose?

  • First, get some reviews for the book, as a firm foundation on which to build any promotion.
  • Set up a Goodreads giveaway. Authors who are also members of the Goodreads social network for book lovers are allowed to offer free copies of their books over a period of their choice (usually a few weeks). The author sets up the offer and interested readers sign up for the scheme. At the end of the set period, Goodreads administrators pick the winners at random and inform the author of their names and addresses. NB Only print copies qualify; there’s no current mechanism to allow e-book giveaways. However, this is a very low cost way to reach a lot of readers, many of whom will add the book to their to-read list, and with any luck get round to buying and reading a copy eventually. You may offer as many or as few copies as you like for the giveaway. Just one will be fine and arguably gain you as much exposure as a dozen – although more readers may enter if they feel there’s a greater chance of winning. Just bear in mind when offering Goodreads giveaways that you need to budget for the postage costs, which quickly mount up for a heavy book or for despatch to readers in other parts of the world. You can also specify which countries you’ll offer your giveaway too, if you want to keep the cost down, or if your book is genuinely of limited appeal geographically.
  • Invest the $100 in a blog tour. You could set one up independently, researching and contacting likely-looking book bloggers all by yourself, to reserve the $100 to cover the costs of complimentary copies or gift cards to thank participants – or you could approach a blog tour organiser and ask for $100 worth of tour stops.
  • Spend the $100 in optimising your website! If your author site is a wordpress.com freebie, that $100 would buy a lot of extras to add a professional touch – a custom URL, custom design options, ad-free status. An author website is really your online shop window and calling card, so it’s worth spending a little money to add appeal.
  • Buy in some business cards or bookmarks that promote your book, to ensure you always have some professional-looking marketing materials to hand, to give out to anyone who expresses an interest, from friends and relations, to bookstores, to libraries, to people you get chatting to on the bus or train.
  • Set up a newsletter linked in to your website (free via Mailchimp and similar services) and use the $100 to entice people to sign up for it. Then you have a captive audience to promote your book to!
  • Buy 20 reviews on fivrr – or not! (Bit of an ironic suggestion there!)
  • And finally… spend the money on a trip to Glastonbury or any other supposedly sacred site, collect some of its magical waters and sprinkle them liberally over your books. We ALLi authors are nothing if not creative!

How would YOU spend $100 on marketing your latest book? Do share, via the comments form! 

With thanks to participating ALLi members, in no particular order: Elizabeth Loraine, Joanna Penn, Tony Hawkins, Kristen James, Angela England, Rosana Atreya, Anita Exley, Francis Guenette and Pete Morin. 

 PS Access to the ALLi Facebook forum is just one of many great reasons to join the Alliance of Independent Authors. If you’re not already a member and would like to know more about joining, hop over to the website here: www.allianceindependentauthors.org.

Debbie Young

Debbie Young writes warm, funny feel-good fiction, including the Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries series, which begins with the bestselling "Best Murder in Show". As ALLi's Author Advice Center Manager, she also writes guidebooks for authors. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival, she is a frequent speaker at other literary events. Find out more about Debbie's writing life on her author website www.authordebbieyoung.com.

This Post Has 20 Comments
  1. 1. Write a small series (3 stories or so).
    2. Publish the series once written.
    3. First book is free.
    4. $100 on paid promo.

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  3. Thank you for creating your list of promotion sites. We’d really appreciate it if you’d add our site to your lists of useful resources.

    We’re Books Butterfly and we do $0.99 book and free book promotions to our email lists of 125,000+ email subscribers. We have 128,888+ daily active readers across all our sites and blogs and lists.

    Our Page for Paid Book Promotions
    http://www.booksbutterfly.com/order/paidbookslots/?tag=op250_lists_3_selfpublishingadvice

    Our Page for Free Book Promotions http://www.booksbutterfly.com/order/?tag=op250_free_lists_3_selfpublishingadvice

    Books Butterfly
    Where we promote: http://www.booksbutterfly.com/order/wherepromote/

  4. Hi,

    I would set up a free blog on WordPress, create some posts related to your book, create a Twitter account, follow potential readers, Tweet about your posts (Tweet me for free ReTweets to 50,000 to save time building a following: @LPOBryan) then build relationships with other bloggers and offer to host their posts in exchange for running yours, all for free.

    I would then spend the $100 on books. Books that can teach us how to do even more book promotion for free.

  5. Use the €100 to pay for an ad on Facebook or Twitter, but for me personally an ad on Twitter would be most beneficial, as in pay to promote a Tweet for my book.

  6. 1. Spend $59.95 of it on Where Writers Win’s Winner Circle. The list of vetted book reviewers by genre alone is worth the subscription price, and then there’s the 200 plus book clubs, indie bookstores, etc. A way for an author (or their publicist) to shrink the web down to just what they need.

    2. Spend $8.99 of it on Hootsuite’s paid plan so you can operate all your social media from one dashboard (especially useful since you can link groups, too – and Google+ because even if you’re not super active there – your posts on + get indexed by Google… It’ll help you get found faster.

    3. Buy a book at a local bookstore while you’re in there asking for a signing… it matters 🙂 Sounds funny, right? But you’d be surprised how many authors go in asking for something, and don’t even try to buy a cup of coffee… a store owner is more likely to help a customer, eh?

    1. Megaera, you don’t have to spend money to get people on your mailing list. You just have to give away something that your audience will enjoy for free. Once you do that, then you can send weekly or monthly updates that contain information your audience will enjoy.

      1. Well, you have to get them to come to your website and *find* what you’re giving away. *That’s* the hard part, and the part at which I’ve had no success whatsoever. And, yes, I blog to try to attract people, but it doesn’t seem to do any good.

        Any suggestions besides blogging to get people to find you in the first place?

      2. Well, you have to get them to come to your website and *find* what you’re giving away. *That’s* the hard part, and the part at which I’ve had no success whatsoever. And, yes, I blog to try to attract people, but it doesn’t seem to do any good.

        Any suggestions besides blogging to get people to find you in the first place?

        This didn’t go through the first time, so I’m adding some text in hopes that it will go through a second time.

        1. Hi Megaera,

          While novels are not my area of expertise (I’m a nonfiction writer), I did look at your website and saw that in order for people to get access to your free short story, they have to email you. In all honesty, that can be too much work for some people. Honestly, readers can be lazy and if they have to email you to get a copy of a short story (that I presume they know nothing about), then they would rather not do it. Here are my suggestions:

          1. Try a free email list tool like Mail Chimp. Then create a page on your site that tells people why they should subscribe to receive your free gift.

          2. Decide if your free gift is interesting enough for people to want to sign up for it. What is their motivation for wanting your story? Are you an expert in this area of historical fiction? What is in it for them?

          3. How well are you using social media to bring people to your site? Again, I am no expert in your area of writing, but I presume there are websites that specialize in your area of expertise. Talk to people one by one and give people reasons to come to your site. Participate in blog carnivals, write guest blogs on websites that specialize in historical fiction, find FB or Google+ groups on historical fiction, etc. Be where your readers are and win over your audience one person at a time. However, one of the best ways to keep the conversation going is by building a relationship via your email list — hence my MailChimp suggestion.

          Building a web audience takes time and consistent action. It can be done if you keep putting yourself out there. I hope this is helpful.

          1. Thanks, Halona,

            #1, well, maybe. Although I tried MailChimp for a while and it was the biggest PITN for no return (nobody clicked on it, either, and I did try to say why people should want to) that I’ve ever done.

            #2, I probably could do better saying why — however, people have to go to my website to begin with to even find it, and that ties into

            #3, something about which someone coined an acronym, WIBBOW — would I be better off writing. I have spent lots of time trying to do stuff like this, but I don’t know if it’s me, or if it’s the fact that it’s fiction as opposed to non-fiction or some other reason altogether, but even after spending way too much time at it over a period of months a while back, I can still count on the fingers of one hand the number of strangers (as opposed to people I know personally) I know came to my website in response to anything I did on social media or in the blogosphere.

            Also, people don’t read fiction because the author’s an expert the way they do non-fiction. IME, they either like what the author writes or they don’t, and you can spend all the time you want guest blogging and participating on Goodreads or whatever trying to connect with them on a “you’d like my fiction because” platform, and it won’t change that fact whatsoever. There’s just too much damned competition on social media.

            If you’ve got a *different* way other than the above, though, I’m all ears.

            1. I agree with you, although I know that the rule of thumb is that we should be marketing at least 10% of the time, working full time only gives me a small leeway to actually write. The marketing bugaboo is really a stumbling block!

  7. There are so many free ways to promote your book for free on the internet. I would put that $100 towards getting a self-hosted wordpress website and creating an email list. It will cost more if you want to hire a professional to create it for you. However there are so many good looking free wordpress templates that will work well until you are able to get a better site. Online promotion works best when you have a home base (your website) to refer potential readers and fans to. Use the free options to the fullest extent possible!

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