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5 Creative Book Marketing & Promotion Ideas For Indie Authors And Self-published Books

5 Creative Book Marketing & Promotion Ideas for Indie Authors and Self-published Books

Debbie with her book in her basket

Blog editor Debbie Young taking Sue Johnson's advice (see point 4)

Who said book marketing is no fun? Here are some inventive and amusing ways to give your book marketing a little boost, in our latest monthly round-up of imaginative ideas lifted from ALLi's Facebook forum (members only, and worth the membership price in itself!) 


But first, let's kick off with a simple tip relating to what seems to be marketing flavour of the month: Amazon advertising.

Have you ever had an email from Amazon recommending your own book to you? So many authors find these in their inbox, because Amazon's spotted them viewing their own book a lot on line without buying it. The email is designed to nudge you over the edge into a purchase. “Go on, you know you want to,” it seems to say.

Your automatic reaction is probably to give a bemused smile and move on. But wait!

When one fell into my inbox this morning for my novel Best Murder in Show, I lingered long enough to scroll down to see which other authors they were recommending. They were all authors I'd never heard of, but their books were in the same genre – cosy mystery – and had clearly been chosen to appeal to the same readers that my book. As I've just started running a couple of Amazon ad campaigns for that book, I made a note of those authors names and added them to the campaign keywords, in the hope that their readers will like the look of my book too.

It's also a good opportunity to check out the competition in other ways: compare titles, subtitles, cover designs, etc.

In the Teeth of Success

Cover of The Over 50's Escort Agency by Josephine lay

It shouldn't happen to a dentist…

And now onto rather more serendipitous marketing. We've had a flurry of cases of authors scoring a sale in unlikely places. Non-fiction writer Ann Richardson‘s dentist downloaded one of her books while waiting for the novocaine to take – at least that helped pay for part of her dental bill! A dental nurse googled author Belinda Pollard while her boss worked on Belinda's teeth.

However, Josephine Lay‘s attempt to market to her dentist almost backfired when she presented him with her business card for her novel, The Over 50's Escort Agency, just before she vacated his chair. She wondered he'd seemed a bit non-plussed until moments later, as she was paying her bill in reception, he came rushing out to apologise: he thought she'd started an over 50's escort agency and was trying to recruit him as a client! A touch embarrassing, perhaps, but the number of times that anecdote of misunderstanding will have been told, by the dentist, by Josephine, and by others like me, will have provided a nice ripple of free advertising!

Then the other day as I stopped by the bakery opposite my dentist, to buy a treat for my daughter after her check-up, the girl behind the counter asked me shyly “Aren't you Debbie Young? The one that writes books?” No sale, other than the gingerbread man, and I missed a trick by not having a bookmark or card to hand, but it was still very good for my ego!

Getting a Reputation

And speaking of being recognised, novelist Clare Flynn reports: “I got taken back from fracture clinic in an ambulance on Monday and one of the drivers said “are you the author? One of the other drivers told us about you – you write books, support Chelsea, and live in Baslow Road!” Sounds like Clare's got an unofficial PR man at work for her there. Maybe she should track him down and offer him inspection copies of her books to keep in his ambulance to recommend to other passengers.

Charitable Acts

And as to strategic plants… “When I get round to sending used postage stamps to a charity, I might put in one my postcards as a compliment slip,” says Julie Day. That simple tactic is an easy one to use whenever you need to send something to someone in an envelope.

Secret Shopper

“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.” Well, that's one way of making a virtue out of having to stand in line.

OVER TO YOU Do you have similar tips to share? We'd love to hear them!

5 fun #bookpromotion ideas for #selfpub books, curated by @DebbieYoungBN Click To Tweet



This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. Actually I’ve ended up leaving my card at my bank and my dentist’s. It surprised the heck out of me, but I’ve learned to carry a supply of cards with me. I never know when someone might be interested in my work!

  2. Nice to laugh a bit in relation to marketing, Debbie! The topic and task can seem so onerous at times and like one is simply never doing enough.

    I have some fun experiences to share: both my electrician and my plumber now have copies of my novel. In both cases, we got to to talking about life challenges and particularly the theme of compassion and self-compassion. (I was not steering it that way; it just happened). Next thing I knew, I was talking about that and related themes in my recently-published historical novel and they were asking to read “The Tremble of Love.”

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