How to Market a Self-Published Book: 4 Cornerstones to Success

by | May 9, 2023 | Being in Business as an Author

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Figuring out how to market a self-published book can be a daunting task for debut and veteran authors alike.

Mostly because the goalposts are consistently getting moved.

But with the right strategies in place, you can effectively promote your book without breaking the bank, and in this post I’ll outline smart and budget-friendly ways to market a self-published book.

Here are the must-haves, let’s dig in!

1. Build a Strong Online Presence

The first step to marketing your self-published book is to create a strong online presence. This includes creating an author website, utilizing social media platforms, creating valuable content for readers, and engaging with your readers to build a community.

Creating an author website is essential for establishing your brand as an author. It provides a central hub for readers to learn more about you, your book, and your writing. Your website should be professional, easy to navigate, and visually appealing. And while I love hiring website designers for this work, I also realize that it’s not always within an author’s budget to do so. Consider using WordPress or Squarespace to build your website, their customizable templates are a great start for new authors.

Social media platforms are a great way to connect with readers and promote your book. You can use platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to share updates about your book, behind-the-scenes content, and connect with other authors and readers in your niche. Make sure to use relevant hashtags and engage with your followers to build a community. But to start off, pick one social media portal and then add more as you get into a groove with content posting.

And in terms of visual content, our go-to is Canva. We love it for its versatility and their pro accounts come with even more templates and images, you can even use it to create videos!

And last but not least don’t forget about Bookbub and Goodreads, both are great places for an author to have a presence.

2. Leverage Amazon’s Marketing Tools

No author should ignore the power and influence Amazon has, but especially a self-published author because Amazon will be your go-to for the majority of your book sales.

Many of their marketing tools are free, and savvy authors know how important it is to leverage their marketing tools to promote their books. Here are a few ways to do this:

  • Creating an Amazon Author Central account: An Amazon Author Central account allows you to create an author profile, add your books, make book recommendations and showcase who you are as an author. This helps readers learn more about you and your books.
  • Utilizing Amazon Advertising: Amazon Advertising is a great way to increase your book’s visibility on Amazon. You can create ads for your book and target specific audiences based on their interests, buying habits, and search history. And one of the key things I love about Amazon ads, unlike ads on social media, people come to Amazon to buy stuff, which is why their ads make so much sense.
  • Optimizing book metadata for better discoverability: Optimizing your book’s metadata, including title, subtitle, and keyword phrases, can help your book appear higher in Amazon’s search results. Make sure to use relevant keyword phrases in your book’s description, as well as in the title and subtitle.
  • Taking advantage of Amazon’s book promotion options: Amazon offers several book promotion options, including Kindle Countdown Deals, and free or discounted eBook promotions, and Kindle Unlimited. These promotions can help increase your book’s visibility and boost sales.

3. Collaborate with Other Authors and Influencers

Collaborating with other authors and influencers in your niche is a great way to expand your reach and connect with new readers. Here are a few ways to do this:

Partnering with other self-published authors for cross-promotion: You can collaborate with other self-published authors in your genre or niche to cross-promote each other’s books. This can include hosting joint giveaways or promoting each other’s books on social media or doing newsletter swaps for special features.

Reaching out to book bloggers and bookstagrammers: Book bloggers and bookstagrammers are avid readers who love to share their thoughts on books. Reach out to bloggers and bookstagrammers in your niche and offer them a free copy of your book in exchange for an honest review.

4. Run Promos, Discounts, and Giveaways

I mentioned the Amazon giveaway options above, but there are other ways you can do this, too. Goodreads has a giveaway option, and though there’s a fee attached to it, it’s a great option and one we recommend to the majority of our clients. You could also do giveaways with bloggers and influencers, they love being able to give books away to their readers, too.

Book marketing is often confusing, I get it, but with all of the options out there authors often overlook the must-haves and must-dos. And especially for anyone with a limited budget, it’s imperative that you start with the standards for success before you branch out into other things. These must-dos are also platform builders, which is great for long-term success and book sales.

Resources and Free Downloads

How to grow your following on BookBub, tips from a veteran author.

Download our free monthly book marketing planner.

Check out all the episodes of our book promotion podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!

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