10 Ways to Promote Your Book
When You Don’t Want to Leave Home
by Rachelle Christensen & Sabine Berlin
In past articles we’ve talked about the importance of going out and marketing your book and self through appearances and swag (see our Promotion category in our archives). This is one of the most important ways to promote sales and let people know what you have to offer, especially as a new author. But sometimes getting out there just isn’t an option—or you’re just not ready to break out of your shell like that. Thankfully, nowadays you can market from the comfort of your own home when you have to.
We’ve talked about some of the big places to make your presence known on the Internet. And even some fun secondary options to explore. But once you’re on them, how do you promote your book? Here are some ideas to get you started, even if you’ve decided that your bed is just too comfortable to leave!
- Offer a digital novella/short story that ties in to your book for free for a limited time. Or create a behind-the-scenes booklet with all the great tidbits a reader would like to know. You could offer these when someone signs up for your newsletter or offer the items at certain times of the year. It’s also a great idea to offer a free novella or short story on Amazon to help build an audience who will buy future books.
- Don’t forget about the giveaway program on Goodreads. This is a great way to get your name out there, and it’s a cinch to set up. I’d also recommend looking at your budget to see if an ad on Goodreads may be beneficial. Ideally, plan your giveaway to start just before the launch of your book and end thirty days later. But if you’d like, you can hold multiple giveaways. I’d do another one three months from your publication date to add some zing to your marketing efforts.*
- Hold a contest on your blog or website using a Rafflecopter form that incorporates entries for linking to your social media accounts. Give away a print copy and e-book copy of your book. Also give away a few swag bundles, which include things like a signed bookmark, pen, notepad, etc.
- An even easier way to go is throwing out a free book to the first few people who respond to your tweet (or Facebook post). I’ve won both a free e-book and a free ARC (advance reading copy) of a physical book from authors I’d never heard of before I saw their tweets.
- Submit your book for awards and enter writing contests. Don’t you want to be an award-winning author? This could be your chance to garnish your writing résumé and website with evidence that your books are worth reading.
- Consider advertising with your book cover on certain websites, blogs, Google, or Facebook. Just remember, it’s difficult to measure the ROI (return on investment). If you can’t afford to run an ad, then don’t. If you’d like to try a Facebook ad for $25 and see if you like the results, that’s a good place to start.
- Write articles for newspapers, magazines, and local papers on a topic that works with your platform or author presence. This is another form of promotion (related to public relations), but one where you have an opportunity to earn money or trade for bigger ads.
- Hold a blog tour. Invite your blogger friends to review your book and blog about it. You can offer to have them interview you, and you may want to throw in some extra swag for their readers. They will love the opportunity to do a giveaway on their blog, and you will get your name out to a whole new group of people. In addition to doing a tour with friends and family, consider doing a tour with book bloggers who have larger followings—readers who are the target market for your type of book.
- Throw an online launch party. Remember that author page you set up on Facebook? Take a whole day and promote your book. Invite everyone you know to come and participate in Q&As, online readings, and giveaways. Have the link to where you can buy your book, and make sure people inform you when they buy so their name can be entered into a drawing.
- Apply to have your book featured by book-promotion sites that specialize in bringing your audience to you (you can read our article discussing such sites here).
Chances are, unless you’re a New York Times bestselling author and the number-one client at your publishing house, you’re going to have to market yourself. So get out there (or stay in, as the case may be) and market that book. The time and money investment is completely up to you, but there’s one thing I can guarantee: if you don’t promote your book, chances are pretty good that no one else will either.
Do This Now
- Talk to all your blogger friends and ask if they’d be interested in hosting a blog tour for you. While that’s going, explore whether a professional blog tour is right for you.
- Join Twitter and/or Facebook and then do a quick giveaway to draw in an audience.
- Put together a short story, a list of deleted scenes, or something else of value to your audience to share online for free. Consider what incentives might draw the right type of readers to your site, as well as get others to promote your drawings and events.
- Real the articles in the Promotion category of our archives, then make your top-ten list of pajama-clad marketing priorities.
* Please note that, at the time this was published, only physical copies of a book can be used in a Goodreads giveaway.
Have you had success marketing from home? Have you won something from an online giveaway that totally made your day? Share your experiences to help others brainstorm!
Rachelle J. Christensen is a mother of four who writes suspense and enjoys online marketing. She has organized blog tours and book blasts, and is frequently sought out for her secrets on low-cost Internet marketing. Her clients include a multimillion-dollar worldwide company, publishers, and dozens of authors, including New York Times Bestseller David Farland and celebrity Merrill Osmond. Visit her website or Facebook.
Sabine is an avid reader of everything from Asimov to Zusak. She has a degree in history, writes YA fiction, and was selected to attend Orson Scott Card’s Literary Bootcamp, where she studied writing and critiquing. She has been with Eschler Editing since 2012. She invites you to visit her blog.
These are great ideas, since I never want to leave my pajamas!
Great ideas! I especially like the free novella or short story idea. Gonna look into that one! Also the posting of deleted scenes. I’ve got lots of those!!!! 😉
Wow, great advice. I haven’t thought much about marketing yet (still trying to get an agent) and marketing seems like a big, scary thing to me. But you’ve laid it out here in a pretty non-intimidating way that feels like something I could actually do. Thanks!
Marketing is intimidating to me, but I guess it’s like everything else. Step 1, Step 2, etc. Maybe having something to market will motivate enough to get started! Thanks for the info!
It is exactly like that–everything is step one and then two, and then a little patience, and then a little more knowledge/skill development and then step three and …. Everything we have accomplished in life were once things we didn’t know how to do, right?
Great suggestions! My blog tour was an extremely effective way to get the word out about my book.
Sarah, just curious, how many stops were on your tour and how many months did you do it?