A Beginners Guide to Book Marketing

What you should know and think about before beginning your marketing efforts:

  • Determine who will be interested in your subject and why.
  • Think outside of the box when considering a possible target market.
  • Tailor your marketing plan to attract those individuals.

Create Marketing Materials

Set up an Author Website

(i.e. one of the most important elements of your marketing campaign)

  • Create your website so that you can easily display information potential customers need to learn about your book, such as what others are saying about the book, and how to easily purchase it.
  • Post reviews, information about upcoming author events, and offer visitors free content that relates to your subject and the situations surrounding your story.

Arm yourself with Bookselling Materials

(such as author business cards or book-specific bookmarks)

  • Include your ISBN, website address, and other important book information on your bookselling materials.
  • Talk to local bookstore managers, who might be willing to place your bookmarks or business cards close to the register for patrons to pick up.
  • Contact book fairs or conventions about getting your promotional items placed in gift bags.

Build Relationships

Make a list of privately-owned bookstores in your area.

  • Owners usually love to get to know writers, and this can be your greatest ally when it comes to selling your book.
  • If the store holds book signings or other author-based events, be sure to become a familiar face during them.
  • Look for connections in areas that are related to your subject in some way. Clubs or online groups that attract people interested in your topic are a good place to start. If you’re writing an inspirational story, look into your subject’s hometown or alma mater.

Approach local chain bookstores

  • Self-published authors should contact the Small Press Department at the chain to find out how to get the book considered for placement in the store.
  • You will most likely be asked to send your book and a detailed marketing plan, so be prepared before you call.
  • Your success at local stores can be used as leverage to approach the regional and state chain bookstores.

Find book groups that are open to hearing from authors about new books to read.

  • Contact groups to suggest that your book be added as one of the selections, and then try to attend the discussion of your book.
  • Create a list of questions to guide the conversation.

Remember these things as you network:

  • Make all trips that you take marketing opportunities.
  • Bring some business cards or bookmarks when you visit friends or family members elsewhere.
  • Hang out where other writers do and build strong relationships. These alliances can help you market your book as in “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.”
  • Buddy up with your fellow writers to exchange ideas – other writers may have thought of things that you wouldn’t have on your own and vice versa.

Get Press

Start building a list of magazines, newspapers, and websites that might review your book.

  • Reviews keep buzz about your book from dying down and offer third-party validation. Ask authors of the reviews to write a small blurb for you to use in your promotional items.
  • Many publications may also consider writing a feature instead of a review. This is also helpful in getting your name and book title out to the public. Remember, many authors request reviews and features. Be prepared to offer the reviewer reasons why your book is interesting and why you are worth reviewing or featuring.

Learn More

Whether you're curious to learn more, or you're ready to get started publishing, take the first step by claiming your free publishing guide.