How to Market Self-Published Books

Updated on January 1, 2019
Lauren Flauding profile image

Lauren is the author of 10 books, including the popular "Amplified" series, as well as numerous musicals.

So you’ve done it. You’ve written a book. Or, perhaps you’ve written 10, and you’re wondering just how to get anyone to buy your books, or at least read them. Sure, you could go through the hoop-jumping, soul-selling process of getting traditionally published, but the effort you have to put forth to get a literary agent or a publisher to even sneeze at your manuscript is astronomical, and even if you do succeed in that arena, it doesn’t guarantee sales or success.
So you’ve decided to go with self publishing. The downside is that millions of fellow writers are also self publishing, and the market is over saturated. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make your book stand out from the masses.

Make Sure Your Book Has a Superb Cover

We’ve all heard the adage, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Well, you can say this a million times, but guess what? The first thing people will do is judge your book by its cover. Take a look at bestsellers in your genre and make sure your cover is comparable. If professional cover design isn’t in your budget, hop over to fiverr.com, where you can usually get a great cover designed for $10-$40.

Having an excellent cover can mean the difference between mediocre and fantastic sales.
Having an excellent cover can mean the difference between mediocre and fantastic sales.

Give Your Book Away

Offering your book for free may seem counterintuitive to making sales, but it is one of the best marketing strategies for self published authors. Many have a hard time giving their book away, and understandably so, writing a book is difficult and heart wrenching work. But consumers are wary of unfamiliar authors, and often you’ll be hard pressed to get someone to pay for your title, even if it’s less than a dollar.
This system works best if the book you are offering for free is the first in a series, or if you at least have other books on the market. That said, it is always beneficial to get more eyes reading your book, even if you’ve only written one, because it will increase your chances of getting reviews and recommendations.

For ebooks

Most online retailers will allow you to offer your book for free for at least a period of time. There are a multitude of sites that will promote your free ebook on their site or newsletter for free or for a fee. Some of the best I’ve used are Bookbub (the end all for book promotion), Freebooksy, and the Fussy Librarian. Indiesunlimited.com has a rather comprehensive list of promotion sites.
You can also put your book on Wattpad, which is especially beneficial if your book is geared toward teens. You can upload just a few chapters or your book in its entirety, and generally gain exposure to a younger crowd.

For print books

Give one or a stack of your books to your local library. You can also donate your books to thrift stores. Goodreads also runs a giveaways program for print books that helps generate reviews and publicity.

Read Excerpts of Your Book on YouTube

You can either read it yourself or invite someone else to do it. The more entertaining or unique you can present it, the more traction you’ll get. It may not be the most conventional way to get the word out about your novel, but every little angle and avenue helps.

Create a Book Trailer Contest

Give friends and fans (or complete strangers) an opportunity to create a book trailer video for your book. You can offer swag, gift cards, or hundreds of dollars as prizes, depending on how big and competitive you want the contest to be.

Schedule a Blog Tour

Search out and contact blogs and bloggers that cater to your book’s genre and ask if they’ll feature your book on a certain date or date range. Getting several sites to write about your book over a short period of time can really generate attention for your title.

Go On a Book Tour

This may not be the most profitable option, but it sure would be fun. A lot of libraries will work with authors to schedule book signings or other events. Contact as many Book clubs in your area as you can to see if you can present your book or just get some face time with readers. Signings at book stores may be a bit harder to schedule, but there’s no harm in trying.

You don’t always have to be the underdog when you self publish. Although it may require some extra effort, implementing some or all of these ideas will really help your book rise above. Good luck!

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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Lauren Flauding

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      • Lauren Flauding profile imageAUTHOR

        Lauren Flauding 

        5 months ago from Sahuarita, AZ

        Here’s the list of promo sites from Indies Unlimited: https://www.indiesunlimited.com/book-promo-sites/

        I’ve found this to be a great resource.

      • profile image

        Salahudeen Taofeek 

        5 months ago

        Indeed you have done a great job, keep it up

      • Marlin 55 profile image

        Marlin 55 

        5 months ago from USA

        Thank you, Lauren. I've never been good at marketing, so information like the article you published always helps.

      • Lauren Flauding profile imageAUTHOR

        Lauren Flauding 

        5 months ago from Sahuarita, AZ

        Marlin,

        I have used most of these strategies. The others I'm planning on using. I've found the most effective way to promote so far has been to offer a book for free for a period of time. Thanks!

      • Marlin 55 profile image

        Marlin 55 

        5 months ago from USA

        Lauren, is this the formula that you followed to market your books? By the way, it was a great article.

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