Chris A. Baird | January 23, 2024
How to promote your self published book - Step by Step Guide-Blog

Have you been wondering how to promote your self published book effectively? Here’s a step by step guide that you can follow. 

One of the most common problems I hear from self-published authors is that their book is on the market, but it's not selling. The main reason for this is a promotion problem that you may be experiencing.

Importance of book promotion

So, in today's article, we are going to discuss how to promote your self published book with a step-by-step guide. Let's get straight into it. For the introduction, I want to emphasize the importance of book promotion. The key point is that promoting your book will increase its visibility.

That's the first thing to address. One of the challenges you may be facing is not the content of your book. I was just talking with someone the other day during one of our sessions, and the person thought they needed to edit their book because it wasn't selling any copies.

The issue is not necessarily the need for more editing, especially if you're receiving negative reviews. Instead, the problem often lies in a lack of visibility or a marketing problem. There might be no market for the book you're putting out there, or you may simply have low visibility. This is usually the main issue. So, we want to focus on increasing the visibility of your book.

Check out this related article: How to Self Publish an eBook - Step by Step Guide

The second thing is to boost the book's sales potential. Promoting a book is essential for maximizing its sales potential, ensuring that it makes as many sales as possible based on the size of the market and how you target that market.

We're going to boost the potential for sales. Some people ask the question, "If I put this book on the market, how many sales per month am I going to make?" The answer is, "We have no idea until you put it on the market, and then we start to find out exactly how well your book is going to do."

We have a lot of tricks and tips to position it for the best possible performance in a market that's hungry for it. However, even with all of that, there are no guarantees. Sometimes, a book on a random subject can unexpectedly do incredibly well.

The next thing is that it establishes your author brand. Book promotion contributes to establishing the author's brand and reputation. As a result, people begin to associate you with the types of books you're putting on the market, and this plays a significant role in future sales. This form of book promotion is incredibly important.

The role of self-promotion for self-published authors

So, the role of self-promotion for self-published authors. The first thing is control over marketing. The beauty of being a self-published author is that you have all sorts of control. It's not in the hands of other people when it comes to figuring out what's going to happen with the marketing; you have complete control over everything.

You're going to be building that author platform that we're talking about. The author's platform is defined by how much of your targeted audience you are in contact with. Now, I don't mean that you have, for example, 20,000 Instagram followers, and then you're doing a book on an entirely different subject. They have to be in alignment with each other; otherwise, it's not the same market.

So, it doesn't matter if you have 5,000 Facebook friends. The key is, are they interested in this specific type of book that targets a particular problem? If it's fiction, it should be a specific genre that the book falls into. That's what we mean by an author platform, and marketing will help with that.

Building a Solid Foundation

The next aspect is maximizing visibility and sales. Again, we're focused on getting the book in front of a lot of people to increase sales. We're giving your book the best chance possible for people to find it, thus building a solid foundation. You're going to want to define your target audience.

Define your target audience

There are a couple of ways we do this here and a couple of reasons we'd want to define it. We want to focus our marketing efforts, so we get a laser-like focus on this target audience. Generally speaking, your target audience either shares a common interest. For example, in fiction books, they may love dragons or sorcerers.

And you know, these are the sorts of things, like Harry Potter or horror, or people with an actual problem. For non-fiction, they're looking to solve a problem, whether it's with their puppy training, house repairs, gardening, or their diet. Something along those lines.

We want to hone in on that specific market that we're looking at here. This is going to increase relevance, so when we put these books onto the market, they'll be highly relevant for the specific market we're targeting.

Ideally, that target market would be a profitable one, with very few other competing books. However, the ones that are on Amazon or wherever they might be selling are moving a lot of copies. That's one of the reasons I particularly like to use KDSpy when I'm doing my research.

That's the tool I like to use specifically for figuring out where those markets are going to be. It can be a bit of a challenge to find them. You have to do some research, but the fact is we're able to talk through those exact steps to figure it out.

So, the next one enhances the book's success, which is, of course, the end goal. We want to see this book succeed, which is going to bring more people in when it comes to that target market.

Develop your author brand and platform

So, if you have a target audience that you know well, of course, you're going to get more sales. Then we come to develop your author brand and platform. What does this mean exactly? It means having consistency and coherence. In other words, it's like having a brand, not like your writings are scattered all over the place.

You should focus on your name, or if you have a primary pen name, use it for one specific audience you're targeting. You're going to engage with readers, and that's a key way to do it. You're writing back to them, answering questions as they come in to make those connections we need.

This will maximize the connection interaction, which will increase the chances they'll know, like, and trust you and want to purchase your books. Then, we're going to showcase your expertise and value. The way we do that is by establishing this author brand.

You'll be creating blogs and other types of content like articles and videos where you talk about your books. This will convey that you're an expert in these areas. Someone worth listening to when it comes to topics like the keto diet or puppy training.

Again, you're going to have videos and things like that. It's going to build up so that when it comes time to purchase the book, it's a no-brainer. They already have an idea of who you are

Online Marketing and Social Media

Now, we're going to be creating an author website. What does this exactly mean? 

Creating an author website

It's a central hub for information, so they can simply come to this location and find out all sorts of stuff about you. They're going to see all your books and your interests, but only things that are related to the specific market that you're targeting.

The fact that you grew up wherever and had an interest in eating a particular type of food, but your blog is on writing books on something, or you're writing books on a completely different subject. Let's try to keep it focused on that specific thing and understand that your author's website is not about every aspect of your life but the things that would be relevant to your target readers.

It establishes a professional presence so that it shows, "Look, I have a website. It's like a doormat in your shop. You're open for business, and people see that and know that it means this is a professional, somebody I could consider reading one of their books.

The other aspect is engaging with readers; it makes it easy for them to get in contact with you because your author website is going to have all sorts of links. Whether it's affiliate links, or if you're building a business on the nonfiction side of things, it also gives them the ability to find where they can follow you on Twitter (X), Facebook, and all these other platforms. From one location, they will be easily accessible to do that.

Utilizing social media platforms effectively

Now, utilizing social media platforms effectively, what exactly does that mean? It means using targeted audience reach. That's where we're able to reach a lot more people who are specifically interested in the type of book that you are publishing.

Then we have to build author-reader relationships, and on social media, we can go back and forth with them. Just make sure your discussions are focused specifically on the books. Make sure that these are your target audience.

Not just a bunch of other authors who are sitting around talking and trying to sell your books to other authors. That is a terrible strategy. We want to build an audience of engaged readers, so we can use social media to do that by interacting on the topic of our books only. 

Engaging with readers through blogging and newsletters

Next, we have amplifying book promotion. When we use social media to promote our books, we're able to invest money, in fact, on the advertising side. To push out your books and your message to an even larger audience. Engaging with readers through blogging and newsletters plays an incredibly important role.

We're going to be building a community around blogging so that when people are looking for stuff on Google, they come across your blogs, and you start to build a community around that. In addition, you can offer exclusive content, so people who come to these places can receive it and get on your email list.

That's where the newsletter part comes in, and this will also drive book sales and promotion for your specific endeavor. Social media marketing is a really powerful way to achieve this. Because then we're out there, not just talking about our book all the time, but also discussing how we created this content.

Non-fiction is even easier than fiction since it provides an unlimited number of topics to explore. I like ChatGPT to help generate new content ideas that we can bring to the market. 

Building an Author Platform

We'll leverage online book communities and forums. Why would we want to do that? 

Leveraging online book communities and forums

The answer is that we want access to a targeted readership. We can find groups of people who are already the types of readers we'd want for our book. 

We can go directly to those audiences on these platforms and connect with them. These communities will allow networking and collaboration opportunities as we get to know and meet other authors and individuals interested in the same things.

We can promote their work to our email list, and they can do the same for us, creating a fantastic exchange for maximizing book sales and finding new audiences. Then, there's word-of-mouth promotion.

So, people start to recognize your name, or you're building that brand. That's going to drive sales and attract more people who are interested in your type of book, helping them to connect with you.

Collaborating with influencers and bloggers

Next, we have collaborating with influencers and bloggers. This one's important because it's going to expand our reach. We can reach even more people by connecting with these influencers and saying, "Look, one of the ways to do it is by collaborating, where we can use our influence with them or even pay for their influence.”

This approach will build credibility and trust because we're connecting with people at a level of trust and credibility they already have. People know, like, and trust them; that's why they are influencers and bloggers.

Check out this related article: Self-Publishing Companies to Avoid and Ways to Spot Them

So, when you're posting content on their platforms, whether for pay or through a mutually beneficial arrangement, it can be highly effective. It's going to naturally build trust, which is a fantastic strategy if you haven't considered it.

Next, we have diverse promotion channels where we're going across different types of channels to maximize the number of people we can reach with our content. 

Guest posting and contributing to publications

Then you have guest posting and contributing to publications. This will increase your visibility as we're sharing our content on other sites. These sites benefit because our content is posted on their platform, and their existing audience doesn't have to spend time creating it.

Additionally, it includes backlinks that lead back to your website, which is necessary for Google to rank your pages higher and allow you to grow your audience. This approach also helps establish authority by leveraging other people's audiences. Furthermore, it offers networking opportunities and collaborations that are involved in this process.

Engaging with Readers and Book Communities

Engaging with readers and book communities means participating in book clubs and reader groups. 

Participating in book clubs and reader groups

The first thing is we're going to be able to engage directly with readers. Because they're already reading these books, they'll provide valuable feedback and insights about what's happening with our books.

Additionally, we'll benefit from word-of-mouth recommendations from those who are part of these book clubs. If you can get them to read your book, we'll be responding to reviews and reader feedback. 

Responding to reviews and reader feedback

This is another key aspect where we'll foster reader engagement. We'll engage in a back-and-forth with them, and they'll see that this person isn't just a brand or a big corporation. Rather, it's an individual who's interacting with us. We'll be building that author-reader relationship, which is important, especially when getting started.

We need these true fans. They say a thousand true fans is one of the ideas, as you can build an entire business off of a thousand true fans. The other aspect is reputation management. These audiences will help you properly ensure that your reputation is maintained as you go through the entire process. 

Organizing giveaways and contests

This is just a fantastic way to do promotions, right? Generating excitement and buzz as people are excited about the contest. Just make sure whatever you're giving away is associated with the specific type of books that you publish. Don't make it like you're giving away a free iPad.

You're going to have a lot of people jump in, and it's not going to help that much. The other is to expand your reader base. We're able to find new people with these contests that we're going to be looking at. And then just the reader engagement and feedback play a critical role in maximizing the sales that we're getting and building a devoted audience.

Book Signings, Events, and Collaborations

This is where it starts to get interesting. We're going to be arranging book signings and local events. 

Arranging book signings and local events

You may be thinking it's really hard, but face-to-face interaction is not that difficult. You can contact your library or bookstores. They're always eager to have reasons to open things up and bring authors in. It brings more people into the store, and it creates a festive atmosphere, and people end up buying other books as well.

Then you have your community engagement. It gives you the ability to pull in your community and meet these people, right? Does that make sense? And just increased visibility. So, they say “Hey, you're going around and doing stuff. You're doing book signings and all this other stuff; it's fantastic.” 

Partnering with local bookstores and libraries

Then we have partnering with local bookstores and libraries, and that's a little bit of what I was already talking about. You have this targeted audience; they're interested in the stuff; they're readers. So it's already a fantastic opportunity, increasing our visibility in those people and then getting mutual support and promotion.

They're going to be able to take your books and help you get some sales on the books. Or at least find maybe new audiences as you're giving away your freebie to get them on your email list.

Collaborating with other authors or creatives

Next, we have collaborating with other authors or creatives, and this one here is powerful: cross-promotion. You agree to promote theirs; they promote yours, and you all win together. You have creative inspiration and support because you're working with other people in the same situation that you're in.

And this can help you as well when you're trying to get started because those people also have feedback and other things. You build energy and you get the synergy and collaboration opportunities from each other. Because as you're working together, you find new ways to do it.

Obtaining Reviews and Endorsements

Next, obtaining reviews and endorsements. This is one of the most important things, but you need to know how to approach book reviewers and bloggers. 

Approaching book reviewers and bloggers

One of the things we're going to want to do is assess the reviewer's credibility. You cannot go on Fiverr and just buy somebody who can give you reviews; that's going to get you in big trouble. They don't have the credibility, and those reviews are going to be taken down almost immediately. 

Okay, it's also illegal. The other benefit is expanded exposure, so we're able to expand what's going on by getting these reviews in place, and we have expert opinions and constructive feedback.

So, they're going to be able to help you. These reviewers take a deeper dive into your books to see what you can do to improve them in the future or even improve the very book that you're looking at. 

Requesting endorsements from influencers or experts

The next thing is requesting endorsements from influencers and experts, and that's a little bit of this collaboration we were talking about before. It's going to increase your credibility. Because you're going to get some of that clout and credibility that they have, you're going to have an expanded reach to their entire audiences and those targeted audiences.

Make sure that we're focusing on influencers who already have a decent-sized audience, and those audiences are in the same niche as what you're doing. 

Utilizing book review platforms and services

This is going to give you increased visibility, social proof, and credibility. These review platforms are really important. There's a whole series of them that you can use. You just need to make sure that they're not the ones that pay for reviews because that's going to get you in trouble.

But some of them find clever ways where you can review other authors, but then they don't review your book. They make sure it never happens that way, but it ends up reviewing somebody else. Several services do this exact thing, and many of my clients have had success over the years using this strategy.

It gives you discoverability, and recommendations start to come in when we're using these platforms. To ensure that we have the reviews we're going to need. 

Budget-Friendly Promotion Ideas

Next, we have budget-friendly promotion ideas. One of these would be leveraging free promotion opportunities.

Leveraging free promotional opportunities

So, we're just looking for free ways to do this, like increasing our exposure, accessing new audiences, and building off their brands. All of these things can be done using free resources, and this is the budget-friendly side of things.

Check out this related article: Free Self Publishing Websites  

Usually, it's about going to locations, posting free content, and giving out some free ebooks. There are all sorts of things you can do, and it really doesn't cost anything. You're just using your own time and energy to build audiences that way.

Maximizing book promotion on a limited budget

How exactly are we going to do that? Well, it's strategic targeting. Don't waste your advertising ad spend on people and audiences that aren't interested in your product in the first place. We're going to be leveraging digital platforms.

We'll be focusing on the ones with the most people who align with your target audience and selecting those specific platforms. Next, consider collaborative opportunities with other individuals, such as authors, celebrities, or influencers within your exact market. They may be interested in collaborating with you.

Engaging with local communities and media outlets

There are numerous options here, including community involvement, bringing others into your project, and expressing your interest in community participation. Donating money, seeking media coverage, and reaching out to news outlets and publicists can be very effective. They are constantly searching for new local stories, making this an excellent approach.

Lastly, explore library and bookstore collaborations. Work together with them to determine if they are willing to stock your books in their stores in exchange for honest feedback. You can also offer to host book signings and other events that they may be organizing, which can be quite exciting.


My question for you is: What have you done in terms of promoting your book? What promotional tips do you have? Please leave them in the comments below. Also, check out my other blogs and videos for more answers to your self-publishing questions. 

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