Your self-published book is complete and now it’s time to find readers. Here are 31 ways you can promote sales of your novel or non-fiction title and build a fan following.
1. Create or Update your Amazon Author Profile
Connecting your website, social media handles, and blog to your Amazon author profile creates more connections to lead readers to your work.
2. Update Your Metadata
Do your research and compare your category, description, and keywords to other books within your genre. The better you match these to how readers search for books increase the chances your novel will appear in their search results.
3. Start an Author Instagram or Twitter Account
Your account could focus on your genre, writing news, characters, or series. It will give your fans an inside look at their favorite books, continuing the reading experience.
4. Make A Video
Go on camera and talk about your book. Think of it as a personal talk show cameo where you get to pitch your novel to new readers.
5. Make A Book Trailer
It works for films, building anticipation and letting fans know what to expect. You can hire a freelancer or do it yourself.
Business cards are the perfect dimension to show off your novel. With the cover on one side, the back is ideal to list your website and point-of-sale information. Hand the cards out at conferences, leave them in community spaces such as coffee shops, and bulletin boards. I left this behind in a spy museum gift shop inside a business card holder!
7. Network Everywhere
Whenever someone asks you what you do, tell them you’re an author and practice that elevator pitch! Word of mouth is still one of the most trusted and impactful forms of marketing.
8. Open Mic Night
These events aren’t just for music. Check your local MeetUp groups list to see if there’s one for writers near you.
9. Readings At Local Bookstores
Independent bookstores love helping authors and readers connect. Ask if they would accept your self-published book to sell on consignment and volunteer to promote with an in-store book signing. Use your author platform to drive customers to the event.
10. School Readings
Schools have limited funds for cultural arts events, and welcome authors to read to kids. Contact your local school or PTA representative to see if your book is appropriate for this audience or if they would consider it for their annual book fair.
Local libraries offer readings, book clubs, and special programs to help patrons discover their next favorite author. Ask your librarian how you can be involved.
12. Create A Goodreads Author Profile
Goodreads is social media for book lovers. While you don’t actively sell your novels here, it’s the perfect place to connect with readers, share what you’re reading and link your website or blog.
13. Run Promoted Ads On Social Media
Holiday weekends are big for readers. Think beach chair, hammock, or curling up in your favorite chair. The days leading up to these long weekends are the perfect time to remind readers of your book with targeted ads. Test the waters with a low price point of $5-$10 per day for a couple of days. Ads can be static images or short video. Aim to entice, not sell. Ads should be about the benefit to the reader and what they’re going to love about your novel.
14. Add Your Title To Your Local Library
Libraries are setting record numbers with digital loans of ebooks and audiobooks. Smashwords distributes to Overdrive and Library Direct, however individual libraries must order your book for their collection. Make the price $0 for these channels and then contact the main branch of your local library to have your title added.
15. Participate In Book Fairs
Book fairs pop up at conferences for all industries. If you have a non-fiction book that would fit a conference topic, ask to have yours included at the book sales table. Fiction titles are often welcome at local book fairs and writer’s conferences.
16. Publish A Press Release
Share your press release with local media, your former schools, and professional organizations for inclusion in local coverage and newsletters.
17. Tryout A Twitter Chat
Themed Twitter chats let you share insights on topics with an active group in real time. Whether it’s about publishing your novel, romance books, or the latest YA bestseller, you’ll grow your sphere of connections and fans.
18. Create A Facebook Page
Not only will this help you chat with fans, but it allows you access to run paid advertising for your books on Facebook and Instagram.
19. Get Competitive
Enter competitions for writing and novel awards. Check out this roundup from Christopher Fielden.
Join local meetups with other writers and book clubs. Select your location and add a topic and shortly you’ll connect with like-minded folks for networking and support.
21. Have A Sale
Don’t be timid about reducing the price of your novel for a short time or even list it for free. Making the first novel in a series free allows readers to fall in love with your writing and your characters, leading to continuous sales for the rest of the series.
Start a podcast or offer to be interviewed on someone else’s book podcast. Let fans get to know you and what motivated you to create your characters and storylines.
Run facebook events for appearances, book signings, free promotional days. Readers love meeting their favorite authors- make it easy for them to find you. Even if you’re not speaking at a conference/event, you can still meet up with fans and other writers for coffee to talk books.
24. Blog Tours
Wondering where to start? Check out this article from Book Marketing Tools to learn how to join a tour or organize your own.
25. Serial Social
Create serial-content based on your book for social media. No one can resist finishing a story, and serial-content has a unique ability to create anticipation to keep readers interested.
26. Google Hangouts
Take the pressure off yourself by inviting others to join in. A video is the next best thing to a personal appearance and for those of us who are introverted authors, having a group helps the conversation flow smoothly and gives viewers different perspectives. You can share the live video via social media or on your website.
27. Add A Freebie
Give readers access to an exclusive video interview, mini-documentary, or workbook – whatever pairs naturally with your book topic. Here are a few more ideas.
28. Offer eBook Signings
Add your titles to sites like Authorgraph and add personal autographs to any ebook. Promote virtual book signings via social media or your website.
29. Advertise On Your Blog
Although your blog talks about your books and writing, sometimes readers need a reminder of your titles and how to purchase. Add your book cover with a simple call to action to read an excerpt. From there, link to your point-of-sale.
30. Free Samples
Allow a generous percentage for the free sample download of your ebook. Once readers are hooked, they’ll want to buy the rest of the book
31. Refresh Your Backlist
If sales have lagged for a while, update the cover, give the edit a new pass and republish. It will show up in the recently published lists for a new set of readers to discover. Amazon will automatically update the previously purchased editions in user’s libraries.