"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser

Guest Post: 50 Things Under $50 Bucks To Promote Your Book by Penny C. Sansevieri,

These days it seems like everyone's book marketing budget is a little tighter. If you're feeling the pinch, or if you're just looking for some great free stuff to do on your own, here are some tips that can help keep you on track. Along with the tips, I've also linked to other articles I've written on the various topics, in case you want to dig deeper: 


  1. Buy your domain name as soon as you have a title for your book. You can get domain names for as little as12.95. Tip: When buying a domain always try to get a .com and stay away from hyphens, i.e. penny-sansevieri.com - surfers rarely remember to insert hyphens. You should also consider using your keywords in your domain because it'll help you rank better. Social media is great, but don't use your Facebook or Twitter pages as your "website" - you should own your domain and have a site. Period. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/how-to-build-the-perfect-_b_1932184.html
  2. Head on over to Wordpress.com and start your very own blog (you can add it to your website later): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/ten-reasons-why-you-shoul_b_839231.html
  3. Set up an event at your neighborhood bookstore. Do an event and not a signing, book signings are boring!
  4. It's all about content these days so why not create a calendar for content? Often if you aren't sure what to write, or when, a content calendar will keep you on track. You can plan the calendar around your free time (though you should blog weekly) and around holidays or events that may tie into your book.
  5. Then, while you're at it: brainstorm content ideas and start a content folder you can always refer back to when you aren't feeling "inspired" to write anything.
  6. Check out other, similar authors online and see if you can do some networking.
  7. Do some radio research and pitch yourself to at least five new stations this week. Here's a great place to find radio stations! http://www.radio-locator.com/
  8. Ready to get some business cards? Head on over to Vistaprint.com. The cards are free if you let them put their logo on the back, if you don't they're still really inexpensive.
  9. Put together your marketing plan. Seriously, do this. If you don't know where you're going, any destination will do. If you don't feel like doing an entire "plan" then pick ten things you want to do this month to promote your book.
  10. Plan a contest or giveaway. Contests are a great way to promote your book. Make sure to mention the contest on Facebook!
  11. Time to get yourself onto Wattpad. Never heard of Wattpad? It's a place where you can run your content, chapters, short stories, whatever you want, and it's a fantastic way to build fans and get feedback on your work!
  12. Send thank-you notes to people who have been helpful to you.
  13. Send your book out to at least ten book reviewers this week.
  14. Do a quick Internet search for local writers' conferences or book festivals you can attend: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/eight-tips-to-make-your-n_b_850665.html
  15. Create an email signature for every email you send; email signatures are a great way to promote your book and message.
  16. Ready to pitch bloggers? Excellent, then start by doing a search for the right ones on Google. You can also head over here and plug in your search term to find the top blogs in your market: http://www.invesp.com/blog-rank/
  17. Enhance your Amazon Author Central Page by linking to your blog, Twitter feed or adding a video if you have one: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/sell-more-on-amazoncom-un_b_3670424.html
  18. Plan your free eBook promotion. If you're on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) drop your price to zero for one day or three days. You'll want to schedule this a week or so out, then head on over to sites where you can list your freebie. There are tons of them but here are two to get you started: www.igniteyourbook.com and www.ebookswag.com
  19. Write your bio and have someone who can be objective critique it; you'll need it when you start pitching yourself to the media.
  20. Schedule your first book event!
  21. Start your own email newsletter; it's a great way to keep readers, friends and family updated and informed on your success.
  22. Start a Twitter account and begin tweeting. If you don't think Twitter is significant, think again; it's been a major part of our marketing strategy for over two years now (before anyone even knew what Twitter was).
  23. Develop a set of questions or discussion topics that book clubs or online book clubs can use for your book, and post them on your website for handy downloads.
  24. Start a Facebook Fan page. Fan Pages are much better than a personal profile for marketing because they're searchable in Google.
  25. See if you can get your friends to host a "book party" in their home. You come in and discuss your book and voila, a captive audience!
  26. Find some catalogs you think your book would be perfect for and then submit your packet to them for consideration. If you're unsure of what catalogs might work for you, head on over to http://www.catalogs.com/ and peruse their list.
  27. Go around to your local retailers and see if they'll carry your book; even if it's on consignment, it might be worth it! Don't just offer this at bookstores either, see if your local dry cleaner, gift shops, and restaurants will take it. Often local establishments are very supportive of their local authors!
  28. Visual is so important these days, how about getting an account on Vine or Instagram and doing short videos and pictures about your book or topic? Visuals are a great way to sell a book!
  29. Write a review for someone else's book that's similar to yours. Not sure how this relates to your promotion? Well it's called networking and it's just a great idea to always do outreach.
  30. Get yourself on Library Thing or Goodreads and start gathering friends and building your profile there: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/how-to-become-a-goodreads_b_3719161.html
  31. Make sure your blog is connected to Amazon via their Amazon connect program (yes, it's free). (You can do this through your Author Central Page)
  32. Ask friends and family to email five people they know and tell them about your book.
  33. Leave your business card, bookmark, or book flyer wherever you go.
  34. Subscribe to Talkwalker.com or Mention.net and make sure that you are getting alerts under your name as well as your book title(s), brand, and keywords.
  35. Pitch yourself to your local television stations.
  36. Pitch yourself to your local print media.
  37. Work on the Q&A for your press kit. You'll need it when you start booking media interviews!
  38. Schedule a book giveaway on Library Thing or Goodreads. It's a fantastic way to drive new interest for your book! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/the-power-of-the-goodread_b_3736965.html
  39. Is the topic of your book in the news? Check your local paper, and write a letter to the editor to share your expertise (and promote your book!).
  40. Stop by your local library and see if you can set up an event. They love local authors.
  41. Do you want to get your book into your local library system? Try dropping off a copy to your main library; if they stock it chances are the other branches will too.
  42. Go to Chase's Calendar of Events (www.Chases.com.) and find out how to create your own holiday!
  43. Going on vacation? Use your away-from-home time to schedule a book event or two.
  44. If your book is appropriate, go to local schools to see if you can do a reading.
  45. Got a book that could be sold in bulk? Start with your local companies first and see if they're interested in buying some promotional copies to give away at company events.
  46. Don't forget to add reviews to your website. Remember that what someone else has to say is one thousand times more effective than anything you could say!
  47. Trying to meet the press? Search the Net for Press Clubs in your area, they meet once a month and are a great place to meet the media.
  48. Want a celebrity endorsement? Find celebs in your market with an interest in your topic and then go for it. Remember all they can say is no. Check out the Actors Guild for a list of celeb representatives.
  49. Ready to get some magazine exposure? Why not pitch some regional and national magazines with your topic or submit a freelance article for reprint consideration?
  50. Work on your next book or work on writing mini-books. Sometimes the best way to sell your first book is by promoting your second, but also many authors are writing and promoting mini-books to keep readers engaged while they wait for their next book to come out. How long do mini-books need to be? 50-75 pages. That's it!


Bookgal said...

Thanks for the share, Ken!

Change It Up Editing said...

Thanks for this list, Penny. I'm amazed by how many authors are unsure about how to actively promote their books. I've shared this on my Facebook page, too.

kat said...

Thank you, Penny and Ken for sharing. Penny and the AME team are my go to for publishing insider info. Always a wealth of information.