10 Free or Low-cost Ways to Promote Your Book

Promoting your book can be one of the most difficult aspects of the writing process. You might be staring down your computer screen right now wondering what the first step is. Luckily, you are living in the internet age and have many more free and/or low-cost options at your fingertips than authors did just a decade ago. You are probably already aware of some of them but if you aren’t currently taking advantage, now is the time:

  1. Goodreads. If you aren’t on Goodreads you need to be. Your Goodreads Author Page can be your best friend when it comes to marketing your book. As a community, Goodreads has an amazing ability to bring authors and readers together. I get weekly updates from favorite authors who are doing Q&A sessions as well as book giveaways. In fact, Goodreads has a whole giveaway section on their site and if you haven’t considered participating before, let me suggest you do so. It may seem counterproductive to give away (for free) the book that you’re trying to sell (for money), but really, what better way to get it into the hands of readers? Give a few away a couple times a year and word of mouth can help tremendously.
  2. Personal Website. This is usually the first thing authors think of but also the hardest to implement if you don’t know what you’re doing. How do you create an appealing website for your novel, and once you do, how do you attract readers to it? If you or someone you know (and they are willing to help you out) is good at HTML then you’re probably way ahead of me. But if you don’t even know what I am talking about, don’t panic. Start with a  site like Weebly where you can create your own website for free. Weebly is great because it will walk you through the steps of building your personal website and comes with great templates to get you started. It is very user friendly and easy to manipulate into creating the look you want. One downside to Weebly is that your web URL will contain “weebly.com” unless you pay for their premimum membership, but at less than $4 a month it is still a great low-cost option.
  3. Blog. The go-to for blogs tends to be WordPress. There are other sites out there, but WordPress is one of the most popular. Their blog interface is easy to navigate and comes with templates to help with set up. Tumblr is also a good option for authors, especially those who want to attract a younger audience. Tumblr readers have the added option of the “ask me anything” tab which allows them to submit questions about your book. Whichever site you choose, once you have your blog up and running, try to find other author blogs you can connect with. Like most social media, blogging tends to build on itself. If you link your blog back to a fellow author, they will most likely link to you as well. Once you’re on their blogroll (list of blogs and websites they follow), their readers will very likely click over to your blog, driving up your readership. You can also collaborate with other bloggers, contributing guest posts and even helping them with giveaways. Going back to the Goodreads model, giving your book away helps. Do it.
  4. Facebook. This one seems a little obvious, but who knows, perhaps you’ve overlooked the juggernaut that is Facebook. If you haven’t already done so, create an author page or book page on Facebook today. It doesn’t take that much time and you can access it through your personal account (without actually using your personal account). Once you’ve done that, reach out to fans. Join groups of fellow writers and get your name out there. Search for groups of Sci-Fi readers or whatever your genre. Check out BookFuel’s Facebook Page and start conversations with our followers. You might be surprised how many follow their fellow writers!
  5. BookBub. While it is one of the pricier options on this list, BookBub can definitely be worth it. Every day they send emails out to their subscribers with a personalized list of discounted (or free) eBooks. All a reader has to do is sign up, specify which type of books they’re interested in and they start receiving a daily email. Your book will end up in their inbox for them to browse and purchase. Talk about direct marketing! Pricing for authors varies depending on genre but BookBub offers a handy spreadsheet detailing the average sales an author can expect based on the money they spend. BookBub does have some submission requirements which you can find here.
  6. The Fussy Librarian. Like BookBub, the Fussy Librarian is a site that recommends books to readers. Run by a fellow librarian, this one is close to my heart, but it does have stricter submission requirements than BookBub. Reviews are important to librarians and this site is no different, they insist you have them. There is also a small fee to list your book but it is refunded if your book is not accepted. Prices range from $5-$14. You can find more information on submitting your book to The Fussy Librarianhere
  7. Book Reviews. To start the process of getting book reviews, check out similar books on retail sites like Amazon and see who is reviewing books like yours. If these readers have reviewed multiple books and seem to be an authority of sorts (ranked highly), reach out to them – send them a book. You may have to contact many more reviewers than you will get responses from and it can be a long process. However, having quality book reviews is a necessary part of selling your novel. You might also check outBookReviewBroker , which will do the same thing for you for a small fee. Not free, but if you are short on time they may just be the way to go. Find more detailed information on obtaining book reviews from our Book Review Webinar and the BookFuel Learning Center.
  8. Twitter. Twitter, like Facebook and the other social media platforms I’ve touched upon, relies on you interacting with other users. Create an author account and start following other authors and writing groups. Follow your local library, local author groups and any account you think may be beneficial. More than likely they’ll follow you back and by doing so, they are now getting your updates. If they retweet something you post, awesome! Now all of their fans are seeing your tweets about your book! Consider retweeting something of theirs next time. A word to the wise, be aware that Twitter is very, very, VERY public. Keep with online etiquette. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want broadcasted all over the news. Many a Twitter user has found themselves in hot water over something they’ve posted but don’t let that scare you. Twitter can be an amazing platform to get your book out there if you use it well. Check out our Learning Center video on managing all of your social media accounts and how to pick your social media handles so they support one another.
  9. Book Trailers. Trailers aren’t just for movies anymore. For a while now, authors and publishers have been creating “trailers” for their books. In fact I even use them when promoting books to my students. They can be incredibly powerful when it comes to attracting readers. Basic book trailers can be done on the cheap. Sites like Animoto will allow you to put a 30 second video together for free and is only $5 a month if you need it a little longer. Be sure you are using your own or “fair use” images to avoid any issues with copyright – the last thing you want to do is get yourself in trouble for a copyright violation! Now if you are wanting to skip the ordeal of putting one together on your own, go the route of the professional and check out BookFuel’s book trailer services. Not as inexpensive as doing it yourself, but then again you don’t have to worry about finding images that are okay to use. Whomever does the work, once the trailer is complete, be sure to embed it on your webpage and share on your various social media sites to get readers interested!
  10. Amazon Author Pages. Once you have your book for sale on Amazon, you need to make sure you have your Author Page up and running. This will allow readers who come across your book to learn more about you. If you’ve written multiple novels, they will be displayed here and readers will be able to see everything you have for sale through Amazon. You can also display a short biography, photo and link to your other social sites. If you are selling on Amazon there is no reason you shouldn’t take advantage of your Author Page and really develop it into something that can work for you. One of the worst things you could do is sign up for your Author Page and not fill it in. Leaving a sparse Author Page may actually hurt you – readers enjoy knowing a little bit about who you are.

 

While there are certainly more ways out there to promote your book, hopefully these ten tips will help give you a boost in the right direction and gain the confidence you need to get started.

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