How to Market Your Book: 5 Non-Scary Steps for Internet Marketing Virgins

If you've just published your first book, congratulations! It's an incredible accomplishment.

You see your book displayed on Amazon, Kindle and even Barnes & Noble. Wow! You gently stroke the pages, endlessly re-reading the paragraphs you've crafted with so much love and attention. You're intoxicated with that new book smell. You poured your heart and soul into this book, and it shows. Now you can comfortably rest on your laurels, right?

Wrong. Gone are the times when writing was all that was required of writers, and publishers took care of the rest. Now that most publishers are basically glorified printers, the task of marketing and selling the book is largely the author's responsibility.

Did I hear terrified gasps? Don't panic. You can do this. Here's how.

Book marketing doesn't have to be terrifying.
Book marketing doesn't have to be terrifying. | Source

Step 1: Build Your Following

You're going to need a loyal following who's interested in what you're selling. If that sounds like it's easier said than done, it is. It won't happen overnight (unless your book is a sudden runaway success) but it is doable.

First, create a website for your book, or at least a Facebook page. Then find and follow people in your niche. We're talking Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and whatever other social media outlet you can stand to keep up with. Conservatively speaking 20-40% of them will follow you back. After that, the recipe is simple: share, share, share.

Step 2: Treat Your Followers as People

Don't you hate it when you're on vacation in a foreign country, and everyone treats you like a walking wallet? Same principle here: beware of over-self-promotion, that turns people off. This may sound like a contradiction to Step 1, but it's more of a clarification. You don't want to come off as too commercial.

Share interesting quotes and pictures along with your promotional book posts. Share some personal stuff. Use humor. Respond to people's messages and comments. Another good practice is to share someone else's content/post before sharing your own. Basically, pay it forward.

A humorous quote you might share with your followers to assure them you're not a self-promoting robot.
A humorous quote you might share with your followers to assure them you're not a self-promoting robot. | Source

Step 3: Enlist Your Friends and Family in Your Book Promotion

Full disclosure: I'm not a fan of this step. I'd rather ask strangers to buy my book than people I actually know and talk to regularly. Why? Unless all your friends and relatives are super supportive generous people, this step is an emotional minefield.

Because guess what? You're going to find out who your real friends are and who's been playing that role rather convincingly, but actually doesn't give a crap. Or who's been saying "Congrats!!!" publicly but secretly feeling jealous. Or who thinks that your writing career is ridiculous, and you should get a regular 9-5 job and "grow up".

However, you need all the help you can get, especially if it's your first publication. I recommend sending out an email blast to everyone in your close circle. Make it funny and lighthearted. Ask to buy your book and if it's not too much trouble, to review it, too. Don't worry, it's not "fake reviews," all writers do that. Encourage them to spread the word, too.

Step 4: Keep Things Exciting

Like marriage, your book promotion will be "hot and heavy" in the beginning, followed by a disturbing loss of interest. To keep it relevant and exciting, you need to spice it up once in a while, and I'm not talking strap-on.

Keep updating your website/Facebook page. Send out monthly newsletters. Run promotions. Say, on a certain day you can buy the book for 20% off. Or first 50 buyers get an autographed copy (doesn't work for eBooks). Or if you buy a print book, you'll get a Kindle version half-off. Create merchandise related to your book. Host contests. You get the idea.

Keep your social media followers excited, and craving for more.
Keep your social media followers excited, and craving for more. | Source

Step 5: Don't Be Shy. You Do Have Real Value to Offer Others.

Generally speaking, writers are a weird crowd. Part nocturnal, part schizophrenic, part alcoholic, part priest/ess, part confessor. We all had to battle serious self-doubts and fears about our writing, and it's still a daily struggle. We call it "writer's block". Am I good enough? Will people like what I write? What if I fail?

If deep down you believe that you have nothing of value to offer, your marketing efforts will only go so far. On the other hand, people who are confident in their product are more convincing and more likely to market successfully.

So above all, believe in yourself, and in the book you've written. This step can help you achieve more success than all marketing tools combined.

Of course, there's much more to marketing a book than these 5 steps. But it's a good start, especially if every time you hear the word "marketing," your soul dies a little. Good luck. I hope you find the success you so deserve.

© 2015 Lana Zakinov

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Comments 12 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

All useful tips and all necessary. Good advice my young friend.


kalinin1158 profile image

kalinin1158 18 months ago from California Author

thank you Bill! Learning as I go...


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 18 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thanks for sharing the very useful information and advice, kalinin1158.


kalinin1158 profile image

kalinin1158 18 months ago from California Author

Thank you Alicia! My pleasure :)


charlynjune profile image

charlynjune 18 months ago from Philippines

Thanks for the tips..! Been planning to start writing an e-book too!


kalinin1158 profile image

kalinin1158 18 months ago from California Author

Nice! Good luck to you.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 18 months ago from San Diego California

Like you, I would rather have strangers read my work than my family. My oldest son claims to like my stuff, but rarely reads it, I guess because he's heard it all before. My kids say I write like I rant, so to them there's nothing new.

These are great pointers. I guess although we both abhor the word marketing, we just have to strap it on and get busy, like you said. Great hub!


RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 18 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

Something I often talk about is that in order to progress, you have to be willing to come out of your comfort zone. Sounds like marketing a book is a great growth opportunity - it's all outside my comfort zone!


Nadine May profile image

Nadine May 18 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Very useful tips for any writer. I will share it on our book publishing Facebook pages!


kalinin1158 profile image

kalinin1158 18 months ago from California Author

Thank you Mel! I avoided it for as long as I could, but there's just no other way...We have to be able to market our work, and preferably, not feel shy or inadequate about it. But what am I saying, you're already a pro at this!


kalinin1158 profile image

kalinin1158 18 months ago from California Author

Ron, you're absolutely right. It's like someone said, "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." Book marketing is outside of my comfort zone too, but that's usually where the greatest potential lies...


kalinin1158 profile image

kalinin1158 18 months ago from California Author

Thanks so much Nadine! I'm a marketing newbie but I did learn the basics thoroughly, and I'm always happy to share what I've learned.

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