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10 Inexpensive Ways to Market Your Book Online

Updated on July 30, 2015
ckbrooke profile image

C.K. Brooke is a published author. Her titles include The Duchess Quest, The Duchess Inheritance, Fool Moon and The Red Pearl (coming soon).

You don't have to break the bank with expensive ads and paid listing services in order to market your book. Here are 10 easy and affordable methods that I have used for marketing my books online and building up my author platform.

1. Amazon Giveaways
Amazon giveaways are a relatively new phenomenon. I've found them to be a great way to gain exposure, especially on Twitter. To utilize Amazon's giveaway feature, your book must first be available in print. Unfortunately, at this time, Amazon does not hold giveaways for digital content.

To open a giveaway, visit the Amazon listing for the print edition of your book. When you scroll down towards the bottom, you'll see the option to "Set up an Amazon giveaway." Click the "set up a giveaway" button and fill out the required information. You'll be given the option to choose whether you want something like "the first 3 entrants" to win, or whether "every [pick a number]th entrant" wins. The best option, in my opinion, is the latter. Next, select the box that says participants must follow you on Twitter to enter. You'll be prompted to enter your Twitter information and sync your account with the giveaway.

Up front, Amazon will charge you the price of your own book (or books, depending on how many copies you wish to give away), plus estimated shipping. Amazon handles the shipping and all the details, once you set it up. When the giveaway expires, if there's no winner (say, if you selected the 2,000th entrant to win, but the contest only had 1,000 entrants in one week), Amazon will refund you the full amount. If there is a winner, but shipping costs less than what Amazon had estimated and billed you for, you'll be refunded the difference.

I gained hundreds of new Twitter followers by holding an Amazon giveaway contingent upon entrants following me on Twitter. Once the giveaway is live, be sure you publicize the link on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #AmazonGiveaway, as it's becoming a popular hashtag.

2. Goodreads Giveaways
If you're still on the obscure end of indie publishing, there's no better way to gain "Want to Read" bookshelf adds on Goodreads than to set up a Goodreads giveaway. You must first have a Goodreads account and be a member of the Goodreads Author Program (see https://www.goodreads.com/author/program.) Your author dashboard will present you the option to list a giveaway. Like with Amazon, this pertains to print books only, not e-books. Enter as many copies of your book as you'd like to give away and a deadline, and submit for review.

Whether you're listed for a month or a few days, you will get the most entrants 24 hours before the giveaway closes, because Goodreads moves the "ending soon" giveaways to the top. When Goodreads chooses a winner, you must package and mail the book to the winner yourself in a timely manner (and yes, you have to pay shipping). You could have hundreds to thousands of entrants, many of whom will mark your book as "Want to Read," and keep it on their shelves to remind them, even if they don't win the giveaway.

3. Facebook "Like" campaign
You can pay Facebook to boost your posts or page for $1/day... Or, you can hold your own campaign. If you want more Likes on your Facebook page, so that more readers can see news about your books, why not post a giveaway to your timeline? Such as, "Like my page this week and be entered in a drawing to win a $10 Amazon gift card! Tag, comment and share for extra entries." Tweet about it and ask your friends who already Like your page to tag their friends who don't yet. I accrued about 30+ new Likes in a week this way.

4. The Oak Wheel and other free feature blogs
Twitter is a great place to find bloggers who are actively seeking authors to feature on their sites. Several months ago, I connected with Jeff Martin from The Oak Wheel via Twitter. They are super friendly and easy to work with, and are always looking for authors to feature on Fridays. Their features are entirely free. Check them out at: https://theoakwheel.wordpress.com/

5. Blog, review, and contribute content online.
You don't always have to invest money to market. One of my favorite ways to market is investing my time and talent. If I want more people to discover my writing, I write! So, I blog on my own and my publisher's websites, review books (politely and fairly) on Amazon and Goodreads, and contribute helpful articles to HubPages and similar sites. In order to expose more people to your writing, simply write!

6. Book a blog tour
Blog tours can be affordable. Enchanted Book Promotions, for example, offers what they call a "Frog Tour" for only $35 (see more here). If you're wondering what a blog tour is and how to get the best value out of it, see my hub, Authors: Everything You Need to Know Before Booking a Blog Tour.

7. Record an audiobook
Amazon's Audiobook Creation Exchange program (http://www.acx.com/) offers a free way to set up the creation of an audiobook version of your book. You list your book with an excerpt and preference of voice, and any interested narrators will audition. Once you've chosen a narrator, they record the book, at no charge. Amazon/ACX handles all the distribution. The narrator gets paid when your audiobooks sell, by splitting the royalties with you, 50/50.

By selling an audiobook, you will not only be swimming in a smaller pond with less competition (there aren't as many audiobooks as there are, say, e-books), but you'll reach readers - or browsers - you might have never reached before, at no cost to you.

8. Go on sale
If your publisher complies, or if you're self-published, you can lower the price of your book temporarily. Sales are a great method for promotion and create more of a sense of urgency for customers to grab it before the price hikes back up again.

9. Go "Select" and enroll in Kindle Unlimited
Once again, if your publisher is willing, or if you're self-published, consider enrolling in Amazon's Kindle Select program for 90 days. You will need to remove the digital e-book version of your book from all other platforms (like Nook and iBooks) during that time, although your print version can still be available anywhere.

Once you sign up for Select, enroll in Kindle Unlimited. Members of Amazon's Kindle Unlimited reading program can download and read your book for free, and you'll be compensated for the number of downloads and pages read through Amazon's Unlimited fund. This is a great way to reach new readers.

10. Go free
If you're published exclusively on Amazon, and enrolled in Kindle Select, you can utilize 5 days in which to make your e-book free. This is a great promotional tool to get more downloads and introduce your work to new readers. Kindle (or Kindle app) owners who download free books don't necessarily read or review them all, but it can boost your Free Store rankings and familiarize more shoppers with your name.

I hope these ten suggestions might have inspired you, or shed some light on your affordable marketing options. There are plenty of other free online marketing ideas, as well - from being interviewed on YouTube channels or podcasts to contacting individual bloggers and requesting e-book reviews. What are your marketing methods?

© 2015 CK Brooke

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    • FatBoyThin profile image

      Colin Garrow 21 months ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Excellent advice - you're obviously a Hubber to keep an eye on!

    • ckbrooke profile image
      Author

      CK Brooke 21 months ago from Washington, MI

      Aww, thank you! :-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for the suggestions. No matter how long I'm in this business, there is always something new to learn. I appreciate the tips and I look forward to following you.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 21 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Shared with followers and bookmarked. Thanks.

    • susi10 profile image

      Susan W 21 months ago from The British Isles, Europe

      This is excellent. I have written four nonfiction books and I definitely want to improve sales. Everyone does! ;) The audiobook idea is genius. I'm getting to work on that tomorrow! Awesome article!

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 21 months ago from Indonesia

      Thank you for the advice. It is interesting information which I didn't know that we can pay facebook for more likes to get.

    • Mthokozisi Nkosi profile image

      Mthokozisi Nkosi 21 months ago from South Africa

      Hi, Thank you for this, I will definitely read more of your hubs, working on a book and this will be of great use to me as the book will be my first to publish. Been passionate about writing and now decided to follow my dream while still on my daily 9to5 job, i will use this job to finance my venture. You are awesome:)

    • ckbrooke profile image
      Author

      CK Brooke 21 months ago from Washington, MI

      @billybuc, @B. Leekley, @susi10, @agusfanani, and @Mthokozisi Nkosi: You all rock! Thank you so much. I'm so glad you found this article helpful.

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