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How to Market a Book

Updated on May 11, 2010

How to Market a Book

Many first-time authors argue that the hardest part of writing isn’t penning the book; it’s getting the book to buy it. To those just entering the business of book selling, learning how to market a book properly is a very challenging commitment.

There is no quick fix to selling books. Consumers must reach a certain level of comfort with the author and their work before buying. In order for that “security” to occur, people have to be exposed to your book over and over again until they become acquainted with it.

Below is a four-step guide to marketing a book, though it is a lot easier in theory than it is in practice. The main ingredient to successful book promotion is taking an active approach. Repetition and building up a brand name are vital to encouraging book sales.

Leveraging technology, (especially the Internet), is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to market a book today. For little to no money, it is possibly for any author to build interest in a book online. The possibilities range from writing promo articles, to uploading free chapters to a website, to even shooting a viral Youtube video!


1. USE PAID ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC APPEARANCES like book signings to market a book. In addition to raising awareness about your book, you can use publicity to enter new markets and to build up brand loyalty. Remember that the more exposure your book gets, the more potential readers it will draw.

2. USE PROMOTIONAL ITEMS like bookmarks, business cards, t-shirts or other giveaways to market a book. People like free, so you can attract more buyers and encourage sales through handouts. Also consider offering a free excerpt of your book to let readers digest and decide for themselves whether to buy or not.

3. THE INTERNET is a great resource to use to market a book. Starting a blog, building up profiles on social networking sites, writing articles and participating in the online community are all great ways to attract potential buyers to your product. The more genuine you are in these endeavors, the more receptive people will be of you and your book.

4. WORD OF MOUTH is one of the best ways to market a book. Anytime a friend or family member vouches for something, people become more likely to follow buy it. Sadly, this way of book promotion is largely out of your hands. One way to stimulate this person-to-person book marketing is to give out free copies of your book to people and ask them to review it, or just to simply to spread the word.


  • Repeat and diversify the ways you market your book. The more often people hear about your book, (and where to buy it), the more books you can potentially sell.
  • If you are uncomfortable making public and media appearances, then you should consider using less direct methods when marketing your book. Play toward your strengths, and if possible, hire someone to fill in the gaps.
  • Obtain copies of every piece of promotional material regarding your book, and use them to make a press kit for radio and TV outlets, if you choose to go that route.
  • Your car is a valuable book marketing tool, whether you promote through your license plate, or have the cover of your book painted onto the body itself!
  • If you are promoting your first book, you may want to consider offering it entirely for free. This will help with book promotion because people will be more willing to read it, thus getting your name out there for future book releases! Also, there are more ways to make money from a book other than just direct sales.
  • Promotion is all about breaking through the clutter of advertising and standing out. If you have any off-the-wall ideas to market a book, you should give them a try. Experimenting could pay off tremendously.


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    • petermdhart profile image

      petermdhart 7 years ago from Cornwall, UK

      Good tips, thanks!

    • bingskee profile image

      bingskee 7 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

      i am bookmarking it. i have a feeling that my children will one day publish a book.

    • MistHaven profile image

      MistHaven 7 years ago from New Jersey

      While I agree you should be creative when marketing a book, I don't think people will want to buy a book if they see the author burning it personally lol.

    • profile image 7 years ago

      Thought-provoking hub. I like the idea of using a t-shirt! One other thing I've heard with marketing is to pull a stunt! Perhaps burn your book in the city square saying it has enslaved you to a life of marketing where you've written the equivalent of three other books just to promote it and be arrested for pyromania.LOL. If you use this idea make sure you put me in your credits, Misthaven!

    • MistHaven profile image

      MistHaven 7 years ago from New Jersey

      No problem.

    • satomko profile image

      Seth Tomko 7 years ago from Macon, GA

      Thanks for the practical tips and links.