5 Ways to Promote Your Book

Monday, August 14, 2017

There are so many options these days on how to get your book into the hands of readers. Gone are the days when one single path led to publication, and it can be confusing to wade through the pros and cons of being independently versus traditionally published. One of the ways you can evaluate how to distribute books to stores and move forward with your manuscript is to think about how you would prefer to promote your book.

The book promotion tactics an indie-published author takes can be different from those with large publishing contracts, primarily due to the higher level of control independent authors maintain over their books. If you’re thinking about indie publishing for your book, consider how much easier it is to engage in these forms of book promotion as an indie author.

Meet Your Local Booksellers

Meeting your local booksellers is something that only the author can do! A large publisher or your independent publicity firm may coordinate meetings with these booksellers, but this is something indie authors can do really well on their own. Books are sold by booksellers all over the world, which means that they give recommendations to people browsing their stores and can influence purchasing decisions. Making a personal impact on a bookseller so that they want to sell your book is a savvy move on any author’s part. Stop by a store, be polite, buy a book, and tell them you hope they’ll stock your book one day.

Create a Goodreads Author Profile and Use it Actively

Maintaining control over vital social media platforms is a benefit to indie publishing—you’ll always make your own account and run it for yourself. On Goodreads, you can make friends, follow reading lists, join book clubs, and organically network to create a community that will put your book onto their “to-read” bookshelves when it comes out.

Start an Author Instagram and Use it Consistently

As an indie author, you’ll want to connect directly with readers. People support brands they admire and learn to love a brand by encountering an individual first. Showing who you are as a person on the fastest-growing social media platform can help readers find you. “Bookstagrammers” are becoming a powerful “influencer” segment in social media marketing, and connecting with them is something an author can do all on their own. You can do giveaways without a publisher restricting your actions! Don’t forget to use relevant hashtags like #bookstagram, #lit, #amreading, #books, and more. Instagram rewards hashtagging…so use as many as you lik, and you have a higher chance of showing up in your follower's feed, as well as good discoverability by random users that are checking out popular hashtags.

Make Vital Changes to Your Publication Timeline and Other Important Book Details

These may not seem like part of the promotional process at first glance, but sometimes books are published by large publishers on schedules that might not be the best fit for an author. Picking a publication date that fits with your personal life, relevant holidays (a book on motherhood might be more easily promoted if it is published the week of Mother’s Day, for instance), and what else is on the market is a great way that indie authors can plan their promotions early on to best suit their sales. As an indie author, you can also make edits to your book cover, your price, and other important details based on reader feedback before you move to a final version. This is not something traditional deals typically allow.

Sell Your Books More Easily at Private Events

Because you are in charge of your book’s distribution, you don’t have a middleman between you and your print-on-demand that can hold up this process. If you are headed to an author event, book fair, library, or private book launch, you get to decide how many copies and on what timeline you want to bring them for sales. 

Make use of IngramSpark's shareable purchase links and offer potential readers a QR code or link to a URL that will take them directly to a designed product page specific to your book. Through this link, you can offer limited-time discounts or promotions, and you'll earn more on each book you sell.

There are pros and cons to both traditional and indie publishing, and hopefully, learning about some of the considerations regarding book promotion on both sides can help you choose your publishing identity.

Sara Wigal

Sara Wigal is an Assistant Professor of Cinema, Television & Media and Director of Publishing at Belmont University, a unique undergraduate degree that equips students with necessary skills and knowledge to enter the book world. She serves the Next Chapter Society council which supports the programming made possible by the Nashville Public Library Foundation. She previously worked in literary PR, beginning as an assistant and working her way up to a Senior Manager role, shaping author brands and interacting with the media. Wigal has been published by The TennesseanPublishers Weekly, and Writer's Digest.