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An IngramSpark Guide

How to Market a Book

Once you’ve completed your book, the next leg of the journey begins: marketing it. The right marketing for self-published authors can mean the difference between a successful, impactful book publicity campaign and one that produces marginal results.

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Here, we’ll address the specifics for how to launch your book.


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Book Metadata: Help Readers Find Your Book

Metadata is everywhere, and it’s a crucial component in marketing your book. Your book’s most vital metadata includes such basic information as your book title, author name, author bio, book description, publication date, etc.

Not only does metadata connect readers with your book, but it can also increase your sales potential. Ultimately, it’s what connects your content to your prospective readers, and discoverability is your biggest asset. It ensures your readers can find you simply by entering words that describe your book into a search engine. 

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Creating good book metadata takes an initial time investment but once it’s done, you’ll have a great marketing tool to help sell your book. 

Pick the Right Keywords for Your Book

Keywords are one of the most critical parts of your metadata. The more specific the keywords, the more likely the person searching for those specific words will find your book among the search results.

Make your book more discoverable with keywords that are relevant, and phrases related to your book. Then, you can write a more keyword-rich book description that will give the search engines reason to bring attention to your book when users search for those particular words and phrases. 

Include BISAC Codes

BISAC codes describe and categorize your book with standard codes accepted by the book industry. They are essential for librarians, booksellers, and other publishing professionals to place your book in the correct BISAC categories. Be sure to cover all your bases in choosing your codes, but don’t be misleading.

A few tips for selecting your BISAC code:

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  • One is required, but three is best practice.
  • Choose codes that accurately describe your book content as a whole.
  • The first subject code should be the best, most accurate, and most specific code possible.

Reinforce Metadata with Your Online Presence

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Maintaining consistent descriptions and author information on your website and social media accounts is important.

After making sure your book metadata is consistent and effective, you need to continue to lay the groundwork for more conventional marketing methods. 

Grab Readers’ Attention with Your Book Description

One of the most important aspects of marketing your book is writing a good book description. Your chances of gaining visibility and remaining visible are better when your book description is focused, impactful, and accurate. 

There are two types of book descriptions: 

  • Long description: Show the reader just enough to get them interested in what happens next. Think like a buyer, and not like the author.
  • Short description: Informative, engaging, and thought-provoking, this serves as a blurb or hook and appears in catalogs and marketing materials.
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An effective book description should start with a clear and compelling headline, followed by a detailed explanation that lets the reader know what to expect from your book. Finally, it should end with a strong closing, identifying why readers should be interested in your book.

Here are a few other tips for writing a good description:

  • Provide a 150-200 word, simple synopsis of the book, written in consumer-friendly terms.
  • Avoid time-sensitive language such as “the latest,” “soon,” “forthcoming,” or “most recent.”
  • Do not include active hyperlinks or invalid code.

Lay the Groundwork for Your Marketing Plan


Keep Your Book on Readers’ Radars with an Excerpt

Consider sharing an excerpt from your book as a way to get readers interested. Choose a section that’s able to stand on its own and that makes sense to a great degree without relying on context from the rest of the book. Imagine what you would want to read as a consumer.
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Longer excerpts, consisting of 200+ words, should have the potential to spark a debate, inspire a meaningful discussion, or reveal something about the book that sets it apart from others. Shorter excerpts, made up of a few sentences, should provide a takeaway for the reader.
Your excerpt can, and should, be used as a marketing tool in your author blog posts, newsletters, social media posts, press kits, at speaking engagements, and on your author website. 

Help Your Book Gain Credibility with a Foreword

A book foreword isn’t necessary, but it is an important part of your introductory material. Written by someone other than the book’s author, the foreword provides a third-party endorsement supporting the book and the importance of its material. 

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The more relatable and better-known the foreword author is, the more comfortable your reader will be with your book. In approaching someone to write your foreword, let them know why you think they are the right person for the job, and give them options for providing you with a foreword, given any time constraints or other limitations they may have.

Get Book Buyers’ Attention with a Press Release

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Although many things have changed in the publicity and media industries, book press releases are still important. It’s important to know how to write a good press release, as it is the foundation of your promotional platform. Don’t assume you know how to write one simply because you’re a good writer. Learn how the professionals do it and follow industry-accepted formats and styles. 

Your book press release should begin with a headline that builds anticipation for potential readers. It may be either direct (calling attention to the primary sales feature of your book) or indirect (enticing readers to want to learn more), and it may be newsworthy, tap into readers’ emotions, or give a directive. 

Once you’ve gotten their attention with the headline, the body copy of the press release should follow up on that headline. Give your readers sentences that flow well and present important facts, following the pattern and pace set by the headline. 

Promote Your Book

Book publicity makes a big difference for indie authors. Technology now gives independently published books quality to equal that of major publishing houses, and there’s no reason your book publicity can’t be equal, too.


Tips for a Successful Publicity Campaign

There is no one, proven approach to getting publicity for your book. We suggest 15 important publicity tips to consider when you’re trying to get media coverage for your book. These tips include: 

  • Know your audience—no book is right for everyone.
  • Offer giveaways—generates interest in your book and develops word-of-mouth promotion.
  • Be patient and persistent—getting publicity for your book is more of a marathon than a sprint.
  • Be creative in your media outreach—make your book stand out by calling attention to what makes it newsworthy and unique.

Book Publicity vs. Digital Marketing

More than just getting shelf space, today’s book marketing is about appealing to a variety of readers and employing various means of creating impressions for your book. You may utilize traditional book marketing tactics and a mix of digital marketing and book publicity.

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While publicity is especially helpful in establishing an author’s brand and giving him or her clout in the publishing world, digital marketing is about getting people to click on an ad and buy your book. Digital marketing is necessary, and it’s one of the best ways to connect with readers. Both are effective and important methods of book promotion. 

The Benefits of Social Media Marketing

Promoting your book with social media is an incredible way to connect with readers and promote your book to larger audiences, at a low cost or for free. The more people talking about your books, the more noise they make, and the more other readers will take notice. 

While you might be overwhelmed by the various social media platforms, we recommend registering for all of them, if only to create bios that point to your author website. There has been a renewed focus on connecting directly with readers via influencer marketing, resulting in a huge impact on book sales. In addition to Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, some of the most popular and effective platforms you can use to market your book on social media are: 

Amazon Author Central—Not only should your book be available for sale on Amazon, but you should also be taking advantage of Amazon Author Central.

TikTok— Don’t underestimate the power of TikTok to market your book. It’s now the third largest of the Big Five worldwide social networks, and BookTok, the TikTok subcommunity, is an incredible way to connect with a diverse audience.

A few things to keep in mind: 

  • Make sure you really know how to find your target audience. Your social media presence will start to grow organically when you understand who you’re writing for.

  • Find a consistent voice. Always be yourself, but in a way your readers can connect to. 

  • Create unique, shareable content and post something at least once a week.

  • Making videos on social media is a great way to get personal with your followers.

Finally, be aware that there are some unique pitfalls in promoting your books online. Avoiding them can help you gain more followers, more attention for your book, and hopefully, more sales. 

How to Create an Author Website

A critical element of any book marketing strategy is that authors and small publishers must have their own mobile-friendly, professional-looking website. Thinking about the purpose of your site and having a plan will help you create an author website that serves your goals and meets your needs for the long term. 


Choosing a Domain

Before launching your website, decide on your domain name. You should buy the domain name yourself with your email address and credit card. This ensures that you receive all updates and/or renewal notices for subscriptions and webhosting. Cost for your domain will depend on how you build it, whether using a DIY platform such as Wix or WordPress or hiring a website designer/developer to handle it for you.

Keep in mind that many developers don’t know much about marketing, particularly how to promote a book. So check out a developer’s portfolio before you hire them. There are a number of questions to ask yourself before choosing and committing to a developer for your site, including: 

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  • When you contacted potential developers, were they responsive?

  • What are the per-hour charges for changes and updates?

  • What is the cost for additional pages?

  • What is the turnaround time for incorporating updates, and how much does that cost? 

Website Traffic

Once you’ve set up your author website, how do you measure its success? By tracking traffic to your site. This data is essential. The easiest and most effective way to track such progress and discover what’s resonating with your visitors is by connecting your site to Google Analytics with a bit of tracking code. The data you receive may be confusing at first, so be sure to focus on such important information as: 

  • Number of page views 
  • Bounce rate (the number of people who view one page and then leave your site)
  • Average time spent on your site
  • The keywords people are using via search engines to get to your site.
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Marketing Your Self-Published Book on Your Website

Your author website is your primary online presence and your author platform. This is where people will learn more about you and your books, and it’s the only place you have complete design and editorial control.

There are a number of things to consider when setting up your site and using it as part of your overall book marketing strategy, including:

  • Your author brand
  • Mailing lists and newsletters
  • Social media links
  • Press/media page
  • Book giveaways

Develop a Marketing Content Strategy

Successful self-published authors are not just people who write well—they’re people who think of their writing career as a business. Like any successful business, authors need a content strategy.
A content strategy will look different for every author and every genre, but there are some key things that authors should be thinking about as they develop their own, including:
  • Goal: the more specific the better.
  • Persona(s): know your audience and identify the ideal people for your website.
  • Content plan: offer unique and engaging content to lead users to your book.
Building interest in your book doesn’t happen overnight. Creating a content strategy is difficult, but the real challenge is acting on it. The point is to build your traffic and, by extension, build your audience over time.


You probably already know how important it is to blog about your book. Blog traffic doesn’t happen overnight, but with consistent effort, your author blog can build momentum with time. 

Article writing is a great way to grow your audience and build a community. Some book promotion ideas for crafting an effective article are noted below.

  • Find the best topic.
  • Offer specific takeaways.
  • Don’t be too promotional.
  • Do your homework.
Though writing articles may be time-consuming, it’s one of the best ways to generate more followers and establish credibility.

How to Get Your Book in Stores

To get your book in readers’ hands, you can sell your book to more than just your local bookstore. Below, you’ll find a bit more detail on the places you can sell your book. 


What are some of the ways to go about selling your book to independent bookstores?

  • Know your audience: Your book is not for everyone—use what you know to find your audience.
  • Craft your pitch: People are busy; reduce your pitch to its simplest form to capture their attention.
  • Have a one-sheet: Prepare a document that summarizes who you are and what your book is about.
  • Be available: Make sure that you let booksellers know key information such as where your book is available and what the discount is.

Marketing for self-published books is an essential part of the overall publishing process and takes proper planning. It starts with creating good book metadata and identifying the right keywords for your book. This, coupled with a good book description, could lead to potential sales just for being in the right place at the right time when a reader performs a search for information. Utilizing social media platforms and creating an author website are also very important steps in targeting and finding your audience. Finally, you must get out there and cultivate relationships with booksellers, pitching your book, advertising it in unconventional places such as grocery stores, and setting up events at libraries or local bookstores. 

For more information and book marketing ideas, download our complete guide to marketing for self-published books. 


Fill out the form to get the guide!