Have you ever thought: “I’m a writer, I don’t need to know marketing”? After all, it’s the publisher’s job to market your book, right?
Yes, you may get some assistance with marketing from your publisher (some more than others), however, it’s still the author’s job to help market the book.
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The Ultimate Guide to Easily Market Your Book:
A lot of people hear the word marketing and think it’s some scary thing that they’re going to have to do. Or something that’s incredibly time-consuming, so they won’t be able to spend time doing what they love–> writing.
But that’s not completely true.
There is a way to market your book as an author and STILL get to have productive writing time. All you have to do is learn the main aspects of marketing, decide what will work for you, and commit to being open to learning new things.
You can do it!
Here are the topics we’re going to talk about, in case you want to skip ahead:
- How to create an author website and when you need to
- The #1 marketing tool for authors
- 3 FREE options every author should be using
- How to use social media to your advantage
Let’s get started! 😄
The Complete Guide on Author Websites all Writers Need:
The best way to market your book and let people know you’re a writer is through a website. But the idea of setting one up may invoke a lot of anxiety or doubts about your abilities. It’s as if you need a guide on author websites to help you…
TA DA! 🤗
This article is set up to do just that: help authors know when to set up their website and what all to include in it. As a writer who’s been creating websites for almost ten years, I’m VERY familiar with all the frustrations and fear in creating a home for yourself on the Internet. But no worries, I’m here to help you!
At some point, all authors will need a website. However, when you need a website is dependent on what you write. For instance, non-fiction writers or bloggers should set up a website immediately to get their thoughts out there, but fiction writers aren’t as dependent on a platform, so they can wait a bit.
When Do You Absolutely Need a Website?
Once you are offered a book deal, you should start working on your website. Even before the book comes out, you will need to use your site for promotions, scheduling speaking or signing events, and getting the word out about who you are and what your book is about.
I highly recommend you have a full-functioning, published site at least 6 months before your book comes out, but 1 year is even better! If you don’t have a book coming out yet, it’s still a good idea to buy you domain name to be sure no one buys it before you can. (Most author websites choose a URL that is the writer’s name, but for some of you, that option might not be available.)
Where Do You Make Author Websites?
There are a few different places where you can make your own website and there are positives and negatives to all. However, if your budget allows, I would suggest skipping to the third option, as this will give you the most control and complete ownership over your content.
Free Places to Make a Website-
It’s nice when we get things for free, especially when we don’t make as much starting out. However, if you use one of these sites, you won’t have your own URL until you purchase a domain name and you do not have ownership of your content.
Plus, you might not be able to sell items from these sites (Double check the terms before signing up). So, I would recommend you create one of the other 2 options if your budget allows.
Almost Free Place with More Control-
One of the best ways to market your book is with an email list. If you can purchase a URL, you can use this option for free up to 1,000 subscribers. Which means you can create a landing page (Which looks like a website) and collect email sign-ups for people interested in your book.
Mailerlite also has a cool tutorial that teaches you how to use this feature to create your own site right after you sign-up, too! 😄
Not Free, but Total Control Place-
- GoDaddy (Where I’d buy the Domain Name)
- Siteground (Who I recommend for Hosting)
- WordPress.org (Where you build Everything)
- StudioPress (Where you make it Pretty)
This is the BEST option for creating author websites because you have full control of everything. You get to pick your URL, decide what things look like, and upload content knowing that you own it.
First, you need to pick your URL, which you can purchase at GoDaddy. Then, you need to set up your hosting. I recommend using Siteground because they have AMAZING customer service and will even help you set up WordPress for free, plus I’ve never had any issues on my sites through them in over 2 years. Check them out here to learn more.
Once you have your hosting, then you get to do the fun stuff: make your author site look pretty! I highly recommend getting the Genesis Framework from StudioPress because it’s mobile responsive and very user-friendly to set up. Plus, they have pre-built themes you can choose from which allows you to avoid any hard coding. Check them out here.
What Should be Included on Author Websites?
Required Pages for all Writers-
- About the Author Page
- Contact Page
- Books (With Buy Now Button, if Available)
Author websites are nice, because they don’t require that much information. You mostly need to tell the world about who you are and what kind of books do you write. Having the contact page is nice to add because then you get to connect with your readers, plus can work towards building your email list!
Optional, but Encouraged, Pages-
- Events Page
- School or Conference Bookings
- Extra Resources
The biggest benefit to having an author website is being able to connect with your readers. And to hopefully have them come back for more books when they come out! You should use your website to do this.
Creating pages like an events page or blog, allows them to get to see you in person or know you on a more personal level. You’ll be able to increase engagement with your readers and have more attendance at your events.
If you can add speaking opportunities or extra resources, then you also have an extra place to monetize your writing in addition to book sales! And who doesn’t like a little extra money, right? Having these options directly on your page tells potential readers what you offer for them to reach out and contact you.
You don’t have to have a website, but author websites are a great way to connect with readers and to create more buzz once you decide
Ps. If you want help setting up your website, I will sit down for an hour and walk you through all the steps! You can schedule a time here and we will set you up for success. 🤗
Other articles that will help your writing:
- How to Create a Website Yourself
- The Best Writing Books to Help Your Writing
- Everything You Need to Know to Publish a Children’s Book
- All You Need to Know to Write a Children’s Book
The #1 Thing all Authors Need to Sell More Books:
What is the one thing that almost 3 Billion people own and over half check first thing in the morning? It’s the #1 thing that’s going to help you sell more books.
With all the changes to social media algorithms, it’s getting harder and harder to connect with our readers online. Unless we want to spend hundreds of dollars advertising on those platforms.
So how do we connect with readers, especially when we have a new book coming out? The answer: through your email list.
What is an email list?
A list of people interested in your writing and books that you control is an email list. You collect these emails through opt-ins on your site and social media.
The best part of having an email list over subscribers on a social media platform is that you own your list. No one can take them from you and you won’t be affected if Facebook goes through an algorithm change.
It’s all yours. 😍 Which is SUPER important in this competitive market if you want to market your book.
What do you need to create an email list?
In order for you to utilize this powerful tool, you first need to set up an account with an email provider. There are many different options (I’ve personally used 3 different ones), but my favorite is Mailerlite.
It’s super easy to sign up! First, you put in your name and email and then select your plan. Mailerlite allows you to have 1,000 subscribers before you have to pay, which is AWESOME! Others I’ve used, charge after 100.
Pro-Tip: Purchase your author website URL BEFORE you create an email list so you can use your site’s email, rather than your personal email address. Read this to learn more about author websites.
How do you start collecting emails?
There are two ways you can collect emails: through your website or social media accounts. How you do that depends on your email service provider.
If you’re using Mailerlite, they have a super sweet option to make a landing page. This is a way to collect emails WITHOUT having a website yet. Great option if you just want to gather potential readers before you invest in a website.
However, if you have a website, you’ll want to create pop-ups or hello bars on your site. My favorite provider is Hello Bar, because it’s super easy to use and you have more options than Sumome for templates you can use.
How do you entice readers to opt-in?
As people we LOVE to know what’s in it for us. The same’s true for you and the same’s true for me. It’s human nature.
This means that you have to GIVE something to your readers to get them to want to sign up. Some effective opt-in ideas you could use to encourage sign-ups are:
- The first chapter of your book
- Coloring pages based on your theme
- A coupon code to use to buy your book
- A checklist or guide that connects to your book
- Anything free and easy to make
Think about what you can offer your readers and collaborate with your illustrator. The illustrator wants to market your book as much as you do, so it doesn’t hurt to ask them to help you create something visual for your readers!
What do you do once you have subscribers?
Once you have sign-ups, you have to follow through and EMAIL them! It’s vital to keep your list healthy.
Before you collect subscribers, decide how often you want to email people and topics you will provide. Then create a welcome email to automatically send to them after they’ve opted-in to your freebie. The welcome email will introduce yourself to them and let them know what to expect.
Then be sure to send email updates as your book progresses, and especially, once it’s come out. If they buy a book, you should also use this opportunity to ask for reviews. And don’t worry, the more you do it, the easier it is!
Having an email list is the #1 way to market your book to a
And check out these other articles to help you sell more books!
- How to create an Author Website
- All You Need to Know about Author Websites
- Use Social Media to Promote Your Books
- Free Marketing Ideas all Authors Need
3 Free Marketing Ideas to Help You Market Your Book:
Only 3.5% of children’s book authors earn more than $50,000 for an advance on their book. Most only receive between $1,000-$5,000 and some receive NOTHING! This means free marketing ideas may be all your budget can afford.
Times have changed over the past few decades and authors are required to do more and more to promote their books. Even if your publisher has offered some marketing help, every author should be using these resources for book promotion.
After all, they’re FREE and can only help you sell more books.
Unfortunately, our book will not sell simply because we wrote (No matter how much we wish that was true!) Instead, we need to put ourselves and our work in front of people and attract their attention, so they’ll be scrambling for the book shelves.
But how do we do that? Especially when we really don’t want to expose ourselves to people?
The importance of book promotion:
Some of us would rather poke our eyes out with a hot skewer than be visible online. And others don’t want to come across as annoying through their self-promotion.
I get it. I’m also self-conscious of walking around in my bathing suit with a room full of Victoria’s Secret models. But we live in a world where those insecurities don’t matter. We have to own our stuff!
And for writers, this is when you market your book. You have to let people know A- that you are a writer and B- that you have a book coming out. Otherwise, no one will know to buy it!
Isn’t the whole point to see your book? I thought so.
Here’s the good news, self-promotion doesn’t have to be inauthentic or salesy. In fact, it’s better if it’s not! So don’t worry. You can do this.
Free online sources to use:
1. Create a Goodreads Profile
Goodreads is an online database for readers to tell others about their books they’re reading and find new books to check out. There also interactive reading groups that you can connect with based off what you enjoy reading.
Anyone can set up an account (And if you don’t have one, you should get one even if your book isn’t coming out yet). Once you have a book coming out, you can apply to their author program so you can promote your book and interact with readers.
2. Add Readers to Your Email List
An email list is one of the best ways for you to interact with readers. And unlike a social media platform, you own your list so no one can take that away from you.
You can use both your author website and social media to help grow your list. I suggest using Mailerlite to collect and send emails.
- It’s free up to 1,000 subscribers
- You can set up automation for new leads
- You get a link that you can share across all your social media platforms.
- It’s super easy to use
You can set up your account here to get started. Somethings you can send your email list are any updates with your book, freebies that they’d want, anything to create a personal connection with you, if you have a new book coming out, etc.
And don’t worry, people who love you and your books will also love reading your emails!
3. Promote through Social Media
This one seems like an obvious one because we hear about social media so much! However, these platforms have changed TREMENDOUSLY in the past five years, so you can’t rely on organic engagement alone anymore.
The goal of social media is to promote posts that other people like, which means you need to create engagement on your posts in order for them to be seen. You can do this through posting funny GIFs, shareable quotes, asking a question, taking a poll, etc.
(Just my own thought, I’d pay for Facebook/Instagram ads to market your book the week before/during it’s release to create the most buzz, instead of trying to be a Facebook or Instagram expert.)
**Check out my post on how to use social media to market your book here!**
The key to creating a tribe of readers:
The difference between selling a book and connecting with your readers is one thing: your approach. Anyone can say buy my book, but readers only will if they’re given a good reason on why they should.
This is where you come in. You need to tell the readers WHY they need your book and how they will benefit from that. Even fiction reads hold value (Escape, enjoyment, loving character, irresistible plot, etc.)
Determine what your hook is and how you can pique curiosity. Then be authentic and reveal yourself as a writer to your audience in order to create a connection. And don’t worry about appearing stupid or something, just be yourself!
Be sure to use these free marketing ideas to help market your book once you’re ready. It’s never too early to start either. If you don’t have a book coming out, you can still engage with readers on Goodreads and through social media to make it easier for you later.
Remember: be authentic and connect with your readers as a human. Don’t just try to sell a book. It will be so much easier to create lasting fans.
For more articles to help you promote your book:
- The Complete Guide to Author Websites
- How to Create Your Website
- How to use Social Media to Promote Your Book
- The #1 Marketing Tool All Authors Need
- How to Win a Twitter Pitch Party
How to Use Social Media to Market Your Book:
Almost 2.4 BILLION people worldwide, and upwards of 77% of the United States, uses social media every day. That’s a lot of people you could reach if you use social media to market your book.
I’ve been studying digital marketing for over five years, and I’ve never met a platform that changes faster than social media. It’s not enough to post something and hope it works. You have to have people see it.
Here’s how I’ve learned to do that.
Sometimes thinking about social media gives me a headache. It feels like I have to be EVERYWHERE, on all the platforms, and posting daily. Seriously. Who has time for that?
Fortunately for all of us, that’s not true. In fact, it’s better to focus on only one or two platforms that you choose to be active on.
How do you choose a social media platform?
The short answer is to go where your readers are, in order to use social media to promote your book. But when Facebook has over 2 billion people on its own, it can be hard to specify exactly which platform that is.
So I’ve created a social media platform breakdown for you. It will help you know what kind of engagement is required in order to be successful.
It’s best to start with the biggest, most well-known platform out there: Facebook.
Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. And the reality is, you CANNOT be successful on Facebook without paying for traffic. Especially in the beginning.
This means that yes, you can create a page, post daily, and share funny things with your fans. But if you engagement sucks, you won’t get any organic reach, except maybe like 9 views per post. So be sure that EVERYTHING you post is engaging!
However, if that sounds like too much for you, Facebook is an AMAZING tool for targeted advertising when you’re ready to market your book. And you can tie those ads to Instagram, as well. 😄
Since we mentioned it, the second platform you can use is Instagram.
This is a SUPER fun social site for images. If you love taking photos, and sharing events visually, this may be a good platform for you to engage with readers.
However, if you’re wanting to bring people to your website or link to your books, you can only do that on your profile. Otherwise, descriptions are reserved for your thoughts and hashtags.
Like Facebook, this is one of the oldest social media platforms. It’s great for quick thoughts you have throughout the day. And there are twitter pitch parties throughout the year, where you can have your story ideas seen by
However, the life of a tweet is on average 18 minutes. That’s not good if you post something at 7AM that you wanted everyone who follows you to see. But it does give you options to post often throughout the day and have different people see it at different times.
I will offer you a word of caution on schedulers, if you think you can outsource this platform: Although, it’s easy to schedule it and forget it, Twitter can blacklist you as a bot and make it harder for your tweets to be seen. Meaning if you tag someone in a tweet who doesn’t follow you, they may not see it because Twitter thinks you might be spam.
So if you’re serious about this platform, be sure that you’re active IN it. Rather than solely relying on a scheduler.
This is my favorite platform to use for website views and to sell products, because it works like a search engine. Meaning you can create a pin, optimize it for search results, and get traffic to your website or book page every day.
However, like all social platforms, Pinterest also requires you to be an active user on their site. Meaning, you need to be online pinning every day.
I used to do this for HOURS! Because it helps increase my monthly views. But it’s such a hard thing to keep up long term and get anything else done. So I’ve mixed my pins with a scheduler.
Video is being touted as the best way to connect with people online, because it creates a more personal connection. People actually see you and get to know your personality through video.
You may think this is something you can forgo as an author–which may be true–however, John Green helped build his empire with videos. If you can create things, tell funny stories, or provide a talent worth watching, I would encourage you to check out this platform.
7. All the Others: Snapchat, LinkedIn, Reddit, etc.
There are SO MANY more social media platforms out there, and it feels like a new one pops up every 6 months. However, you DON’T have to be on them all.
If you have a business book, maybe LinkedIn is good for you. Or if you have a younger market and like short images/videos that disappear, you can get a Snapchat channel. Or whatever other place that may be a good way to reach your readers.
Remember, you want to go where the readers are, in order to use social media to market your book.
If you’re writing for MG/YA and think you can create a fun, age-appropriate channel that they will love, then try out Snapchat. If you write picture books for schools and parents, it may be better to focus on Facebook. Do what’s best for YOU and your book.
What should you post?
Now that you know where to go, you need to know what to do. The goal of any social media platform is to engage with its users. This means you need to post things that will encourage people to like and share it with others. That way more people will be able to see what you posted.
Some fun post ideas that tend to get shares:
- The post telling everyone you signed with a publisher
- A cover reveal once you can show people the art
- Funny GIFs, memes, or quotes that connect back to your book or personality
- Events where you’re speaking at
- A short video to showcase that you speak at schools, etc.
There are so many fun things you can do to show your fans who you are. Including, a day in your life. (Get your free post ideas here) People love to know what it’s like to be an author so be sure to show them what that is. The number one rule is to be authentic!
What can you do before you’re published?
Even if you haven’t received a publishing offer, you can still be building your fan base. Especially with posts about what your day looks like or funny things to let people know you’re writing a book.
But a really big thing to do on social media before you’re published is to follow industry professionals. This includes publishing houses, agents you like, and big-name authors. I also like the hashtag #writingcommunity to connect with other authors.
This is a great way to stay connected in the world of publishing and to learn about any submission or contest opportunities.
How you target specific readers with social media?
One of the best ways to use social media to promote your book is with paid advertisements. Especially through Facebook advertising.
You can literally say what demographics and interests you’re hoping to target with your book and use those to reach the people that will be most likely to want to buy. It’s amazing how targeted these are.
I know that investing money seems like it would be hard to justify, but remember this is your book that you slaved over and you want to be paid for your work. Even if you received a large advance check, you need to sell a decent amount of books to keep publishers coming back to sell additional books you’ve written.
To make sure you aren’t wasting money, be sure to know who your readers are and what they’re interested in. (For many of us, that means parents.)
Social media is a great tool to help you promote and sell more books. When you use it right, post engaging content, and are focusing on the reader, you can build a loyal tribe. Which means you should respond to all comments, and work hard to connect to those who support you.
Be sure to focus on only 1 or 2 platforms, post authentic content to your brand and writing personality, and to follow industry professionals to stay abreast to the world of publishing.
Try to use all of these tools to market your book: author website, Goodreads, & social media. And remember one of the best places to market your book is locally through the library and nearby bookstores.
Congratulations on having a book deal and enjoy every part of getting the news out there so as many readers can enjoy your story as possible. 💕
PS. Download these social media post ideas for free here!
Other articles to help you promote your book:
- How to Build an Author Website
- How to Win a Twitter Pitch Party
- Free Marketing Ideas Every Author Should Do
- #1 Marketing Tool Every Author Needs
- The Complete Guide to Author Websites
- Build Your Brand with Rhys Keller
- How to Host a Book Launch Online
- Work with a Podcaster like Jessica Snider