This entry is part 10 of 12 in the series Book Promotion

Whether you are self published or traditionally published, marketing your books is largely in your hands. If you want your books to be successful, you need to be prepared to do what it takes to ensure readers know your books exist.

There are many ways an author can market their books. Here’s the list of essentials, with helpful links that will give you greater detail.

book marketing checklist

Marketing books is unlike marketing any other kind of product, because books are personal – not just for the author, but for the readers as well.

The only thing worse than writing the 24th draft of a story is having a story on the market just sitting there. If no one reads your book, then you’ve done something wrong.

Sometimes, it’s the product. Let’s face it, there are plenty of crummy books out there. But let’s assume that everyone has done everything they could do to present an awesome book. There’s still the matter of making readers aware that the book is on the market.

Here’s how you do that, step-by-step.

The Author’s Book Marketing Checklist

1. Be sure the book title is spot-on.

There are so many books that have just bombed on the market because the title was all wrong. Some never make it past the submissions slush pile – all because of the title.

Here’s how to increase book sales with a great book title. If you know this before publication, it will really make a difference.

2. Have a solid Website.

If you include a blog as well, that’s even better. But you’ve got to have – at least – a website. This is your calling card, where you post announcements and where you enable fans to reach you personally. Go HERE for details on what your Author Website should do for you.

Get yourself business cards and put your author website right on there.

3. Get your book properly listed on online Book Portals.

  • That means Amazon, B&N, Goodreads and any other place you can find.
  • Be sure your Author’s Profile on Amazon and other online stores is what it should be. Juice it up.
  • If you’re an illustrator, create an Illustrator’s Profile and be sure your entire list of books is included.

4. Post around Social Media.

Facebook, Twitter, etc. – these are the modern writer’s bread and butter. Really. What you need to know here is that there are a lot of wrong ways to do this. Here’s how to do it RIGHT.

If you’re not sure which social media portals to use, go HERE for a list of your best options. Gives you a basic run-down of who is really using what, and why. This will help you decide what would suit you best, based on your genre and target audience. You can’t be everywhere, and honestly – you shouldn’t try to be!

5. Get your book into bookshops.

Here’s a run down of ways you can do that. Don’t be afraid to ask. Also, if you’re visiting a store in your area, ask if they keep a list of Local Authors. Now that you are one, you should be on it. So make sure you are.

Also, get your book into other, theme-related shops – anywhere you can imagine the customers might be interested. For example: toy shops, boutiques, gift stores, etc.

For example, if your story is either about or takes place in the great outdoors, then maybe your book would sell well in a sporting outfitter. In that case, you need to find out who the Buyer is, and contact that person directly.

6. Get your book reviewed – everywhere possible.

Here’s how to do it. Whether you are traditionally published or self published, it is absolutely possible to get book reviews. In fact, most readers today want to know what fellow readers think – the average folk who aren’t getting paid for their professional opinion.

It isn’t just readers who think this way. Authors like Ken Follett do, too.

7. Do a virtual tour.

You may have heard the term Blog Tour, but maybe you’re not sure what that means. It really just means that you approach other bloggers about your book and ask if you could do a Guest Blog Post on their website as part of your blog tour.

Interviews are also fantastic for word of mouth and street credibility, so if the blogger prefers to interview you about you and your book, that’s great and should absolutely be part of your tour.

There are certain things you need to be sure to do and to NOT do with a Blog Tour. Each time you blog, it really does need to be different. You can’t just post and re-post the same stuff everywhere. Remember that your readers will be following you, and they don’t want to read the same material over and over.

So keep it fresh!

Also, be sure that you schedule the blog posts so that there’s some space in between. Unless you have 50 or more websites involved in your Blog Tour (which would be astounding), it isn’t good to have blogs posted on the same day.

You want to come up and come up again. That said, if you really do have a ton of blogs lined-up, you can and should flood the blogging world with news of you.

8. Get on the radio and on Podcasts.

You approach this very much the same way you approach your Blog Tour. You find out who has a program that suits your work, and you approach them to schedule a possible interview.

NOTE: I’m currently recording a new GSB Podcast, which will officially launch next year (2017). If you are interested in my interviewing you, please send me an email message to get that rolling. Just be aware that the podcast won’t be heard until 2017.

9. Advertise your book.

Here’s a list of 90 places you can advertise your book. Some of these are for posting your book FREE, but most are for traditional advertising space. This list wasn’t compiled by me, but is certainly the most comprehensive list I’ve found.

10. Create a book trailer and get that circulating.

This is something you can have on your website, on Youtube, and that you can use as a special advert. You can also ask friends and family to post your book trailer on the social media platforms they use.

You don’t have to be a professional filmmaker to make a book trailer. I made my own book trailer using Camtasia, which you can try out for free. Visit my personal website to see my book trailer.

11. Offer your ebook for FREE, for a limited time.

This isn’t something you have to do, but I recommend it because it works. If you’re traditionally published, you cannot do it unless it’s arranged in your contract. But if you’re self published, giving readers your ebook for free is an excellent way of getting the word out there. It really is.

Remember too that doing this enables you to give your book to librarians, school teachers and all sorts of literacy organizations. If your book is top notch, then giving a copy to educators is a very good idea.

12. Create PDF craft projects to give as a FREE bonus.

If you’ve created a storybook, you must do this. Seriously. You will make librarians and teachers everywhere very happy because they are always looking for good teaching materials and ideas.

Think how amazing it would be to have your story become part of a school curriculum.

Your craft project idea doesn’t have to be earth shatteringly complicated. In fact, it should be simple – something kids can actually do. Just make it age appropriate.

You should also provide fun coloring pages for people to download and print. Coloring is great fun, and something for all ages. Just be sure the pages you create fit the age. If it’s too complicated, younger kids will get frustrated and bored.

If you’ve written a YA novel, then a coloring page that’s more complicated and intricate is the way to go.

13. Submit your book to contests.

Do this as appropriate. If your book is unpublished, you can submit to contests for manuscripts. If it is published, there are plenty of contests for published books.

Here’s a list of the top book awards for self published storybooks. Not all the options out there are included on this list. If I find them suspicious, they’re not on the list.

If you’re traditionally published, your publisher should know exactly where your book should be submitted to be considered for awards, and they should handle those submissions for you.

14. Host a book launch party.

These aren’t just fun, they’re also essential. Here’s a detailed list of things to keep in mind when planning your book launch party.

15. Book Signings and Book Readings.

Book events are really important, even if you don’t make tons of sales. It still gets your book title and your name Out There in front of the public. There are tricks to engaging people, so be sure to read THIS. It goes over all the nitty-gritty things you need to do.

16. Engage storybook performers.

There are creative people who love to perform for kids, especially performing storybooks for kids. So get to know some theatrical types and talk to them about your book.

Here’s an interview with Inge van Mensel, a great storybook performer. Read this to get an idea of how this works.

Here’s how to get your storybook onto the theatre stage. You may need to organize this yourself, or you need to find someone like me. Then you can get your story performed by kids, for other kids.

Get Into It & Just Have Fun

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all this. But don’t make marketing a chore. If you do, you’ll really stink at it. Just remind yourself that this is how you make yourself available to readers. This is how your writing will actually make a difference – by getting read!

Your work will never make a difference if no one ever reads it.

It’s a lot to take in and a lot to do. In fact, if you’re serious about it, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. For this reason, I’m currently creating a GSB Book Marketing Checklist: the complete step-by-step workbook. If you want me to contact you once that is available, sign up for my newsletter and you’ll always be kept updated.

For now, use the printer-friendly PDF feature provided here (we do this for every article), just below. That way, you can keep this information at your desk and create a business plan with it.

If you’ve got questions, please post them below and let me know. Chances are good that you’re not the only one. If you feel shy about your question, it’s of course OK to send me an email. I like getting those too.

Keep creating, no matter what.



--Download The Author's Book Marketing Checklist as PDF --

This entry is part of the series
Book Promotion
Be sure to check out the other posts:
<< Top Social Media Platforms for WritersWhat is Bookbub Exactly? >>
K.C. Hill
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