11 Powerful Book Promotion Ideas for Self-Published Authors

If you write purely for the love of it, marketing might not be a concern. However, if you’re self-publishing and aim to reach your target audience, mastering the skill of book marketing is essential. Setting clear goals upfront is key, as effective marketing demands early planning and effort. Era of information technology extremely dynamic, fast growing as it is now, allows us to communicate with anyone, anytime, anywhere cheaply and quickly crossed the line geography [1].

For authors, marketing means connecting with your audience by sharing insights about yourself and your book. It’s essentially about communication, but it requires dedication. In this article, we offer 11 book promotion ideas to enhance visibility and boost book sales. While some suggestions, like optimizing metadata, are inherent to publishing, others may seem excessive. Remember your goals and approach book marketing with the same discipline as your writing.

1. Have your own blog or website

You can start attracting potential readers long before your book is finished by updating your website with articles relevant to your target audience’s interests. For instance, if your book focuses on emotional well-being, share the latest scientific advancements in the field alongside insights from your book. For fiction writers, consider reviewing popular books or iconic characters in your genre. Promotion through the World Wide Web and advertising through the blog are becoming essential elements of the development and attraction of the potential clients’ interest for products and services offers by a firm, by a non-profit organization or by a person [2].

As your book launch approaches, generate excitement by hosting contests and book giveaways. Post engaging content that encourages visitors to subscribe for updates. With approximately a year’s lead time before your book’s release, you’ll have ample opportunity to build a sizable mailing list and enhance your website’s visibility in search results.

2. Increase your online presence to spread the word about your book

Boosting your online presence can be achieved through various strategies. Consider posting articles on high-traffic websites, participating in relevant forums, or seeking interviews or guest posts on blogs popular among your target audience. Don’t forget to include a byline with a link to your website and information about your published or upcoming books.

3. Use social media

Create an author page on Facebook and a Twitter account. Analyse which posts and promotions garner the most likes, shares, and retweets. Utilize these insights to expand your social media following and enhance engagement with your audience. Social media has recently gained tremendous fame as a highly impactful channel of communication in these modern times of digitised living. It has been put on a pedestal across varied streams for facilitating participatory interaction amongst businesses, groups, societies, organisations, consumers, communities, forums, and the like [3].

4. Learn from the most popular books in your genre — what helps them sell?

Analysing titles, cover designs, and typography within your genre provides insights into effective elements. Narrow down selections to favourites or those you dislike, then reflect on the reasons behind each preference.

Studying top books offers numerous advantages. Through reviews, you’ll find words and phrases resonating with your target audience. Incorporating these into your book’s metadata enhances its discoverability through relevant search queries. Keep an eye out for balanced and insightful reviews, adding potential reviewers to your shortlist for future outreach when your book is ready.

5. Get reviews for your book

One effective method to garner reviews for your new book is by reaching out to reviewers of your previous works, offering a complimentary copy with a polite request.

For debut authors, identifying Amazon’s top reviewers who have covered similar genres can be beneficial.

Although Amazon doesn’t support pre-order book reviews, linking a paperback version to an unreleased ebook allows reviews from the former to carry over to the latter, providing instant social proof upon launch.

Utilizing Goodreads’ vast network of over 65 million members through a featured giveaway can also generate pre-release reviews, as Goodreads allows reviews for such books. Note that reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are not interchangeable despite Amazon’s ownership of Goodreads.

A good rule of thumb is to contact four times as many reviewers as the number of reviews you aim for, following up at least once after the initial contact, preferably a week or two later.

In addition to individual reviewers, consider approaching influential book bloggers, popular authors within your genre, and newspapers for editorial reviews.

6. Write an enticing book blurb

Book blurbs have occupied a conspicuous place in the fields of book writing and book marketing. Their existence has become essential for the promotion of book industry [4]. A book blurb, typically 100-150 words, serves as a vital promotional tool, featured on the back cover of print books and online sales pages. Crafting an effective blurb begins with a captivating opening line to engage readers’ curiosity. Next, provide a glimpse of your plot (for fiction) or core concept (for nonfiction) using compelling language tailored to your genre. End with a gripping conclusion—a pivotal moment for fiction or the book’s target audience and purpose for nonfiction. If available, include editorial reviews to further entice potential readers.

7. Invest in a professional cover design service

Book covers are intentionally designed and provide an introduction to a book. However, they typically require professional skills to design and produce the cover images [5]. Would anyone give a second thought to a book with a cluttered, poorly designed cover? A captivating cover, with harmonious colors and typography, is essential for a book’s marketability. Achieving this requires the expertise of a professional book cover design service.

8. Maximize your distribution channels

Amazon stands as the largest retailer for both digital and print books, boasting ownership of two self-publishing services—Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for ebooks and CreateSpace for print books. Incorporating Amazon’s KDP alongside Apple’s iBooks, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and Kobo in your distribution strategy covers a staggering 97% of ebook sales channels. While smaller retailers contribute minimally to sales, they enhance visibility. Alternatively, for those seeking to streamline the publishing process, ebook aggregators like Smashwords or Draft2Digital offer distribution to multiple retailers and formatting tailored to each platform’s requirements. Moreover, they provide access to channels like Scribd, a digital library with a subscription service utilized by 80 million individuals globally, which authors cannot access directly.

9. Make the most of Amazon’s book promotional tools and programs

Amazon provides an array of powerful promotional tools and programs that authors should utilize effectively.

KDP Select: This program offers exclusive distribution rights to Amazon for your ebook for a 90-day period. It allows for discounting and free book promotions for up to five days during this period, while also offering a 70% royalty rate on sales. Enrolling in KDP Select also includes entry into Kindle Unlimited, a subscription service paying authors based on pages read.

Amazon Author Central: Setting up an Author Central account grants you a personalized page on Amazon, featuring your biography, photos, videos, events, and all your published books. This page links to your book sales pages and can be customized to drive traffic from social media and email signatures.

Expanded Distribution Program: This program expands the availability of your print books to various online retailers, physical bookstores, libraries, and academic institutions in the United States. Enrolling in this program lists your book in distributor catalogs, making it accessible for orders from sellers and libraries connected to the distributors’ systems.

10. Use book discounting sites like Bookbub and Book Gorilla

Bookbub and Book Gorilla are book recommendation services that send daily emails to subscribers, suggesting titles based on their interests in specific genres or authors. To be featured, authors typically offer their books for free or at a minimum 50% discount for a limited time.

While some services offer free book promotion, many of the reputable ones charge a fee based on the book’s price and genre. For instance, Bookbub charges around $400 for listing a crime fiction book offered for free and approximately $2000 for books priced between $2 and $3.

The growing popularity of Bookbub among authors, evident from online reviews and message boards, suggests that book promotions significantly boost sales even after the promotion ends. These benefits extend not only to the promoted book but also to other works by the author. Authors also report a surge in book reviews following promotions.

11. Join the Goodreads Author Program

With a vast network of over 65 million members, Goodreads serves as a powerful promotional platform for authors. Utilize features like creating a profile page, seeking reviews, organizing book giveaways, hosting discussions, and adding your books to relevant lists on Listopia. These tools enable you to engage with your target audience effectively and expand your reach.


For authors working with traditional publishers, book marketing is typically handled by the publisher, including tasks like arranging reviews, launch events, and securing bookstore placement. On the flip side, self-publishing authors must navigate these responsibilities independently, seeking guidance from various sources.

This article doesn’t aim to provide an exhaustive list of marketing strategies. Instead, it emphasizes that marketing boils down to effectively communicating about your book and maximizing its accessibility across platforms. As you delve into the suggested marketing tips, you’ll uncover additional avenues to promote your work and expand your reader base. The key is to take that first step. Happy marketing! (Note: Smashwords doesn’t distribute to Amazon.)

English Editing

If you’re still editing your book, ensuring flawless grammar is crucial. Incorrect terminology, typographical errors, dangling modifiers, and contradictions can easily slip through the cracks. This is particularly common for non-native English speakers, making it advisable to utilize an English editing service.


  1. Riu, I. A. (2015). Use of social media as a media promotion for small and medium enterprises. Information Management and Business Review7(4), 33-41.
  2. Corcoran, A., Marsden, P., Zorbach, T., & Röthlingshöfer, B. (2007). Blog marketing. In Connected marketing(pp. 148-158). Routledge.
  3. Dwivedi, Y. K., Kapoor, K. K., & Chen, H. (2015). Social media marketing and advertising. The Marketing Review15(3), 289-309.
  4. Qasim, S., & Shakir, A. (2016). Review of non-linguistic research studies on book blurbs. Science International28(4), 511-516.
  5. Zhang, W., Zheng, Y., Miyazono, T., Uchida, S., & Iwana, B. K. (2021). Towards book cover design via layout graphs. In Document Analysis and Recognition–ICDAR 2021: 16th International Conference, Lausanne, Switzerland, September 5–10, 2021, Proceedings, Part III 16(pp. 642-657). Springer International Publishing.

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