Writing a book is a lot of work—you spend days, weeks and months to get your book published, thousands of dollars in outsourcing for the cover, editing, formatting…and then launch! But after a few weeks and the big buzz wears down, your book is sitting on Amazon like a ship in the ocean that just lost all it’s engines and now it's drifting in a sea of other books.
Without a proper marketing plan and book promotion blueprint, your book risks sinking before help arrives.
In this article, we are going to dive deep into the best ways to promote your book. These strategies are the best we have seen when it comes to:
- Getting consistent book sales and;
- Maintaining a better than average ranking in the Amazon bookstore. A good ranking is considered anything under #30,000, or selling 8-10 books a day.
Marketing and promoting your book is hard work, and it takes persistence and ongoing work. If you put in the time and effort, building the foundations as you fail fast and forward, you can make it work. Your book will stay afloat in the rankings and be ahead of the game, leaving most of the other books behind in your swell.
Effective book promotion is key to your book’s success.
In this article, we will introduce you to the best book promotional tools to promote your book!
The Critical Ingredients for Book Promotion (and Selling More Books)
Regardless if you have one book ready to launch or ten books already in your book funnel, you need to begin promoting it today. Before we even get into throwing your book out there into the world of marketing, here are the “critical essentials” that you MUST have before your book can start selling. If you haven’t published yet, you want to use this criteria to make sure everything is lined up. If you have already published, use this promotional checklist to make any necessary changes so you can market your book effectively. If not, you could be throwing money away on a book that won’t sell. No matter what you do.
The 7 critical things that should be ready are:
(1) A killer book cover
Your book cover has to sell your book. Period. Unless you’re a famous author—Stephen King or nonfiction author Don Miguel Ruiz—and can move millions of copies per year no matter the cover, you need to impress people with your cover design whenever you can. Not every cover is going to win an award, but you do have to win the sale.
Here are a some great book covers:
Here are the top recommendations for online book cover designers:
- 99 Designs – a network of designers
- Ebook Launch – services specifically for eBooks and print
- 100 Covers – cover design and book production services
- Fiverr – freelancers of all sort
- Upwork – another freelancer website
- Deviant Art – a network of freelance artists
(2) A great book launch.
Yes, if your book has already been published but the launch wasn’t great, you could relaunch it. But if you haven’t let it loose yet and the big launch day is coming up, get ready now so you don’t miss out.
Do you know what you need to have a successful book launch?
(3) Your optimized Book Description.
Your book description will be a sales page that lists the benefits (and pain points for nonfiction) of the book. It should have a mixture of various font styles and structure to create a clean, attractive description of your book. We recommend using the free Amazon Book Description Generator Tool at Kindlepreneur.com. This saves time in having to learn that nasty HTML coding. But if you enjoy that sort of thing…
Here is a shot of a well-optimized book description:
(4) 7 Optimized Keywords for KDP
Finding the best keywords will get your book ranking in the top search results, which means it’ll turn up in front of your customers as they search for the relevant keywords. High rankings means more visibility which leads to greater book sales. This makes it easier to promote your book when you already have the best keywords locked into your description and KDP.
(5) Professional Editing
A book that has been poorly edited is going to receive negative reviews. By poor writing quality we’re not talking about the occasional grammar error (which can easily be corrected,) but a book filled with bad grammar, misspelling and a sloppy appearance.
This translates to a negative UX. And it’s difficult to promote a book that has bad customer reviews. A few negative reviews is fine, but if they make up the majority of bad complaints, you have a problem.
You can hire a great editor. Ask other authors in your genre if they can recommend someone. Your editing will be the biggest expense for the book but, you don’t want to cut corners with this. The cost is worth the price in the long run.
(6) Set Up Your Ten Categories.
When you upload your book for the first time, Amazon will offer you a select list of categories to choose from. At a first glance, you will notice that the selection seems rather limited and is missing plenty of categories that you’ve seen other books rank for. Unfortunately, Amazon has done this intentionally so that they can place new books into their own kindle categories.
Don’t let Amazon determine your categories. There’s thousands of sub-categories you can rank for, and you can even include an additional eight sub-categories not found in the usual channels.
Now that you have the essential elements for your book, it is time to launch and promote your book.
Here are the top performance strategies for promoting your book, and all future books you intend to publish. We know that writing, launching and marketing is hard work but, if you leverage your book promotion and be strategic in your approach, it will pay you back exponentially.
1. Join (or create) an Author Collaboration Swap
Joining—or creating author swaps—is a great strategy for both adding to your list, and collaborating with other authors. If you have the chance to do either, here is a sample of the email you might receive to join an author collaboration. You can also use this template as a way to invite other authors to your circle.
But after setting up an author collaboration, how does it work? There are two basic types:
- The 0.99 author collaboration.
- The FREE BOOK collaboration.
The .99 cent author collaboration is exactly as it sounds. Every author drops the price of their book to 0.99 for 48 hours. The administrator then creates a landing page with all authors book covers. When the promo begins, you share your unique link with your list, and post via social media. Depending on the size of your list—and the authors in your circle—this could generate anywhere from 20 sales…to thousands of sales. It all comes down to the numbers.
You will receive swipe copy—promotional email—to share with your readers on the day of the promo, that looks like this:
The book swap is similar to the 0.99 promo bundle. But here, you provide a book for free via PDF pr MOBI download and promote the landing page—created by the administrator—to use with your list. Here is a sample of the landing page:
How to set up your own landing page (and event) for an author collaboration.
You might be joining a collaboration by invite and, if that is the case, there isn’t a lot you need to do but submit your book format and cover.
Basically what you're doing is looking for authors to participate in this joint promotion that should run for 24-48 hours. Each author submits their cover and the link to a landing page where the book is given away for free. Every author that is going to be participating will agree to share this page with their email list, social media followers and/or other influencers.
When you're doing the initial outreach and looking for other authors to participate, ideally you want authors who have a similar target audience to you. That's what makes this amazing.
You can expect to add anywhere from 50 subscribers to 2000 email subscribers to your email list every time you do this. It depends how many authors are participating and how big their list is. If you're just starting out, don't go after authors who have big email lists. This would be authors with lists of over 5,000. You might want to reach out to people who have 500 email subscribers or 1000, as that's a good starting point for a first collaboration. From their, you can expect to add about 200 to 300 people to your email list
To recap: You are creating this page, inviting authors to participate in this, and, making sure that they're sharing it on the day of the promo.
If you launch more books—or products, courses—in the future, you now have your own built-in marketing funnel to promote to. This saves you time and energy from chasing people to buy your book.
Leverage the Bookbub Platform
What is Bookbub?
BookBub is a book aggregating platform that offers free and discounted eBooks to readers, while allowing authors to gain greater readership through advertised book deals. BookBub offers a wide selection of books to readers at discounted prices for a limited time. This is available through their Bookbub Ads or “Featured Deal” campaigns. Bookbub has over 12 million readers and a massive fanbase, so authors have the opportunity to reach a massive audience through BookBub’s network.
BookBub is an amazing platform when it comes to boosting your book sales. Authors can leverage the platform to increase their readership and maximize their exposure. But how do you promote your book with a platform that is not owned by Amazon?
Here’s how to promote your book on BookBub and drive more traffic and sales:
- Featured Deals. The pinnacle of book deals! Getting accepted for a featured deal means your book will be in front of thousands of readers thirsting for your content.
- BookBub Advertising. Creating highly-targeted ads to promote your book on the platform is a powerful way to increase book sales.
- Recommendations. Recommending other authors’ books will increase your author activity on the site, increase engagement, and build your own readership.
- Pre-Release. Using Bookbub’s pre-release feature is another strong way to increase book sales.
- Preorder Alerts. Readers on BookBub can follow their favorite authors to find out when they have a deal or new release available. Pre-order Alerts let you email these loyal fans when an author has a book available for pre-order, helping to ensure your launch week is as successful as possible.
- Create a Bookbub Author Profile. Setting up an author profile means you have a designated webpage on the BookBub site just for you! To begin the set-up process for creating your author profile, go here: https://partners.bookbub.com/authors
BookBub Featured Deals
One of the biggest features of BookBub—and the ultimate book promotion for most authors—is to get accepted by BookBub for one of their Featured Deals. You can check out more on featured deal submission strategies by visiting: Tips on Optimizing Your Submission for a BookBub Featured Deal
BookBub Ads for Authors
BookBub ads have a similar function to Amazon AMS ads—to sell more books—but the platform is set up differently, so there are some distinct variations. Depending on your target audience and budget, we recommend testing Amazon ads and BookBub ads, to see which platform is more lucrative for your particular niche.
How do BookBub ads work?
You can run a BookBub ads campaign at any time for your book. When you create a campaign, you decide which readers you want to target, which authors to target, the budget you’re willing to pay for impressions or clicks from those readers, and the length of your ad campaign.
Once your ad is live, it competes with other ad campaigns in an auction. When a reader opens an email from BookBub, they serve the ad to the highest bidding advertiser targeting that reader at that moment.
The steps for setting up a Bookbub ad are:
Step 1: Click on the green button “Create New Ad”. This will open up a new screen that looks like this:
Step 2: Choose your Book Choose a book. This is your book you added to the Bookbub platform when you set up your author profile. Start typing in your book's name and wait for it to bring up your book. If you’re not seeing it, then you haven’t added it to your account.
Step 3: Add your ad creative.
Once you’ve chosen your book, it’s time to create your ad creative. You have two options: Upload an Existing Creative or Build a New Creative. We always recommend you create your own creative with Canva. Or, you can outsource it to someone on Fiverr or another freelancer site. Your creative MUST be good. It’s the only thing potential buyers are going to see when they click on your book ad.
Here are some examples of ad creatives for Bookbub:
Step 4: Add click-through links.
The next section is choosing your links. BookBub will automatically pull in the links that it can find, but you can also add your own. This is where BookBub Ads are really powerful when publishing on multiple platforms like Kobo, Nook, iBooks or multiple Amazon countries.
Step 5: Adjust audience targeting. The next area is the audience targeting. You should see this section for that:
You have the option to target various authors and by book categories. Only choose one author per ad for tracking purposes. Run several ads with different ad creatives and testing with various authors in your niche. You will get much better results this way and be able to identify the authors that perform well for your book and genre. This is how Bookbub really excels, by lasering in on your target audience and getting specific with the readers seeing your ad. You can choose multiple categories but, again, we recommend you run with one category and one author.
Step 6: Enter schedule and budget.
You have the option to schedule your ads continuously or for a set timeframe. For your first ad, choose a start and end date.
Next, enter your total campaign budget (start off at $5.00 per day) and tick “spread across date range). So if you had opted to run your ad for 5 days at $5 per day, that would be a total campaign budget of $25.
The final part of setting up your BookBub ad is to choose your bid type and amount. We’re going to focus on the standard BookBub ad which is a CPM.
You should see this screen:
Step 7: Monitor and edit your campaign.
Return to the “Manage Ad” section of your dashboard to access ad reporting. You can search for ad names or filter by campaign status to view live, completed, or scheduled campaigns.
To learn more about Bookbub, setting up ads, submitting featured deals, you can visit our article here: https://selfpublishing.com/bookbub/
Create a Powerful (and Optimized) Lead Magnet
Your lead magnet is something that you offer your audience in exchange for their email address or contact information. You should include your lead magnet at the front of all your books, too. Look for any opportunity to get your sign-up link in front of your audience.
When it comes to marketing and Promoting your book, having a giveaway or freebie—also known as a lead magnet or free offer—is a necessary component of any business for bringing in new traffic, and converting your traffic to subscribers, and then buyers.
The lead magnet has a two-fold purpose. First, it needs to serve your purpose as an author or business owner. Second, it must serve the purpose of your subscribers. Why are they signing up in the first place? You must know why, and be prepared to deliver on that WHY.
Here is a small list of high-converting lead magnet ideas to consider:
- Action guide
- Video series
- 15-minute coaching session
- Next chapter of the next book for free
- Email newsletter
After creating a lead magnet, you should consider placing it here:
- Lead Magnet in a Book (Front and Back Matter).
- On Your Author Website
- Link on Your Amazon Author Page
- Social Media Pages, including your Facebook Author Page
- Blog Posts (embedded in content or at end of post)
Here are some lead magnet images:
Your lead magnet builds your email list, and the email list is what you use to promote your future books and products. So be sure to set up a great lead magnet and get people onboard!
Run Regular Promotions (with Book Promo Sites)
I run regular promotions with my books—at least once every three months—and a great way to leverage this is to use the best of the Book Promo Sites for bringing in sales.
These are the book promo sites we use again and again to rocket to a #1 bestseller every time.
Please NOTE: The results vary depending on the type of book (general audience vs. specific niche).
How to use Book Promo Sites:
You can use these Best Book Promo Ads two ways:
- Launch a new book: Stack up your promo week with book promo ads.
- Promoting an existing book: You can promote current books every 3-6 months using the book promo sites. Drop the price of your book to 0.99 for 5-7 days and set up the ads. Use this in conjunction with your email list (or influencer lists) and you should have a successful launch/promo week.
How to schedule book promotions:
There isn’t any one-size-fits-all formula for scheduling book promo sites. You can set up one promo per day over the course of 10-12 days, or stack 2-3 promos per day over five days.
When I launch a book, I usually set up a group of paid promo sites to boost the rankings and get the book onto the front page [and the #1 spot] of that category.
Book Promo List Compilations
Here is a big list compilation of most of the sites:
You can check out a guide to free and paid book promotion sites here.
Book Promo List Consolidated
Here is a list of the best performing promo sites I target for both a new book launch, and running regular promotions on existing books.
The price will vary depending on the category and audience (wide or niche) of your book.
Most of these sites charge a standard one time fee to promote your book for one day at 99 cents, or when running a free promo if your book is in KDP. For best results, and to maximize on your book rankings, I recommend using the sites for their paid ads (at 0.99cents).
Price: $29. You need 10 reviews before they'll schedule you. Note: You can promote a 2nd book on the same day for only 25% of the price. Great deal. But you can only promote each book once every 6 months. You can apply here: https://buckbooks.net/
Robin Reads is an innovative and supportive service for both publishers and authors looking to expand their audiences. They offer several premium promotion plans with genre-based pricing.
Note: Tough to book in advance. RRs calendar is booked out 3-6 weeks in advance.
Reviews: 10 Reviews Needed.
If you can match this up with Robin Reads or Bucks on the same day it's a great little boost. https://booksends.com/ Needs 5 reviews.
Booksend partners up with BookRunes and will give the option to sign up with Bookrunes at the same time.
You can't go wrong for $5. I would also take the extra gig for $5 and get in on their daily newsletter. You won't get a ton of downloads but on average 12-25 depending on the book. No Reviews needed.
Great gig but can be hard to get approved. Takes several days for a response. $50.00. https://ereadernewstoday.com/ 0 reviews needed but they do check if you have reviews. May sway their decision to promote your book or not depending on review count.
Check here for promotional requirements.
You are basically paying for downloads, one of the few [if only] sites that does that. They have various packages for everything. I recommend the Silver Eagle [$90] that gets you 50+ downloads KU borrows. [https://www.booksbutterfly.com/bookpromo…/paidbookpromotion/]
Note: Books butterfly has a lot of packages so be sure to choose the right one.
Bookdealio is an ebook deals newsletter designed with authors in mind. Along with an ebook deal promotion, authors may add a link to their website or email newsletter sign-up form. The cost to run a 1-day ebook deal promotion is $70, +$30 for additional social promotion. To run a solo ebook deal campaign over 4 days to larger and larger lists of readers costs $250. Authors can run a full-price title (ebook or paperback) for the cost of $250 for 2 weeks.
Paid promotion from: $70https://www.thefussylibrarian.com/]. Great promo but very hard to book in advance. Booked out 2-3 weeks ahead. Need 10 reviews to get accepted. Strong results. The number of subscribers in each genre varies — you can find the latest stats on the prices page. Your book will be included in our searchable database for 30 days as part of your fee.
Pricing: $20 for one day promo
Great promo, no reviews needed and you can sign up right away and get approved. $30 for nonfiction. Lots of categories and good results. https://www.bargainbooksy.com/sell-more-books/
Pricing: From $20, depends on genre. Works for Fiction and Nonfiction
Awesome Gang is a place for Kindle book authors to share their books and get them in the hands of readers. You can submit your book for free and also decide to have it featured in their special books listing for $10/book (this includes a featuring in their homepage for 2 days, as well as a special mention in their newsletter and social media).
Accepts: Free and discounted books
Review requirements: 0 reviews needed.
Paid promotion: $10
Reviews: No reviews needed.
For Fiction and Nonfiction
My Book Cave offers authors the possibility to promote their book to an audience of 75,000+ readers. According to their notes they prefer to select titles with over 10 reviews, but will consider books with at least 5 great write-ups. In addition to promoting links to retailers, authors have the option to offer \reader magnet\” titles to attract new subscribers.”
For Fiction and Nonfiction
Reviews: 10 Reviews Recommended.
Pricing: $19—$31 (depends on genre)
Choosy Bookworm provides subscribers with a daily selection of free and discount eBooks. So long as your books are $3.99 or less, you can submit it for free consideration. For a guaranteed placement, you'll be looking at one of their paid options starting at $25.
Fiction and Nonfiction Books
Price: $36 for the Premium Package
Reviews: 0 reviews needed
eReaderIQ is an ebook database and price tracking service for Kindle books. You can submit your book for free and also use their paid advertising plans, which allow you to feature in their \Daily Deals & Steals\” newsletters”
Accepts: Free and discounted books
Paid promotion from: $10
General nonfiction for 0.99 cents: $20
$20 for featured book. No reviews needed. Average/good results. Strong promo. https://bookdoggy.com/for-authors/
Digital Book Today provides readers with a list of free and discount books. Permafree books can be listed for free, while other titles can be advertised with plans starting from $30.
Reviews: 0 Reviews Needed.
Create a Series of Books (and a Series Page)
Amazon has an amazing feature that they’ve built out in the last couple of years: Series pages! Now you can set up your books in a series with a series page to promote all your book in that series at one time by driving traffic to the series page.
For authors in the self-publishing space, writing a series and creating box sets are an effective strategy for increasing book sales consistently and cross-promoting other books. You can have a book series and box set for both eBooks and print books.
Once you have two books in the same genre written and ready to be published, you can set up your book series page on Amazon.
Check this page on the Amazon site to set up and optimize your book series page. But note: currently the series page is for eBook only. Amazon is making ongoing upgrades to this feature and eventually will include paperback.
Requirements for creating a book series page:
- Must have a minimum of 2 books available and ready for purchase
- Books must be in same series
- Books must be by the same author
- Must be published through KDP
- Must have the correct name in the Series name field (series names must match)
- Must have the exact series name and series number (for ordered series) in one of the following places: Book cover, Interior (Look Inside), Book description (metadata), Editorial reviews, official website, or Goodreads
- Must be available to buy.
- Prequels, short stories, and novellas won’t be added to Series Collections. At this time, Amazon only supports ordered Series Bundles (all books in the series must be clearly related through their titles and content).
- Pre-order titles are not supported by 1-click bulk buys. Readers must buy books on an individual basis. Readers can still buy all the books in your series from the series page on an individual basis. Customers will be able to buy your books as a complete series bundle using one 1-click buy button when all books are available to buy.
For a complete breakdown of how to set up your series page and boxset, you can check out our complete article here: https://selfpublishing.com/book-series-box-set/
14 Additional Book Promotion Ideas!
Here is a list of 10 more great ideas to promote your book. But remember…you can’t do everything! So pick and choose your promo strategies. For example, one month you might decide to focus specifically on AMS ads. The next month could be all about podcasts. Be prolific in your promotions of the book and you will reap great success in the months and years ahead.
(1) Grow your email list. You should always be focusing on email growth as your #1 strategy. This will serve you exponentially in the future when you need instant marketing. Use your author website to grow your email list, and send out engaging content to your subscribers.
(2) Improve your Amazon Author Page. This is where most of your new readers will likely discover you. It’s important to keep this page clean and up-to-date. Revise your author bio once a year, and replace any old photos with new versions. If you have a website or blog, be sure it is piped into the Amazon author page for greater discoverability.
(3) Create a series. You can market a series of books easier than a stand alone. The first book gets readers interested. The rest all funnel into your series and as you build your backlist, you send everything to your series page on Amazon.
(4) Create a boxset when you get several titles published. The magic number is three books, but you can set up a boxset with two books, or with ten books! Check out these boxsets:
Or with 2 books:
(5) Create a course based on your book. This has the potential to be a strong upsell. You can set up a free plus shipping funnel and reap the benefits of giving your book away for free to build a powerful online business.
(6) Get video testimonials for your book. Post to YouTube and your author website.
(7) Create an author website. Use this to promote your books, blog about content in your books, and keep readers engaged through online discussions about your work.
(8) Publish Wide with Your Books. Using Draft2Digital or Smashwords, you can upload your book to these sites and they do the heavy lifting for you. Going wide lets you target a different market of readers that might not find you otherwise.
(9) Create a book trailer for your book. You can hire talent on Fiverr, or create this yourself. Use your book trailer to promote your new launch. Upload your trailer to your Amazon Central Account where you can upload up to three videos.
(10) Create an Introductory Video. You can use this on your author website and/or upload to Amazon Author Central. Embed your video into the lead magnet landing page to welcome new subscribers.
(11) Podcast Interviews. Get featured on as many podcasts as you can. This is a great way to drive traffic to your book pages and site.
(12) More Reviews! You never stop getting reviews for your books. Continue to pile reviews onto your book. This should be an ongoing marketing strategy. Aim for a goal of adding ten new reviews per month.
(13) Give Away Free Chapters. Offer sample chapters as free downloads to your website visitors. Take a couple of your best chapters from your best books and turn them into pdf files. This introduces readers to your work and lets them sample what you do before deciding to buy.
(14) Review similar books in your genre. Become a reviewer on Amazon. Use your own name accompanied by ‘author of the book……’. Review the books you read or from other authors in your field. This supports them and expands your influence and connection.
Common Book Marketing Mistakes All Authors Make
They wait until they have more books. We know the temptation. Imposter syndrome plays a powerful role in every author’s life, and especially if you are just starting out. You might be thinking “I’ll wait until I get more books out there before promoting”, or “What’s the use of marketing a book nobody wants.” Well, if you don(t market it now, nobody will know about it. You want momentum now, not later. REmove the excuses that hold you back from promoting your book because you think that nobody is listening. Somebody wants your book, and you have to find out who they are.
They bid small. Instead of taking massive action, we throw a few dollars into a promotional campaign, try this and that, but don’t really commit to mastering any marketing strategies. To sell books and promote your work, you have to move from a scarcity mindset to investing your money for the long-term growth of your book.
They don’t test enough. This is especially true with paid ads, authors try several ads for a few weeks and when they don’t see the sales coming in, will give up and jump onto the next thing. There are no shortcuts. Promoting your book means spending money. It means testing what works and what doesn’t. And many things won’t work. But you continue to test it and play a bigger hand every time.
They Try Everything! I’ll make this very clear…even IF writing is your full time gig, you won’t have all the time in the world (or energy) to try all the marketing strategies out there. Pick and choose. If you decide to go the Bookbub route and test BB ads, that is great. But get really good at testing these ads before jumping into something else.
In this post we have given you the best strategies for now, but you may decide to take a different approach, or you could discover something else entirely that isn’t here. If so, share it with us, we’d love to hear from you.
They decide to “Take a Break” from all this promo stuff until the market improves. There is never a perfect time to market a book. Every day and every time is the best time. If you take a break, your book loses momentum and then sales die. That is the way book promotion works, and in fact, we could say that for any product. The minute a company takes a break, they lose business. Promoting your book is no different.
You can peel back from the promo work after your book has gained considerable momentum. But until then, it needs you driving traffic towards the book for long term success.
As you can see, book promotion takes a lot of work. What works for another author may not necessarily work for your book. Start researching similar authors in your niche and learn from what they are doing well. And of course, the best form of marketing is writing another book!
How do you promote your book? What has worked for you? Share your story here!