how to write a book proposal

Book Proposal: How to Write a Book Proposal in 7 Simple Steps

Learning how to write a book proposal is an exciting step on the journey to getting your book out into the world. 

This is the time to stop thinking about your book as a private project and start seeing it as something the outside world will be interested in. This requires you to take a methodical look at what your book contains and the commercial potential it might have. 

Even if you intend to self-publish your book (and we think you should!) there is still value in taking the time to go through the book proposal process.

If you’re not sure what your book proposal should contain, or even what it is, we’ve got you covered!

This guide to writing a book proposal covers:

  1. What is a book proposal?
  2. Step 1 – Write an overview
  3. Step 2 – Define your target audience
  4. Step 3 – Share your author information
  5. Step 4 – Plan your marketing
  6. Step 5 – Define the competition
  7. Step 6 – Outline your chapters
  8. Step 7 – Include a sample chapter
  9. What should you avoid in a book proposal?
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What is a book proposal?

A book proposal is a document that authors use to pitch their book, usually to a publisher. It run betweens 20 and 50 pages in length and makes the case for why a book is a good idea and how it is likely to succeed.

Good book proposals are detailed, focused, and backed up with as much data as possible to advocate for a book’s commercial potential. 

How do you propose a book to a publisher?

If you are looking to release your book on a traditionally-published, rather than self-published basis, you will need to either pitch it to a publisher directly, or have an agent do that for you.

In either instance, a book proposal will be an effective tool in your arsenal. It’s a lot easier to get an agent or publisher’s attention if you have a well-produced document that clearly states exactly what your book is about, why you are the right person to write it, and how you plan to market it. 

Even if you are leaning towards self-publishing your book, you should still take the time to write a proposal. Why? As you will be the publisher for your own book, you still need a clear idea of all the same information as a traditional publisher. 

Step 1 – Write an overview

The first section your book proposal must include is the overview. Think of the overview section as being like an elevator pitch. It’s a succinct and persuasive summary of why your book matters and is deserving of further attention.

The key is to write your overview section in the most gripping way possible. This isn’t the time to be boring or dry. By the same token, it’s also not the time to be over the top or use too much hype or extravagant claims. 

Instead, take a middleground. Clearly and succinctly state exactly what your book is about and why it matters. Try and touch on the emotional experience that a reader is in for should they choose your book. 

Imagine being at a dinner party and having about half a minute to respond to someone asking ‘so what’s your book about?’. You want them to have a very clear idea of what your book covers but you also want them to feel excited and intrigued to learn more. If you cover both objectives in your overview, you have the start of an excellent book proposal. 


Step 2 – Define your target audience 

It’s now time to clearly make the case for who your book is intended for. 

Every book needs a defined readership. You might already have a clear idea of who your book is intended for, or you might need to explore this a bit further.

If you’re not exactly sure how to define your audience, think about the following points:

  • Is there a particular age group your book is intended for?
  • Does your book speak to a particular gender?
  • What about location? Would readers in a particular country or even city get more from your book, or could readers from around the world enjoy it?
  • What are the pain points your book seeks to solve?
  • Can you explain your target readership in terms of other books? For example, could you say ‘fans of X book would enjoy my book because…’. 

No matter what you do, avoid stating that your book is intended for everyone. When you try to please too many people, you often end up pleasing none!

When you are writing information on your target audience, use numbers wherever possible. For example, don’t write something like ‘young people with anxiety’. Instead, state exactly how many young people have anxiety. Always use numbers, and make sure these numbers are reliably sourced. 

Step 3 – Share your author information

An effective book proposal isn’t just about selling your book and the information it contains. It’s also about selling you as the author.

In this section of your book proposal, you need to be as self-promotional as possible without being over the top or making claims you can’t back up. 

By all means, use this section to cover basic information about who you are as a writer and your background. However, it’s important to keep this tight and relevant. You want to think in terms of only what would make a publisher more interested in investing money into a book from you. 

Some of the best and most useful things to share here include:

  • Details of your author platform. What kind of following do you have? On which platforms? Make sure to include numbers here such as X followers on Y platform.
  • Awards. Have you won any awards or prizes? Have you been recognized in some other way?
  • Body of work. Have you published before? Do you have other relevant experience, such as contributing to publications?
  • Media. Have you appeared in any media publications, either online or in real life? 
  • Speaking. Have you given talks anywhere? Are you a member of any speaking organizations?
  • Author photo. Include a professional picture here that you feel is a good fit for who you are and the type of book you are pitching. 

In a nutshell, the author info section of your proposal should convince a publisher of two things. First, that you are the right person to write this particular book. Second, that you are in a position to make it a success. 

Step 4 – Plan your marketing

Any good book proposal needs to cover a brief marketing plan.

On a side note, isn’t it interesting how even in a traditional publishing context authors are still required to think about and participate in book marketing? A lot of the responsibilities that people imagine self-publishers alone have also fall to traditional authors!

So, what should you include in the marketing section of your book proposal?

Like all the other sections, the key here is to be as specific as possible. 

For example, let’s imagine you hope to get relevant bloggers to feature your book. 

Don’t write something like “I want to get my book featured on relevant blogs.” Instead, be as specific as possible. Say something like “I will reach out to my network of 100s of authority bloggers within my niche with the aim of securing at least 10 features on blogs with X amount of monthly traffic.” 

Aside from being as specific as possible, another key tip here is to focus on what’s within your direct power as an author. Don’t tell the publisher what you want them to do. Instead, be very clear about what you can and will do to help your book succeed. 

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Step 5 – Define the competition

Book publishers are aware that the market is a crowded place. For every person that wants to buy a book, there are probably multiple titles that would be a good fit for that readers’s needs.

As part of your book proposal process, you need to take a look at the other books that are out there and make the case for why yours is different and worthwhile.

It’s not enough that your book is excellent in its own right. It also needs to stand out from the competition in a positive way. Here are some ways you might think about selling a publisher on how your book is different from the other options out there:

  • Contemporary. Sometimes, you will notice that the competing books out there contain old information that isn’t the most useful or interesting for today’s readers. If your book contains fresh info that isn’t found elsewhere, that is a major selling point to emphasize to publishers.
  • Other audience. Perhaps your book is the only one to cover the needs of a specific group of readers. For example, if your book covers dating advice for millennial men, and other books do not cover this demographic, that’s something to point out. 
  • Different take. Your book might be offering a solution to readers that isn’t found in other titles. If you have a unique angle then be sure to make this clear in your competitor analysis section. 

No book exists in isolation, so be sure to show publishers that you haven’t just considered your competition, but also why you are ideally placed to offer something different from them.

Step 6 – Outline your chapters 

Your book proposal should provide a full list of the chapters your book will contain.

For each chapter, include around a paragraph explaining exactly what the chapter covers and why it matters. 

You want to keep your chapter summaries short and interesting. They should be written in a way that is understandable by a publisher who might not be an expert in your topic. You should also focus on exploring why the chapters matter and how they benefit the reader. 

If in doubt, have someone with only a general level of understanding of your book topic take a look at your chapter list. Get their feedback on which chapters sounded interesting, which didn’t, and why. 

Step 7 – Include a sample chapter 

The final essential thing to include as part of a book proposal is a sample chapter, or more than one chapter, that really shows exactly what your book is all about.

If a publisher gets as far as wanting to read your sample chapter, you’ve already got further than a lot of authors. So don’t let this be the part of the process that lets you down!

You should choose the chapters of your book that most showcase the ideas and moods you promised in your book overview. You want to convince anyone reading that your book is as you described it to be. 

Ideally, you should choose a chapter that works fairly well on its own. If it relies too heavily on other parts of the book to make sense, it is unlikely to do a great job at winning a publisher over. 

Think of your sample chapter as a representative of your book. Which chapter shows what your work is all about in the best possible light?

Your choice of sample chapter can make or break your book’s success with a publisher, so be sure to choose wisely!

What should you avoid in a book proposal?

Of course, if you’re writing a book proposal for the first time, you also need to know the mistakes to avoid making!

Some of the key errors authors should avoid at all costs when writing a book proposal include:

  1. Making it all about you. Your book proposal isn’t the time for you to say why you think your book is wonderful and deserves attention. You need to step into the shoes of a prospective publisher and view the entire thing from their perspective. 
  1. Being wordy. Book publishers are inundated with proposals. Make sure yours covers everything it needs to in the most succinct and punchy way possible. Ruthlessly trim your text down until it has only the absolute essentials. 
  1. Using too much jargon. Book publishers are almost certainly less familiar with your book topic than you are. Avoid alienating them by writing too much jargon or using technical language that is off putting. 
  1. Not using data. Whenever you make a claim, support it with evidence and data. Don’t just say a niche is popular, for example, Share the facts and figures that prove it is. 
  1. Not getting feedback. After you’ve written a draft of your book proposal, be sure to get feedback from people whose opinion you trust. It’s too easy to get wrapped up in your own perception of your proposal without thinking about how it comes across to others. 

If you’re ready to write your first book proposal, we wish you every success! It’s a useful thing to do even if you end up self-publishing. 

Have you created a book proposal in the past? What part of the process did you find the most challenging and the most enjoyable? What do you wish you knew before you started?

Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts on the book proposal process!

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how a book can grow your business

How a Book Can Grow Your Business: 9 Ways to Get More Customers With A Book

Writing a book to grow your business is like lighting multiple candles with one flame. 

A published book, when done right, will grow your business in many different ways, that can all improve your bottom line in the long term. 

Some will argue that writing a book is one of the best investments you can make into your business. It can generate increasing results over time, especially if your book marketing strategy is effective.

Whether you provide a service, supply a product, or offer coaching or consulting, I’m convinced that almost any business owner or entrepreneur can publish a book that will grow their business in more ways than one. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through some specific ways on how a book can increase business and generate more customers, with specific examples and tips.

How a Book Can Grow Your Business:

  1. Authority and Credibility
  2. Brand Visibility
  3. Lead Generation
  4. Business Card
  5. Referrals
  6. Conversion
  7. Media & PR
  8. Book Royalties
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#1 – Boost Authority and Credibility

Add “Bestselling Author” to your title, and it’s an instant authority boost.

When you have the experience of writing and publishing a book, especially on a topic related to your industry, you’re instantly considered a Subject Matter Expert.

That means, people are looking to you for knowledge and problem-solving ideas, because you are a credible authority.

What better way to boost your business by increasing your thought leadership and credibility as a published author?

#2 – Brand Visibility

Brand visibility equals trust. It’s one of the most important things that tell a prospect that your business is the real deal, and can bring in the right results.

Getting prospect and potential clients to trust you can be easy with a high-quality, professional published book.

Using a book to grow your business from a brand visibility standpoint is one of the best ways to help prospects become aware of your company, and ultimately trust you to fulfill the customer’s need.

#3 – Lead Generation

Leads are potential people that are interested in what you have to offer, and a book funnel is single-handedly one of the most successful ways to bring in leads on a consistent basis through your book.

Using a book as a lead magnet helps you grow your email list, build your prospect base, and provide value that helps more people learn about what you offer.

The best part about using a book to grow your business leads? It’s usually running on autopilot (meaning there’s minimal manual work involved). You don’t have to rely on cold calling and direct response methods.

Instead, customers can use your book to gain awareness, engage with your content, and take action to enter your sales pipeline – without you having to do all the manual work (especially if you’re using automated systems).

The second best part? The leads your book will bring in will be higher quality leads – people that actually want to learn more about your topic and how you can help (which means it’s generally easier to turn them into customers).

#4 – Better Than a Business Card

Some people say a published book is like a business card. I say it’s BETTER than a business card.

With a book, you’re not only able to tell customers a lot more about your business and how you can help them solve a problem…

You’re also able to help educate your customers, which means you can set clear expectations and help them make informed decisions that will increase their lifetime value with your business.

You’re also providing a ton of information by helping them learn more about your topic with a business-building book. This means they’ll likely rave about you to all their network, which brings us to the next benefit…

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#5 – Referrals, Referrals, and More Referrals

A book can grow your business through leveraged referrals.

When is the last time you recommended a book to a friend or colleague that had a specific problem or needed to learn more about a topic? If you’re like most people that read books, you probably do it more often than you think!

The same is true for your average Jane. So, imagine Jane reads your book and because she learned so much from your content, she starts to recommend it to everyone she knows who could benefit from the content.

The right books often get referred to the right people, which means more readers and prospects for your business.

#6 – Conversion

When an interested prospect become a buying customer, a conversion occurs.

To get more prospects converted into paying customers, a number of things have to happen. The prospect must trust and believe in your product, and see the value in it.

Although a number of factors affect conversion, a book can help grow your business by increasing conversion by educating prospects.

When prospects learn something valuable from you, they will trust you and believe that your business knows what it’s doing and can help them.

And a book is the best way to educate your prospects, which means that the more they are educated, the higher the chance is that they will convert and pay for additional products and services from you.

#7 – Media & PR

A book opens the doors to more opportunities – specifically when it comes to media and public relations.

This isn’t to say that once you publish a book journalists and reporters are instantly going to knock down your door for interviews. I mean, they might, but that’s an exception, not the rule.

But with the right pitching method and networking strategy, landing media opportunities like speaking gigs, podcast interviews, guest author blogs, and even TV appearances will be easier for you.

Adding “Author” to your byline is an instant media perk, and journalists are always looking for attention-grabbing stories from credible sources.

And more media and PR exposure means you will have more eyes on your business.

#8 – Book Royalties

If you’re wondering why book royalties is not higher up on this list, it’s because book royalties will probably not drive as much revenue as you think. There are exceptions, of course.

For instance, if you’re book is on the New York Times Bestseller list continuously for months on end, then yes, that will be a pretty chunk of change for you in book royalities.

Related: Book Royalties Calculator

However, more than likely, you will not get rich off of publishing one book. In fact, career authors that make a full-time income from writing books will be the first to tell you that book royalties usually account for less of their overall income.

It’s important to write and publish a book that grows your business with the expectation that your book itself will not make you a ton of money in royalties, but the customers and opportunities it brings in is where the real revenue is.

A Book Can Grow Your Business

Yes, a book really can grow your business in both the short and long-term.

No, it’s not going to be a “get rich quick” strategy, so if you’re looking for that type of project, writing a book is probably not for you.

But if you’re looking for a sustainable growth strategy, writing and publishing a book is a powerful way to increase your bottom line over time.

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Amazon Author Central: Optimize Your Amazon Author Page

Amazon Author Central is a powerful platform for authors, especially if you are self-publishing

Want to gain more visibility and increase your readership? Optimizing your Amazon Author page can help with this immensely.

But before you rush ahead to get your book launched and marketed, it’s important that you take time to set up your Amazon Author Central account, and your Amazon Author page for your book.

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, better known as KDP, is a widely used self-publishing platform that every independent author should have a presence on.

In this post, I will walk you through how to set up and leverage the powerful tools included with Amazon Author Central.

amazon author central

Here’s what we’ll cover on Amazon Author Central:

  1. What is Amazon Author Central? 
  2. Reasons to use Author Central
  3. How to Join Amazon Author Central
  4. Author Branding with an Author Central Page
  5. Optimize your Amazon Author Central Page
  6. How to Create an Amazon Author Page
  7. Create a book series page in Amazon Author Central
  8. International Amazon Author Page
  9. Tips to Manage Author Central
  10. Checklist: Amazon Author Central
  11. Frequently Asked Questions: Amazon Author Central

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What is Amazon Author Central? 

Amazon Author Central is the author account hub on the Amazon platform and Kindle Direct Publishing. It is the central place where Amazon authors can set up an account, create a profile page, and include book titles, biography, credentials, and more.

Authors are able to set up an account, and a profile page, so that readers can learn more about you as an author, such as all of your book titles, your biography, credentials, and more.

What is the Amazon Author Central Page?

Your Amazon Author Page is basically a homepage dedicated to you as an author, and the books you have published. When your book is displayed on Amazon, the author’s name can be hyperlinked, and when the customer or reader clicks on the author’s name, the customer is taken directly to the author’s page.

You can use your Amazon Author Page to personalize a page specifically featuring information about you as an author, and the books you have written. While it’s a super-powerful platform for indie and self-published authors, it’s also powerful for traditionally published authors. Any author that has written a book that’s sold online or in-store should have an Amazon Author Page.

amazon author page description

Related: Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

Here’s why your Amazon Author Central is important as a self-published author: 

#1 – Your Amazon Author Page provides a handy place for readers to learn about you. Helping customers get to know you is an effective way to introduce them to—or better educate them about—your books. 

#2 – It is used to personalize the contents of the Author Page dedicated to your books. It is here—in Author Central—that you can manage all your book details when it comes to listings on the Amazon page.

#3 – It’s a free page dedicated to you specifically on a powerful, global platform (Amazon.com). The main purpose of author central is for you—the author—to build out and customize your author page. This means that you get a personalized space on one of the largest ecommerce platforms and self-publishing company to showcase yourself and your books.  By setting up your author platform through Author Central, you are giving yourself a huge advantage by staying current with your book success and delivering to readers the best experience possible when they land on your book page. The main purpose of author central is for you—the author—to build out and customize your author page.

why is amazon author central important

Reasons to use Author Central

Setting up and optimizing an Amazon Author Page using Amazon Author Central is a very smart idea for several good reasons. First of all, potential readers can take an immediate interest in your work. 

So, who can create an Amazon Author Page? An author with a published book on Amazon!

Yes, as soon as you launch your first book you can get to work on setting up and maintaining your most prolific profile, next to your own website. You don’t have a website yet? Then you definitely need to maximize on your Amazon page.

Related: How to Become an Author

In fact, if you’re not maximizing and optimizing your author page, you are missing out and leaving money on the table.

Your Amazon Central Account acts as your personal website on Amazon even if you don’t have a website yet. 

Top reasons to create an Author Central account: 

  1. Author Page. You can set up and optimize your Amazon Author Page, which acts as your own personal webpage on the Amazon platform.
  2. Book Interest. It can generate interest in your books
  3. More Readers. Potential readers can easily find information about you and your work
  4. Visibility. Increases your readership on Amazon’s KDP
  5. Author Brand. Helps you build an author brand and presence
  6. Free. It’s a powerful tool that’s completely free. Read more on self publishing costs here.

How to Join Amazon Author Central

First, assuming you have just published your book, the next step is to go to Amazon Author Central and click “Join Now.”

If you haven’t published a book on Amazon yet, you’ll want to follow the steps on how to publish an eBook. There are many technical steps to consider, especially when it comes to your formatting and files (such as EPUB vs MOBI).

Sign in with your regular Amazon username and password. If you don’t have an account, select “I am a new customer.” You’ll need to give a little more information.

Read the Terms and Conditions then click “Accept.”

Enter the author name your books are published under. A list of possible books appears. Select your book to set up the account.

If your book is not in the list, you can search for it by title or ISBN.

Note: Your book must be available for purchase on Amazon in order to set up an Author Central Amazon Account.

Amazon will send you a confirmation email to finish creating the account.

Amazon Author Central homepage

Here are the steps to join Amazon Author Central:

  1. Go to Amazon Author Central.
  2. Click “Join Now.”
  3. Sign in with your regular Amazon.com username and password, then skip to Step 7. 
  4. If you don’t have an existing Amazon account, click “I am a new customer.”
  5. Read the Terms and Conditions. 
  6. Click “Accept.”
  7. Enter your author name. 
  8. Select your books. If your book is not in the list, search for it by Title or ISBN.
  9. Amazon will send you a confirmation email to finish creating the account.

Improve author branding with your Amazon Central Author Page

If you’re an author (and that is why you’re reading this post we can assume) you have published, or are planning to publish a book. This means readers scoping through the Kindle Store are going to find your books and, when they do, will land on your Amazon author page, which is set up in Amazon Author Central. 

The first impression potential readers will get is what they see when they get there, which means it’s crucial that you make a superb first impression. 

This is very important because most authors just starting out don’t have a website yet. If this is you, the best thing you can do for your career as an author is focus on what you have, and what you have is, a free tool available right now that showcases your book.

Now, while there are limitations to what you can do in terms of customization on your Author Page, this shouldn’t be an obstacle by any means. Take advantage of what is freely given, and leverage it so your books can thrive.

By now you are probably wondering, “Okay, so what does a great author page look like?”

Let’s check out thriller fiction author, David Archer. His author branding for his thriller action books is jumping right off the page.

david archer author page

This author homepage is your opportunity to fully brand yourself. Let’s take a look at James Patterson’s Author page. 

Now, you may not have as many books as he has, or be at the asme level in your writing career, but this doesn’t matter.

What is important is that you build out your page from your first book and you continue to consistently improve it.

james patterson amazon page

These are just two of several author pages we will look at. But the obvious component all successful authors have is, they are able to customize the reader experience through branding their author page in Amazon Author Central. 

Keep the importance of author branding in mind as you move on to the next step, which is creating and optimizing your Amazon Author Page.

Optimize Your Author Central Page

Setting up your Amazon Central account is very straightforward. But your Amazon author page will take work, especially when you focus on the core essentials and work to optimize your page to its fullest. And, it is something that is an ongoing project as an author. 

You’re never really finished with your author page because you have to update it regularly. When you launch a new book, a new blog post, updating your author bio, or managing editorial reviews, you will be customizing everything within the Amazon Central hub.

Let’s break down what goes into a professional author page.

There are 8 core features you can optimize for your Amazon Author Central Page:

  1. Professional Author Photo
  2. Well-Crafted Bio
  3. A Row of Your Books Running From Left to Right
  4. Book Reviews
  5. Editorial Reviews
  6. Book Trailers of Your Books
  7. Direct Feed to Your Most Recent Blog Articles
  8. + Follow Button

Here’s a helpful video from YouTuber Self-Publishing with Dale on how to optimize your Amazon Author Page…

How to Create an Amazon Author Page

Now that you understand the importance of setting up an author page in Author Central, as well as the critical components to optimize, you can start to create your own page. 

In this section, we’ll go through the steps on how to create an Amazon Author Page in more detail, with thorough examples and tips for success. 

amazon central optimization

Here are the steps to create an optimized Amazon Author Page: 

  1. Create a compelling biography
  2. Connect your blog feed
  3. Customize your Amazon URL page
  4. Add professional author photos
  5. Add promotional videos
  6. Claim your books
  7. Insert editorial reviews

#1 – Step 1: Create a compelling biography

Taking the time to write a killer author bio is a way to connect directly with your Amazon browsers and can creatively draw interest from new readers for your work. 

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As an author, you need a biography that intrigues readers, and gets them excited to learn what your books are about. 

Your biography should be composed of at least 100 characters and include relevant information about your mission, who your audience is, a tagline that describes the type of writer you are, and credentials or achievements that make you an authority in your field.

Here’s what to include in your bio for your Amazon Author Page:

  1. Your opening hook
  2. Credentials, awards, or degrees earned
  3. Field of study [teacher, doctor, or meditation artist]
  4. Fun facts [Hobbies you enjoy, personal interests]
  5. How to find you [www.mywebsite.com]
  6. Social media links
  7. Other literary achievements

Here are some examples of compelling author biographies from different genres:

#1 – Lee Child, Jack Reacher Series:

“Lee Child is one of the world’s leading thriller writers. He was born in Coventry, raised in Birmingham, and now lives in New York. It is said that one of his novels featuring his hero Jack Reacher is sold somewhere in the world every nine seconds.

His books consistently achieve the number-one slot on bestseller lists around the world and have sold over one hundred million copies. Two blockbusting Jack Reacher movies have been made so far. He is the recipient of many awards, most recently Author of the Year at the 2019 British Book Awards. He was appointed CBE in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours.”

From Lee Child’s Amazon Author Page Bio
lee child is one of the world's leading thriller writers quote graphic

#2 – Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now:

“Eckhart Tolle is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Power of Now (translated into 33 languages) and A New Earth, which are widely regarded as two of the most influential spiritual books of our time. In 2008, A New Earth became the first spiritual book to be selected for Oprah’s Book Club as well as the subject of a ten-week online workshop co-taught by Eckhart and Oprah.

Eckhart’s profound yet simple teachings have helped countless people throughout the world find inner peace and greater fulfillment in their lives. At the core of the teachings lies the transformation of consciousness, a spiritual awakening that he sees as the next step in human evolution. An essential aspect of this awakening consists in transcending our ego-based state of consciousness.”

From Eckhart Tolle’s Amazon Author Page Bio
eckhart tolle is the author of the new york times bestsellers the power of now

#3 – S.J. Scott, Habit Productivity Books

“Getting more from life doesn’t mean following the latest diet craze or motivation program. True success happens when you take action on a daily basis. In other words, it’s your habits that help you achieve goals and live the life you’ve always wanted. 

In his books, S.J. provides daily action plans for every area of your life: health, fitness, work and personal relationships. Unlike other personal development guides, his content focuses on taking action. So instead of reading over-hyped strategies that rarely work in the real-world, you’ll get information that can be immediately implemented.

When not writing, S.J. likes to read, exercise and explore the different parts of the world.”

From S.J. Scott’s Amazon Author Page Bio
a quote image showing a sample of a compelling author biographies

Based on those examples, you can clearly see why author branding is important – no matter if you are writing a novel or writing a nonfiction book!

Here’s how to create a compelling author bio for your Author Page:

  1. Sign in to your Author Central account. 
  2. Click the “Author Page” tab.
  3. Select “Biography.” 
  4. Write up a bio consisting of at least 100 characters. No HTML included.
  5. When you’re finished, click “Add biography” to save.
  6. To edit and/or update, simply click on the “Edit Biography”, add your updated content, and click “Save.”

#2 – Step 2: Connect your blog feed

How about this: If blogging is one strategy you use to connect with your readers, imagine your blog post being funneled onto your Author Page when you publish a new post. That is what happens when you connect your blog feed to Amazon Central.

connect blog to author central page screenshot

Here is how to connect your blog feed to your Amazon Author Page: 

  1. Sign in to  your Amazon Author Page. 
  2. Select “Blogs.” 
  3. On the Author Page tab, click “Add blog.” 
  4. Enter the RSS address for your blog, then select “Add.”

The great thing about this feature is, when you publish a blog either through WordPress or another site, it will be automatically funneled into your blog feed on Amazon. 

This shows your audience that you keep your platform active and current.

#3 – Step 3: Customize your Amazon URL

You definitely want to customize your Amazon URL so it looks professional, instead of a long, garbled link where it’s not clear what people are clicking on. 

You can create a customized URL link, so when people see your link, they have a pretty good idea what it’s related to. 

Your Amazon URL directs people to your Author Central Page, where they can check out your books and platform, and learn more about you as an author.

Once you customize your Amazon Author Page URL,  you will share this link everywhere you can: on your blog posts, email signatures, social media platforms, and more.

Related: How to Build an Email List

Try to use your author name in the URL, but if it’s taken, you can add a number, or word related to your books. The key is for it to represent you and your authorship, so try not to get too creative with it, which can confuse people. 

author page url

Here are the steps to create your custom Amazon Author Page URL:

  1. On the Author Central Profile tab, click add link next to “Author Page URL.”
  2. A URL will be suggested; however you may enter text that meets the following guidelines:
  3. Must be at least 1 character and no more than 30 characters
  4. May use letters, numbers, dashes, periods and underscores
  5. No spaces
  6. No special characters other than dashes, periods and underscores
  7. No profanity
  8. If the URL you input is available, click Save.
  9. Your Author Page URL will go live in approximately 30 minutes.

For more information or help, you can visit this support page on Amazon: Creating Your Author Page URL

You can only have one Author Page URL. If the URL you want is unavailable, try alternate URLs until you find a unique URL that is easy for your readers and followers to remember.

#4 – Step 4: Add author photos

You can add photos to your feed, which is a great way to engage potential readers with a visual element that represents you.

Your author photo is the most important picture you will upload. It should be a professional profile shot, high quality, with your face clearly visible in good lighting.

amazon author headshots

In addition to your profile pics, you should also upload photos of yourself delivering a speech, conducting a workshop, or the cover photos of your other books. You can add up to 8 photos here.

How to add photos to your Amazon Author Page:

  1. Sign in to your Amazon Author Central account. 
  2. Select “Photos” on the Author Page tab.
  3. Click “Browse” and select the picture you want to use.
  4. Confirm you own the rights to the picture. 
  5. Select “Upload photo.” You can upload this from your desktop or Dropbox.
  6. If you are adding multiple pictures, select “Manage” and drag the photos into your preferred order. 
  7. Make sure your author headshot photo is the first photo in the order, so that it appears in the author photo slot on your main page.

#5 – Step 5: Add promotional videos

Do you have a video trailer for your books? An introductory video welcoming readers to your platform? If so, this is where you can showcase your videos by uploading to Author Central.

Here is where S.J. Scott does a good job of this by showing his video for habits, a topic he has written many books on.

For video, ensure that the video meets Amazon requirements:

  1. Either mov, mpg, avi, flv, or wmv format,
  2. Smaller than 500MB, and;
  3. Less than ten minutes long.

Here is how to add video to your Amazon Author Central Page:

  1. Sign in to your Amazon Author Central account.
  2. On the Author Central Profile tab, click “Add video.”
  3. Click “Browse.“
  4. Select your video file. 
  5. Click the box to confirm you own or have cleared the rights to the video you are adding.
  6. Click “Upload video.” (This can take up to 24 hours to completely process, and Amazon should send an email when the video is ready to go.)
  7. When it’s ready, review and approve your video. Check the box that you’ve reviewed the video, then click “Approve video.”

You can have up to 8 videos in your feed. To see more about the guidelines for uploading video content, check out this help page on Amazon for uploading video content.

#6 – Step 6: Claim your books

When you publish a new book, the first thing you want to do is go into Author Central and claim that book as yours. This ensures your title shows up on your Amazon Author page and leads to discoverability by potential readers.

Here’s how to claim  your books in Amazon Author Central:

  1. Click the “Books” tab.
  2. Select the “Add more books” option.
  3. Search using either your author name, the book title, or the ISBN.
  4. Click the “This is my book” button.
  5. Your book will then appear in your lineup within 24 hours.

As soon as the book is listed on your page, you can review the sales ranking, and how many rankings the book went up or down within the day/hour, and Amazon customer reviews.

Related: How to Write a Book Description

#7 – Step 7: Insert editorial reviews

Reviews are extremely important for selling books. For this reason, you want to be sure you are taking full advantage of the reviews readers are leaving for your book.

Another great feature is being able to post snippets from your best reviews in the editorial section. To include review snippets on your book page, Amazon has an editorial reviews section that allows authors to post up to 5 testimonials, reviews or comments about you or your books. 

You can showcase reviews from other well-known authors, influencers, and Amazon Top Reviewers.

If you don’t have any reviews from any of the above mentioned, fans of your books who have left glowing reviews supporting you and your work is a great place to start. You can post the best 5 reviews on your page.

Here is how you add reviews to your Amazon Author Page:

  1. Select the “Books” tab.
  2. Choose the book you want to add reviews to.
  3. Select “Add” under Editorial Reviews and follow the provided instructions.
  4. Preview the review and when you’re ready, hit “Save.”

Here is an example of the editorial review page for Brené Brown’s bestselling book Dare to Lead:

amazon author central editorial reviews

Create a Series Page for a Book Series

One of the unique features of your Amazon Author page is, Amazon has a system in place for authors who have created a series of books.

Related: How To Create a Book Series Box Set

This is a great way to show readers you have multiple books built around your central character if you are a fiction author.

Here are two examples below that show you exactly how to maximize this.

Lee Child and the Jack Reacher Series:

author central series

Mark Dawson and the John Milton Series:

mark dawson series

Remember, Amazon wants authors to sell more books, and by creating a book series page, readers can easily buy your books in bundle sets.

In fact, Amazon will tell you how many books out of the series a reader has purchased and, how they can grab the rest of those books just by clicking through and adding up the ones they haven’t bought yet.

Related: Author Salary Report

But be careful…you could end up buying a lot of books!

If you do have a series of books and want to create a series page, here are the steps and Amazon requirements for this to happen.

Create an International Amazon Author Page

One of the great features of Amazon and self-publishing is that, as an author, your book can be available worldwide on many other international sites in the UK, Canada, China, France, India, Germany, Japan, and more. And best of all, the number of sites available is continuously expanding.

So, now that you are set up on the US store [assuming that is where you started] you can now focus attention towards doing the same for your international markets.

To create your author page and sign into author central on international sites, here are four international author central sites for you to start with:

  1. UK – https://authorcentral.amazon.co.uk/
  2. Japan – https://authorcentral.amazon.co.jp/
  3. France – https://authorcentral.amazon.fr/
  4. German – https://authorcentral.amazon.de/

Tips to Manage Amazon Author Central

A critical mistake many authors make is by not updating their Amazon Author Page as often as they should. 

Fortunately Amazon makes it easy for authors to do this by giving authors access to the back end of Author Central. At anytime, you can upload new photos, videos, blog posts, and integrate new keywords to optimize your book sales.

Here are four tips to make sure you are updating your author page regularly so it looks like you are current with new trends and active in building your brand.

#1 – Editorial reviews

If you publish multiple books, make sure to include editorial reviews for the book page. Do this as soon as you have five good reviews to post.

#2 – Update your author bio

It is recommended you update your author bio at least once every two years. If you have a new win, launch a new lead magnet and need to update the landing page URL, or make an improvement on your author pic, update it as soon as you can. 

#3 – Update international sites and the Amazon Author Beta Program

You should be updating your international sites at the same time. Although currently, Amazon is beta testing with this so that any changes and/or updates to Amazon.com will be automatically updated to the international sites as well. This is called the Amazon Author Beta program and is being streamlined so authors can manage everything from one account.

#4 – Start a blog

There is a rumour that blogging is dead. But the fact is, blogging is still a great way for you to provide free content to your readers. This feeds right into Amazon Central if you have connected your blog feed here. Need to learn how to blog like a pro? Check out Ruth Soukup’s Elite Blog Academy


Checklist: Set up your Amazon Author Page

Here is a simple 12-point checklist so you can easily create, manage and update your Amazon author central account.

  1. Visit the Author Central help section here: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/help
  2. Set up your account here: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/home
  3. Create your author bio
  4. Customize an author page URL
  5. Upload photos of books, author pic
  6. Upload videos of events, book trailers
  7. Connect your blog RSS feed.
  8. Add Review snippets [editorial reviews] to your book pages
  9. Claim all of your books
  10. Check your + Follow Button
  11. Create International Pages: Upload pictures, video and author bio to international sites
  12. Continue to update and improve your page

Frequently Asked Questions: Amazon Author Central

In this section, we’ll tackle the most frequently asked questions that weren’t directly mentioned in the above steps. We’ll be continously updating this section with new information as it comes.

If you have a specific question that isn’t mentioned in this post, let us know in the comments and we’ll be happy to take a look and help find an answer.

How do I find my Amazon Author Page?

Finding your Amazon Author Page will depend on whether or not you have an account. There are a couple different ways to access an existing Author Page. 

To create an Amazon Author Page, you will need to have already uploaded your book to KDP. Then, you can follow the steps here to create your Amazon Author Page. 

To login to your existing Amazon Author Central account and access your page, follow these steps: 

  1. Go to Author Central
  2. Click “Sign in.” 
  3. Enter your existing credentials. 
  4. Click “Sign in.”
  5. Click the “Author Page” tab. 

To find your existing Amazon Author Page, you can access it these ways:

  • Using your Amazon Author URL
  • Click on the “Author Page” tab when signed in to your Author Central account
  • Access your book’s page from the Kindle Store, and click on the author name in blue 

How do I remove a book from my Amazon Author Page?

It’s important to note that a physical book can’t be completely deleted on Amazon, which is why we always recommend that authors are completely ready to hit publish on KDP.  If you’ve only published eBooks, then this is a feasible option.

If you’re listed as the author of a book you did not write, follow the steps listed here to remove the book from your bibliography.

If you’re physical book is out-of-print, Amazon will not remove it because of that reason, since used copies of the book from third-party sellers may still be sold. 

If you need to unpublish a book from your Amazon Author Page, you can do so. To unpublish a book on Amazon, follow these steps.

This will prevent eBooks from being sold to customers, as they won’t be able to find it when they are shopping in the Kindle store.

Related: How to Publish an eBook

Authors often unpublish and republish their eBooks, especially when changes are made to the book’s contents or design. For example, many authors republish an eBook with a revised cover design or under a new title. 

Is Amazon Author Central free?

Yes, it is free and costs nothing to create your Amazon Author Central account and set up your Amazon Author Page.

However, you will have to meet the criteria and requirements to do so, such as by having a book published on KDP.

If you haven’t published your book on Amazon KDP yet, you will have to do so before you can create your Amazon Author Central account.

How many Author Central accounts can I have?

You can have up to three Author Central profiles on your Amazon Author Central account. This allows you to create different Author Pages for different pen names or pseudonyms that you publish under.

To add another Author Central page to your Author Central account, you’ll just have to follow the steps to Add More Steps and select the published book with your pen name. If you haven’t yet published the book with a pen name, you’ll have to do that first.

Creating more than one Amazon Author page is important because it helps you keep your branding separate, depending on the genre of books you publish. For example, maybe you become an author by starting with learning how to write children’s books, then later move on to adult nonfiction…having separate accounts is easier to manage your brand for each!


Now that you have a complete blueprint for setting up your Author Central Account and building out an optimized author page, it is time to get started. 

After setting up your author page, drop the link in the comments below. We’d love to see your finished page. 

What questions do you still have about Amazon Author Central?

Amazon Self Publishing

How to Succeed at Amazon Self-Publishing (8 Simple Steps)

Amazon self-publishing sounds tricky, but it’s actually one of the easiest ways to publish a book.

Learning how to publish on Amazon is simple if you have a step-by-step guide, but since Amazon’s publishing platform may not be the most friendly user experience to some, it can get a little confusing if you’re trying to figure it all out yourself.

While publishing on Amazon is easy, any mistakes you might make along the process can be costly, so it’s important that you do it right.

As a self-published author, you need to avoid rookie mistakes at all costs if you don’t want to hurt your book’s credibility and your author authority.

While it can be an intimidating process for first-time authors, rest assured that the benefits of Amazon self-publishing will outweigh the overwhelm you feel!

Amazon self-publishing is one of the best publishing options for the modern author – giving you higher royalties, lower printing costs, and total creative control.

In this article, I’m going to give you a high-level overview of what it looks like to publish your eBook with Amazon’s self-publishing services, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

This guide to Amazon self-publishing covers:

  1. Step 1 – Create an Amazon Self-Publishing Account
  2. Step 2 – Create a Kindle Direct Publishing Account
  3. Step 3 – Add a Title on Amazon
  4. Step 4 – Write and Format Your Amazon Book Description
  5. Step 5 – Select Book Categories
  6. Step 6 – Set an Amazon Publishing Launch Date
  7. Step 7 – Upload Your Manuscript to KDP
  8. Step 8 – Amazon Publishing Pricing
  9. Amazon Self-Publishing – Frequently Asked Questions

Is Amazon Self-Publishing For You?

If you need any convincing to choose self-publishing VS traditional publishing, read this section.

Traditional publishing uses a model that works for a small percentage of aspiring authors.

In the past, traditional publishers served as the gatekeepers – if an author wanted to share their book with the masses, they had to seek out a traditional publishing deal which was no easy feat.

With the rise of technology and the modern author, self-publishing is taking the literary world by storm, and for good reason.

Why you should choose Amazon Self-Publishing:

  • Powerful global marketplace.
  • Over 70% of books are sold on Amazon.
  • Millions of book buyers readily available.
  • Higher royalties than traditional publishing.
  • Quick, easy process for authors.
  • Full creative control for authors.
  • Easy book maintenance platform.

Create an Amazon Self-Publishing Account

The Amazon self-publishing platform is called Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

If you’re familiar with KDP, feel free to skip the next section, but otherwise, stick around for a few key points.

What is KDP?

The Wall Street Journal published a jaw-dropping article showing how Amazon “owns” the online book industry. It’s the first choice for many self-published authors.

There are many services you can use to get your book onto Amazon, but KDP is the most direct (pun not intended). KDP was designed to help authors with the self-publishing process. You can use KDP to publish your eBooks in the Kindle marketplace, or you can use KDP as a full paperback print-on-demand service (that means Amazon will print, sell, and ship your books for you without an upfront cost). 

KDP has two major services: regular KDP and KDP Select. There are a ton of resources online that list the pros and cons of each, so I won’t go too deep into the differences. All that you need to know is that authors have become very successful using both services. KDP Select offers some nice bonuses, and in exchange, Amazon gets exclusive rights to publish your eBook for at least 90 days (until you remove your book from KDP Select). In my opinion, if you are not planning on selling your eBook anywhere else during those 90 days (including giving away free PDFs on your website), use KDP Select.

What do I need for Amazon Self-Publishing?

Using Amazon to publish is easy and pretty intuitive. If you’re familiar with any online account creation process, then you will have no trouble.

The challenge with Amazon self-publishing is the preparation. If you are not prepared, you’re gonna have a bad time!

I’m only going to go through the process of publishing an eBook, but it’s a similar process for publishing a paperback as well.

Here is what you should have before starting this process:

  1. A professionally created book cover (in .JPG format)
  2. Your near-final draft manuscript (best if it’s in .doc or .docx format)
  3. A gripping book description
  4. Your book’s metadata (title, subtitle, page length, other specs.)
  5. A list of 7 keywords (or phrases)
  6. A list of 10 Amazon categories
  7. Your bank account information
  8. Your personal info (legal name, tax address, and social security number)

If you have everything on the list, you are ready to go! Otherwise, you will not be able to finish the process. KDP is very flexible, so nothing is final. You can always edit your book’s information after it’s published.

Are you excited to learn about the initial stage of publishing on Amazon? 

It all begins with a KDP account. 

How to Create a Kindle Direct Publishing Account

Login to KDP.Amazon.com.  You can use your regular Amazon account to login, or you can sign up with a new email address if you prefer. 

Once you’re in, it will ask you to finish setting up your account. You don’t have to do this right away, but you won’t be able to publish any books until you do.

Once you’re at your “My Account”, it should be straightforward. You should see a page that looks like this:

amazon publishing info

Complete each section and hit the Save button at the bottom.

Remember, you can always change this information later on if need be. And don’t get scared about the Tax Information. It will only ask for your name, address, and social security number.

Add a Title on Amazon

This is the easiest step. In KDP, every book you publish has its own “profile”.

Each profile is stored on your KDP Bookshelf. Once you log in, you should see a place to create a new title:

Since we’re creating an eBook, just click the Kindle eBook button and then the real fun begins.

Choosing an Effective Book Title and Subtitle

On KDP, the first step to publishing your work is finalizing your eBook details. This page is about sales. Everything you do here should be with your ideal reader in mind.

Most of the page is for your book’s metadata (title, subtitle, series, edition, author, etc.) The most important is your title and subtitle. Hopefully, you’ve already put a lot of thought into this. KDP says that the subtitle is optional, but I highly recommend it. It could end up boosting your sales in a major way.

Whether you’ve already decided on a title, or are still finalizing this aspect of your book, here are some details to keep in mind:

Tips to craft your book title on Amazon Publishing:

  • You are allowed a maximum of 200 characters for your book title and subtitle, so use a character count tool to make sure yours are within the limit.
  • Your book title doesn’t exist in isolation. Think about its visual impact on your book cover.
  • You need to respect the Amazon rules on metadata. You can’t make claims such as ‘bestselling’ in your title, and you can’t violate copyright or trademark rules. 
  • If you need title suggestions, try this nonfiction book title generator for ideas.

Make sure to choose a title that clearly conveys why someone should stop and take a closer look at your book rather than another author’s.

Write and Format Your Amazon Book Description

Your book description is your sales script.

If a shopper has made it this far, then they’re a prime target, but you need to close the sale. If you already have an awesome description, then you’ve already done most of the work.

Describing your book effectively and concisely can be more challenging than you might imagine.

Here are some tips for your book description:

  • A good fiction book description conveys the spirit of your story to the reader, in genre-appropriate language, without spoiling its plot.
  • An effective nonfiction book description convinces a reader they will benefit from your book, often by addressing pain points.
  • Check out the descriptions of bestselling books similar to your own. Could you use a similar tone?
  • Make sure to avoid anything prohibited by Amazon in your book description, such as time-sensitive information or keyword stuffing.

There is a real art to designing the format of descriptions. Spend some time on Amazon looking at similar authors to see how they’ve formatted their descriptions and try to use some of their techniques.

KDP formats descriptions in HTML. Once you’ve finalized your format in a word processor, copy and paste your description into a description generator. That generator will give you the HTML code that you can paste into KDP.

Select Book Keywords For Amazon


When you’re navigating how to publish on Amazon, you’ll soon discover the importance of keyword and categories. These help your target reader find your book.

Amazon Self-Publishing gives you the option to select up to 7 keywords.

Keywords tell Amazon’s search algorithm what your book is about. Good keywords will help customers find your book.

Keep in mind, your keywords are phrases that your ideal reader might type into Amazon’s search bar.

Choosing the right keywords is both art and science. You need to focus on the mindset and needs of your intended reader while also finding a sweet spot between being too broad and too niche.

Tips for choosing Amazon keywords:

  • You can use a tool like Publisher Rocket to help you find the best keywords.
  • If you have a keyword in mind, search for it on Amazon while in incognito/private browsing. mode. This will help you see which books already rank for that keyword and how successful they are.
  • Your keywords have to be honest. Amazon explicitly states that any misleading keywords will not be tolerated as they result in a poor experience for customers.
  • A keyword doesn’t have to be a single word. Amazon suggests 2-3 word phrases are often the best option. A single keyword can be up to 50 characters, including spaces.

As time goes on, plan on changing your keywords regularly. Keyword trends change with the seasons.

Select Book Categories For Amazon Publishing

This step is crucial! When you’re first creating your title, you can only choose 2 categories.

Amazon uses categories to classify your book, and they’re used to determine bestseller rankings. If you haven’t taken the time to choose your categories, stop here, and start researching. It’s well worth it.

But what should you know about KDP categories?

  • There are over 16,000 Amazon categories in total. 
  • Consider a mix of obscure and popular categories. Popular categories will potentially lead to more exposure for your book, while obscure categories are a lot easier to become a bestseller in.
  • If you’re unsure of the right categories to consider, search Amazon for similar books to your own. Scroll down on any individual book page to see which categories it falls under.
  • Look at the number of new releases in a category to assess how trendy it is, and look at the performance of the books within it to gauge its potential profitability. 

There’s a trade secret—Amazon will let you choose up to 10 categories for each title! After you finish creating your title, all you need to do is visit the Author Central Page and select all of the options shown below.

amazon author central contact page

In the questions box, include your book title, your ASIN number (you can see it on your KDP front page after you finish publishing), and the full category string (e.g. Nonfiction > Self-Help > Personal Growth > General).

Set An Amazon Publishing Date For Your Book

Your last step is to choose a release date. If you don’t already have a release date in mind, make sure to choose one in the distant future. You won’t be able to go to the next page without one.

If your release date is within 90 days, people can start pre-ordering your book.

If you’re not sure how to properly schedule your book’s release date, make sure to keep in mind:

  • Outstanding tasks. Is there anything that needs to happen before your book is ready to launch? Factor in these tasks before setting a date and make sure you don’t overlook any. It’s easy to do with so many moving pieces!
  • Buffer time. Launching a book is as stressful as it is exciting. Give yourself some buffer time as things often take longer than anticipated.
  • Seasonality. Does it make sense to launch your book at a certain time of year? Are there any events or dates you want to tie it in with?
  • Marketing. If you’re coordinating a marketing campaign for the time of your book launch, make sure any and all promotional services are confirmed before setting a launch date. Getting this wrong can seriously harm your book’s initial momentum. 

After you’ve launched your first book, you’ll have a better idea of logistics and timing. For your first launch, play it safe. Give yourself some breathing room.

Upload Your Manuscript and Book Cover

For this step, have your .JPEG cover and .DOCX manuscript ready.

To upload your book content, KDP will process your file to make sure that it meets the formatting requirements and doesn’t have any spelling errors. Just upload your file by clicking “Upload eBook Manuscript” and give it 5-10 minutes to run through its analysis.

Uploading the cover is the same process. You can use KDP’s Cover Creator if you’d like, but I would advise against it. Your cover is the first thing that anyone is going to see about your book, you want to make sure it stands out!

Key points to consider for uploading your manuscript and cover:

  • It’s important to choose a cover design that looks good as a small thumbnail as well as a full-size image.
  • Your cover needs to convey the genre or tone of your book immediately.
  • While it’s possible to learn to make a passable DIY book cover, it’s almost always worth investing in a professional cover if you can. 

There are also a few technical rules to keep in mind about your Amazon book cover:

  1. While Amazon prefers the jpeg format, you can also use TIFF.
  2. The ideal ratio for your book cover is 1.6:1
  3. 2560 x 1600 pixels is the book cover dimension Amazon suggests
  4. Avoid compression, and aim for a minimum resolution of 300 PPI

Last, preview your book. There are three ways to do this: in your browser, on the Kindle desktop app, or on your Kindle device. MAKE SURE TO DO ALL THREE! Funny things can happen to your book when it converts to the Kindle file. 

Before you submit, look through your book on as many devices as you can.

Ask your friends to look through it. Check to make sure the images are clear. Make sure your links work. Play with the text size, change the background color. Take your time with this step.

Amazon Publishing Pricing 

On the last page of the new title set-up, you’ll choose your pricing options and opt-in or opt-out of certain Amazon services (KDP Select, Matchbook, and Book Lending).

Right now, we’re only going to focus on the pricing options.

Amazon has two royalty plans, 35% and 70%.

If you’re planning on selling your book between $2.99 – $9.99, you’re eligible for the 70% plan. Otherwise, you can only go with 35%.

Use this Book Royalties Calculator to forecast your potential earnings.

Once you click on one, you can specify your price in the box below. KDP will automatically show your royalty for each sale and you can view royalties for other currencies/marketplaces.

There are a few other caveats to note for the 70% plan:

  1. Some territories/countries are excluded. However, sales in most of the English-speaking countries pay the higher royalty rate. You’ll find a list of those here.
  2. Public domain eBooks are excluded.
  3. eBook sales in Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and India pay 35% royalty unless your book joins KDP Select (KDP Select requires a 90-day exclusive).
  4. You must agree to make your eBook lendable for 14 days. This allows your reader to lend your book once. More about eBook lending here.

Don’t forget, you can always change your price. It’s not set in stone. Many recommend starting your price off low, and gradually increasing it over time to see what works best for you.

If you’re a bit perplexed about book pricing, these tips might help you find a good starting point…

Tips for pricing your self-published book:

  • Be strategic about pricing. What are your competitors charging? Do you want to charge less to build some momentum for your book? Or do you have a superior book that you can denote as such by charging a higher price point?
  • How established are you? New authors should charge less to give readers an incentive to become fans. Established authors can justify higher prices.
  • Is your book the first in a series? Many authors have had success by giving readers an affordable first installment and charging more for later volumes. 

Pricing your book might seem daunting at first, but by sticking to these proven approaches, you ensure your reader gets a fair deal while you enjoy the revenue you deserve.

Amazon Self-Publishing: FAQs

If you still have some questions about what exactly publishing on Amazon entails, don’t worry! We’ve got some quick and straightforward answers for you.

Does self-publishing on Amazon limit me to the eBook format?

No. Amazon makes it easy to offer print copies of your book through KDP Print, and audiobooks through its ACX service. 

If I self-publish on Amazon, am I able to offer my book on other platforms?

It depends. If you’re enrolled in a program like KDP Select, Amazon demands exclusivity. Otherwise, you’re free to offer your book wherever you want. 

Do I have to pay Amazon upfront to publish my book?

No. Amazon self-publishing doesn’t have an upfront cost. Instead, Amazon makes money when your book does, through the royalty rates described above. 

I’m an experienced author but I’m new to the world of marketing. How can Amazon help?

When you self-publish with Amazon, you gain access to a retailing and marketing powerhouse. You can promote your book using Amazon advertising, limited-time pricing, and other promotional tools. 

Publishing your own book can feel like a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be a big stressor. There are a thousand factors that go into making your book successful. KDP offers a lot of additional services and resources, but you should keep it simple for your first time around.

If your book launch doesn’t go as planned, you can always adjust your title. There is no limit to how many times you can modify your book. When all else fails, try and try again.

Before you know it, you’ll experience the self-publishing success you deserve!

how to copyright a book

How to Copyright a Book Quickly [FREE Copyright Template]

Researching how to copyright a book is a smart move as a modern author, and one that you shouldn’t shy away from even though it sounds legally complex.

The issue of book copyright is a concern you should not only be thinking about as a self-published author, but also be taking action to prevent.

No one wants to imagine that their intellectual property will be stolen, but in today’s age of digital piracy, the concern is very real. 

how to copyright a book

In this complete guide on how to copyright a book, we’ll cover all of the details you need to know on how to create a copyright page, and more.

While we aren’t lawyers, this information is sourced through in-depth research, and from multi-published authors with direct experience on copyrighting their own books. 

Here’s what you need to know on how to copyright your book:

  1. What is copyright law? 
  2. Should I copyright my book? 
  3. How to copyright a book
  4. How to create a copyright page
  5. Book copyright page disclaimers
  6. Common book copyright questions
  7. Copyrighting a book internationally
  8. Understanding copyright permissions
  9. Know copyright law terms
  10. Resources for book copyright law

Imagine you are stumbling upon a book with a similar title as yours as you browse online. Curious as to what it’s about, you download the Kindle version and begin scrolling through the pages, and the content is very similar…no wait! It is almost identical to the book you launched just three months ago.

Now, if this were you, what would you do? Call the police? Report it to the bookstore? Call your mother?

This kind of situation is not as uncommon as you think, and it could very well happen to you. But there are simple steps you can take to protect your work by creating a copyright page, and educating yourself on copyright law.

Learning how to write a book is just one side of the equation to become an author. You also have to navigate some tricky technical aspects, such as copyright.

As a creative, you are always a potential target for content thieves. You have to protect your material and the best way to do this is to learn how to copyright your self-published book. 

What is copyright law?

Copyright law refers to when you ‘legally register your work with a government body in order to create a public record that proves you are the legal owner of this work.’ 

Copyrighting is an important step that you should take seriously, especially when it comes to your intellectual property being protected from people who wouldn’t think twice about “borrowing” your content. It does happen, and many times it happens without harmful intent.

Copyright law is set up to protect your rights, and also to ensure that you are aware of the rights of others’ work.

Should I copyright my book?

Yes, you should copyright your book to protect your intellectual property.  

Here’s why: There are people out there who will woefully take your work, slap a different title on it, change some names around, and release it as their own. Yes, it does happen, and in the digital age, it is happening more often with some authors having an entire series of books stolen and sold in other countries.

The truth is, there are publishing scams and people who can and will rip off your work and try to sell it as their own. 

Related: Best Self Publishing Companies

So, you heard it from us: You want to legally copyright your books. While it is a fact that your writing is technically copyrighted the minute you put words to paper, in order to take action against someone in a court of law, you must register it with the copyright agency. No exceptions.

How to copyright a book

Copyrighting your book to make it legal isn’t that complicated. You can do this in 15-20 minutes simply by visiting: https://www.copyright.gov/registration/

There are two ways you can apply for your copyright.

  1. Filling out the forms in hand and delivering directly to the Copyright Office via snail mail, or
  2. Setting up an account online with the US Copyright Offices’ eCo (Electronic Copyright Office) and doing everything online. The cost is slightly cheaper if you take this route.

Registering for an online account takes a minute, and then you start filling out the information. 

Here are steps to copyright your book online:  

Step #1—Go to the Copyright.gov portal

Step #2—Click on “Literary Works” (it is the first image box). 

how to copyright a book 1

Step #3—Click on the “Register a Literary Work” link, located on the right side bar. 

copyrighting a literary work

Step #5—Log in to your existing account or register as a new user. 

Step #6—Once you’re signed in, click “Start Registration”. Check the “Exceptions” section below to be sure you are registering the right kind of work.

book copyright register a work

Step #7 – Click “Start Registration. 

copyright law

Step #8—Select the “Type of Work”, which is literary if registering your book.

Note: This cannot be changed after you confirm this is what you are registering. Check the box to acknowledge this, then click “Continue.

type of work

Step #9—Click “New*.”

Step #10 – Select your Title Type, then enter your Book Title exactly as it appears on your book cover/title page.

Step #11 – Click “Save” to save your title. Then, on the next page, click “Continue” to move onto the next step.

Step #12 – Select “Yes” or “No” if this work has already been published (or not).

Step #13— Enter the required information in the “Publication/Completion” form, then click “Continue.”

register copyright

Step #14—Name the author(s) of the work being registered.

After you enter the author information, click “Save”. Fill out the rest of the information that includes “date of birth”, “citizenship”, and “Domicile.” 

copyright author

Repeat this step for each additional author. Click “Save” to move into the next step.

Step #12—Under “Author’s Contribution,” for a book just select “text” and “Save.”

Step #13—Identify the Copyright Claimant(s) in this work.

If this is you, the author, you are the original claimant of your work. You, as the author, own all of the claimants as covered by the registration. Click “add me” as the claimant. Then, on the next page, click “Continue.”

Step #14—Limitation of Claim: If your work does not contain any preexisting material, click “Continue” to proceed to the Rights and Permissions Screen.

book copyright claim

Step #15—Rights and Permissions Information (Optional): If someone is managing your rights permissions, fill in their information here. If not, just “Continue.”

Step #16—Correspondent: This is the person the Copyright Office will contact if it has questions about this application. If you the “author” are the only contact, you can click on “Add Me” and your contact information will be filled in.

Step #17—Mail Certificate: This is the name and address to which the registration certificate should be mailed. After you complete the registration, you will receive by post a letter of confirmation stating that your book has been officially registered. Keep this certificate with your important documents in case needed. You can click “Add Me” and your information is automatically updated in the boxes. Click “Continue” to move to…

Step #18—Special Handling: This is for shipping purposes. It is expensive so if that is a concern, skip this part by clicking on “Continue”. 

Step #19—Certification: The Application must be certified by the author, copyright claimant, or owner of exclusive right(s), or by the authorized agent of any of the preceding. In this section you are stating that you are in fact, the owner of the material as it is being registered.

book copyright application

Click “Continue” to move to the last section.

Step #20—Review Submission: Review everything and double-check your details. Note: Once you submit your application, you cannot make changes to it. So be sure it is all correct!

When the entire submission is correct, click the “Add to Cart” button at the top of the screen.

Step #21—Checkout: You’re almost there, click the “Checkout” button. On the next page, you are prompted to hit the “OK” button if you agree to these terms: Payments are non-refundable.

Step #22—Copyright Fee Services: You can either with credit/debit card or through a bank transfer. The fee is $55.00 for a single registration when you use the eCo system.

cost to copyright a book

Step #23—Submit Your Work: You have 2 options here—You can upload the digital version of your book, or, send in the paperback. For a faster process, upload your digital eBook version. You can only choose one of these options.

You’re done! If your payment has been accepted, your book is now registered with the U.S. Copyright agency. The Office will issue a certificate to your home address after the application has been processed. This can take as long as one year, but, with most of my books I received the certificate within 3 months. But it could take longer.

upload files to copyright a book

Step #24—(if applicable) Submission by Post: To send in your book by mail, follow the instructions on the submission page, as shown below:

The application process can take months, but your work is accepted and legally copyrighted the instant you send in your application.

Now your book is legally copyrighted. Done!

It is worth noting that you do have the option to register your book before it gets published, but it isn’t a necessary step. 

Some authors are worried that the editor they just hired online is going to make away with their work. That rarely happens. It could, but chances are, if you have done your research and hired your editor through a reputable agency, you have nothing to worry about.

Besides, remember what I said at the beginning of this post: Your work is copyrighted the moment you write it. Would this stop someone from stealing it? No, but you always have digital proof that it is your intellectual property.

How to create a book copyright page

Every book needs to have a copyright page. Depending on the type of book you are writing, your copyright page will vary in format and style.

A copyright page appears in your book right after the Book Title page and before the Table of Contents.

You might be thinking, “What do I place on the copyright page?” I know, it looks like a combination of legal jargon with numbers and can be confusing for a first time author that has never created one before.

But the good news is, you don’t have to create anything. Most copyright pages are standard in the language they use, and there are plenty of copyright page templates to use depending on the type of copyright page you need.

In order for your book to be “copyrighted,” your copyright page should include several essential components. 

Here are the copyright elements to include in your copyright page: 

  1. Copyright Notice
  2. Year of Publication
  3. Author’s Name
  4. Edition Information
  5. Publication Information
  6. Printing History
  7. Cataloging Data
  8. Legal Notices
  9. Credits to the Book
  10. ISBN
  11. Website Address
  12. Disclaimer (if applicable)

Now that we’ve identified which elements to include in your copyright page, let’s break down the process of creating a copyright page specifically if you are self-publishing a book. 

book copyright page

The process of creating a copyright page…

Here are the steps to copyright a book for a self-published book:

  1. Add the copyright notice.
  2. Include the edition information.
  3. Reserve your book rights.
  4. Add the book ISBN.
  5. Include a website address.
  6. Give credit to any contributors.

Step #1: Add the copyright notice. 

This is the most important element on the page. It consists of three parts:

1. the © symbol, or the word “Copyright” 

2. the year of first publication of the work

3. identification of the owner of the copyright—by name, pseudonym, abbreviation, or some other way that it’s generally known 

Example: © 2020 by Scott Allan

Step #2: Include the edition information. 

If this is a 2nd or 3rd edition, you want to include this here. Many books include this on the cover or title page, too. Even if it is stated elsewhere, it needs to be on the copyright page.

Step #3: Reserve your book rights. 

This may also be referred to as the disclaimer portion of the copyright page. You can copy this portion and use for your own book: 

“All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

While all attempts have been made to verify the information provided in this publication, neither the author nor the publisher assumes any responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretations of the subject matter herein.

Adherence to all applicable laws and regulations, including international, federal, state, and local governing professional licensing, business practices, advertising, and all other aspects of doing business in the US, Canada, or any other jurisdiction is the sole responsibility of the purchaser or reader.

Any perceived slight of any individual or organization is purely unintentional.”

Step #4: Add the ISBN Number

If you publish a paperback book, you need an ISBN number. You can purchase your ISBN at: https://www.myidentifiers.com/

Your digital book (eBook) does not require an ISBN, but many publishers include an ISBN anyway, in order to be able to publish with self-publishing companies outside of Amazon. This prevents multiple ISBNs being issued to one book.

Example: This is the ISBN from Michael Hyatt’s book Free To Focus

Step #5: Include a Website address (optional)

While this is an optional step, it may be important to include if you are looking to grow your email list or capture leads from your book. 

Make it easy for your readers to find you. Include your link showcasing your website.

Step #6: Give credit to contributors (optional)

In this section you can name the people who helped you on the project. Your cover designer, editor, illustrator, author photo, or interior formatter.

Your copyright page can be simple, too. Many books have one page with all of the information listed above. You don’t need a long copyright page. All you need is the copyright notice and a statement giving notice that the rights to reproduce the work are reserved to the copyright holder. That’s it!

Example: A Short Copyright Page Sample

Here’s a short copyright page from Motivation Without the Hype by Gez Perez. It includes all the necessary elements to satisfy the copyright.

book copyright page with isbn

Book copyright page disclaimers

A disclaimer is an essential piece of your copyright protection. A disclaimer protects you from the actions people take based on your advice, either written, or in video content.

A disclaimer sounds boring and most readers are tempted to skip it. But, it serves as an anchor for your protection and informing people, “Try this at home at your own risk.” Basically, you are telling readers that they are reading your book and applying this advice at their own risk.

The type of copyright disclaimer you publish will vary depending on your book’s content. A disclaimer for fiction would be different from a disclaimer for health and fitness. It is meant to tell your readers, “Hey, I care about you, but you also have to exercise your own caution when taking these suggestions.”

Your readers will trust most of what you say and your strategies, advice or suggestions have influence. But we must exercise caution as well. What works for the author or most people could fail for others. To avoid liability, a disclaimer is needed. This is true for fiction as much as it is for nonfiction.

Here are two samples of disclaimers. One is for a work of fiction, and the other is for nonfiction.

Fiction Disclaimer Examples

Here is a sample of fiction disclaimer from Ramy Vance’s Mortality Bites Series. 

Nonfiction Disclaimer Examples

This is a standard nonfiction disclaimer found in most books. If you are a professional counselor, doctor, therapist, personal development coach, or in a position when providing advice or consulting, you need an extended disclaimer.

This goes beyond the general “content protection” verbiage and targets you on a more personal level.

Here is a short sample:

Sample #1:

The advice and strategies found within may not be suitable for every situation. This work is sold with the understanding that neither the author nor the publisher are held responsible for the results accrued from the advice in this book. You should consult with a (lawyer, health professional, financial advisor) for further details and future actions.

Sample #2:

book disclaimer

Commonly Asked Questions About Book Copyright

In this section, we’ll cover the most frequently asked questions about book copyright.

We also encourage you to check out our Resources section if you want to dive in deeper to any specific topic related to your copyright questions.

How to copyright a book title

Your book title is copyrighted the moment you write it, but for extra piece of mind, you can officially copyright your book title when you register your completed book with the U.S. Copyright Office. 

While there isn’t necessarily a way to copyright only your book title without having to upload your completed book, your book title will be copyrighted once you complete the book copyright process that we walked you through in the steps above. 

How to copyright a book idea

If you have not published your book yet, you can still register your copyright. You will be able to register your copyright before publishing your book. 

Some authors choose to do this for extra protection, especially those that work with editors and other book service providers, to prevent anyone from stealing their book’s contents or ideas. 

If you’re concerned about protecting your book idea and want to copyright it before you publish, go for it. 

How long does it take to copyright a book?

Once you have registered your book for copyright, the processing times will vary depending on the type of work you submitted and the way in which you submitted it. 

On average, if you register your copyright online, it typically takes about three months, but can take up to six months.

If you register your book’s copyright via standard mail, it takes an average of six months but can take up to 16 months. 

For current processing times, click here

How much does it cost to copyright a book?

It costs $55 to register a single book copyright with the eCo system using the steps we indicated above. You can pay online with a credit/debit card or through a bank transfer. 

For online processing, the fee can be $35 or $55.00 for a single basic online registration. For standard mail processing, the fee is $85.00. 

Related: Cost to Publish a Book

How to copyright a book for free

Your book is technically copyrighted for free the moment you create it, just as if it were any other work of art. However, many authors seek more copyright protection and choose to pay the fee to officially register a book copyright. 

If you do not want to pay the fee to register a book copyright, and do not need the legal peace of mind that comes with officially registering a copyright, then you can copyright your book for free by simply writing it yourself. 

Copyrighting a book internationally

In the United States, as we have just looked at, you go through the U.S. Copyright Office for all matters related to book copyrighting (and other copyrighting related formats). Your book must be registered first with this office before any legal action can be pursued.

But, how are you protected if you are an author or publisher living in Germany, Canada, Japan, or the U.K.?

If you visit the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), you can find everything you need to know through the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.

What is the Berne Convention?

With most countries in the world, your work is protected from the moment you create it in a format that is “perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device, according to the United States Copyright Office under “Copyright In General.” But you do have to register first in order to bring a lawsuit to court.

berne convention

As most countries are protected under the Berne Convention, it should be an easy process to register your works online in most countries. This may vary depending on local regulations and procedures. 

In the UK, consult with the Intellectual Property Office in the United Kingdom. There is no official registration system in place for copyrighting works, and is considered an “automatic right.”

In Canada, visit the Canadian Intellectual Property Office to register your copyright.

When in doubt, you can visit the WIPO site and under Country Profiles, find the directory for the copyright office to apply to.

berne convention definition

What Do I Need Copyright Permission For?

One of the more common questions that comes up with copyrighting is, “Do I need permission to borrow this published content?”

This is sometimes not as obvious as copying something right out of a  book or published manuscript. If you are in doubt, you need to check all the facts. It is better to know now than get caught later. In many cases, the excuse of, “Oh, sorry, I didn’t realize that” just won’t be enough to get you out of trouble.

To help you answer this question, “Do I need copyright permission?” we suggest you visit Wiley.com. This site—for authors and publishers—provides you with everything you need in regards to what does and doesn’t require permission on your part.

Wiley has an extensive and reliable list to guide you through the content and material you must seek permission for. But they also include a sample permission request form in order to apply for permission.

material that requires permission for book copyrighting

When in doubt, consult with a copyright lawyer and take the time to research the material you are either protecting or, planning to borrow from another source. The time invested could save you an expensive situation later on.

As an author in the publishing business, you have to protect your business, assets and customers. Be smart and don’t cut any corners. You wouldn’t want to sabotage your work, name and business you’ve worked so hard for.

Copyright Law Terminology

Let’s break down some of the legal jargon that surrounds copyright law.

In order to understand the process on how to copyright a book, you need to know the basics: the commonly used words, and what they mean. 

There are the most commonly used legal terms for book copyright.

  1. Copyright Term: The current length of copyright for an individual is the life of the author, plus 70 years. For corporate works, the term is 95 years from first publication or 120 years from creation, whichever happens first.
  2. Plagiarism: The “wrongful appropriation” and “stealing and publication” of another author’s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions” and the representation of them as one’s own original work. This is true if you plagiarize from a book, a college paper, or “borrow” from an article and call it your own. It is an act of intellectual dishonesty.
  3. Copyright Infringement: The use of works protected by copyright law without permission, infringing certain exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work, or to make derivative works. The copyright holder is typically the work’s creator, or a publisher or other business to whom copyright has been assigned. Copyright holders routinely invoke legal and technological measures to prevent and penalize copyright infringement.
  4. Public Domain: The public domain includes creative works that are not subject to copyright because their copyright has expired, as well as aspects of copyrighted works–such as their underlying ideas–that are not subject to copyright. The public domain is a critical source of creativity, inspiration and innovation for creators. Works and ideas in the public domain belong to the public and their use does not violate copyright. 
  5. Fair Use: Fair use is a critical right that permits the public to use portions of copyrighted material without permission from the copyright owner, under certain circumstances, to engage in a wide variety of vital activities. It enables new technologies, and is a cornerstone of free speech, creativity and the economy.
laptop logged in a green website with a "publish" button being clicked
  1. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA): A 1998 United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works (commonly known as digital rights management or DRM). It also criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright itself. 
  2. The Library of Congress Classification (LCC): A classification system that was first developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to organize and arrange the book collections of the Library of Congress. Over the course of the twentieth century, the system was adopted for use by other libraries as well, especially large academic libraries in the United States. It is currently one of the most widely used library classification systems in the world.
  3. Copyright Office: Housed within the Library of Congress, it is the official United States government body that maintains records of copyright registrations, and provides legal advice to Congress, the Judiciary, and federal agencies. 
  4. Statutory Definition (from the official website Copyright.gov portal): The Copyright Act defines “literary works” as “works, other than audiovisual works, expressed in words, numbers, or other verbal or numerical symbols or indicia, regardless of the nature of the material objects, such as books, periodicals, manuscripts, phonorecords, film, tapes, disks, or cards, in which they are embodied.”
  5. Intellectual property (or “IP”): A category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect, and primarily encompasses copyrights, patents, and trademarks. It also includes other types of rights, such as trade secrets, publicity rights, moral rights, and rights against unfair competition. Artistic works like music and literature, as well as some discoveries, inventions, words, phrases, symbols, and designs can all be protected as intellectual property.
  6. Copyright Lawyer: A lawyer that specializes in copyright law that will represent you when someone else is using your idea or content without your permission, especially for financial gain. They can also defend you if you’re accused of infringement.

Book Copyright Resources

We want you to be able to find everything in one place. Here we have compiled a list of resources so you can quickly find the information you are looking for.

Learn more about book copyright from these resources:

Take Action: Copyright Your Book

Now that you know how to copyright your book, jump over to Copyright.gov portal and complete the process in less than twenty minutes.

When in doubt, consult with legal counsel or take the time to research the material you are either protecting or planning to borrow from another source. The time invested could save you an embarrassing or costly situation down the road.

If you want to follow a proven framework for how to successfully write and publish your book without having to stumble through the process, consider investing in a self-publishing course for support.

When you become an author, you want your book launch to go off without any surprises, so education is your key to success.

What questions do you have about how to copyright a book?

pinterest for authors tips

Pinterest for Authors: 8 Tips On How to Use Pinterest as an Author

Discovering how to use Pinterest for authors is a crucial step in upping your book marketing game. 

There’s a huge opportunity on the platform, and learning how to use Pinterest as an author is just the first step in taking advantage of it. 

Whether you’re learning how to become an author, or are already writing children’s books or non-fiction books, it doesn’t matter – Pinterest can be used by writers of all types and genres! 

pinterest for authors tips

And you don’t have to be a social media marketer to start using it!

Here are 8 tips for learning how to use Pinterest as an author: 

  1. Start with a Pinterest business account
  2. Optimize your profile for your author brand
  3. Include your profile essentials when using Pinterest for authors
  4. Understand boards vs. pins
  5. Don’t get overwhelmed
  6. Create your key author boards
  7. Tap into the power of pins
  8. Use essential Pinterest tools 

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What is Pinterest? 

Pinterest is a hybrid between a social media network and visual search engine that allows users to share and discover content through images and video. 

It’s a platform that curates images and video, linked to website content like blog articles, product pages, and galleries. 

As an author, there is a way to pack a punch with Pinterest without getting frantic about boards, pins and images, and we’ll show you how. 

Contrary to popular belief, Pinterest is not only for recipes and gorgeous interior design. In fact, it can be used for a variety of topics, subjects, or interests – books included. 

Let’s get started with the tips that will help you learn how to use Pinterest for authors in your book marketing plan

#1 – Start with a business account

You’re an author and you want to sell your books, so technically you’re a business! 

Good thing Pinterest now offers business accounts, so you’ll want to make sure you create a business account – and not a personal one! 

If you don’t have a Pinterest account already, create a Pinterest Business Account here

When you get to the page, you’ll simply enter your email and password and click “Create Account” to get started. 

If you already have a Pinterest account for your personal use and want to convert it to a business account, you’ll want to follow these instructions

#2 – Optimize your profile to build your author brand 

The second strategy to implement using Pinterest for authors, is to optimize your profile to reflect your author brand. 

It’s a great opportunity to dramatically expand your reach and find readers who are waiting to share your world, get to know you and eventually, buy your book. 

By using your profile to tell potential readers about yourself, you’re allowing people to find you, and your book. 

Once your business account is set up, optimize your profile to reflect your author brand. This is what your potential readers and audience will see, so it’s very important that you fill this information out! 

Include these details for your author profile on Pinterest: 

  1. Profile Photo: This should be a professional headshot or image that reflects who you are as an author. You can even make it more personable and fun, but just make sure is a relevant, high quality image. If you don’t want to show your face, you can use a logo or your book. Please, no kittens or dragons even if you write pet books or fantasy (unless you are a dragon, in which case go ahead).
  2. Display Name: This is the name your audience will see. Make it your author name, or pen name. Keep it consistent to make it easier for readers to find you. 
  3. Username: Be sure it includes your author name or pen name. It’s okay to have a slight variation in it, such as numbers at the end, if your author name is already taken by another user. 
  4. Author Bio: This is where you can truly optimize your Pinterest profile for your author brand. Add a little about who you are and what you write, but keep it under 160 characters! You can even include some relevant keywords so that your account shows up when Pinterest users are searching for certain topics or subjects.
  5. Location: Don’t feel pressured to share your exact location if you don’t want to. If you live in a small town, you can use a nearby larger city as your location. 
optimize pinterest for authors bio

Make sure you spend some time filling out your Pinterest profile details. You want to make sure it reflects your author brand! 

Here’s an example of my Pinterest author profile: 

pinterest author profile


#3 – Pinterest for Authors Profile Essentials

You have the basics filled out in your profile settings, but your Pinterest page comes with a ton of opportunity to show potential readers more about you and the stories you write. 

There are three important essentials to include in your Pinterest Author Profile: 

#1 – Personality. This is about you, not just your books! People want to connect with you as a person, and Pinterest is a great medium to allow them to do that in a professional way. 

#2 – Website. Make sure you add your author website, and that it is verified by Pinterest. It sounds technical, but it’s super easy to do, especially on WordPress sites. 

#3 – Featured Board. Pick the board that you want to appear first. Typically, this would be your latest book. We’ll cover more about boards in the next section. 

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#4 – Understand Boards vs. Pins

It’s all about the boards you have… and the pins. If you’re a complete Pinterest newbie, you might be confused. Boards and pins? What are those? 

Think of boards like a collection, or a category. Within that collection, there are pins, which are related to the category. 

Still confused? Let’s use a literary device to help you visualize. 

A Pinterest board is like an organized closet; within that closet, are related items (pins) that are stored there for easy retrieval. 

pinterest for authors board

For example, if you create a board for the setting of a story, you can add pins that have to do with your story’s setting, like location, time period, climate, and culture. 

#5 – Don’t get overwhelmed

Don’t go crazy with the boards and pins. You want your Pinterest to look clean, with the main boards displayed, and relevant pins in each. 

Since it’s a visual platform, you do want to be sure your Pinterest page looks clean and aesthetically appealing. Too much clutter, and it could give off a chaotic vibe!

But this is about Pinterest for authors, not designers – so don’t feel too pressured to compete with all the gorgeous images you find. 

Recognise the need for white space, and use it! 

The simple rule for images is to think vertically. The optimal image size for Pinterest is 600 x 900 pixels is the optimal size for Pinterest.

#6 – Create your key author boards

When learning how to use Pinterest as an author, there are some key boards that you’ll want to focus on. 

pinterest for authors

These are the boards you need to have when using Pinterest for authors:

Board #1 –  All your books and content

This is a board that contains all your own content, each of your books in its own section, and any blogs you write.

Create a pin with your book cover, link it direct to your Amazon sales page. Link your blog posts back to your blog post.

Ideas for quick images: For pins, take a good screenshot of your website, your Amazon page, or even your blog. You can use these to start with. Make a collage of your blog post pictures, your reviews, or testimonials. 

Board #2 – Your latest book 

This board is for your latest book, launched or not launched. You’ll want to use it as a spotlight for the book. 

It should have the following sections:

  1. Images and Quotes from your book. Use your own high quality images, or from royalty free stock photo sites, such as this one.
  2. Reviews from your book. Include a screenshot, an image and a few sentences.
    Link back to your sales page on Amazon, or to your Author Central page. You can also link back to your Goodreads page if you have one.
  3. Similar books that you have reviewed on your blog. This is an excellent opportunity to review other books like yours and build your author network.
  4. Theme board around your keyword. For example, my theme board is about hiking and the Himalayas. Pin yours and other people’s pins here.

Board #3Inspiration around your keyword or theme

This is where you pin mostly other people’s pins as well as some good ones of your own, about your keyword or inspiration. Check mine out on Hiking in the Himalayas.

You can even use it for inspiration that will help you stick to your writing goals. There are a lot of productivity pins that are helpful for writers to pin!

Tips for using your inspiration board:

  1. This is where you will use your keywords to the maximum, as this is how you will find new audiences who may be interested in your book.
  2. Research other authors in your field, and see what they’re doing, and also pin their pins to your board.
  3. Find new audiences. For example, I found that cooking is one of the top keywords in Pinterest, so I linked to and created pins on Himalayan dishes.
  4. Don’t forget to #hashtag

Board #4 – Secret Boards (optional)

Keep your boards about your own non writing passions secret, so that you don’t dilute your brand. If you are a romance author, you don’t want to be advertising your love for mud-wrestling by tattooed hunks.

If you’re learning how to write a book, having a secret board comes in handy! You can use it to organize all your research for your books, or themes around your books. 

For example, my next book is historical fiction, so I have all my research in a secret board, and I don’t want to confuse the readers of my non fiction adventure books.

Want to jumpstart your book writing process?

Join Chandler Bolt from self-publishingschool.com at his FREE Webinar Training as he reveals the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row.

Click here to sign up today

#7-  Tap into the power of pins

Pins are usually what users will see in their own feed or search results on Pinterest, so it’s important that your pins are optimized for full potential. 

For example, if we type “writing tips” into the Pinterest search bar, these are the pins that appear: 

You can save other people’s pins by hovering your mouse over the pin, and clicking “Save.” You will also have the option to select which of your boards you are saving it to. 

You’ll want to do a healthy mix of saving other pins, and creating your own pins. The more active you are with pinning, the more your own pins will appear in the search results when people search for keywords related to yours.

Add your own pins that others will love to share; this will broaden your reach, and get people saving and clicking your own content. 

#8 – Use essential Pinterest tools

Yes, I know, I can read your mind – you want to get back to writing your next bestseller and all this Pinterest for authors talk is tiring you out. But wait, there’s more! 

There are a lot of helpful tools you can use to make your pinning life easier.

The tools range from creating stunning graphics, to scheduling so that your pins appear consistently.

These are our favorite Pinterest for authors tools and resources:

  1. Canva: It’s free to start with, and includes pretty templates for Pinterest. Pick one style of template and run with that for some time. It’s important that your pins are consistently glorious. If you decide to upgrade, you can save time by resizing your other social media images to Pinterest size, and tweaking the image to fit. 
  2. Tailwind. The free version allows you schedule your posts, import images and even link to Instagram. Spend half a day working on your pins and post them all in a single afternoon and Tailwind will spit them out on the required day. Note: Pinterest also allows you to schedule posts when you are posting your pins directly.
  3. Piktochart. It allows you to easily create great infographics. 
  4. Pinterest’s own widgets. Be sure to install these on your website so that you can integrate your website with Pinterest. To start with I recommend the Pin it Button.
  5. Fiverr has lots of gigs for this, and as this is fairly low skilled you can try one of them.

So there you have it! Those are just eight important tips when using Pinterest for authors. 

While this all might sound like a ton of work and effort, it will be worth it in the long run.

If you commit to using Pinterest effectively and consistently, you’ll start to notice your profile and pins gaining traction in a few months. 

Pinterest is a truly powerful platform, and when used right, it can be beneficial for strengthening your author brand, building a larger audience, and learning from others. 

What are your thoughts on using Pinterest for authors? 

memoir writing

How to Write a Memoir that Impacts Lives: 8-Step Memoir Writing Guide

Is it your dream to write a memoir?

Everyone has a collection of memories and experiences that are worthy of being told… including you!

And while memoirs are powerful stories that will change the lives of both the writer and their reader, it’s important to learn how to write a memoir effectively. 

This is a piece of your life story, after all. 

Don’t make the mistake of thinking writing a memoir is like writing a journal entry, or an autobiography. 

In this article, we’ll explain the differences, and walk you through the entire memoir writing process. 

Read on to discover the secrets you need to know to make your memoir unforgettable and life-changing.

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This guide on how to write a memoir covers: 

  1. Find your memoir’s purpose
  2. Identify your target audience
  3. Plan your memoir
  4. Find source material
  5. Memoir writing legalities
  6. Common mistakes of memoir writing
  7. Start & finish your memoir
  8. Title your memoir

Let’s kick off from the very beginning…

What is a memoir?

A memoir is part of your life story in that it’s a collection of experiences, memories, or events that take place in a person’s life. It is not an autobiography, but rather a true experience from the writer’s life, that is creatively written and incorporates research

The key terms in the above definition are: moments or events.

Writing your memoir is different to journaling moments or events in your life. If you want your memoir to be successful, you will also need storytelling skills. And writing a memoir can be a complex, daunting exercise, depending on the subject or topic of your book.

It may be worthwhile to heed the advice of 20-year veteran and expert author, Jane Friedman, “It’s [memoir] not written in a way that makes it stand out, or it could be written poorly. The only antidote to this problem is to either become a better writer, or to find a more interesting story to tell.”

Over the past few years the memoir as a genre, has become very popular. You no doubt are aware of some of the memoirs that were turned into movies in recent years.

difference between autobiography and memoir

As the diagram above shows, think of an autobiography as the whole pie, and the memoir a slice of that pie. A memoir covers a certain period or specific events in your life, and not your whole life.

A memoir is…

  • Not about you. Ouch. Heed the advice from the team at NY Book Editors that your memoir is “about the lesson you’ve learned and can share with others.”
  • Not a journal. A journal is written for personal reasons, and almost certainly does not contain any storytelling elements in it. Also, there is no message in a journal.
  • Not a rant session. Keep these thoughts and feelings for your journal.

Keep this in mind even before you start planning your memoir, as NY Book Editors advise, “Your memoir is not about you. Truly it isn’t. Instead, your memoir is about the lesson you’ve learned and can share with others.”

What is a memoir example?

If you are interested in writing a memoir, I assume you have read a number of published memoirs.

You have, right?

examples of a memoir

These are some memoir examples from both well-known and lesser known authors:

  1. On Writing by Stephen King. This memoir “is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have.”
  2. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. This book came into the spotlight when the movie was made. This is a touching story, with a lot of emotion. Walls tells the story of her childhood, living with her nomadic, alcoholic parents.
  3. Beautiful Boy by David Shepp. This is another memoir that was turned into a movie recently. And also, a very emotional story. Shepp shares his life dealing with his “son’s shocking descent into substance abuse and his gradual emergence into hope.”
  4. Direct from Dell by Michael Dell. This book is “the incredible story of Dell Computer’s successful rise, beginning in his college dorm room with $1,000 in capital.” 
  5. Anyone Can Do It by Duncan Bannatyne. Similar to Dell’s memoir the topic of this memoir is business.
  6. Get Me Out of Here by Rachel Reiland. This memoir “reveals what mental illness looks and feels like from the inside, and how healing from borderline personality disorder is possible through intensive therapy and the support of loved ones.”
  7. Broken by Shy Keenan. This is a heart-wrenching story of incredible child abuse. The sub-title says it all: “The most shocking true story of abuse ever told”.
  8. The Liars’ Club is a memoir by American author Mary Karr. Published in 1995, it tells the story of Karr’s childhood in the 1960s in a small industrial town in Southeast Texas. The title refers to her father and his friends who would gather to drink and tell stories when not working at the oil refinery or the chemical plant. The book became a New York Times bestseller.”
  9. Angela’s Ashes is a 1996 memoir by the Irish-American author Frank McCourt, with various anecdotes and stories of his childhood. It details his very early childhood in Brooklyn, New York, but focuses primarily on his life in Limerick, Ireland. It also includes his struggles with poverty and his father’s alcoholism.”

Can anyone write a memoir?

While everyone may be able to write a memoir, not everyone can write a memoir successfully. 

The reason I say that is because it is linked to your “why?” and the subject matter. 

For example, if you plan to write a memoir about your years of working as a sales clerk behind the counter in a retail store, you need to ask yourself what the value of your memoir is going to be to your reader.

If you have a specific and intentional value or lesson to show the reader, then great! But if you’re just telling about your day-to-day activities with no real lesson to be learned, you may want to rethink your memoir plan.

In addition, you also need to have some storytelling skills to make your writing captivating, and exciting for the reader. 

If there isn’t value in your book, your reader will become bored, and if bad reviews start doing the rounds, it will affect the success of the book, and thus it will affect you.

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What are the key elements of a memoir?

Every successful memoir has specific key elements that contribute to its success, both from the writing standpoint and the reader’s experience. 

Now that you have a clearer picture on the exact definition of a memoir (and what makes it different from an autobiography), it’s time to get clear on a memoir’s key elements. 

These are the key elements of a memoir: 

  1. A focused theme. Your memoir should have an overarching theme, takeaway lesson, or message for your readers. It’s not just a play-by-play of your life, but rather showing the reader something based on a specific event or experience.
  2. Conflict. The most captivating and memorable memoirs out there are those that have a hero’s journey, or obstacles that the narrator must overcome. 
  3. Writing style. The reader is likely reading the story from your perspective, so make sure you’re writing style and author’s voice comes through your narrative. This is your chance to invite the reader into your world and tell a story from your life, so add some personality to it. 
  4. Use supporting stories and details. While this is a memoir about your particular experience, your memoir will be stronger if you’re able to inject stories from other people’s lives that move your narrative along.
  5. Storytelling elements. Your memoir needs to be an engaging, emotional experience for the reader, and the best way to create this is by incorporating the elements of storytelling. Draw on character development, story setting, exciting plot, literary elements, and more. 
  6. Truth. Lastly, your memoir needs to be an honest reflection of your life experience. While it’s okay to highlight and draw attention to certain details, make sure your memoir is factual. This is not only important from a storytelling standpoint but from a legal position, too.
quotation on storytelling skills

How do you start writing a memoir?

It’s easy to get inspired by your dream to write a memoir, but before you get started, there are some cold hard truths to be mindful of. 

Acknowledging the realities of memoir writing will help you manage your expectations and re-define what a successful memoir means for you. 

Here are four crucial truths to know before you start your memoir:

  1. What’s in it for the reader? If you’re not a celebrity, or well-known, it may not be realistic for you to find instant world-wide success. Getting people interested in your memoir is more difficult than writing a “how to” book. That’s why it’s important you angle your memoir in a way that readers can benefit from. We’ll go into that later. 
  2. Consider the topic. The subject or topic of your memoir has a big influence on how successful the book will be.
  3. Your writing craft matters. Storytelling is important in a memoir. That isn’t to say that you need to be a super talented writer to publish a successful memoir, but you do have to use the key elements of story for your memoir.
  4. Prepare to be emotionally-overwhelmed. Writing a memoir can be a tremendous experience, but it can also be daunting depending on the topic or subject matter. For example, if you want to write a memoir about your years in foster care, where you were possibly subject to abuse, re-visiting the memories can be traumatic. Your memoir can also be a healing process.

Redefine Your Success 

Naturally, only you can determine what success means to you. Later I share the importance of identifying who your reader is and this can make a difference between your memoir succeeding or flopping in the market.

As I mentioned above, the writing of a memoir can be therapeutic, and you may want to write your memoir for your own personal benefit, and there certainly is no rule that says you cannot do that.

But I want to enable you to create a work of art that you can be proud of. Also, I want to share the reality of what writing in this genre is about, and what it entails.

Every memoir has a specific target audience, and depending on the subject of the book, it could affect how successful the memoir is. Your niche may be small, which means less readers will be interested in your particular memoir.

So, it’s important to get clarity on your expectations and definition of success before you commit to learn how to write a memoir.

Step 1- Find Your Memoir’s Purpose

Why do you want to write a memoir, exactly? What’s the reason that drives your ambition to learn memoir writing?

Before writing any nonfiction book, your “Why?” (the reason) is important. 

Writing a book is a marathon, not a sprint. That isn’t to say that writing a book has to take years, either. With a proven strategy, you can quickly get the ball rolling.

But it starts with knowing your why, especailly with memoir writing, because your why is what will push you through when the going gets tough.

If you don’t have a strong “why?”, the motivation and determination to write the book will be almost impossible.

Tips for discovering the “why” of your memoir:

  1. Accept the process. It can be hard, but also exhilarating to write a memoir. Accept that there will be roadblocks, then ask yourself why it will be worth the struggles.
  2. Make time to think. Spend some time thinking about your reason(s) why you want to write your memoir.
  3. Freewrite. Before you write, even before you start your outline; brainstorm the reason (your “why?”) you want to write it. Use pen and paper, or fire up your favorite word processor and think about the reason(s).
  4. Don’t make your “why” about money or recognition. Although these can be part of the reason for writing, your “Why?” should be deeper than that, like changing lives or leaving a legacy. 
write a memoir that benefits readers

Discover your memoir’s purpose

Even if you are not a celebrity, but your memoir has a powerful message – encouraging, inspirational, motivational, or helpful in some other way – you may find that your book really takes off.

What do you want your reader to take away from your memoir?

Remember: It’s not about you as the writer. It’s about how your story can benefit your reader.

For example, let’s say that you started a small business with a partner, and the partnership went sour. You lost everything. Now, you write a memoir about your experiences and what you learned about a business partnership, both the pros and the cons (from personal experience). Your ideal reader will be someone who is planning on starting a business with a partner. In other words, what will she learn by reading your memoir?

Every nonfiction book has a purpose. For example, the purpose of a “How-to Book” is to show or teach the reader how to do something.

A memoir is no different.

To find your memoir’s purpose, go back to your why. Think about your core reason for writing a memoir, and brainstorm how this reason serves a purpose. That will help you clarify the purpose of your book.

Looking at the published memoirs I mentioned earlier, let’s look briefly at what their purposes are…

  • Beautiful Boy. The purpose of this memoir is to illustrate the value of human endurance, love, and perseverance in dealing with drug addiction. Sheff offers encouragement and inspiration for his reader.
  • Anyone Can Do It. Bannatyne offers his reader inspiration in that anyone can achieve business success through being alert and persevering.
  • On Writing. The purpose of King’s book is to educate and encourage anyone interested in the writing craft.

Knowing the purpose of your memoir can help you identify your audience, and as such identify a market for your book. This will be invaluable when the time comes to promote your memoir.

Step 2 – Identify your target audience

With your purpose defined, you can now look at who your target audience is.

Identifying who your ideal reader (target audience) is, will go a long way to how you write your book, and it will certainly affect the marketing and promotion of your memoir.

Having the purpose of your memoir nailed down, you can now ask:

  • Who is my typical reader? Define who they are, like their background, age range, career, interests, fears, etc.
  • What are they looking for in a memoir? Does this reader expect to see heavier research, specific words and phrases, or actionable takeaways they can apply to their own lives?
  • What categories does this reader belong in? Maybe your memoir is targeted at entrepreneurs, young parents-to-be, or people dealing with illness.
  • Where do these readers consume information? Think of where you can reach these readers. These could be blogs and forums on the subject of your memoir. Think of where your readers can be found offline, too (clubs, organisations, associations, etc.). 

When you consider your audience, it is almost certain that your audience will be people similar to you when writing a memoir. In other words you want to help people who are in the same position you were. Or, you want to inspire people with your memoir, and then also, it will be people who have similar experiences or dreams as you.

Think “outside the box”. In many cases (especially for a memoir) there could be secondary audiences.

how to write a memoir infograph

Step 3 – Plan Your Memoir

Without proper planning, your memoir will take a lot longer to write. 

After your initial questions are answered, you can start the actual planning of your memoir. This can include:

  • Mindmap (Hero’s Journey)
  • A text list
  • Outline (questions)

Stage 1: Mindmap a Hero’s Journey

Using a mindmap to start the planning of your memoir can be a time saver, and it can also help in establishing the story of your memoir.

  1. Plan the events. What event(s) and period is your memoir going to cover? For example, my time spent in the navy, my years at the orphanage, my life in foster care, how I started a side hustle and built it into a 6-figure company, etc.
  2. Use questions. As you build your mindmap, think of questions you want to, and can ask. These will form the basis for your outline.
  3. Keep it simple at first. Start with a basic mindmap, and in order to add the storytelling element to your memoir, use your mindmap to create a 3-act structure (or Hero’s Journey) diagram.
three act structure of a life story

The above diagram I created after doing my mindmap, when I planned my second memoir. This was an A3 sheet, and I then used a pen to build the story structure of my memoir.

Stage 2: Make a List

Expand your mindmap items and make a list (or lists) of the main points of your story. The list can be short answers to the questions you asked yourself.

Because the idea at this stage is to get the ideas down on paper quickly, these can be short phrases or sentences.

Paula Balzer Writing and Selling Your Memoir

This is an example from my second memoir (you’ll notice these tie in with the 3-act diagram above):

  1. Where it started – a kid, with my friend; make pocket money
  2. Reading a certain book – big influence on me – gave me the foundation
  3. First side hustle; photography [photo of camera] – week-ends & nights – good extra income
  4. And so on…

Tip: Make notes on your mindmap of what source material (research) you will need. In my list above, I noted (in [brackets]) that I want to find a photo of the camera I used.

Stage 3: Outline your memoir

With your mindmap and list done, you can now start writing the basic outline of your memoir.

Read our full article on how to write a memoir outline here.

The value of an outline when writing any nonfiction book is priceless; with writing a memoir, it’s invaluable.

With a memoir you will be covering a certain timespan, and events that occurred, and relying only on memory, this can be an arduous task.

Some of the basic questions to get started are (in no specific order):

  • What event(s) am I going to cover?
  • What is the timescale of my memoir?
  • Who are the characters (the people) in my memoir?
  • What source material do I need? Where will I get this?
  • Will I need to interview anyone? When/how can I do this?

Use your list (and questions) and start to create your outline.

Every writer is unique and we all have our own best method of outlining. Here are some ideas for outlining your book. Find what works for you, and start your outline.

Step 4 – Find Source Material (Research)

Don’t try and rely on your memory alone. If you have any type of source material, gather this and file it.

This is applicable whether the time period of your memoir covers a number of years, or only a few years. Use the notes you made on your list – you may think of more source material you need as you do this.

Before you start to gather your source material, create a filing system (either physical, on the computer, or both.) Here is a suggested folder structure you could create on your computer:

life story info sources

If your source material is not sorted and filed, it can turn into an incredible time waster when writing your memoir. You will appreciate the rewards for the time spent in your preparation.

Think of what (and how much) research you need to do. This will give you an idea of how much work is needed before you put pen to paper (or hit the keyboard).

Another tool you should consider is setting up a writing schedule. This can help you a lot in getting the actual writing of your memoir done within a realistic time frame. Otherwise it can tend to drag on for years.

If you want the writing of your memoir to go smoothly, I cannot emphasise enough the incredible value of thorough preparation.

Step 5 – Memoir Writing Legalities

Full disclosure: We are not attorneys, and do not offer legal advice.

Heed the advice of Nomi Isak, from Los Angeles Editors & Writers Group: “Before publishing your memoir, get feedback from others and, if necessary, consult an attorney.”

Here’s what you need to know to avoid being sued with your memoir: “If your facts will not hold up as 100% true in a court of law, you can open yourself up to defamation. Before you write, make sure to check your facts. You want to know that if you’re writing about something controversial, that you’re not fabricating the truth.” 

Tips to avoid being sued:

  1. Don’t lie in your memoir. 
  2. Understand your right to free speech. 
  3. Be aware of defamation and invasion of privacy issues. 

We cover more on this topic in this article on the legal aspects of memoirs.

Step 6 – Be mindful of these common memoir mistakes 

As you begin to write, it’s important to identify the common mistakes made by those writing a memoir. 

By keeping these front of mind before you start writing, and during your writing process, you’ll be prepared to avoid these mistakes as much as possible. 

Here are the common mistakes in memoirs:

  1. Boring story. This was the mistake I made with my first memoir. There was no storytelling, and the structure was… Boring. I will always be grateful that a friend reviewed the manuscript and offered his honest advice. Be aware of this and ask a trusted friend or family member to read your manuscript before you send it to the professional editor and publisher.
  2. More than one book. This can be a real problem. As you start thinking about your memoir, it is possible that you want to include too much information, and the end result is that there is more than one book in your memoir. This can be overwhelming for your reader and is not what a memoir is about.
  3. Not focusing on the reader. Review the sections on finding your “why” to make sure you don’t make this mistake. Again, this was a mistake I made with my first memoir – I wrote it only from my view, and for me. There was nothing for the reader to glean. 
  4. Chronology. Memoirs have a general format, and to make it easier for your reader, your memoir should follow a chronological order.

Step 7 – How to Start a Memoir…And Finish It

Keep your outline handy as you write to use as a roadmap for your writing, and prevent blank page syndrome.  It also goes a long way in avoiding writer’s block.

As a memoir is such a personal type of book, and relies on memory (or historical source material), I suggest the following writing stages. Naturally, you do what works and is comfortable for you.

Here’s how to start writing your memoir:

  1. Rough draft. This is all about speed – just get your ideas down on the page (or computer screen). Write, write, write.
  2. First draft. You can now tidy up your writing and add any source material that you may need. At this stage you should look at the completeness of your manuscript, i.e. is everything in that needs to be in? See how to start writing a book for more ideas on beginning to write a book. 
  3. Second draft. Now you look closer at your manuscript, and your story. At this stage, you want your book to take shape as a story. Refer back to your 3-act diagram.
  4. Final Draft. Now you bring out your magnifying glass. I would suggest printing a copy of your Second Draft, and check the physical copy. Read your manuscript as a book – check how the story flows, is there anything that’s unclear, are all your cross-references correct (if you use them), etc?

Go back to the section on the key elements of memoir writing, and be sure to incorporate those elements while you are writing. This will save you some developmental work later on, and ensure your memoir is written well. 

To finish writing your schedule, it will take consistency, determination, and self-control.

Here are some tips to finish writing your memoir:

  1. Set aside time for writing and make a schedule. Then, stick to that schedule as much as you can!
  2. Acknowledge and overcome any feelings of imposter syndrome that prevent you from writing.
  3. Take breaks from writing if you need them, but do not give up entirely.
  4. Write first, edit later. Do not edit while you write. Save this for your editing process. Just focus on getting the words out first.
  5. Create a writing routine. Write at a specific time in the day, or in a specific area. Use positive affirmations, inspirational quotes, and have a warm cup of coffee or tea at your beckon.
  6. Communicate with your family and friends about your writing goals. This will help them understand the importance of your writing time.
  7. Use hacks to write faster if you’re really feeling motivated. Try speaking your book.
  8. Don’t aim for perfection. This is a common mistake most aspiring authors make. Done is better than perfect. You can always edit and refine your words later.

Step 8 – Title Your Memoir

When you start planning your memoir, you will likely have a working title, and that may change, especially after you start writing your book. Perfectly normal.

The subject of your memoir will usually determine your title. Look at the titles of the memoirs I have referenced in this series, and notice the titles for the different types of memoirs to draw inspiration.

The right title is important when your book is ready to be published. It can be more valuable than your book’s cover design, although they go together like a horse and carriage. My advice is not to just pick the first title that comes to mind.

A tool I like to use when I have a new title is this title analyzer.

Keep in mind this is software, and you know the contents of your book, therefore the ultimate decision lies with you, the author.

Memoir Writing Next Steps 

Once your memoir manuscript is written, it’s time to get it ready to be published. 

This means preparing it for the editor, having it professionally edited and a book cover designed, then completing the entire publishing process. 

Hopefully, this memoir writing guide will help you launch into action.

You have a life experience to share – a life experience that will contribute to your legacy and impact the lives of readers all around the world.

Are you ready to positively change lives with your story?

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how to promote your book

How to Promote Your Book: Creative Book Promotion Ideas

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:

  1. Getting consistent book sales and;
  2. 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.

No matter what your end goal is for your book – to build a writing career, grow a business, or impact millions of lives – the consensus is clear:

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!

But first…

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:

book cover examples

Here are the top recommendations for online book cover designers: 

  1. 99 Designs – a network of designers
  2. Ebook Launch – services specifically for eBooks and print
  3. 100 Covers – cover design and book production services
  4. Fiverr – freelancers of all sort
  5. Upwork – another freelancer website
  6. 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? 

Download your FREE Book Launch Checklist here!

(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:

sales page copy for book

Your book description should include highly-optimized keywords selected from Dave Chesson’s Publisher Rocket software.

(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.

optimizing keywords for 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.

author collaboration swap outreach copy

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:

email list copy for authors

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:

Landing page sample for book

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:

  1. 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.
  2. BookBub Advertising. Creating highly-targeted ads to promote your book on the platform is a powerful way to increase book sales.
  3. Recommendations. Recommending other authors’ books will increase your author activity on the site, increase engagement, and build your own readership.
  4. Pre-Release. Using Bookbub’s pre-release feature is another strong way to increase book sales.
  5. 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.
  6. 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:

creating a new book ad

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:

ad creative for book
ad creative for book 2

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.

ctr links and retailer targeting for books

Step 5: Adjust audience targeting. The next area is the audience targeting. You should see this section for that:

audience targeting

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:

cost per impression and cost each time someone clicks

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.

Planning to include a lead magnet together with your book makes it super-easy for readers to discover your brand and join your thriving community.

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:

  1. Action guide
  2. Checklists
  3. Catalog
  4. Workbooks
  5. Worksheets
  6. Cheatsheet
  7. Templates
  8. Video series
  9. 15-minute coaching session
  10. Next chapter of the next book for free
  11. Email newsletter

After creating a lead magnet, you should consider placing it here:

  1. Lead Magnet in a Book (Front and Back Matter).
  2. On Your Author Website
  3. Link on Your Amazon Author Page
  4. Social Media Pages, including your Facebook Author Page
  5. Blog Posts (embedded in content or at end of post)

Here are some lead magnet images:

Box series mark dawnson
newsletter for scott allan book

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:

  1. Launch a new book: Stack up your promo week with book promo ads.
  2. 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:

https://www.readersintheknow.com/list-of-book-promotion-sites

You can check out Dave Chesson’s blog on the Best 127+ sites to use for free and paid.

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).

Buckbooks

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

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.

https://robinreads.com

Note: Tough to book in advance. RRs calendar is booked out 3-6 weeks in advance.

Pricing: $85.00

Reviews: 10 Reviews Needed.

BookSends

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. 

Pricing:$40.

BKnights [Fiverr]

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.

eReader News

Great gig but can be hard to get approved. Takes several days for a response. $50.00. http://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.

Pricing: $50.00

Booksbutterfly

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. 

Book Dealio

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: $70

The Fussy Librarian

[http://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

Bargain Booksy

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

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).

http://awesomegang.com

Accepts: Free and discounted books

Review requirements: 0 reviews needed.

Paid promotion: $10

Book Runes

[http://bookrunes.com/]. Global reach with over 50k mailing list, $25—$35. Good results. Trustworthy Site.

Reviews: No reviews needed.

For Fiction and Nonfiction

My Book Cave

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.”

https://mybookcave.com

For Fiction and Nonfiction

Reviews: 10 Reviews Recommended.

Pricing: $19—$31 (depends on genre)

Choosy Bookworm

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

eReader IQ

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”

https://www.ereaderiq.com/

Accepts: Free and discounted books

Review requirements:

Paid promotion from: $10

General nonfiction for 0.99 cents: $20

BookDoggy

$20 for featured book. No reviews needed. Average/good results. Strong promo. https://bookdoggy.com/for-authors/

Digital Book Today

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.

http://digitalbooktoday.com

Pricing: $30.00

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.

Mastery Series

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.

Book Characteristics

Requirements for creating a book series page:

  1. Must have a minimum of 2 books available and ready for purchase
  2. Books must be in same series
  3. Books must be by the same author
  4. Must be published through KDP
  5. Must have the correct name in the Series name field (series names must match)
  6. 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
  7. Must be available to buy.
  8. 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).
  9. 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.

book series example

(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:

box set example

Or with 2 books:

two books sales strategy

(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. 

Conclusion

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!

how to publish an ebook

How to Publish an eBook: Step-By-Step eBook Publishing

You want to learn how to publish an eBook on Amazon, and it’s no wonder…

In 2017 alone, there were 266 million eBooks sold! That statistic alone proves why eBook publishing in 2020 is a must for any author.

how to publish an ebook

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform, also known as KDP, is the most widely used self-publishing platform in the world.

Amazon is now responsible for 85% of eBook sales worldwide. This means as an author, if you are ready to publish, you need to learn how to self-publish with Amazon.

With Amazon self-publishing, you can reach the world’s largest book audience and earn up to 70% royalty on your eBooks.

free copy of published for authors and writers

But, there are many steps to consider as you learn how to become an author of an eBook – and in this guide, we’ll show you exactly how.

Here are the steps to publish an eBook:

  1. Write your eBook
  2. Create an Amazon KDP account
  3. Format your eBook for publishing
  4. Add your eBook details
  5. Choose keywords & categories
  6. Select an eBook publishing date
  7. Upload your eBook files
  8. Publish your eBook
  9. Create an eBook promotion plan

Why should you learn how to publish an eBook on Amazon?

Short answer: We live in a digital world, and eBooks are a sign of the times.

Think about it! People are on-the-go and rely on their technology devices for entertainment, information, and education.

With the eBook reader’s invention, the idea of having a digital book on your device is convenient, and more readers are seeking out this convenience.

A couple decades ago, when writers were learning how to publish a book, there weren’t many options besides traditional publishing, which was exclusive to certain authors.

Related: Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

But now… modern aspiring authors (or even those who want to grow their business or make an impact on other lives), are turning to self-publishing to achieve their goals.

Today’s self published authors are taking charge of their writing careers by owning the entire publishing process, for both print, audio, and eBooks.

Here are the main benefits of publishing an eBook:

  1. Easy publishing. Gone are the days when authors had to wait on someone else to publish their book. The eBook publishing process is easy, user-friendly, and can be done with the click of a button.
  2. Low-cost. Publishing your eBook is free on Amazon, but you’ll still want to make an initial investment on professional services like cover design and formatting to get your book ready to be published.
  3. Maximized reach. Get wide distribution of your eBook to readers all around the world without ever mailing anything out.
  4. Passive income. Many people turn to eBooks to generate passive income (they can sell eBooks anytime, anywhere without lifting a finger once its published.) Use this Book Royalties Calculator Tool to determine your book’s possible profits.
  5. Grow your platform. Many bloggers, entrepreneurs, and online business owners use eBooks to leverage their platform, build raving fans and customers, and create book funnels to increase revenue.

There are so many benefits to eBook publishing no matter who you are, or what your goals are.

How to publish an eBook on Amazon

Use the steps below to complete the process from start to finish. As you navigate through each step, be sure to use the images and examples listed below to guide you along the way.

#1 – Write your eBook

First, you need to write your eBook on a topic that you know, and can produce engaging content on.

Many people overthink this process, but the beauty of an eBook is that you can always make changes once its published, and it shouldn’t be extremely long (like a novel might be.)

Generally, eBooks are on nonfiction topics, but you can use it for creative writing if that’s relevant to your niche.

Related: How to Write a Nonfiction Book

These are the quick steps to writing an eBook:

#2 – Create an Amazon Publishing account

You need an Amazon account to publish with Kindle Direct Publishing. If you don’t have one, that’s the first step you need to complete to learn how to publish an eBook on Amazon.

  • Go to https://kdp.amazon.com and register your Amazon account.
  • Click on “Self Publish With Us” tab and click on that.
  • Click on the “Get started” button.
how to publish an ebook on amazon
  • Sign in with your Amazon login credentials.
  • Set up your tax details when prompted
  • Click “Finished” to start setting up your book
self-publishing an ebook

#3 – Format for book publishing

Your eBook files must be properly formatted in order for it to be uploaded to the Amazon platform.

For help with determining which eBook file to use, read this guide on EPUB vs MOBI.

You can hire a professional formatter if you want, or you can format the book yourself.

Here’s a guide that walks you through the formatting process for KDP.

If you plan to publish more than one eBook, you may want to invest in a book formatting software such as Vellum. It’s a relatively low investment, and it’s simple to use.

#4 – Add your eBook details

Once your book is properly formatted, it’s time to start the uploading process in KDP.

Step #1: Set up your eBook

  • Select “Kindle eBook”
  • Click “Create a New Title.”
  • Click on the “+” for setting up your Kindle eBook.
  • Sign in again with your Amazon password. This takes you inside your KDP Bookshelf.
  • Enter all the details for your book, including uploading the content, your cover, and finally, choosing the pricing and publishing.
publishing on kdp

But first, it’s important you understand the four tabs on this page in order to learn how to publish an eBook correctly.

Here is a brief explanation about the four tabs on the KDP page:

kindle direct publishing
  1. Bookshelf: The bookshelf is where you are now if you are following along with this post. In your Bookshelf you will create your eBook.
  2. Reports: Track your book sales, royalties earned, sales history and generate monthly or yearly reports for all your book sales activity. This is my favorite page!
  3. Community: Engage with Amazon’s stellar published authors in a discussion forum. Get your questions answered and ask for help from other self-published authors. You can also access the KDP Community Guidelines.
  4. KDP Select: This is Amazon’s exclusivity program for authors. I’ll cover this in more detail later but, for now, you can read about KDP Select here.

Now, let’s set your book up for publication.

As an example of how to do this, I will use one of my books Undefeated throughout the rest of this post.

Step #2: Title your eBook

Your book title and subtitle are two very critical components of your book’s future success. Having said this, you want to come up with a compelling book title that drives a browser’s interest into clicking on your book and ultimately buying.

Related: Nonfiction Book Title Generator

Here are a few tips for the perfect book title:

  1. Your Title/Subtitle includes a solution to a problem: Your title should be crystal clear on what your readers will learn by reading your book. What will they be able to achieve? What will be the big gain?
  2. Implement a hook: This is what grabs your potential readers attention and draws them into your self-published eBook. The title conveys something they want.
  3. List the core benefits: Your potential readers want to know what they will get from reading your book. You should provide enough tantalizing information to stir emotions in your readers. They want what you are promising to deliver.
  4. Keep your subtitle clear and simple: Many authors try to get too creative with titles, but they end up sounding clunky. A great subtitle rolls off the tongue like a well-scripted poem. Keep it simple, yet magnetic.
  5. Include your master keywords: We will get into keywords further down but, you want to include your keywords in the title. But avoid keyword stuffing. It has to look and sound natural.

Now, fill in your eBook title and subtitle now.

how to publish an ebook

Step #3: Add a series and edition number

Series: This section only applies to authors that have already published a series of books. If you have a series of books, go ahead and fill in the series name and volume number now. If not, leave this blank.

Edition Number: You can provide an edition number if this title is a new edition of an existing book.

self-publishing an ebook

Step #4 – Add your author name

This step in the blueprint of how to publish en eBook is pretty self-explanatory, but important to do nonetheless!

Fill in your author name. If you use a pen name you have to write this name in, and not your real name. The name you enter here is what will appear on your book’s page.

As for contributors, you can add the names of people who helped to create the book. This could be your book editor, foreword contributor, illustrator, cover designer, or narrator.

Add contributors

Related: Amazon Author Central

Step #5: Write an eBook description

Your title and subtitle will grab your reader’s attention and drive curiosity. But it’s the book description that will seal the deal.

When self-publishing an eBook, you need a powerful book description in order for potential buyers to read what it’s about.

Here’s why your book description is important:

  1. It is a sales page crafted to capture the interest of your reader.
  2. Amazon’s A9 algorithm scans the book description for relevant keywords indexed by Amazon.
  3. It is the critical barrier for browsers to make a final decision on buying your book…or not.

A great book description means you’re likely to sell more books.

publishing an ebook

What is the best way to craft a magnetic book description? You can learn how to use HTML and insert it into your book description, or…

For the best results, we recommend using the Free Amazon Book Description generator:

Amazon book description

Step #6: Verify your eBook publishing rights

As the author of the book, you hold the necessary publishing rights. There are only two choices here so take the first one, as seen below:

publishing rights

Your book is legally copyrighted as soon as it is written.

If you want to learn how to publish an eBook the right way, take the necessary steps to protect your intellectual property as a self-published author.

Related: How to Copyright A Self-Published Book

free copy of published for authors and writers

#5 – Choose eBook keywords & categories

Keywords and categories are important for your eBooks success on Amazon’s platform, so don’t skip this step.

Keywords are the specific words that customers are plugging into the Amazon search bar to locate material relevant to their interests.

You are allowed to insert 7 keywords for your book on Amazon.

For example, if you are looking for a book on writing children’s books, you could type in the keyword, “How to Write a Children’s Book” and here are the results you get:

self-publish ebook

Use these tools to find keywords for your eBook:

Choosing eBook categories

There are over 20,000+ categories on Amazon, and finding the right one for your book is an important step as you learn how to publish your eBook on Amazon. With so many to choose from, where do you start?

Well, in your bookshelf, under the categories section, you can see this is all broken down from main categories into subcategories. From there, niche it down even further.

Amazon wants your book to be found so they have provided specific categories for your book to be positioned. But you can only select 2 browse categories from within the bookshelf. BUT…

You can choose ten book categories overall for your eBook.

When it comes to selecting your eBook’s categories, you want:

  • Categories that are low to medium in competition
  • Relevant to your niche
  • Categories with good traffic

To rank as a bestseller on Amazon, you have to hit the #1 spot in at least one category.

In the previous step we mentioned the Publisher Rocket software for looking up relevant keywords. Now, for categories, this is the best approach that saves you loads of time. It takes the guesswork out of category selection.

To get approved for more Amazon book categories, you simply contact Amazon directly through the Contact Us tab. Send Amazon an email with a list of your additional categories and the team will insert your book into requested categories within hours.

how to publish an ebook on amazon

#6 – Select your eBook publishing date

The next step in how to self-publish an eBook on Amazon is to select your book release option.

You have two options for releasing your eBook on Amazon:

  • Release it now: This means you are not doing pre-order but, by the time you are finished filling in all the book details, you will launch immediately. If this is not the case, click on the “save draft” option at the bottom of the page. You can publish your book at anytime after all these steps are completed.
  • Make your book available for pre order: Here you can learn about Amazon’s pre order book release process. I would recommend this if you can drive traffic to your book before it is released. It is a good strategy for getting your book to start ranking before it is even live in the store.
book release

Now, select the option that’s right for you and keep going.

#7 – Upload your eBook files

The technical publishing process is almost complete! While entering all of the details for your eBook are tedious, it’s still easier than you might think!

Here are the steps to upload your files:

digital rights management

The supported eBook formats accepted are listed below:

supported ebook formats
  • Click on the button “Upload eBook manuscript” from the second page of your shelf.
  • Select your saved eBook file from your computer
  • Click “Upload your cover file.”
  • Select your cover file from your desktop to upload it.

Note: You can upload the manuscript as many times as you want and the new version will override the existing file.

upload your cover

Now that your manuscript and book cover is uploaded, you can now check the book files with the eBook previewer:

kindle ebook preview

Next, you’ll be prompted on ISBNs. If you don’t buy an ISBN of your own, Amazon will provide one for you free of charge for paperbacks only.

Click to learn how to get an ISBN. If you are planning to publish multiple books, I would recommend you buy a block of 10 or 100 ISBNs.

Next, you can opt to enroll in Amazon’s exclusivity program KDP Select.

Related: Kindle Unlimited Review & Guide For Authors

Lastly, you’ll verify your eBook publishing territories and be on your way!

amazon publishing territory rights

#8 – Publish your eBook to Amazon

You’re in the home stretch! While we’ve covered a ton of information, it’s all valuable content for you to know so that you can make an informed decision.

There are a few more steps to finish, then you will officially be a published author!

Price your eBook and royalty options

A common question often asked is: “How much should my book be after the launch is over?”

This is always up to the author.  But to help you decide, there are two royalty options for your book: 35% and 70%. If your book is below $2.99, you must choose 35%. Between $2.99 and $9.99, you are paid 70% of the sale of your eBook. So, ideally you want your book priced within this range.

The royalty payments do vary depending on the country, but you can learn more here: KDP Select pricing page.

Generally, the 70% royalty option is the better choice, because it pays the most.

Related: Book Royalties Calculator

As a suggestion, if you are just starting out you may want to price your book between $2.99 and $4.99. As your platform grows, consider raising the price to $5.99, $6.99 and eventually $7.99.

Checkout the Digital Pricing Page for a breakdown of royalty options.

amazon pricing support

Digital Delivery Cost: It’s worth noting Amazon does charge a delivery fee that varies on book size. As stated, refer to the Pricing Page for a breakdown of these deliver fees.

amazon royalties details

Publishing your eBook to Amazon

In this step, we’ll cover the final parts of this blueprint on how to publish an eBook on Amazon.

Here are some terms for you to know:

  • The Matchbook program: This allows customers to purchase your digital eBook at a discounted offer of $1.99, 0.99 or free, when they buy your print book.
  • Kindle Book Lending: Allows people who have purchased your eBook to lend a copy to someone else to read, only after a short waiting period. This program also pays royalties to you when the book is lent out, and read, similar to the Kindle Unlimited program.
  • Terms and Conditions: You can find the most current version of Amazon’s Terms and Conditions here.
how to self publish an ebook

Now, publish your eBook. Hit publish and your Kindle eBook will be live within 24 hours.

#9 – Sell your eBook

You’ve learned how to publish an eBook…what’s next? It’s time to get your eBook onto the devices of as many readers as possible, so you need to launch that book!

Do you know what you need to have a successful launch? 

Download your FREE Book Launch Checklist here!

To that, you need to create a promotional strategy for your eBook, which includes various marketing strategies, such as advertisements on promo sites like BookBub.

Make sure you have a book marketing plan and launch this book like a pro.

This means you could sign up for one of the best self-publishing courses and start working with the top-rated self-publishing companies to navigate through the process with support.

Now is your time!

What other questions do you have about how to self-publish an eBook?

free copy of published for authors and writers
book marketing

14 Essential Book Marketing Ideas for Every Author

Book marketing… some authors shudder at the concept, and reasonably so.

Marketing your book can be terrifying, especially if it pulls you out of your comfort zone and into uncharted territory. 

You’ve just written a book and courageously shared your words for all the world to see. That in itself is a fear many don’t conquer!

And now, you’re on to the next big challenge. How do you get your published book into the hands of readers amidst the ever-growing sea of competition? 

Fact: Your book marketing plan will make or break your book’s success.

No matter what your end goal is for your book – to build a writing career, grow a business, or impact thousands of lives – the consensus is clear: Effective book marketing is key to your book’s success.

Otherwise, your book, along with hundreds of others, will be lost at sea – never to be discovered by the readers you want to reach.

If you’ve already published your book, you can start implementing these marketing ideas now.

And if you haven’t yet published, you can start working these ideas into your book launch plan.

Do you know what you need to have a successful book launch? 

Download your FREE Book Launch Checklist here!

Let’s avoid that by covering powerful book marketing ideas and techniques that every author should be incorporating into their book marketing plan. 

Here are the top book marketing ideas to promote your book:

  1. Author Websites
  2. Social Media Book Marketing
  3. Book Promotion Sites
  4. Podcast Book Marketing
  5. Guest Writing Opportunities
  6. Amazon Author Page Optimization
  7. Wide Distribution Programs
  8. Public Relations for Book Promotion
  9. Book Promotion Contests 
  10. Book Marketing with Paid Ads 
  11. Marketing with Book Trailers
  12. Limited-Time Discounts 
  13. Live Streaming Book Marketing
  14. Book Discussion Forums 

What is book marketing?

Book marketing is the process of promoting, selling, and increasing awareness about your book. It involves promotion techniques, advertising strategies, and outreach. 

What is a book marketing plan?

A book marketing plan relies on differentiated, specific strategies to get your book into the hands of your target audience (this is who you wrote your book for!). 

Effectively marketing your book will ensure your book reaches the right readers (those you can help the most), promotes your author name, and allows you to grow your platform

Book Marketing vs Book Promotion

The terms book marketing and book promotion essentially refer to the same concept, and the phrases are often used interchangeably.

Book marketing should be viewed as the “big picture” and can include an overall plan with specific strategies and tactics. Book promotion is what fits under the big picture, and it can be defined as the specific tactics that fall under the overall book marketing plan.

What does a book marketer do?


A book marketer carries out activities intended to get books into the hands of the right readers. You can market your own work as an author or hire specialist book marketers to act on your behalf.

Why is book marketing important?

You wrote and published a book, and crickets. That’s the trap many authors fall into. 

Don’t think that your work ends as a published author once you’ve published the book. Some would argue that’s when the real work begins. But let’s be honest, the entire publishing process can be tricky to navigate – book marketing included.

The importance of book marketing lies in being proactive in gaining new readership and selling more books. 

To avoid releasing your book into an audience that’s not listening because they don’t know your book exists, it’s crucial to devise a solid book marketing plan. 

Reasons book marketing is important for every author: 

  1. It helps you reach more readership and get new book fans.
  2. It helps you get more book reviews on Amazon.
  3. It enables you to generate more book sales.
  4. Book marketing is a lead-generator to networking.
  5. It helps you establish a substantial audience and community interested in your book(s).

When is the best time to launch a book marketing plan? 

The biggest mistake many authors make is to think a book marketing plan only needs to cover the initial book launch, right after the book is published. 

In reality, a book marketing plan is most successful when it’s evergreened – or, continuously happening before, during, and way after the book has been published. 

While this sounds like a lot of work, you’ll find that there are a ton of book marketing ideas that help you automate your book writing plan. 

When should you start marketing your book?

You need to learn how to market your book and devise a strategy early on in your book writing journey. 

#1 – Pre-launch book promotion

Start marketing your book a year or more prior to publishing. This tactic will enable you to establish a solid fan base and gain authority. 

Ideally, this is the best time to create your author website and grow your email list by creating valuable content for your readers.

Also, create and optimize your social media profiles, and grow your followers and email list (we’ll cover more on this later). 

It will make marketing your book during your launch a breeze.

#2 – During launch book promotion

 The launching period is the peak time to market your book. As a self-published author, you should launch your book at the ideal moment – when the book topic is trending. 

The key is to do your research and find the optimal time to launch based on your book’s topic.

An example: If you’re writing a recipe book, the ideal moment is during the holidays when people are trying new recipes and cooking at home a lot. Launch your business book during the graduation season when graduates are looking for ways to earn money. 

#3 – Post launch book promotion

Don’t stop book buzzing simply because you’ve launched it and you have sizeable readers. 

Keep marketing your book and grow as an author. Continue building your readership base. It will make it easier to sell your other books, especially if you are writing a series.

You can market your book after launching through your email list, attending book forums, interviews, and speaking in book-related events and discussion forums.

Book Marketing Ideas

Book marketing isn’t rocket science, so try not to feel intimidated if you’re not familiar with marketing as a whole. 

When it comes to your book, you’re passionate about what you wrote, and the message you are sharing. Let that passion fuel your motivation to effectively promote your book so that you can impact more lives and grow your reach.

Let’s look at the book marketing ideas you can leverage and use to increase both readership and book sales.

1 – Create an author website

In our digital age, a website is like real estate. You need a web presence to promote your book, especially if you are a self-published author. 

An author website is a powerful platform dedicated to your books that YOU own (not Amazon or a traditional publisher).  

The ideal time to create an author website is during the pre-launch period. The time you’re still writing your manuscript.

Find a web designer to help you set up a website if you want it done quickly and professionally. Create essential pages on your site like the contact page, about page, blog, book(s) page etc.

Here is some inspiration from author websites:

Bestselling indie author Scott Allan has a clean website that serves as a hub for all of his books. He mainly writes nonfiction, and his website theme goes well with his genre. 

examples of an author website for marketing

USA Today bestselling author Julie James has an on-brand website and blog that features her book, and also has her own promotion tab in the site’s menu. Smart!

book giveaways as part of web design

To throw in a traditionally published author into the mix, the author website of Nora Roberts is set up with an online shopping component. Readers can click directly on her “Shop” menu link to view and purchase her novels. 

Related: How to Write a Novel

 nora roberts selling books web menu

Dean Koontz has a website that fits the mood of his books. As a suspense thriller novelist, his website background is dark with contrasting color text, which evokes a sense of mystery and looks well with his book cover designs. 

how Dean Koontz markets to fans on his website

Another superb example of a branded author website, Elizabeth Gilbert’s site layout is straightforward and clean. Her recent books are featured, along with buttons to each platform where the book is sold. 

screenshot of how Elizabeth Gilbert's website is used for book marketing

Meredith Wild is another example of an indie author with a stellar website. Her homepage is interactive, featuring a carousel of her published books and a book promotion banner to increase awareness of her pre-releases.

Now that you have a good idea of what an author website should look like, you might be wondering…

How do you promote your book on an author website? 

Here’s how to promote your book with your author website: 

  1. Create blog content. It is an ideal way to draw traffic to your site. Also, SEO optimized content can help you gain organic traffic to your website and have your books appear on google searches. The content can be in the form of book updates, brief descriptions about your book, blog posts sharing tips on your writing journey.
  2. Grow your email list. Email marketing is one of the robust ways to market your books as a self-published author. Use your author website to grow your email list, and send out engaging content to your subscribers list. Email marketing is an effective book marketing idea since your list is a hub of your fans and target readers. You can also send emails to promote new books, launch a sale or giveaway, or share news related to your book business.
  3. Add your social media profiles. Your audience will easily connect with you on social media and help you grow your fan base. Each platform has a specific algorithm and strategy for success, so it’s best to choose one social media platform to focus on growing at once. For example, if your ideal reader hangs out on Pinterest more than they do on Facebook, focus your efforts on Pinterest first.
  4. Offer book giveaways and promotional contests. Everyone wants to know what’s in it for them, so offer irresistible incentives! You can partner with other authors and giveaway book bundles, hold a contest to give a signed copy of your own book away, or provide additional resources. The incentives should have a call to action.
  5. Have a lead magnet. Similar to what we explained above, a lead magnet is something that you offer your audience in exchange for their email address or contact information. For example, if you’re writing a nonfiction book on – let’s say, dieting and fitness, you can create a PDF workbook for your readers to opt-in for.
  6. Create a stellar landing page for each of your books. A landing page is a single page dedicated to one product, service, or concept. It has a specific purpose: to showcase your single product, item, or service. Landing pages elaborate more on your books and why someone should read the book. Use them to grab the attention of your site traffic and convert them into avid readers. 

2 – Social Media Book Marketing

Social media is another powerful tool to market your self-published or traditionally published book. If used correctly, you can attract readers and triple your book sales.

How do I promote my book on social media?

Don’t worry if you don’t have followers at the beginning – everyone has to start somewhere. And with the rise of social media platforms and presence, the time is now to get started with your book marketing endeavors.

There are plenty of social media platforms to promote your book on, but we’ll give a quick overview of the most widely used ones. 

  1. Facebook. Create a Facebook author page to showcase your books. It can be under your book titles or your author name. Post engaging and valuable content to draw readers in and grow your followers. Add a link to your author website where people can find out more about you and your books. You can also join or create your own Facebook group for community building and awareness.
  2. Twitter. Optimize your Twitter profile to reflect your brand as an author. Tweet engaging content and watch your Twitter blast with followers. Also, connect with other authors for collaboration and to leverage new audiences. A quick Twitter search will bring you a countless list of authors in your genre. 
  3. Instagram. Share captivating graphics about your book on the visual platform of Instagram. It can be a book cover or quotes from your book featuring a captivating image. You can also ask your readers to use hashtags and post photos of them reading your book.
  4. Pinterest. Authors can gain massive readers from Pinterest, which is a powerful search engine that focuses on graphics. Create your business account on Pinterest and work on getting organic traffic from there. Your graphics should be eye-catching and enticing. With online programs like Canva, it’s easy to find eye-catching Pinterest templates that you can recreate. 
  5. Youtube. Create a Youtube channel and share your writing journey, author expertise, or helpful industry tidbits. If you’re writing about entrepreneurship, you can share tips through a Youtube channel. If you write about cooking, you can create videos sharing new recipes. The possibilities are endless, so don’t let video scare you away. Add a call to action to each video you create to turn your viewers into followers and fans. 

3 – Book Promotion Sites

Book promotion sites are also another excellent way to promote your self-published book. 

There are both paid and free book promotion sites at your disposal.These sites, depending on their terms and conditions, will help you get more exposure by putting your book in front of thousands of visitors on their website.

Popular book promotion sites are: 

  1. BookBub
  2. Bargain Booksy
  3. Indie Authors News
  4. Awesome Gang
  5. Digital Book Today
  6. Free Booksy
  7. Books Butterfly
  8. Just Kindle Books

4 – Podcast Book Marketing

Another excellent way to promote your book is through a podcast. Podcasts are a recent digital channel, but they’ve really taken off in the past five years and they aren’t going away anytime soon.

Think of podcasts are like radio station channels, in a way. They are digital audio files available online to be downloaded or streamed through a computer and mobile device. Common podcast platforms are iTunes and Spotify. 

There are two ways to use podcast marketing for your book promotion. 

First, you can start your own podcast with relatively low start-up costs. You can make your podcast around a topic related to your book, or industry expertise. The topics for podcasting are endless!

Second, you can join other podcasts as a guest speaker to raise awareness about your book. Find other established podcast speakers and offer to be featured on an episode.

Of course, you can combine the best of both worlds and fully leverage your book promotion reach via podcasts by speaking on other podcasts, AND inviting other authors and experts to speak on your own podcast.

5 – Guest Writing Opportunities

Since you have an author website, you may want to consider guest posting on other websites and media outlets. 

Not only will you be sharing valuable information, but you can also build credibility and reach new readers by leveraging the website’s audience.

On most sites, when you guest write you’ll be able to provide a link to your website or book. 

Then, you can ask your article on your own platforms, and use the website brand to increase your social proof, such as “As seen on…”

6 – Amazon Author Page Optimization

Your author page on Amazon Author Central matters if you are self-publishing on KDP. Amazon a has a huge customer base and global audience, so if a reader stumbles across your book on the platform, you should have a well-optimized Author Page to keep them interested and promote your other books.

what is amazon author central quote

There are certain tweaks you can make to your Author Page that optimizes it for success. 

Tips for optimizing your Amazon Author Page:

  1. Use a professional headshot or author photo as your profile image. 
  2. Include your interesting, well-written biography that explains who you are and what you do.
  3. Link your author website and social media platforms to turn page viewers into followers.
  4. Link all of your books to build credibility and showcase all of your work.
  5. Add your blog posts to the feed section to encourage subscribers and build interest in your content.

7 – Wide Distribution

Consider global distribution platforms to have your book available on a variety of retail platforms. 

Related: Self-Publishing Companies

If you publish on Amazon, consider the book promotional tools and programs available there, such as Kindle Unlimited and KDP Select. 

You can also research publishing with IngramSpark, which offers wide distribution as well. 

However, if you’re a first-time author, we recommend sticking with Amazon KDP initially, then expanding after you’ve published. 

8 – Public Relations for Book Promotion

Public relations, or PR, is used by many authors during the launch stage of their published book. 

It’s a strategy to build public awareness of your brand by leveraging media outlets and news sites through the use of things like interviews, speaking gigs, press kits, press releases, charity campaigns, volunteer opportunities, and more. 

Some specific public relations strategies you can to market your book are:

  1. Research journalists and news media that are related to your niche. Network with these journalists and news editors to pitch ideas within your book’s topic. 
  2. Use online sites like HARO to receive alerts from journalists looking for experts like yourself to interview and quote.
  3. Press kit
  4. Book signings
  5. Speaking gigs
  6. Press release
  7. Hire private PR professionals. If you have the budget for this, great! Cision PR web is a paid site that distributes online news and creates publicity. Use it to publicize your book and reach a wider audience.

9 – Book Promotion Contests

We covered this idea in the social media section, but it’s worth repeating here because your contest doesn’t only have to be on Facebook or Instagram, although that’s generally where contests perform best. 

Book promotion contests are incredibly effective, and encourage virality, amongst readers. You can run this promo on your website and blast it on your social media accounts. You can also host a giveaway on Goodreads, which has a huge platform of avid readers. 

Encourage your audience to share your book, and subscribe to your email list to be eligible for the contest. This will not only build traction for you contest campaign, but it will also grow your email list!

10 – Book Marketing with Paid Ads

Targeted advertising can also boost the publicity of your book when done right. While it can be a scary concept, especially for first-time authors, there are several resources to help you learn how to market your book with paid advertisements. 

If you have the budget, run paid advertisements on Facebook and target an audience that has characteristics of your ideal reader. You can also use sites like BookBub to market your book.

Related: BookBub Review For Authors

Invest in a self-publishing course that teaches you how to effectively launch paid ads for your book, or hire a professional if you have the resources. 

11 – Marketing with Book Trailers

A book trailer was coined from the term movie trailer. And just like the movie trailer, it gives your audience a glimpse of the content of your book.

It is one of the best marketing tools for authors. Use book trailers to hook your readers by sharing a captivating trailer with an epic call to action

You can include your website link or a link to your book on Amazon.

12 – Limited-Time Discounts

You can sell your book at a discounted price during your book’s launch period and have it run on that price for some time.

A popular technique for many authors is to offer their book for a price of $0.99 the first week of their launch to promote “one-click” purchases. People love discounts and deals!

This technique will help you get reviews and more readers. You can increase the cost of the book later after gaining reviews.

13 – Live Streaming Book Marketing

Live streaming is another popular channel for building your online strategy. The two main book marketing ideas when it comes to live streaming are webinars and live streaming on social media platforms

Webinars are online workshops or seminars where people meet virtually to discuss, or learn, a particular topic. It’s a powerful way to connect with your audience virtually. You can hold webinars and discuss issues related to your book or attend other relevant webinars and contribute if time allows.

You can host your webinars on Hangouts, Zoom, Facebook Live, Youtube Live, Go to Webinar, Skype, WebinarJam and Blackboard Collaborates. Depending on your topic, it may not make sense to invest in a webinar program unless you specifically plan to use webinars continuously, so opt for a free webinar program instead. 

Social media platforms now have live streaming features, and those are especially fun! While webinars are usually reserved for a learning or discussion session, there’s more flexibility with social media live streaming.

For example, you can do a “Day in the Life” live streaming on your social media platform, or even virtual “Meet & Greets.”

14 – Book Discussion Forums

Chances are, your readers hang out on discussion forums within your genre or niche. Join these forums and contribute.

 It can be time consuming, but it’s worth it if you’re able to read a handful of new, engaged readers.  

It will also help you establish authority online, especially if you offer specific, valuable insight and expertise on your topic.

Some discussion forums are Reddit, Online Book Club forum, Writers’ Digest forum, Quora, and Facebook groups.

facebook group for authors

How do I get my book noticed?

There are tons of book marketing and promotion ideas to start conversations around your book.

We’ve covered the essential ways on how to market your book, but the real rewards will come when you start implementing them and seeing what works for you. 

Part of the difficulty with marketing is that what works for another author, may not necessarily work for your genre. 

That’s where research comes in! Start researching similar authors in your niche and learn from what they are doing well. 

Pretty soon, you’ll have a good idea of what kinds of tactics to approach for your own book promotion. And, you’ll be able to creatively implement new techniques!

What are your favorite book marketing strategies?