Top 5 Tips on Book Marketing | Self-Publishers

Book marketing

Attract More Readers | Sell More Books

Top 3 Factors


Hook (subtitle)


These three factors must be based on a strong emotional pull specific to your target market. Is your book zombie horror? You need to hit your audience in the gut with horror with each part.


This is the ‘stickiness factor’ a term used in the book The Tipping Point byMalcolm Gladwell. The stickiness factor is the emotional call of your target market. It’s what they are looking for and attracts them. Take your story, your genre, and squeeze it into a ball of raw emotion. What is the one core emotion for your book? Horror? Love? Guilt? Create the title, hook and cover from that raw emotion.

Stickiness Sells Books | Sell More Books

It must be memorable in a way that stands out. Great ‘stickiness’ will create its own buzz and influence.

The three factors above are about making it personal to your target market. Making a romance cover appeal to everyone is a horrible move. Go straight to the point and make one that can only appeal to romance lovers. If it’s not personal, it’s not memorable.

Appeal Directly to Your Readers

There was an interesting, small study at Yale University that handed out two different kinds of promotional booklets to encourage students to get free tetanus shots. One was plain, one was fear-inducing with graphic pictures and professionally illustrated. That year the turnout was the same as the previous year, at about 3% of the students getting shots. The kicker? Neither booklet showed an improvement over the other in attracting students.

The next year they changed up the booklet and got a jump in participation by almost 30%. The booklet had a map with the health center circled. Not a huge deal. The students already knew where the health center was. It wasn’t that they didn’t know where to go. But the circle on the map made it relatable to them personally. It connected the idea of a free shot with the location they knew. It was an incredibly simple way to connect the reader.

Connect With the Reader Directly

Readers looking for a scary zombie book want that horror. For romance, they want to feel the love. Make it a personal connection.

Advertising for places like assisted living communities, consider that it’s not the same as home. That’s their barrier to entry. In their marketing, they use the senses of home: the smell of fresh-baked cookies, family pictures on the wall. They connect their target market with what is appealing to them.

Look at famous book covers. For example, all the original Harry Potter books had a nerdy little boy with some monstrous overbearing sense of doom in the background, like a huge train, car, wall crashing down, or monster. He looked overwhelmed by things, but also was special. Appealing to the middle school/high school kid who can relate on an emotional level. The whole package was too sticky for the target audience to ignore.

Book Title Tricks and Stickiness

Your title should be one word or two. Rarely do books do well with longer titles. Short titles are appealing and easy to read on thumbnail pictures as well as remember. Look at the history of bestselling fiction and nonfiction titles. Almost 90% are one or two words only. The subtitle is the hook. You want it catchy, emotional and filled with keywords.

Judge a Book by its Cover

Covers are by far the biggest marketing tool you can have. It pays to have a professional design them. You simply can’t get away with cheap amateur jobs. You get what you pay for, and cheap means the images violate copyright or are low-quality free clip art. Licensed images and skill cost money and a great cover pays for itself thousands of times over. A top-level cover will cost you $500 while you can find great deals around $200.

Book Marketing Strategies | Growth for the Self-Publisher

A self-published book is a slow earner with slow growth. Unless you are a known author from a well-marketed series, your book won’t come out of the gates burning a trail of sales. Getting discouraged and giving up after the first month of marketing is a disservice to your book and the wrong mindset.

Sales vs Profit – Book Marketing Strategies

Never measure profits in the beginning. There won’t be any. Selling your book at $0.99 isn’t going to net any profits. Spending money on covers, editing and marketing is going to start you off in the negative. At the start, measure sales, and reviews. These are the bricks that set up a strong foundation for long-term profits.

Most new authors understand the importance of marketing, but go about it all wrong. Creating an author blog and a Facebook page isn’t going to attract any attention. Spending a little on one marketing campaign isn’t going to produce the results you want.

Marketing a book isn’t a one-time thing. It’s over the long term that a cash cow marketing campaign produces the results you want. You need to build the right environment and have the correct timing to get that tipping point.

Book Marketing Strategies – Prep Basics

Six points to prepare.

Identify your target market.

What does your target market do?

Prepare to be a Chatty Cathy.

No one really cares.

Doing vs Results.

Establish a Budget.

Identifying your target market is key. If they are in the younger generation, build your brand around social media. They tend to talk about and review books through social media rather than through traditional systems, like reviewing it on Amazon.

Keep in mind that the target market should be focused on actual purchasers. For example, an eight-year-old isn’t purchasing your book, the parents are. This means your target market for a children’s book, for the sake of marketing, is the parent. If you spend all your marketing time and money on eight-year-olds, you will fail miserably. The branding that goes into dog food, it doesn’t appeal to a dog, does it?

Never Try to Appeal to All – Book Marketing Strategy

I don’t care what your book is about, there’s no book that will appeal to everyone, which most new authors assume. Dig down and find who really will read your book. Marketing to the wrong target market, or the market as a whole, is wasted unless you are a publisher preparing to build a new market.

Find out what your target market does. If the target market for your book is eight-year-olds, then find out what parents of eight-year-olds do. Their kids are either in 2nd or 3rd grade. Look at major milestones that would concern parents. Maybe the fact that peer influence starts becoming a major factor and parents often scramble to help their kids fit in, in a positive way.

Parents are often very busy around this time. It’s a popular age group for after-school activities, etc. Angle your book to appeal to the needs of your target market when possible. What gets sent home with kids in elementary school? How can you market to schools in a way that appeals to the school?

In the same sense, what are busy parents reading? What are they doing and where are they going? They are reading the bestsellers, for sure. They are checking out local kid-related activities and are involved with their schools. What sites are popular with parents? Where are the opportunities for marketing? Again, market your book alongside the interests of your target market.

Where are the zombie lovers? Are they talking about the latest zombie movie and reviewing it on places like Yahoo movies or Rotten Tomatoes? Are they on TV show fan forums talking about the last episode of The Walking Dead?

What about romance lovers? Are they following their favorite authors on Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads?

Be Part of Your Target Market – Book Marketing Strategies

Small groups are perfect. The size of a social group and their level of intimacy are inversely proportional. Groups that exceed 150 members have a drop off of intimacy between members, which makes social media word-of-mouth marketing for books so effective.

The book The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood had a cult-like fan base of middle-aged women in Northern California. This small niche group catapulted the book’s success nationally.

Social Media Marketing – Think Small not Big

With social media, you have a massive reach with what feels like a close group of friends. You share something with your 100 friends and they share it with theirs. Don’t avoid small groups in favor of larger ones. In fact, seek the small groups out!

Be a Chatty Cathy (an old pull string Mattel doll that talked). Creative types are often introverts. Writers especially can be on the shy side rather than the Chatty Cathy side. Marketing isn’t a time for shyness, however. Once you have narrowed in on your target market and know places to find them, it’s time to prepare and chat it up. You find that zombie lovers are on forums and blogs around zombie movies and TV shows. Get actively involved in the discussions. You can mention books you like including your own. The best policy is to make your name and your tag an introduction to your book.

Sam, author of Zombie Town

No One Cares About Your Book – Keep it Short (book marketing)

No One Cares and attention is fickle, especially for sales pitches. I see lengthy walls of text that no one would ever read in book descriptions and blog posts about books. Keep your message short. Use bullet points and paragraphs to break up your pitch for nonfiction and keep paragraphs short and punchy for fiction.

An advertising blog post should be about 300 words and no more. I see it all the time. People buy a $150 blog post on a popular blog and want to get every cent from it. They end up writing a thousand words that no one reads. Advertising a book is not about maxing metadata. It’s about grabbing interest.

Hook Them Quick or Lose Them | Book Marketing Strategies

Get the main hook for your book; a short sentence that encompasses what your book is all about. It will likely be similar to your subtitle if not the same.

90% of people reading your pitch won’t make it past your hook. Usually, the hook is enough for people to click the link and check out the book.

Abraham Lincoln was once quoted as saying if he had five hours to cut down a tree, he would spend three of them sharpening his saw. If you’re going to spend five hours writing the ultimate sales pitch for your book, spend three of them on the hook.

Focus on the Process of Book Marketing – Not the Results

Doing vs results. Never focus on the results (getting a bestselling book). Focus instead on the tasks needed to be a bestselling book. If you are focused on the results every time you market, you will be let down that you didn’t instantly get the results you wanted.

It takes a lot of marketing and a lot of time to reach a tipping point. You need to be fully engaged in marketing to get anything out of it. You can’t put up a few posts, advertise on a blog and call it done, expecting a bestseller.

Have a laid-out plan to market and follow it. When you focus on the doing, the results happen as a byproduct.

Stay on Path for Marketing

Russell Simmons, the CEO of Rush Communications and bestselling author, said, “I know some people say ‘Keep your eyes on the prize,’ but I disagree. When your eyes are stuck on the prize, you’re going to keep stumbling and crashing into things. If you really want to get ahead, you’ve got to keep your eyes focused on the path.”

Book Marketing and the Six Month Rule

Most people make the mistake of doing a month of marketing and give up when they don’t see immediate results. Cash cow marketing moves at a snail’s pace and success in marketing comes from reaching a tipping point. That tipping point isn’t reached with efforts under six months. It’s virtually impossible as an independent author to reach your book’s full potential in under six months.

Seasoned, independent authors will have a budget of $1,000 for the first month of their book. This gets them a cover and a strong start to marketing. After the first month, the budget drops to $200. The burst at the start gets momentum and the following months maintain and nurture it.

The following was posted courtesy of Alex Foster and his free books on writing.

Book Marketing Tips
Book Marketing Tips

Book marketing

book marketing