Book Marketing for Self-Publishers

Are you ready to begin your self-publishing adventure?

Book marketing can be a difficult and expensive process. It will make or break your book.

This guide offers invaluable information that can help educate new self-publishers navigate the marketing arena.

Plan With Goals

How you decide to promote your work should fit your overall goals. If you want to make it on a best-seller list, you’ll need to sell thousands of copies – and do it in a certain time frame.

You’ll need a winning strategy to accomplish this.

Ask Yourself

Before you begin, you should ask yourself these questions. It will help you better gauge what you want and what you should hope for.

  • Why did I write the book?
  • What do I want people to get from it?
  • Why would they be motivated to read my book?

Did you write your book for personal gain or to simply help others? Maybe you just have an epic fantasy that’s begging to be told.

Thing’s You’ll Need

Along the way, to best promote your work, there’s going to be some house cleaning to attend to. You’ll want to accomplish all of this ahead of your publication date.


A title shouldn’t be an easy idea to come up with. Consider what kind of content you’re working with. It should be directly related to your title.

Once you have a title, ask yourself if it’s easy to remember. Is it descriptive? Will it capture an audience?

In the event that your title just isn’t enough to convey the full idea, try using a byline. It will narrow down your audience and allow you further description.


Describe your story in 1-2 sentences. This is considered a pitch. They can be used for media, mailing lists, or a call to action. If you ever want to sell your book, you’ll need a solid pitch.

Think about what makes your story interesting and unique. Don’t go with the first 1-2 sentences that come to mind; test different alternatives until you find the one that works for your project.


If you want to entice someone to buy your book, you need a stellar cover. It should look professional as it is the first thing most readers consider when buying.

Your Bio

In a professional book marketing sense, you need three different bios to use in various mediums. Each one varies in length depending on the medium

Bios consisting of one sentence are usually for social media sites. In particular, Twitter doesn’t have a large area for bio information. Your one sentence will come in handy here.

Develop a full paragraph (3-5 sentences) for bylines and guests posts. It still gets to the point fast, but does a better job of introducing you to new audiences.

For your personal website (or the inset of your book) create a bio of full-page length. This should include absolutely everything about you from your accomplishments to your credentials and previous books.

Book Description

Refer back to your personal bio. You will also need one sentence, one paragraph, and one page to best market your work in different mediums.

Think of this as a sales pitch more than a summary. Add content that covers why it’s interesting or unique. Explain what your audience might learn once they read it.

Professional Headshot

Professional images work best for self-published books. Don’t even consider selfies. High-quality photographs can be taken with newer smartphones. If you’re not on a strict budget, hire a professional photographer.

Choose an outfit that matches your writing. Go in wearing casual clothes if your book contains a more relaxed tone. Try a suit if your content is more business-like in nature.

Mailing List

Once you have a personal website on which you can market yourself and your work, you should develop a mailing list. Whether it’s to increase traffic, build fan community, or sell your work, mailing lists consistently prove to be the most useful tools for any entrepreneur.

MailChimp is a great, free way to begin your journey in mailing lists. You can build and design your newsletter right on the site. There are multiple formats for selling and promoting.

As your list grows, you’ll want to extend to the paid plans. They offer even more helpful tools to push your book marketing further.


Amazon Promotion

Well-edited content and beautiful, professional covers are proven to boost sales. Using CreateSpace by Amazon is free and easy to use. Upload your content and cover, and you’ll be ready to sell on Amazon in minutes.

See more on CreateSpace in the full Self-Publishing Guide.


If you’re ready to tackle more advanced information, consider metadata. It’s no more than data about your book that helps audiences search for it on the web.

Amazon allows you to set metadata yourself when you set up your book through the Kindle Direct Publishing interface. Determine this before publishing.

Optimize your metadata by ensuring your book description is at least 100 words. You should also use genre-specific terms that people will search for.

Consider the Costs

As always, costs are the biggest concern for self-publishers. Everything (or most things) come directly out of your pocket.

There are free alternatives, like Smashwords, but the quality tends to be lesser. This is recommended for the first time self-publisher.

Subscription-based services, like E-Junkie, help push sales and drive downloads of your content.

For miscellaneous services, Vistaprint is a fine go-to. Depending on how much of a budget you’ve allotted for yourself, they can make a wide array of marketing materials.

What Book Marketing Tactics Do You Employ?

Have you used one of the methods outlined above? Or do you know of other methods that worked better?

Let us know in the comments below what your self-publishing experience was like.

For further reading, check out the guide to Characters. It deserves it a quick glance when you’re in the editing stage.

The full Self-Publishing Guide also comes highly recommended. It covers everything you need to know about self-publishing. As with all Tip articles, the guide is consistently updated.


Author: Christopher Fain

Author, blogger, content writer, and screenwriter based in Orlando, Florida. He is earning a B.F.A. in Creative Writing at Full Sail University. Twitter: @chrisjf93

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