Do you hate spending money on book marketing? In a recent writers’ group meeting, we discussed our favorite ways to market our books cheaply.
We agreed that it’s not so much that we resent investing our book income into marketing, it’s:
- The occasional unforeseen expenses which derailed our book marketing budget;
- Outright mistakes (perhaps we wasted money by heavily promoting a book that wouldn’t sell);
- The fact that strategies that formerly worked well suddenly stopped working.
A BIG tip… When you find a free or inexpensive form of book marketing which seems too good to be true, beware.
Book marketing for misers: beware of tactics which hurt your brand
Suspect book marketing and publishing services abound. If you find a company that’s offering cheap services, remember that it’s your name on your book that they’re promoting.
Know what tactics the company will use before you hire them. Don’t hire a company which does “thousands of links!” link-building campaigns, or scams, or performs whatever the shady publishing tactic du jour happens to be.
Anything sleazy will damage your brand. Worse, it could end your career or self-publishing business. Be VERY careful if you give someone access to your Amazon publishing account. Amazon can and does cancel authors’ accounts.
Let’s look at some of the miserly book marketing tips we discussed in our group.
1. Borrow others’ audiences (an oldie but a goodie)
No traffic to your blog?
You can borrow others’ traffic.
- Guest posting on popular blogs (an old strategy. It works well, over time);
- Newsletter collaborations. Choose a topic. Write for someone else’s newsletter. They write for your newsletter on the same topic;
- Offer a service in return for an ad, or a mention. If you’re good at graphics, editing, or proofreading, swap your time for an ad for your book on a website, or a mention on Instagram.
2. Social media sells: market others, and your own books
To market your books successfully on social media, be aware that it takes time. You need to consistently use a network and build your connections. If you’re consistent, you will sell more books. Several authors in our group love Instagram.
Look on developing your social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook et al) as a longterm book marketing strategy.
The larger your social media account grows on a network, the bigger your influence.
Both before and after your following grows, promote others. Many will reciprocate and will promote your book. One of our authors experienced a huge surge in sales when an influencer mentioned his book.
3. “Free” still sells (but use this tactic sparingly)
“Free” doesn’t have the power to build promote books and build self-publishing careers that it once did.
However, when an ebook is enrolled in KDP Select (and therefore is free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers), you can make a little money.
4. Get more readers, sell more books: write a series
One of our group reported: “I hate book marketing. I can’t do it; it’s misery to me. And when I’m depressed I can’t write. So I gave up marketing to focus on writing a series. I’m up to the tenth book in my current series and sales are growing slowly month by month.”
She admitted that she knows she could grow her readership more quickly if she did a little marketing, but she’s happy with her strategy.
So, if you’re like this author, do as she does. Focus on writing. As a series grows, you’ll get more readers.
Book marketing for misers: time, rather than money
Inevitably, cheap book marketing options mean that you’re trading time for money.
They’re not set-and-forget either. You need to pay attention to social media rules, for example. (Of course, advertising isn’t set-and-forget either.)
However, they are effective. Try them.
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