How to Market Your Book: For Indie Authors 

JD Caron
June 22, 2023

How to Market Your Book: Intro

For indie authors, the journey doesn't end with writing and publishing a book. Marketing plays a crucial role in reaching a wider audience and generating book sales and often indie authors have unrealistic expectations relating to book sales. It’s only after the published their books and sales remain stagnant that they run to search engines and ask: How to market your book?

However, many independent authors struggle with promoting their books effectively or are unsure of how to improve their sales on platforms like Amazon. This comprehensive guide is tailored to indie authors who want to enhance their marketing strategies and achieve greater success in selling their books.

We'll explore three key areas:

  • Preparing marketing strategies for unpublished books

We’ll briefly have a look at some of the key elements you need to consider. The rabbit hole goes much deeper and there is so much more to cover but a blog is simply not the place to do so. If you need professional guidance while picking up proven tactics for improving your book sales from before you publish and after, check out our Celebrated Author Circle.

  • How to boost sales of published books

We’ll provide a little more information in this section, but the same applies as above. This section will certainly steer you in the correct direction, but the learning curve will be quite high if you were to go at it alone.

We also offer Done-for-you-marketing where we’ll take the marketing reigns for you and market a book so that you can spend your time writing new content instead.

  • Preparing for relaunching an old book or series

This is small section for those that realized that the content needed an upgrade as well as the marketing efforts. This is quite a drastic step to take so please consult with a professional book marketer to ensure you’re doing the right thing.

How to market your book summary

Book marketing challenges faced by indie authors

Indie authors face unique challenges when it comes to book marketing. Some of these challenges include limited resources, lack of marketing expertise, intense competition, and difficulty in reaching their target audience or shall we say, target readers.

Traditional publishing houses often have established networks and resources to support their authors' marketing efforts, which can put indie authors at a disadvantage. However, with the right strategies and tools, indie authors can overcome these challenges and effectively promote a paperback and ebook.

How to Market Your Book and Measure Success

To determine the success of your book marketing efforts, it's essential to monitor various metrics. These metrics provide valuable insights into how your book is performing and help you identify areas for improvement. Here are some of the key metrics to consider:

  • Book Sales: 

The number of books sold is a fundamental metric to gauge your success. Track the sales on different platforms, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your own website.

For example, if you sold 1,000 copies of your book (ebook and paperback) in a month, it indicates a healthy level of demand and suggests that your marketing strategies are effective.

  • Conversion Rate

The conversion rate measures the percentage of visitors who purchase your book after visiting your sales page. It indicates how effective your book's presentation is in converting potential readers into buyers.

For instance, if 100 people visit your sales page and 10 of them make a purchase, your conversion rate would be 10%. A higher conversion rate signifies that your book's description, cover, and reviews are compelling and persuasive to readers.

  • Reviews and Ratings

Positive reviews and ratings not only boost your book's credibility but also encourage more readers to consider purchasing it. Monitor the number and quality of reviews on platforms like Goodreads and Amazon.

For example, if your book receives an average rating of 4.5 stars based on 50 reviews, it indicates that readers are enjoying your work, building trust, and attracting potential buyers.

  • Return on Investment (ROI)

Evaluating the return on your investment helps determine the profitability of your marketing campaigns. Calculate your ROI by subtracting the total cost of your marketing efforts from the revenue generated through book sales, and then dividing that figure by the total cost.

For instance, if you spent $500 on marketing and earned $1,000 in book sales, your ROI would be 100%. A higher ROI indicates that your marketing efforts are generating a positive financial return.

  • Cost Per Reader

This metric measures the average cost incurred to acquire each reader for your book. Divide the total marketing expenses by the number of new readers gained during a specific period.

For example, if you spent $1,000 on marketing and acquired 500 new readers, your cost per reader would be $2. A lower cost per reader signifies that your marketing efforts are efficient and cost-effective.

  • Value Per Reader

This metric calculates the average value each reader brings to your book. It is determined by dividing the total revenue generated from book sales by the number of readers.

For example, if your book earned $5,000 in revenue from 1,000 readers, the value per reader would be $5. A higher value per reader indicates that your book is resonating with the audience and generating substantial revenue.

How to market your book using AI art

Using AI could help you reduce costs on marketing materials. Have you tried using AI to generate marketing material for you book? Leave a comment below this article…

Remember, these metrics should be tracked over time to identify trends and evaluate the impact of your marketing strategies. Set realistic targets based on industry standards and gradually strive to improve your results. By monitoring and analyzing these metrics, you can make informed decisions to optimize your book marketing and maximize your success as an author.

How to market your book: Preparing marketing strategies for unpublished books

In this section we will look at the most important marketing elements to consider to work on relating to book marketing, pre-launch. We will provide you with a short summary of the concept and a deeper explanation. For this section, make sure to download our free pre-publishing checklist where you will find much more than what is covered in this article.  

Conduct Market Research

Before launching your book, it's crucial to conduct thorough market research to understand your target audience, competition, and market trends. Identify bestselling books in your genre and analyze their themes, cover designs, and marketing strategies to gain insights into what resonates with readers.

Market research helps you make informed decisions about your book's positioning and marketing approach. For example, if you're writing a young adult fantasy novel, research successful books in that genre to identify common themes, tropes, and cover designs that attract readers. By understanding reader preferences and market trends, you can tailor your book to meet their expectations and create a compelling marketing strategy.

Build an Author Platform

Establishing an author platform is essential for gaining visibility and connecting with your target audience. Create an author website or blog, engage in social media, and develop a consistent brand identity that reflects your writing style and the themes of your book.

An author platform serves as your online presence and allows you to engage directly with potential readers. For instance, you can share updates on your writing progress, offer behind-the-scenes insights, and provide valuable content related to your book's themes. By building a loyal following and engaging with readers, you lay the foundation for effective book marketing once your work is published.

Develop a Compelling Book Cover and Description

Your book's cover and description (book blurb) are vital marketing tools that entice readers to explore further. Invest in professional cover design that captures the essence of your book and creates a strong visual impact. Craft a captivating book description that highlights the unique aspects of your story and compels readers to want more.

  • Explanation

The book cover is the first impression readers have of your book, and a professionally designed cover can significantly impact sales. Similarly, a compelling book description acts as a sales pitch that draws readers in and convinces them to purchase your book.

Get ARC reader reviews

Online reviews improve the credibility of the content of your book and instill trust into the potential reader. Many first-time authors rely on their family and friends or random Amazon book shoppers to buy their books and leave book reviews but find themselves disappointed in the amount of reviews as well as pace of which they accumulate them.

  • Explanation

Instead of going the route mentioned above, start generating reviews by finding ARC readers or sourcing a book review company. You can choose to send ARC readers physical copies or provide digital formats like PDFs or e-books. Include a personalized note expressing your gratitude for their participation and remind them of the timeline for the review. As the designated review period comes to an end, reach out to your ARC readers to check on their progress and remind them of the approaching deadline.

The short video above explains why we need reviews before spending money on advertising our books. 

Read more about ARC readers by here…

As the designated review period comes to an end, reach out to your ARC readers to check on their progress and remind them of the approaching deadline. This interaction also gives you an opportunity to answer any questions they might have about the book or the review process.

When looking to secure professional reviews for your book, it can be beneficial to explore companies or services that specialize in providing this service. Research reputable book review companies that align with your genre and target audience. Read reviews or seek recommendations from fellow authors to ensure the company's credibility and effectiveness. Evaluate their pricing structure, submission guidelines, and turnaround time to make an informed decision.

Enter Book Awards

Book awards are prestigious recognitions that can significantly boost an author's credibility and visibility. They are bestowed upon exceptional books across various genres and categories, often by esteemed literary organizations.

  • Explanation

This is an straightforward way of how to market your book to improve sales. Just as the little sticker on a wine bottle in the supermarket will attract your attention, so will the award on your book cover attract potential book buyers. To find book awards, authors can explore online resources like the websites of major book award organizations, publishing industry directories, or engage in conversations with fellow authors and industry professionals to stay updated on the latest awards and submission opportunities.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of scam sites out there and you need to do your due diligence before putting your credit card details on a book award site. Alternatively, try Book Award Pro. It is platform that identifies and verifies websites and organizations that offer awards for books in your genre. Click here to read the full article about book awards.

How to market your book using book awards

Read our in-depth article about book awards...

How to market your book: How to boost sales of published books

Once your book is published, it's time to amplify your marketing efforts. Perhaps your book have been on the racks for while and the sales remain stagnant. Maybe you put a considerable amount of time in promoting your book(s) to your community on social media and were surprised by the little return you saw on your time spent.

Here are some strategies for you to consider on how to market your book if it is already published.

Optimize Your Book's Metadata

Ensure your book's title, subtitle, description, and keywords align with your target audience's interests and optimize your book for search engines. This will increase your book's visibility on platforms like Amazon.

  • Explanation

Metadata plays a crucial role in attracting potential readers to your book. Craft a compelling title that accurately reflects your book's content and appeals to your target audience. For example, if you've written a mystery novel set in a small town, a title like "Secrets Unveiled: A Riveting Small-Town Mystery" would capture readers' attention. Similarly, optimize your book's description by highlighting its unique selling points, captivating the reader's interest, and including relevant keywords. For instance, a well-optimized description might emphasize the intriguing plot twists, vivid character descriptions, and the atmospheric setting of your mystery novel.

Leverage Email Marketing

Build an email list of interested readers and regularly communicate with them. Offer exclusive content, discounts, or updates on future releases to nurture the relationship and encourage repeat purchases.

  • Explanation

Email marketing allows you to establish a direct connection with your readers. Offer an incentive, such as a free short story or a bonus chapter, to encourage readers to join your email list. This is free material your incentivizing your readers with is called a reader magnet.

Once you have their contact information, send regular newsletters with valuable content, such as writing tips, author interviews, or sneak peeks into your upcoming projects. Additionally, consider running exclusive promotions or limited-time discounts for your email subscribers to reward their loyalty and drive book sales.

Run Promotions and Discounts

Periodically offer limited-time discounts or free promotions to attract new readers and generate buzz. Promote these deals on your author platform, social media, and email list to maximize exposure. I just want to add that we don’t recommend doing free promotions so we’ll focus on discount promotions instead.

  • Explanation

Promotions and discounts can create a sense of urgency and incentivize readers to purchase your book. Offer limited-time discounts, such as a discounted price for the first week of release or a flash sale during a holiday season. Utilize your author platform, social media channels, and email list to announce these promotions and create excitement.

Alternatively, you can also use companies like Bookbub and pay to have your featured deals sent to their massive subscriber base.  

Engage with Book Communities

Participate in online forums, social media groups, and book clubs related to your genre. Offer valuable insights, answer questions, and subtly promote your book when appropriate. Building genuine connections with readers can lead to word-of-mouth recommendations.

  • Explanation

Book communities provide an excellent opportunity to interact with your target audience and establish yourself as an author. Join online forums, social media groups, and book clubs dedicated to your genre or niche. Engage in conversations, offer valuable insights, and share your expertise. Actively participate in discussions, answer readers' questions, and recommend books you've enjoyed, including your own when relevant. Building genuine connections and providing value to the community will enhance your author brand and increase the chances of readers recommending your book to others.

Utilize Book Bloggers and Reviewers

Reach out to book bloggers and reviewers who cater to your book's genre and audience. Offer them a complimentary copy of your book in exchange for an honest review or feature on their blog or social media platforms.

*Note: TikTok, or BookTok, is also becoming more popular amongst authors of certain genres. Although we don’t discourage your from trying, we just haven’t seen strong enough trends or evidence to highly recommend this strategy to all authors.

  • Explanation

Book bloggers and reviewers have dedicated audiences interested in discovering new books. Research bloggers and reviewers who align with your target audience and genre, and reach out to them with a personalized message introducing your book. Provide them with a copy of your book, either in print or digital format, and politely request an honest review or a feature on their platform. Positive reviews and endorsements from reputable bloggers can greatly impact readers' purchasing decisions.

How to market your book: Relaunching a book or series

Revamp the Cover Design

If you're relaunching an old book or series, consider updating the cover design to give it a fresh and modern look. Analyze current design trends in your genre and work with a professional cover designer to create a cover that captures the essence of your book while appealing to contemporary readers.

  • Explanation

A revamped cover design can breathe new life into your book and attract a new audience. For example, if you published a fantasy series several years ago and notice that current fantasy covers tend to feature intricate illustrations and bold typography, it may be time to update your covers to align with the preferences of today's readers. By doing so, you can generate renewed interest in your series and entice both new readers and those who may have missed your books the first time around.

Implement a New Marketing Strategy

When relaunching an old book or series, it's crucial to develop a new marketing strategy that targets both existing fans and potential new readers. Consider leveraging social media, email marketing, and online advertising to create buzz around the relaunch and reach a wider audience.

  • Explanation

A new marketing strategy helps create awareness and generate excitement for the relaunch of your book or series. For instance, you can run targeted Facebook or Instagram ads that highlight the improvements or updates made to the book, launch a pre-order campaign with exclusive bonuses, or host online events such as live Q&A sessions or virtual book club discussions. By implementing a fresh marketing approach, you can reignite interest in your book or series and attract readers who may not have been aware of it during its initial release.

Engage with Influencers and Book Communities

Leverage the power of influencers and book communities to expand the reach of your relaunched book or series. Collaborate with influential bookstagrammers, book bloggers, or booktubers who cater to your genre and audience. Additionally, actively engage with online book communities and forums to generate buzz and connect with readers who share a passion for your genre.

  • Explanation

Influencers and book communities have dedicated followers who trust their recommendations and opinions. By collaborating with them, you can tap into their established audience base and gain exposure for your relaunched book or series. Engaging with online book communities allows you to connect directly with readers, share updates about the relaunch, and encourage discussions around your books.

Offer Exclusive Content or Bonuses

When relaunching an old book or series, consider offering exclusive content or bonuses to entice readers to purchase or revisit your work. This could include additional chapters, bonus short stories, character interviews, or access to a private online community.

  • Explanation

Exclusive content or bonuses add value to your relaunched book and provide an incentive for readers to engage with your work. By offering something extra, you create a sense of exclusivity and reward for readers who choose to support your relaunch.

By incorporating these strategies into your relaunch plan for an old book or series, you can reinvigorate interest in your work and capture the attention of both new and existing readers. Remember to adapt these strategies to your specific book and target audience, as each relaunch is unique.

Summary: How to market your book

How to market my book before launch 

- Conduct market research

 Analyzing successful books in your genre to identify themes and cover designs that   resonate with readers.

- Build an author platform

 Creating an author website or blog, engaging on social media, and developing a consistent   brand identity.

- Develop a compelling book cover and description

 Investing in professional cover design and crafting a captivating book description that   highlights unique aspects of the story.

 -Get ARC reader reviews

 Online reviews improve the credibility of the content of your book and instill trust into the   potential reader. Don’t just rely on family and friends.

 -Enter Book Awards

 Book awards are prestigious recognitions that can significantly boost an author's credibility and visibility, which help boost sales.

How to market my book  after it's published

-Leverage social media

 Engaging with readers through targeted posts, contests, and giveaways on platforms like   Facebook and Instagram.

- Collaborate with book influencers and bloggers

 Partnering with influential individuals to promote your book and reach a wider audience.

- Encourage reader reviews and testimonials

 Requesting honest reviews from readers and using positive testimonials to build credibility.

- Offer limited-time discounts and promotions

 Running promotional campaigns, such as discounted ebook prices or bundled deals, to   attract new readers.

-Utilize Book Bloggers and Reviewers

 Reach out to book bloggers and reviewers who cater to your book's genre and audience. Offer
 them a complimentary copy of your book in exchange for an honest review
-Engage with Book Communities

Participate in online forums, social media groups, and book clubs related to your genre. Offer valuable insights, answer questions, and subtly promote your book when appropriate.

Preparing for Relaunching an Old Book or Series

- Revamp the cover design

  Updating the cover to align with current design trends and attract new readers.

- Implement a new marketing strategy

 Running targeted ads, launching pre-order campaigns, and hosting online events to create   buzz and engage readers.

- Engage with influencers and book communities

 Collaborating with influential bookstagrammers, bloggers, and actively participating in   online book communities.

- Offer exclusive content or bonuses

 Providing additional chapters, bonus short stories, or access to a private online community  as incentives for readers.

By incorporating these strategies into your book marketing efforts, indie authors can improve their visibility, attract more readers, and increase book sales. Remember that each author's journey is unique, so adapt these strategies to fit your specific goals and target audience.

For more in-depth guidance and personalized assistance with book marketing, readers are encouraged to contact Weekend Publisher for further support and consultation.

Schedule a no-obligation consultation to see if we would make a good match. 

Good luck with your book marketing endeavors!

About the author 

JD Caron

Denis was a coach long before he ever knew what that was. From his time in the military, to the decade he spent as a 911 ambulance dispatcher, he constantly found himself in leadership and teaching roles (he knows his way around an emergency). And after struggling to self-publish his first book, he knew he could help others do it better.

Currently, Denis is traveling around Europe, exploring WWII sites and sampling all the delightful cuisine the continent has to offer.

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