Promoting Your Book Without Spending a Fortune: Seven Strategies

By Guest Author, Kathleen Kaska

Promoting your book alone is like running up a steep hill into a headwind. You can do it, but it’s not much fun until you to get to top. I’ve learned that sharing promotional strategies with other authors works better than doing it alone. Publishing companies, especially small presses, realize this too. Black Opal Books, the publisher of my Kate Caraway mystery series, provides its authors with an email so we can share ideas, voice complaints, ask for advice, and help promote each other’s books.

Here are seven promotional strategies my fellow BOB authors and I use:

1. Connect with your Local Independent Bookstore

When Brandy and Ben Bowers bought the local bookstore, Watermark Book Company, and planned their grand opening, I contacted local authors and asked them to send me an author-information sheet, which included a list of their books, ordering information, cover images, headshot, short bio, and contact information. I gave these to the Bowers and suggested they invite these authors to attend their event. They were happy to. The authors promoted this event on social media. On the night of the opening, the store was packed. The Bowers sold a lot of books, and the authors made a great connection.

2. Utilize Your Critique Group to do More Than Critique

Carole Price offers the following advice: “My critique group promotes each other’s new books on social media and mentions them in our newsletters. We also appear together on panels where we discuss our WIP. Being a member of International Thriller Writers gave me the opportunity to promote to a larger audience in their magazine The Big Thrill.”

3. Search for Reasonably Priced Promotional Services

Keith Steinbaum of the Poe Connection shares: “I use a very friendly author site called Bostick Communications.  This company sent my book promo for my novel, The Poe Consequences, to a myriad of book-blog sites, and within three weeks I was approached by at least twenty bloggers asking for both e-Books and print copies. There is a fee, but in return I received reviews from most of them on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as their own blog sites. Bostick also provided me with a forty-five-minute online promotional radio interview based out of Alabama. There’s no way to know how many people follow these particular blog sites, or listen to that radio show, but Bostick Communications certainly gave me what I was looking for.”

4. Attend Local Book Fairs

Geza Tatrallyay provides: “For me, what works best is participating in local book fairs. I have been at Bookstock in Woodstock, VT twice, promoting and selling my books. The table cost $120. I made it back in spades and some — maybe three or four times that! I will be there again this year promoting the ‘Twisted’ trilogy. I also have the opportunity to get to know the community. These events are posted on my website. I am on Hometown Reads in San Francisco where we spend half the year.

5. Develop Writer-Author Contact Lists

R.R. Brooks shares: “I’ve developed writer-author contact lists connected with release of my fantasy volume. These arose from critique groups, University of North Carolina Asheville writing classes, local published authors, and from contacts made in an international fantasy author blog fest. I also swapped writing of reviews and book jacket promotions (blurbs). Participating in book fairs and library events with other authors provides a valuable source of information on how to connect with the community. One has to stretch the definition of local in this day of social media, but local writers and authors have proven to be important parts of my promotional campaigns.”

6. Print Business Cards with your Cover Design

Mark Reutlinger suggests: “I have business cards made with the cover design of my books on one side and purchase/contact/pitch information on the back. I carry them in my wallet (and my wife in her purse) and hand them out to people I meet while traveling. It’s proven to be a great way to get the word out, easy to carry around, and most people don’t mind taking one.”

7. Cross Promote with Authors who Write in the Same Genre

Saralyn Richard offers: “I’ve found it beneficial if authors of the same genre and similar readership cross promote on social media. The result is geometrical in reach. Everyone in the group follows through in sharing, retweeting, and advertising and that’s what makes it work.”

We’d love to know what promotional strategies work for you.

Meet Kathleen Kaska

Hometown Guest Author Headshot

Kathleen Kaska is the author of two awarding-winning mystery series: the Sydney Lockhart Mystery Series set in the 1950s and the Classic Triviography Mystery Series, which includes The Sherlock Holmes Triviography and Quiz Book. Run Dog Run, Kathleen’s first mystery in the new Kate Caraway animal-rights series was released in March 2017. She is also the marketing director for Cave Art Press. Her collection of blog posts was released by Cave Art Press in September 2017 under the title, Do You Have a Catharsis Handy? Five-Minute Writing Tips.

About Becky Robinson

Becky is the founder and CEO of Weaving Influence, the founder of Hometown Reads, and a champion of the #ReadLocal Movement.

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What People Are Saying

  • All very good suggestions that don’t require huge amounts of money or time.

  • Great tips, especially about cross promotion and reviews.

  • Thanks everyone for the marketing ideas/list. I am apart of a Supermarket Authors club. I love meeting readers and talking about books. Kroger Club for authors is a great way to get noticed and sell books!

    • I’d like to get something like that started here in the PNW! Thanks, Zari!

  • Thanks for having me as a guest on Hometown Reads and for giving us the opportunity to share our ideas.

  • What helpful advice.

  • Great article!
    Connecting on social media is a big one for me and not just when you want to promote yourself and your books. I also find that BookTubers (on YouTube) are awesome b/c they’re really not afraid of voicing their opinions and honest feedback is what we’re always after 🙂

    • Hi Melissa,
      Thanks for the info on BookTubers. I will definitely check it out!

  • Kathleen,

    This is a very helpful article. I’m bookmarking it for future reference.

  • People that I meet love the bookmarks I had printed, which have the VanOps cover on one side and my photo and thriller/suspense award on the other. And there’s a link to http://Www.avanticentrae.com, where they can download the first six chapters for the small price of an email address.

  • Good tips. Thanks for sharing. The life of an author can be a lonely one. It’s great to connect with like minded people, a bonus if you are able to help and be of benefit to each other. x

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