Inexpensive Ways to Market Your Self-Published Book

BY ANDREA MORAN • May 7, 2024

Inexpensive Ways to Market Your Self-Published Book

By now, you are probably aware of the importance of marketing your new book. But did you also know that you don’t have to break the bank to do it? While there are certainly costs involved when it comes to getting the word out (consider it one of the hazards of being a self-published author!), here are some relatively inexpensive ways to get your marketing plan going on a budget.

1. Create an author website
Consider this the basic building block of your internet presence. When people inevitably google your name or book title, a professional-looking author website should ideally be the first search result they see. But you don’t have to be an expert web designer (or pay for one)—there are plenty of free or cheap website domains out there, like Weebly and Squarespace, that will also provide free templates and builders, so you can feel confident that you’re putting your best foot forward.

Just remember to include quality photographs of, at minimum, your book cover and headshot. Also be sure to edit and proofread all the text on every page. This website will largely act as your introduction to potential readers, so make sure it’s a good one!

2. Become friendly with social media
If you’re not currently active on social media, there is no time like the present. Whether it’s X (formerly known as Twitter), Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, or all of the above, make your presence known. I highly recommend opening a professional account on these sites and keeping it entirely separate from any personal accounts you may already have set up—you don’t want potential readers looking at your book synopsis only to have your family vacation pictures pop up right after. In other words, treat your book like a business by plugging your book at every opportunity and keeping readers informed of any upcoming events or future publication dates.

3. Write an email newsletter
Another important way to keep potential audiences up to date on your author-related activities is to write a regular newsletter (once a month seems to be a sweet spot) that can be emailed to people, informing them of any updates or changes going on with your book.

Your newsletter can cover any writing-related topic, such as insights into how or why you wrote the book, your inspirations, and anything else related to your writing. The easiest way to build a newsletter base is to include a form on your author website where visitors can fill in their email addresses. You can also periodically send out links to the form via your social media accounts.

4. Participate in local events
Speaking of keeping readers informed of any upcoming events, make sure you schedule some. Take the time to look into book-themed happenings around your area, whether that’s at your local library, independent bookstores, or even nearby festivals. Contact the people in charge to see if you can host a booth or get your book included in some capacity. Then make sure to include the event details on your website and social media.

5. Schedule some author readings
One of the most important local events you can participate in is setting up an author reading. This is where you read a predetermined excerpt from your book in front of a small audience (usually at a local bookstore or library) and then take questions from the audience.

One of the many perks of this type of event—other than the joy of getting to discuss your work in person with fellow book lovers—is that if you can arrange an author reading with a local business, they usually take care of the costs of advertising for their venue. Of course, you’ll also want to do your part by spreading the word via your author website and social media.

6. Submit your work to book reviewers
While quality book reviews, such as the ones at Kirkus Reviews, are often paid for by the writer, you may find that some smaller websites or publications offer the chance to review your book for free. Some local newspapers may even have a book review column—if that’s the case, be sure to look into submitting your book for possible inclusion.

7. Include your book as a giveaway
While it may seem counterintuitive to give your book away for free, participating in certain contests or giveaways—with your book as the prize—can actually be a great and inexpensive way to get the word out. And there are likely plenty of places that would be happy to take your book as a donation for various fundraisers or similar events: schools, local bookstores, libraries, community festivals, and more.

Whether you have a physical copy or an ebook, handing out your book for free increases your chance of that reader leaving a review, which can really get the ball rolling on word-of-mouth sales. And if you can’t find any contests going on in your area, you can always run one on your own website and social media.

8. Reach out to the media
Call your local newspaper to see if they’re interested in doing a profile on you—many of the smaller newspapers love highlighting noteworthy things their citizens are up to, and publishing a book is a big deal! You can also cast a wider net by getting in touch with any literary bloggers, podcasters, or social media influencers who might be interested in interviewing you or writing a piece about your book. You’ll never know unless you try!


Andrea Moran lives outside of Nashville with her husband and two kids. She’s a professional copywriter and editor who loves all things books. Find her on LinkedIn.

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