For nonfiction authors, the significance of effective book promotion ideas cannot be overstated. If you are not able to get it noticed by the right readers AKA your target audience then you likely will not be able to meet the goals you had for your book.
In this article, we’ll explore 10 low-cost or in many cases no-cost book promotion ideas. Regardless of whether you have a large or small budget for marketing your book, these promotion ideas are certainly important and applicable for all authors. While these ideas are low or no-cost, keep in mind, they do require a significant investment of your time and effort to be effective. However, this investment is not only worthwhile for the success of this one book, but beneficial for the growth of your overall business.
Let’s get started with our first book promotion idea!
#1 Design a Book Cover that Sells!
As you’ll see in this article, some of the book promotion ideas are related to actions you can take before your book is published. Investing time into the design of your book cover is one of them.
What is the point of a book cover?
Your book cover plays a pivotal role in attracting the right readers to your book. Keep in mind potential readers are not only going to see the book cover when browsing for books online. Typically the book cover is used in a number of promotional materials, social media posts, email marketing, and other messaging when promoting your book. A well-designed book cover can:
- spark curiosity and draw a reader in
- provide a glimpse of what readers may expect as far as the book’s genre, tone, and subject matter
- tilt the odds in your favor competing for a reader’s limited time and attention
- impact the effectiveness of other book promotion ideas that we’ll discuss in this article
Can I create my own book cover?
Yes! As opposed to hiring a professional designer, crafting your own cover can be a rewarding and cost-effective decision. Here are some questions to keep in mind if you’re considering a DIY approach:
- What are your design abilities? Your book cover needs to look professional. Consider using a graphic design tool like Canva to take advantage of their library of book cover templates. You’ll also find high-quality graphics and fonts to help you get started. No matter which design tool you choose, be sure to abide by their content license agreement when it comes to using content like fonts, photos, and graphics for commercial purposes.
- What does the competition look like? Typically, different book genres have distinct cover design traits. Nonfiction books span a wide range of subgenres, from self-help to memoirs. Research successful books in your subgenre to better understand the expectations and trends. Take note of font choice, color palette themes, and visual elements used. While you by no means want to copy another author’s work, your cover should include these identifying features that help readers quickly assess the book’s focus.
- What are the formatting requirements? Ensure your cover meets the specifications of the publishing platform you’ll be using. Each platform has specific size and resolution guidelines.
TIP: After creating one (or a couple) book cover drafts, strongly consider seeking feedback. Reach out to potential readers or even fellow authors for their honest opinions. Refine the cover based on the general input.
Remember, creating a book cover is not just about aesthetics, it’s about effectively conveying the essence of your book to your target audience.
#2 Setup Author Website or Blog
Think of your website as the central hub where readers and potential readers can gather to learn more about you and your work.
Do I need to have a website to promote my book?
In a word: yes. Have you ever tried to look up a business online only to find they do not have a website or maybe they have one, but it is outdated? What was your impression of this business?
An author’s website is an invaluable asset. It offers benefits to your business that expand beyond the book you’re trying to promote.
First, the website establishes your professional online presence. Investing time in building and maintaining a professional website helps enhance your credibility in the eyes of the readers. Second, it acts as a central hub for your audience to find details about all of your author-related work (i.e., books you’re working on, upcoming book launch events, etc).
Additionally, your website can serve as a space to showcase your expertise. Whether this is through blog articles you’ve written or resources you’ve designed to share and sell. Also, if you offer services such as speaking engagements, consulting or counseling, your website can highlight these offerings and attract potential clients.
A website is a long-term investment that is key to the continuous growth of your business as new book or opportunities arise.
Tips to promote your book through your website
Now that we’ve covered the importance of having a website, let’s explore tips to effectively promote your book on it.
- Add Author Bio Page to highlight your credentials and background
- Regularly publish blog posts about your writing journey or topics covered in your book
- Add a dedicated tab for your book to showcase: cover image, book description, and direct purchase links
- Post videos such as book trailers and author interviews
- Promote book signings, webinars, workshops, or other events on the events calendar page
- Encourage visitors to subscribe to your email list to receive updates and exclusive content
- Link to you social media accounts, making it easier for visitors to connect with you
BONUS TIP: Use your book to promote your website by adding the URL (or QR code) in the back matter of the book. Provide incentives for readers to visit your site, such as bonus content and downloadable resources.
#3 Optimize Social Media Engagement
Social media has become a cornerstone of an author’s promotional toolkit. Building your social media presence is another book promotion idea you can focus on before your book is even published.
Best practice to optimize your social media presence
Having a social media presence does not require you to be active on every platform out there. Focus on the ones that align best with your target audience.
Creating a Facebook author page for example is one way to master your author presence. Here you can post updates about your book, share Facebook stories about your writing journey, and engage in discussions with followers. You can also gather analytics data that can help you improve the quality of content you put out.
Whichever social media platform you focus on, remember consistency is key. This means maintaining consistent branding across all platforms. Additionally, establish a posting schedule and stick to it! Regular posting keeps your audience interested as does engaging with them.
By consistently offering valuable content, adding a call to action to each post, and engaging in meaningful discussions you help to establish a genuine connection with your followers. This trust helps strengthen your author brand and book visibility.
Book promotion ideas that utilize social media
Below are ideas for different types of posts you could create for your social platforms. Some of the ideas may be things to consider while you’re still in the development phase of your book. Others may be better implemented right before your book launch or even after it has been released.
- Poll your followers. Create a post with two book cover designs. Let your followers weigh-in on which cover they prefer.
- Post teasers (i.e., visuals, quotes or excerpts) from your book.
- Host live Q&A sessions about your book on Facebook or Instagram.
- Announce your book launch date and create a countdown series of posts.
- Share positive reader reviews.
- Post testimonials from sources.
- Offer a behind the scenes look at your writing process or research.
- Keep followers up to date with virtual or in-person book launch events.
Bonus Idea: Contests on social media are another fun tool. You can promote your book while helping to foster a sense of community and excitement with followers. Remember to set clear rules and engage with participants.
#4 Book Promotion Ideas that Focus on Email Marketing
Email marketing offers a direct way to connect with your audience, nurture reader relationships, and keep your work on the top of their mind.
Strategies to build and nurture your email list
Start building your email list early, even before your book is released. This can be done by encouraging website visitors and social media followers to subscribe. If you have events like a speaking engagement, you can ask also attendees to sign-up.
TIP: Offer valuable incentives for signing up, such as free resources or a first look at book excerpts.
Consider email marketing platforms that help with automating emails. This makes scheduling more consistent. Flodesk* is a platform that helps with email design as well as includes features like segment. This feature allows you to send tailored messages that resonate with specific groups. Thus enhancing the meaningful engagement piece of building your author brand.
(*This is an affiliate link where I will earn a commission on qualifying purchases.)
Book promotion ideas via email
Before your book’s release, use a series of emails to generate excitement. You can create teaser emails and offer pre-order incentives to subscribers. Also use the email series to inform subscribers of upcoming book launch events.
After your book is released, continue regular email communication. Incorporate reader reviews or professional testimonials to help entice the potential buyers. Also use these post book release emails to share relevant content, such as articles, interviews or resources related to your book’s topic.
Email marketing is not just about promoting your current book. Rather it’s about building long-term relationships with your audience. Remember that successful email marketing requires consistency, authenticity, and a focus on providing value to subscribers. By nurturing your email list, you can create a dedicated reader community that supports your first book and any future projects.
#5 Utilize Amazon KDP Author Central
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is a self-publishing platform that helps authors publish and sell their books through the Amazon marketplace. There are a number of benefits of self-publishing, compared to more traditional publishing methods. Benefits include the ability to reach a global audience, earn competitive royalties and not having to worry about inventory or upfront costs.
What is Amazon KDP Author Central?
Amazon KDP also offers free and paid features that can help authors promote their books. Amazon Author Central is one of the free services that allows authors to promote themselves and showcase their work. Here authors can add their biography and claim their books published on Amazon. In addition, Author Central provides a space for authors to post about upcoming events like book signings and engage with readers comments.
Why should I use KDP Author Central to promote my book?
In addition to providing a go-to page through Amazon for customers to learn more about you, readers can also follow authors on Author Central. Following an author helps readers stay informed of the author’s new books or events.
As with social media, having followers on Amazon can help build a loyal fan base, generate buzz, and boost your sales. Additionally, higher numbers of followers help with search ranking results as this is something taken into account by Amazon’s algorithms.
#6 Write a Good Book Description
A book description is a crucial marketing tool that you can adapt and use across different platforms to promote your book. In our previous book promotion idea, the Author Central platform is one place where readers can find the book description.
Other common places to find the book description
- Author’s website or blog
- Social media posts
- Email marketing
- Promotional materials for book launch events
- Press releases that are given to bloggers, influencers, other potential collaborators
- Book introduction for an interview or podcast
- Author profile page on book promotion sites, such Goodreads Author Program and BookBub
NOTE: Book promotion sites are online platforms designed to assist authors in increasing visibility and book sales. If you decide to use one of these sites, be sure to do your research. Compare the sites to determine which one fits best with your budget, genre, and book format (eBook, paperback, audiobook). While these sites can be very beneficial, they can also be pricey.
How do you write a good book description?
Think of your book description as an advertisement instead of summary of the book. Start with an attention-grabbing opening. This might be a statement or question that highlights the main theme of the book. Follow it with a compelling description that will get readers to buy your book.
Common practice is to write in third person and keep the description to 150-200 words. Descriptions written in consumer-friendly language are ideal. You’ll also want to incorporate keywords throughout the description.
Below are two examples of book descriptions. Each one highlights the different qualities that make it a good book description.
TIP: Check out the competition for inspiration. Compare book descriptions of books from a similar niche as yours.
#7 Get Book Reviews
Think of the last time you wanted to buy a new product or maybe even try out a recipe you found online. How did you make the decision to try it or not?
In the world of endless choices, reviews are an integral part to the success of any promotion strategy. Whether it be a new gadget, recipe or book, reviews are social proof that help customers gauge quality and credibility.
Why do reviews matter when it comes to book promotion?
Book reviews play a role in building trust, driving sales, and elevating an author’s reputation. Positive reviews provide validation that the contents of the book meets the author’s intended purpose as well as reader’s expectations.
They can help push a hesitant buyer into making a purchase. Moreover, the quantity and quality of reviews helps impact a book’s ranking and discoverability online.
How do I get book reviews?
One way to get your first batch of book reviews is to reach out to your existing network. Especially consider those that fit your book’s target audience. This may be individuals in your personal network, social media following, or individuals from your email list.
Encourage readers to leave honest feedback as authenticity is key to building trust with potential readers.
If selling your book on Amazon, encourage buyers to leave reviews. Keep in mind that Amazon has rules and guidelines for book reviews. For instance, reviews must be honest and unbiased. This means that reviewers should not be offered incentives for their feedback.
NOTE: Whichever book promotion or selling platforms you use, be sure to read up on the book review guidelines for each site. Typically, the platform will remove any reviews that do not follow the rules.
Another idea is to pitch to nonfiction book review websites or blogs. You can locate these types of sites online, through social media or book review directories.
Each site generally has their own set of submission guidelines. In most cases you’ll be submitting at least a summary and author bio. Be sure to research review sites:
- relevant to your book’s genre
- with a good reputation
- are currently active and accepting review requests
- with a significant following
When it comes to asking for book reviews it can be uncomfortable for authors. Whether you’re asking in person, submitting a pitch to a website or writing a post for social media, remember to be polite, patient and persistent (but not pushy).
#8 Virtual Book Promotion Ideas for Your Book Launch
Virtual book launch events have become increasingly important for book promotion. They’re a great way for authors to connect with readers from near and far. Additionally, they help to build excitement and drive initial sales for a new book.
Virtual book promotion ideas
Here are book promotion ideas that can be done virtually either before or right around the book launch. Leverage social media, email marketing and your author website to promote the events.
- Host virtual author readings via Zoom or Facebook Live. This can be a one-time event or schedule regular reading sessions. Use these sessions to share excerpts from your book and answer audience questions.
- Collaborate with online book clubs. Engage with readers, provide exclusive insights, and offer digital resources to the club members.
- Organize live author Q&A webinars. Encourage attendees to submit question ahead of time.
- Offer free or paid virtual workshops related to your book’s topic. Host sessions on Zoom or Teachable. For example, if you created a recipe book, host a virtual cooking demonstration using recipes from the book.
One final note about virtual book launch events. While these events are important for book promotion and sales, they can also be very rewarding for authors. Virtual events enable authors to engage directly with their audience and make the book release more memorable.
#9 In-person Book Promotion Ideas
While this article has mainly covered ideas that are carried out online, there is something to be said about in-person book promotion events. Firstly, these events provide the opportunity to connect with readers face-to-face. Secondly, in-person events help generate word-of-mouth buzz and possible media coverage. Lastly, these events allow authors to tap into the local community. This is especially important if your target audience may not be as active online and social media.
10 In-person book promotion event ideas
You do not need a marketing team and budget to host in-person book events. Below are 10 ways to promote your book utilizing your local community. Keep in mind, depending on your target audience some of the ideas may not be applicable.
- Partner with local bookstores for author readings and book signings.
- Offer presentations at your local library on topics related to your book.
- Join or start a community book club. Discuss your book and engage with the group.
- Participate in local book fairs or health fairs. Set up a booth, display your book and other related resources.
- Read your book to students at local schools or after school programs.
- Arrange author talks at community centers. Contact local groups (i.e., mom groups, running clubs, home-school co-ops, etc) to attend.
- Reach out to local medical groups or hospitals to arrange a lunch-and- learn for staff on topics covered in your book.
- Contact local newspapers, community newsletters, radio stations, and TV channels for feature stories about your book.
- Collaborate with other local authors or experts related to your niche. Organize a panel discussion at a local event.
- Donate copies of your book to local libraries, schools, shelters or other community groups.
#10 Networking Opportunities
Networking within the writing and publishing community can be a powerful tool for book promotion. Consider the following strategies to expand your reach.
Collaborating with Fellow Authors
Partnering with other authors in your niche or genre can lead to mutually beneficial cross-promotion. This might include: joint book launches, co-authored projects, or guest spots on each other’s podcasts or blogs. By sharing your audiences, you can reach new readers who are already interested in your genre.
Joining Facebook Author Groups
Facebook groups dedicated to authors and writers are ripe with networking opportunities. These are generally supportive communities. The key is regular, active engagement. Through groups like Dietitian Authors, Dietitians on the Blog, and RDs Who Write, members can exchange ideas, share promotional tips, and find other professionals interested in cross-promotion.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a platform that connects authors with journalists and reporters seeking expert sources for their articles. For authors, HARO offers a valuable opportunity that can lead to media coverage, quotes in articles and increased visibility as a credible expert in the field. As mentioned a number of times in this article, building your authority and potential reader’s trust is a key factor in book sales.
NOTE: In order to be considered for source requests from HARO, you first need to register on their site. Then you can pitch for source requests that match your expertise. When submitting your pitch, be sure to mention your book in your bio.
When it comes to book promotion ideas it can be challenging to decide which ones to implement. While promoting your book yourself can be a rewarding endeavor, it’s important to recognize that it comes with its own set of challenges.
On the other hand, hiring a professional to market your book can provide expertise and save you time. However, it will come with a cost.
Ultimately, the path you choose should reflect your unique vision for your book, your business as a whole and the needs of your audience. By carefully selecting the right book promotion ideas, you can effectively connect with readers, increase your book’s visibility and achieve the book sales success you envisioned.
For additional reading on becoming a self-published author, check out The Dietitian Editor website.