32 book marketing ideas

by | Sep 30, 2019 | Book Marketing | 3 comments

Painting of a man selling jewelry to a woman to accompany the post 31 book marketing ideas

The most important principle of book marketing is this one: don’t try to do everything. Instead, focus on what you like and what you’re best at. Here’s a big list of book marketing ideas to help you hone in on what you should do.

The must-haves

There’s really only one thing you must do when it comes to book marketing:

These days, it’s also become increasingly important to…

  • Be active on social media – You don’t have to be on every social network under the sun, but it pays to post regularly and begin to build an audience. Here are some social media tips for authors.

All the book marketing ideas apart from these two? Optional. But you gotta do something.

Online book marketing ideas

  • Paid advertising – Many authors have had success with ads on Amazon, Facebook, Google, BookBub, and others. There’s a learning curve and it’s easy to lose money if you’re not smart about it, but it can also be very effective. (David Gaughran has great resources if this is a direction you’re curious about).
  • Blogging – Yes, people still read blogs (proof: you are currently reading mine). It’s a bit harder to build an audience than it used to be, but if you provide value and stick with it you can still reach people.
  • Content marketing – Pitch articles to national publications and popular blogs. Make sure what you’re pitching is aligned with a topic that makes sense for that publication, don’t just do something boilerplate.
  • Podcast – Sure, it seems like everyone under the sun has a podcast these days, but it’s still a growing market. If you have a good one, people will find you.
  • YouTube – YouTube is famously the world’s second biggest search engine after Google. Especially if you are working in a visual arena or you have a killer idea for a book trailer, YouTube can be a strong platform.
  • Newsletter – Good old fashioned email is still tried and true way of reaching an audience. Think creatively about how you’ll make your newsletter stand apart and how you’ll capture subscribers.
  • Engage with message boards and online groups – This doesn’t work if you’re going to just spam a board, but if you organically belong to some online communities, think about how you can engage with them to promote your book.
  • Solicit reviews – DO NOT pay for fake reviews, but do make sure to remind people how much reviews matter.
  • Giveaways – Host a giveaway on your blog or social media profiles to draw attention to your book release.
  • Blog tours – Reach out to top bloggers to arrange a series of posts around publication time.
  • Author marketing collectives – Join forces with other authors who are releasing their books around the same time to multiply your reach.
  • Price promotions – Drop your price for a limited time to create a sales boost.
  • Engage with influencers – Reach out to top book reviewers and influencers to try to solicit posts and reviews.
  • Host a webinar – Have something that you can teach the world, or better yet that ties in with your book? Teach a class or host a free webinar.
  • Alumni network – Your university or high school may be excited about what you’re up to.
  • Add a link in your email signature – Think about how many emails you send. Now think of how many more people could be aware of your book.
  • Crowdfund – Some successful books got their start on Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platform, which gets people invested in a book before its release.
  • Email your friends – Don’t forget to tap into your personal network. Your friends and acquaintances may be able to give your book a boost.

Offline book marketing ideas

  • School visits – Talking to a bunch of kids can be wildly terrifying, but some children’s book authors are fantastic at translating their books to successful school visits.
  • Local and national media – If you’re really well-networked you can perhaps parlay those connections into appearances on local or national media. People still watch TV, read the newspaper, and listen to the radio, you know.
  • Bookstore appearances and signings – It can be a bit tricky to convince bookstores to stock and feature you, especially if you’re a self-published author, but with some gumption you can successfully pound the pavement.
  • Local stores and coffee shops – Bookstores aren’t the only places people buy books! Other stores in your community may be willing to sell your book.
  • Conferences and festivals – Pitch workshops or speaking topics to writers conferences or trade events.
  • Solicit and deploy blurbs from successful authors – These tend to evolve organically and I don’t recommend spamming every author under the sun, but do at least try with the ones you know. (Here are some tips).
  • Tie-ins – Can you associate your book with other products or newsworthy events? Would museums or galleries be interested in your book?
  • Partnerships – Are there companies who you might be able to partner with to give you a boost?
  • Wacky events – Po Bronson once staged a mock IPO for his novel Bombardiers and paid out shares of the hardcover sales. If you’re a great party planner, do something that ties in!
  • Print and physical media advertising – Yes, this is still a thing.
  • Donations – Give your book away to people who need it. Not only will you be doing good, you might build lasting connections.
  • Swag – Create some branded doo dads to give away to people. Bookmarks, book plates, t-shirts, keychains, you name it.

More resources

But wait, there’s more! Here are some posts that might help you on your journey to successful marketing:

See any book marketing ideas I missed? Add it in the comments and I’ll add it to the post with credit back to you.

Need help with your book? I’m available for manuscript edits, query critiques, and coaching!

For my best advice, check out my guide to writing a novel (now available in audio) and my guide to publishing a book.

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Art: In the Shop by Sergei Gribkov


  1. Bryan Fagan

    This came at a perfect time. I cannot thank you enough. My book was released a month ago and I feel overwhelmed.

  2. Ernie Zelinski

    I use a few of these techniques but very few. As an author whose books (mainly self-published) reached over 1,000,000 copies sold in September, and have been published in 22 languages in 29 countries, I will stick to my techniques for writing books and marketing them. I have come up with 75 to 100 of my own unique marketing techniques that 99 percent of authors and so called “book marketing experts” are not creative enough to come up with. I have used similar unique marketing techniques to get over 117 books deals with various foreign publishers around the world. (This last week I just landed 3 book deals with a Vietnamese publisher for my “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free,” “The Joy of Not Working,” and “Look Ma, Life’s Easy”. ) These techniques involve what my competitors are NOT doing — instead of what my competitors are doing. These techniques have absolutely nothing to do with using paid advertising or social media.

    Having said that, here are words of wisdom from people smarter than me that have guided me over the years:

    “It’s better to do a sub-par job on the right project than an excellent job on the wrong project.”
    — Robert J. Ringer

    “A market is never saturated with a good product, but it is very quickly saturated with a bad one.”
    — Henry Ford

    “Good isn’t good enough.”
    — Mark Coker (owner of Smashwords)

    “Very Good Is Bad — It’s Not Good Enough!”
    — Seth Godin (My favorite Marketing Guru)

    “Even the most careful and expensive marketing plans cannot sell people a book they don’t want to read.”
    — Michael Korda, former Editor-in-Chief at Simon & Schuster

    “The shortest and best way to make your fortune is to let people see clearly that it is in their interests to promote yours.”
    — Jean de La Bruyére

    “In the arena of human life the honors and rewards fall to those who show their good qualities in action.”
    — Aristotle

    “Books work as an art form (and an economic one) because they are primarily the work of an individual.”
    — Seth Godin

    “Writing is the hardest way to earn a living, with the possible exception of wrestling alligators.”
    — Olin Miller

    “Your success and prosperity are too valuable to depend on crowd funding or lottery tickets.”
    — Seth Godin

    “Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity.”
    — Christopher Morley

    “The amount of money you make will always be in direct proportion to the demand for what you do, your ability to do it, and the difficulty of replacing you.”
    — Earl Nightingale

  3. Craig Barker

    Set up a writer page on Facebook and a record with Twitter. See what sort of posts and advancements get the most likes, shares, and retweets, and apply the bits of knowledge to expand your online life following and draw in with them better.


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Hi, I’m Nathan. I’m the author of How to Write a Novel and the Jacob Wonderbar series, which was published by Penguin. I used to be a literary agent at Curtis Brown Ltd. and I’m dedicated to helping authors chase their dreams. Let me help you with your book!

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