How Authors Can Market Books for Free

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When I started writing Eat the Damn Muffin, I had an extremely small budget. I didn’t write my first book in attempts to get Oprah rich, but I did want to share it with the world. Honestly, I just wanted to reach as many people as possible, because I knew the power of my book and the good it could do.

Early on, I researched ways to promote and market my book in a way that wouldn’t tip the scales on my budget. Aside from creating my book trailer, everything I did to promote Eat the Damn Muffin was free. It took a lot of work and effort, but what it didn’t do was cost me anything.

Becoming an author was a dream of mine. Writing isn’t just my passion, it’s my career. If you’re a fellow writer, than you can understand that money doesn’t simply fall into our laps as easily as some jobs. So, I want to share how you can market your book for free, because it is possible to be successful and promote your work without burying yourself under a mountain of debt.

Spending Money Doesn’t Guarantee Sales

My email is filled up almost daily with people asking to market my book- but for a pretty large price tag. Spending money on marketing your book doesn’t guarantee you sales. You don’t have to be a marketing specialist or guru to get the word out about your book though. When it comes down to it, marketing is basically connecting with people who share similar interests.

If you have a book that you firmly believe in, then there are ways you can handle the marketing and promotion without having a big budget. When something is free, that doesn’t always mean it’s easy. However, if you do stand by your creation, then this may not be a challenge.

1. Start Promoting Early

Even before your book is published, drum up promotional ideas. Talk about your book, and share details on your social platforms. If you run a blog, write posts about it, and have a page solely dedicated to your book.

I shared some of my favorite quotes from Eat the Damn Muffin before it was published. Also, I shared little bit of information leading up to the book launch day. Building suspense is important for promotion. It gets people excited, and creating that anticipation can really benefit your sales once the book is published.

2. Focus on a Target Audience & Start Small

Housewife Hustle is on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. When I first started marketing my book, I focused on 2 platforms. It’s best to start small and focus on a target audience. If you don’t have a huge following, this can be extremely important. Keeping that focus small means you can promote to your target audience well. You simply just don’t want to link drop and leave.

Build connections with your target audience. If you pick a few places to promote, rather than the entire online world, you can make sure those promotions are done well. Spreading yourself too thin could hinder establishing connections with your target audience.

3. Know Your Audience

Once you’ve figured out your target audience, hone in those connections. Figure out what they want out of a book and what your book could do for them. You want to be able to not just connect but also establish trust and a good understanding. There’s a give and take with authors and readers. You give them what they want to take away from the book.

Eat the Damn Muffin is a self-help book of sorts that helps build body confidence. I knew it would translate well for those who struggle with self-love, because I wrote it while I struggled with my own. I was able to use my personal experiences to understand what the audience wanted and needed from my book. Knowing that allowed me to deliver promotions that were relevant to their wants and needs.

4. Reach Out to Your Community

There are book stores and libraries all around us. The entire world isn’t just buying and reading books online. So, reach out to the places in your community. Many local libraries and book stores want to support authors that are in their backyards.

During my book launch, I reached out to the book store at my alma mater, Shippensburg University. They were thrilled to put my book in their bookstore because I graduated with an English degree. It allows them to showcase the success of their students, and it gets the word out to a new demographic for my book.

Trust me when I say that the fear of rejection might be there, but you won’t know until you try. The more you try, the better. Rejection from one place could lead to bigger and better opportunities, so don’t hold yourself back because you don’t think someone would want to sell your book. Believe in yourself.

5. Utilize Your Socials & Blog

I can’t say this one enough. After you’ve targeted audiences and started small from early on, branch out. Create social media accounts or sections on your own for your book. Pinterest can be incredible for authors, so make a board for your book.

Create eye-catching vertical pins, and consider checking out Tailwind. There is a free trial of the Tailwind app that helped my book promotions get a lot views on Pinterest, so if you do want to invest it in, it’s a tool that’s worth it. You can also learn about the pros and cons of Tailwind here.

Tailwind and Pinterest are incredible tools for getting your book noticed. Plus, Pinterest is totally free if you don’t have the means to spend on extras. The majority of my sales have come from people discovering my book on Pinterest and this blog. Utilize everything at your fingertips.

Create a Facebook page for your book. With social media and blogs, you have endless free promotional space. You don’t have to pay for advertisements to spread the world on your book. Don’t underestimate the power of social media or your blog.

6. Connect with Authors and Book Bloggers/Reviewers

I didn’t have the funds to send hundreds of copies of my book to reviewers. However, I made connections with fellow authors, book bloggers, and reviewers. When you reach out and be apart of the writing community, doors will open for marketing.

As an author, make use of Goodreads and set up an author profile. It’s free, and you can connect with even more authors and readers than your standard social media accounts. Plus, there are so many opportunities for engagement. You can support others while also spreading the word on your own book.

If you are able, send copies of your book. Ask for guest posts or possible interviews. Use the connections you’ve established. When you support fellow authors, there is this sense of comradery, and that can really help you get the word out about your book. You’re making connections, supporting others, and reaching new audiences. All of those things are wonderful and free.

7. Keywords Are Always an Answer

Keywords are magical and not just for bloggers. These are the ideal words that readers are searching for. If you’re a new author, chances are readers don’t know your name or the name of your book. Using keywords in marketing, can change all of that.

Make a list of keywords, including long-tail keywords, that are relevant to your book and you as an author. Use these keywords in your blog posts, titles, pins, promotional graphics, bios, and more. They are like mini maps that will take people to your book and content, so don’t sleep on keywords Keywords will keep your pages and social platforms searchable and visible. With millions of authors, keywords can help you stand out.

8. Make Use of Your Bios

Fill out your Amazon Author profile page. Include the link to your book in your social media bios. I created a page on this blog just for Eat the Damn Muffin, and I often link that page on my social media accounts as well. This keeps your book visible and easily accessible.

Your bios tell people why they should follow you and be interested in what your create. Using your bios to promote your book and what it can do for others is a great way to market yourself. In all of my bios, it mentions that I am an author. Be proud of your book and make sure you mention it on all of your platform bios.

9. Try a Giveaway

Before my book was an actual paperback, I had a mini e-book published. This was like a “feeler” project during the early stages of my book. I wanted to make sure there was an audience interested before going the distance. That e-book did decent with sales, but I had a major giveaway. Almost 200 copies were downloaded that first day of the giveaway.

Honestly, the giveaway was frustrating at first, because so many people wanted something I put my blood, sweat, and tears into for free rather than purchasing it. At the same time, it helped a lot of people with their self-love struggles, and it showed me that there was interest in my topic.

I haven’t done giveaways with the paperback edition, and the mini edition is no longer available. However, I have shared parts of paragraphs and given away samples of chapters of my book. Also, I have done big holiday sales. People love a good deal, so sometimes you have to give them a taste of your book to get the word out even more.

10. Meet & Greet

In the spring, summer, and even fall, our area holds a lot of craft shows and events for local artists and authors to showcase their work. These types of events are great to set up meet and greets. People love hearing about local success stories, whether you’re super famous or not. Also, sign some books and set up a sales tent.

There is something magical about owning a signed copy of book. I have my own collection of signed works, so I know that people really value being able to meet the author and make connections. It’s fun to be apart of these events and share your work with your community as well.

If you don’t have events like this in your area, you can do a promotional book signing online. You can also do a live chat for questions if online marketing is easier for you. Again, offering signed copies or being available to your audience can really make the difference with promoting your book.

Believe in Your Book

I can’t stress this enough, because these strategies won’t be as powerful otherwise. You must believe in your book. Having that confidence in your creation speaks volumes to your audience. Share your struggles, share your writing process, and share what your book means to you.

People want to be able to relate, whether it’s to a character in a book or to the author. Establishing those connections and being honest about what your book can do for others is so valuable. People are always in pursuit of answers, so give them answers about your book.

  • Ask yourself what your book can do for others, and share those answers.
  • Ask yourself who will your book benefit, and share those answers.
  • Ask yourself what lessons can the reader take away from your book, and share those answers.

The point is, ask yourself the questions you would want to know if you were a reader and trying to decide on choosing a book. Answer those questions, and share them. Turn those questions and answers into call to actions to spark even more interest. People want to feel motivated. Call to actions will challenge your audience in a good way- I promise.

Market Yourself and Your Book

When I market my book, I’m also marketing myself to some degree. Eat the Damn Muffin doesn’t just share how you call learn to love yourself and your body. It also shares my personal struggles and how the strategies that I share have worked for me. My personal struggles act as a real life example of how the book can benefit others.

Not all authors will have a similar way of marketing themselves along with their book. However, you have to find what makes you different. Why is your book any more special than others? Finding those differences and specialties is important, because those should be apart of your marketing.

Free is Possible

It’s completely possible to be in charge of your own book marketing for free. You have to be dedicated, believe in your book, and put in effort. If you were able to become an author and write a book, I believe you can take this next step of promotion too. You have all of the tools right in front of you; you just have to want it.

-With Love,

Jenni

The author of Eat the Damn Muffin and Housewife Hustle, Jenni Dunlap, is seen holding her book with a smile while being outside.

18 thoughts on “How Authors Can Market Books for Free”

  1. Authorsdb.com lets you create free book listings, and when you release a book or run a promotion they’ll share it on their social channels, which have good reach.

    Booklife.com lets you submit your book for a chance to win a free review by Publishers Weekly.

    1. I’ll also be trying to compile a list of places you can share it for free and turn it into a post too!

  2. As always. Well rounded great advice. I am stockpiling all of these little gems of yours for when my jump off comes around. I have a friend I call my “mommy whisperer” for all of her sage parenting advice. You are my blogging, writer superstar whisperer! Thanks!

  3. Absolutely love this, especially the part about believing in your book. That is so important! Thanks for sharing such amazing tips beauty! <3

  4. It was really helpful for me. Thank u so much for sharing your experience I am also at this stage and finding the way of promoting novel. ” This Is Not A Love Story ” plz read my first novel available on Amazon. 😊

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