How to Promote a Book: 12 Proven Ways

How to Promote a Book: 12 Proven Ways

Farzad Rashidi

Farzad Rashidi

Lead Innovator at Respona

How to Promote a Book: 12 Proven Ways

Publishing a book is one thing.

Getting a self published book to sell is completely another.

This is why we have prepared this guide on how to promote a book with 12 of the most effective ways to do so this year.

Let’s dive into it.

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Pitch it To Journalists

Perhaps one of the best ways to promote a book is to have a journalist review it for you.

book review example
Image source: Kirkus Reviews

For this, you’ll need to get in touch with them personally.

You can do so by reaching out to them on social media platforms, through their contact form, and, and course, through good old email outreach.

The latter can be done with Respona – it will help you find opportunities, craft your pitch, find email addresses, and personalize each message – all in one go.

Let’s quickly overview the process.

First, you’ll need to choose a campaign template or start an advanced campaign.

In this case, let’s go for “News outreach”:

respona journalist outreach template

To use it, fill out the necessary fields.

As target keywords, you may paste names of other books in your niche that you know have garnered reviews.

In the second field, provide a brief description of your book and what makes it unique.

Keep the date range on default to get the freshest results, and then choose your target country and language.

These fields will be used to both set up your search criteria and form the basis of your email sequence.

When everything is ready, click “Use this template”.

The first step is to review & adjust your email sequence.

email sequence editor

Here you can change the contents of your template, add variables, check for spam words, add follow-ups, insert an unsubscribe link, and even approximate your chances of getting a response based on:

  • Subject and content length
  • Spam words
  • Question count
  • Links and numbers

Because we used a campaign template, we don’t need to make many changes here, but you’re free to build out your email sequence from the ground up.

Moving on, the next step is to find opportunities.

finding opportunities

Once again, because we used a template, our search is preset based on our inputs on the first screen – a couple of names of other books in our niche.

Hit continue and set additional SEO filters to narrow down the search.

setting seo filters

Click continue once more and enable a simultaneous contact search.

setting up contact search

With the news opportunity type, Respona will automatically seek out journalists and writers.

However, you may change the mode to “Blogs” and run your own, custom contact searches based on your prospects’ desired job titles and seniority levels (such as SEOs, founders, etc.).

Finally, you may choose to turn your search into a recurring one – if you do, Respona will automatically re-run it at your set time intervals.

This way, you can log in every couple of weeks to find new opportunities ready to launch.

Click run automation and wait for results to be discovered.

found opportunities

Once they’re found, you may move on to the final step: review and launch your campaign.

personalizing pitches

Here, you may make individual personalizations for individual recipients, send yourself a test email, and verify opportunities to make sure they aren’t included in any other recent campaigns or are in your unsubscribe list.

After your campaign is finished, all you have to do is monitor your inboxes.

With Respona, you can also do that in a single place, without having to juggle several tabs thanks to our shared Inbox:

shared inbox

Become a Guest on Podcasts

Next up, after having people talk about your book, why not talk about your book with those people?

Podcasts are an amazing way to promote a book thanks to their loyal following that trusts the endorsements of the host.

And, because you’ll have the chance to be there to talk about your writing, it won’t feel like advertising but instead a genuine person sharing their knowledge.

churn fm with farzad rashidi
Image source: Apple Podcasts

But how do you get a hold of podcast owners?

You can also do so with Respona.

It has dedicated campaign templates for finding relevant shows and specific episodes.

respona podcast outreach templates

Just like with journalist outreach, it will help you find both opportunities and their contact information in one go. 

Once you fill out the template’s necessary fields, and review your email sequence, you’ll be greeted by a custom search engine for finding podcasts. 

respona podcast search engine

It is powered by ListenNotes and works slightly different than the news search engine discussed in the previous strategy.

It does not require a contact search and uses the publicly available contact information (that’s listed on LitenNotes) for outreach.

Other than that, the process is nearly identical. 

Once final quirk of finding podcast opportunities with Respona is the episode audio summary during the personalization stage.

respona audio summaries

With its help, you can click through the episode without having to leave Respona and quickly find meaningful personalizations for your email pitches.

Moving on to the next strategy.

Influencer Endorsements

An influencer endorsement is a thought leader within a certain niche going “Hey guys, this book is great – you should give it a read!”.

book influencer example
Image source: YouTube

Once again, to get a hold of influencers, you’ll have to rely on outreach: email and social.

And once again, Respona can help you with that!

Notably, the blogger outreach campaign template:

respona blogger outreach campaign template

It works by finding blogs that have recently published articles on your chosen target keywords.

It works much the same way as the two strategies we discussed above:

  • Creating your email sequence
  • Finding opportunities & their contact information
  • Personalizing pitches

We already outlined the process, so we won’t repeat ourselves here.

Influencer endorsements can both be paid and free. 

However, more often than not, they are done on affiliate terms, or by providing free copies for the influencer. 

ahrefs review on style factory productions
Image source: Style Factory Productions

However, regardless of your endorsement being paid or free, tapping into influencers within your niche is an awesome way to promote your book and expend your reach.

Blog About it!

Now, if you’re writing a book, chances are you also have a website and a blog on it.

So, you should definitely use it to promote your book.

First things first, start talking about your book before it’s even out. Build a sense of anticipation by blogging about your writing process, or how you tackled certain plot points.

search logistics seo book
Image source: Search Logistics

This not only gives your readers a backstage pass to how your book came to life but also keeps them in the loop about the book’s progress.

Then, hit them with the big reveal: your book cover. Show it off and share what went into the design choice. It’s a visual treat that can grab attention and spark conversations.

Now, think about sharing a bit of your book for free. Pick a chapter or a particularly juicy section to give your readers a taste of what’s to come. If they like the sample, they’ll want the whole meal—meaning, they’ll be more inclined to buy the book.

Churn out some content that ties into your book’s theme. If your book’s about a musician, maybe write blog posts about the music scene. This will attract readers who are into your book’s subject matter and likely to be interested in the book itself.

And, of course, don’t forget to run an SEO audit to make sure your website appears in search results.

Advertise Locally

Now, local promotion taps a lot more into the “old-timey” way of doing things, but books are an “old-timey” thing by nature, so it works out.

Let’s kick things off with your local newspaper. They often have sections dedicated to local happenings and culture. Reach out to them and see if you can get an ad in there or even a feature article. It’s like saying ‘hello’ to your neighborhood but with a bigger megaphone.

Then we’ve got local radio stations where you might snag an author interview or a shout-out, especially during off-peak times. Radio hosts love interesting tidbits to share with listeners during their shows, and your book could be the perfect topic.

Don’t forget about those little community bulletin boards you see in libraries, coffee shops, local stores and book clubs. A well-designed flyer with your book’s cover and where to find it can catch eyeballs while people are waiting for their latte or checking out community events.

Another cool idea is to team up with local businesses that relate to your book’s theme. If your book’s about baking, maybe the local bakery would let you leave some flyers at the register or even host a little book signing event.

winter poetry and prose getaway
Image source: Winter Getaway

And of course, events and festivals are like gold. Book a table or booth at a local fair or market, showcase your book, and chat with people. Face-to-face interaction can make a huge difference and gives you a chance to really bring your book to life for potential readers.

While the reach of local promotions like that might not necessarily seem as grandiose, it is infinitely more personal.

Promote on Socials

Start by sharing some engaging bits about your book. This could be anything from what inspired you to fun facts you discovered during your research. Your aim is to spark curiosity and get people chatting about your content. Keep your posts light, friendly, and engaging.

matt woodward promoting the 28 day seo challenge
Image source: LinkedIn

Next, visuals are your best friend on socials. People love eye-catching images or cool videos, so share your book cover, teasers, or even behind-the-scenes glimpses into your author life. You want your followers to stop scrolling and take a look.

Giveaways and Contests

You could give away signed copies, themed merch, or even a one-on-one chat with you, the author.

Just ask participants to do something to help spread the word – like tagging a couple of book-loving friends, sharing the post, or using a special hashtag.

It’s a win-win because they get the chance to snag some cool stuff, and you get your book in front of more potential readers.

Send an Email Newsletter

You’ll want to send out regular, not spammy, newsletters. Keep them chatty, like you’re catching up with an old friend over coffee.

Share updates about your book launch, maybe some sneak peeks, or even your struggles and successes along the journey.

Now, when it comes to actually sending these emails, you’ll need the help of email newsletter tools like Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, etc..

cision email newsletter promoting their book
Image source: Cision

They make your life so much easier by helping you both design your newsletter, and manage your list of subscribers.

Also, you can see who’s opening your emails and what they’re clicking on, which is super helpful. This way, you can figure out what your readers love and what makes them hit the ‘meh’ button.

You know what else people love? A good deal. Offer newsletter subscribers an exclusive discount or early access to your book. It’s like a little ‘thank you’ for being in your corner.

Encourage Reviews

First off, straight after someone buys your book, that’s a great time to ask for a review.

You can do this with a little note at the end of your book saying something like, “Hope you loved the read! If you did, I’d be super grateful if you could take a moment to leave a review.”

Then, there’s the personal touch.

If you know someone’s read your book, drop them a friendly message.

Just a casual, “Hey, I saw you finished my book. Would mean a lot if you shared your thoughts in a review. No pressure though!” Personal requests can be powerful because they feel less like a generic plea and more like a genuine conversation.

the art of seo reviews on goodreads
Image source: Goodreads

Another good book promotion idea is to reach out to your email subscribers.

They’re already fans since they signed up for updates, so a thoughtful email explaining how much you’d appreciate their honest reviews could work wonders.

Social media is another good place to remind your followers that their opinions matter to you and reviews are welcome.

Share some of the love you’ve already received, and this might inspire others to join in and share their thoughts.

Also, consider offering a little incentive.

Now, this doesn’t mean you’re paying for reviews. But maybe, you could do a giveaway where anyone who has left a review enters a draw for a chance to win something fun. It just adds a bit of extra excitement to the prospect of writing a review.

And don’t forget, sometimes people just need a little guidance. Make it easy by providing a link directly to where they can leave a review. You want to reduce the number of hoops they have to jump through.

Create an Author Profile on Goodreads

Goodreads is a huge hangout spot for book lovers – and an amazing author platform.

Having an author profile there puts you in the middle of the action where you can interact with readers, share updates about your upcoming books, and even gather reviews.

It’s a fantastic way to make connections with your audience and get insights into what they think. Plus, it’s a solid spot to run those giveaways we talked about earlier, which can really boost your visibility and engagement.

Diving into Goodreads with an author profile is pretty straightforward. Think of it like setting up a new social media account.

goodreads author program
Image source: Goodreads

Just head over to Goodreads and sign up as a regular user first. Once you’ve done that, you can search for your book and claim it by clicking on your author name. If your book isn’t there yet, you can manually add it.

Goodreads will ask for some proof that you’re legit, so you’ll need to fill out an application to join the Author Program.

It’s just a formality to make sure no one else is trying to impersonate you. After Goodreads gives you the green light, you can spruce up your profile with a picture, bio, and links to your author website or blog.

Turn it into an Audiobook

People are listening on their morning jog, during their commute, and even while cooking dinner. It’s convenience at its finest.

Turning your book into an audiobook is unlocking a whole new target audience. Imagine folks who love stories but maybe don’t have the time or patience to sit down and flip through pages.

audible homepage
Image source: Audible

You’re giving them a golden ticket to enjoy your book while multitasking. Plus, for those with visual impairments or reading disabilities, you’re providing access where they might not have had it before.

Getting it done is not nearly as challenging as it might seem first.

Hire a voice actor or narrator who can bring your characters to life and add emotional depth to your story.

Or, if you feel your voice is up for it, why not narrate it yourself? This could add a personal touch your listeners would appreciate.

You can record at a professional studio or even set up your own high-quality recording space with some research and investment.

Once that’s wrapped up, upload your audiobook to platforms like Audible, iTunes, or Google Play. There are also distributors that can help you reach a wide network of audiobook retailers.

Tap into Ads

If you have the budget, good, old-fashioned advertisements are very much on the table.

First off, know your ideal potential reader. What do they like? Where do they hang out online? When you run a PPC campaign on platforms like Google Ads or Amazon Advertising, you can target those exact people who are into the genre you’re writing about.

google ads homepage
Image source: Google Ads

Set a budget that won’t break the bank. Start small, test the waters, see what works. Keep an eye on your ads. If one’s doing great, maybe shift more budget there. If another’s a dud, tweak it or turn it off.

Lastly, make that ad copy count. You’ve got limited space, so every word has to work hard. Hook ’em with something irresistible about your book, maybe a rave book review snippet or a cliffhanger question.

Leverage a Book Promotion Service

Sometimes the best way to do something is to outsource it.

Book promotion is one of these things – if you don’t have the time or the experience, there are plenty of book promotion services out there.

Link building cheat sheet

Link building cheat sheet

Gain access to the 3-step strategy we use to earn over 86 high-quality backlinks each month.

Download for free

Now Over to You

So, there you have it – 12 of the best ways to promote your book.

If you’d like to handle the book promotion yourself, don’t hesitate to start your 14-day free trial with Respona to get a hold of journalists to generate book publicity, become a guest on podcasts and even reach out to some influencers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How can I use social media marketing to promote my book?

Create engaging content related to your book’s themes, characters, or your writing process, and share it on your social profiles. Connect with a wider audience through regular posts, stories, and even live sessions to build a community around your book.

Should I set up a website for my book?

Absolutely! A dedicated website serves as a central hub for all information about your book, including purchase links, reviews, author bio, and contact information. It’s also a great place to start building your email list for direct book marketing efforts.

What’s the deal with book reviews and how do I get them?

Book reviews are crucial for credibility and can influence potential readers. Reach out to book bloggers, offer a free copy to interested readers in exchange for honest reviews, and don’t shy away from platforms like Goodreads and Amazon to gather reviews.

Can book signings and events really help with promotion?

Yes, they can. Book signings and events provide a personal touch and allow you to connect face-to-face with readers, making them more likely to remember and recommend your book to others. Networking with fellow authors and industry professionals can also lead to new book promotional opportunities.

Is investing in a book tour worth it?

Book tours can be valuable, but consider your budget and potential ROI. Virtual book tours or participating in panel discussions at literary festivals can also offer similar exposure without the travel costs. Tailor your approach to reach as many of your target readers as possible within your budget.

Farzad Rashidi

Article by

Farzad Rashidi

Farzad Rashidi is the lead innovator at Respona, the all-in-one digital PR and link-building software that combines personalization with productivity. He also runs the marketing efforts at Visme, where he helped the company gain over 12 million active users and pass 2M monthly organic traffic.

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