Book Marketing 101

By Dave Chesson
Last updated on June 27th, 2023

Book marketing is an extremely important part of a self-publisher's success. But it can also be confusing. 

That's why I've broken down the process into 3 phases and given you a guide for each step.

Honestly, if I were to write a complete book on Modern Online Book Marketing, this guide and the content I link to would be EXACTLY IT. So, enjoy it for free.

In this guide, you will learn:
  1. Why book marketing is important
  2. How to prepare your marketing before you write your book
  3. How to create a marketable book
  4. How to market your book at launch

Note: Throughout this article, I'll be recommending tools to help you reach your goals faster. When possible, I use affiliate links, which helps to cover the costs of running this site. There is no extra cost to you. In many cases, you'll actually get a discount by purchasing a tool through my affiliate link.

Chapter 1

Why You Should Market Your Book

Whether you’re a self-published author, or a brand new traditionally published author, you should consider learning to market books.

Why is marketing important for authors?

Because you could write the best book in the entire world, but if no one hears about it, no one will buy it.

There are many ways that people can hear about your book, including:

  • Word of mouth
  • Advertising
  • Email marketing
  • Organic search
  • Social media
  • Content marketing

Of those options, word of mouth is the most powerful, but it is next to impossible for any book to generate word of mouth without a little fuel from the other techniques.

But what about traditionally published authors? They have the publisher to market for them, right?

Not necessarily.

For the big listers like Stephen King, Brandon Sanderson, and James Patterson, absolutely. Those people get extra marketing from the publisher. But the sad news is that many newer authors or mid-list authors don’t get a lot of marketing, which means you have to do it yourself.

So let’s dive into how you can market your book from the very beginning.

Chapter 1

Phase 1: Before You Write Your Book

Ideally, marketing your book should begin before you even put the proverbial pen to paper. There are steps you can take in the planning stages that will help your book succeed after it's finished.

Here are some of the actions you can take before you write your book, along with a few more resources to learn more:

  1. Research the Existing Book Market:  See how your competitors are doing and ensure your book idea will succeed on Amazon by using these steps.
  2. Check Success of Other Books: Use this tool to see how well other books are doing so as to guess at how much money you could potentially make.
  3. Choose the Right Software for Writing Your Book:  Writing a legit book can be very complicated. Luckily there is book writing software out there that will help.
  4. Plan and Outline Your Book: Creating a good outline for your book is a recipe for success.
  5. Tips for Writing a Great Book: Before you set out writing, make sure you've got a good plan in place so that you can finish the product the right way. (Jeff Goins)
  6. Create an Email List: It is crucial that you start building an email list (the most powerful tool in your marketing arsenal) as early as possible. But first you need to choose a great provider.
  7. Grow Your Email List: once you have an email provider, you can begin growing your list through various techniques. It might also help to create a reader magnet to attract people onto your list.

Of the items listed here, the most important are to study the market ahead of time and to begin growing your email list.

It can be difficult to grow your email list before you have written your first book, but if you can write at least a short story related to your book, that can be enough to start getting a few followers before you begin. Launching a book to 100 interested subscribers is better than launching to no one.

But of course the most important step is to actually write your book, so while you should keep these marketing techniques in mind, don't let them distract you from the writing.

Once you have a written book in hand, we can move on to phase 2.

Chapter 1

Phase 2: Putting Your Book Together

Once your book is written, it is time to prepare it for publishing. There are a number of steps to do here, but don't get overwhelmed. Every single step is a learning experience, and you will get better at it each time you do it.

Here are some of the action steps to take after you have finished your book, but before you publish it:

  1. Select a Bestselling Title: Here is a list of smart and savvy ways in which you can legitimately create a potential bestselling title.
  2. Create a Subtitle that Explains and Wows:  Subtitles are very important for not only helping you rank, but also convincing the customer to buy, and here's how to do that.
  3. Create an Eye-Catching Book Cover for Cheap: Step-by-step process to creating and designing an affordable, yet legitimate, book cover.
  4. Write a Book Description that Converts: Book descriptions are your last chance to convert a shopper into a buyer, so you better do it right. Here's a case study too.
  5. Format Your Book Description: You're allowed to use HTML to make your description look great. Don't know how? No problem. This tool will do it for you.
  6. Get Professional and Affordable Editing: Access my list of top yet affordable editors categorized by their specialty and rates.
  7. Select the Right Kindle Keywords: Keywords are what help get your book discovered on Amazon by shoppers. Here's how to select the right ones.
  8. Choose the Right Book Categories: Step-by-step process to finding and selecting the right categories that will help you be a continual bestseller.
  9. How to Add Your Book to More Categories: Step-by-step process to getting Amazon to add your book to bestselling  categories.
  10. Create Your Amazon Author Page: This page will help sell your book by allowing you to create an editorial section, as well as make your sales page more legit.
  11. Write the Perfect Author Bio: This isn't your resume. It's an opportunity to personalize and build rapport with your readers and here's how. 
  12. Should You Sell on Amazon Only or Go Wide?: There are benefits to publishing only on Amazon and enrolling in KU or Kindle Select. But there are benefits to going wide too.

Some of the most important items on this list are writing your book description, getting your book cover right, and choosing your keywords and categories correctly. All of these things will ensure that your book is positioned correctly to the right readers, and those readers will recognize your book as something they are interested in reading.

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Chapter 1

Phase 2.5: Building an Author Platform

In addition to preparing your book for launch, now is the time to begin building your author platform. An author platform allows you to interact with readers in various ways, and directly reach your markets.

Here are some of the action steps to build your author platform:

  1. Build an Author Website: Your website is where you can turn readers into fans. You can collect email addresses, write content, engage with readers, sell your books, and build a loyal following.
  2. Use an Email Service: Collecting email addresses so you can send emails to your fans is critical. Choose the right service to build and maintain this important asset.
  3. Setup a Publishing Company or LLC for Your Works: With more money comes more liability. Use this to help create an LLC for your writing or to start a publishing company.
  4. Build a Social Media Following: I generally recommend that you choose one social media platform to start with and begin spreading the word on the social media platform. Some of your options include:

Once again, if this is overwhelming, I would start with an email service as the most important step, followed by a simple website.

However, having a presence on at least one social media service is helpful, especially if you have an outgoing personality where you naturally want to communicate with your readers regularly.

Chapter 1

Phase 3: Book Launch Time

When your book is ready, it is time to launch. Your book launch is a crucial time in your book marketing efforts, and I would pay special attention to the marketing at this stage.

Here are some action steps to create a stunning book launch for your book:

  1. Make Sure to Track Your Book Sales: As you begin your marketing effort, it is vital that you track your book sales and see which efforts produced the best results.
  2. Email Your List, Friends, Family, Followers, etc: You've got friends and followers, now let's use them to get your book moving. Also, here's a template just in case you need it.
  3. Plan the Use of Book Promotion Sites Right: Learn how you should use Book Promotion Sites to promote your books to readers upon launch.
  4. Create AMS Ads for Your Book: Get Amazon to promote your book to their shoppers. Take my Full Free Video Course here.
  5. Setup Facebook Ads (optional): Here is an initial step-by-step to FB Ads for books, but I recommend you only do this step if you're ready to spend time on this skill.
  6. Setup BookBub Ads (optional): BookBub is a book market with some serious readers. Just like AMS or Facebook, this is a skill that needs time and attention.
  7. Get More Book Reviews: Getting book reviews is critical to your success, and you have to be active about it. So, here is how to get those reviews – even if you're new.
  8. Connect with other authors and continue to reach your readers by finding reviewers and building your email list.
  9. Create a Press Release (optional): There is an art and science to doing a book press release. Check out what it takes to make that happen.
  10. Network with Other Authors: Work with other authors in your genre or niche to promote each other's work. A rising tide raises all boats.   
Additionally, I have a book launch strategy that I use for my books, and that you can download for free.
Check Out My Book Launch Strategy

When it comes to Amazon's algorithm, the most important thing you want to create our sustained sales for your book.

That means, you don't want to have a huge spike in sales, followed by a large drop off. Instead, you want to spread your sales out over time.

I do this with a mixture of sustained advertising, using book promotions that are spread out over several days or weeks, and emailing my email list at several different times.

By spreading out your ads, promotions, and email/social media blasts, you can create those sustained sales that will eventually lead to Amazon taking notice.

I recommend setting up a calendar that includes when you promote your book through a book promotion, when you email about your book, when you share on social media, and how big your budget is each day for advertising (if any).

Need Help with Your Keywords?

Take my full featured video course on how to select the best keywords and categories for your book.

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Publisher Rocket – Book Market Research Tool

This is an easy-to-use software that helps authors validate their book ideas by giving them profitable kindle niches and keywords to target. It also helps with AMS ads and selecting categories. It works on both Mac and PC. Publisher Rocket will help you by telling you how much money other books are making, how many people type a keyword phrase into Amazon per month, and how competitive it is. Check it out here.

ProWritingAid – Editing Tool

If you're serious about your writing, you need to give it the attention it deserves. And the first step is through editing and proofreading! ProWritingAid is the best platform available today–check out my review–for you to improve your writing. Use coupon code KINDLEPRENEUR20 to get 20% off your yearly subscription.

Scrivener – Writing Tool

Scrivener is a must for any serious writer. Sure you can write a book using Microsoft Word, however, Scrivener was designed by authors for authors. It has multiple features that help boost productivity AND help you organize/layout your book. Check out my complete review on Scrivener and my side-by-side comparison of Word vs Scrivener. Also, if you act now, you can get a 20% scrivener discount as well.

MailerLite – Email Marketing Service

If you're just getting started with your book marketing, you're going to want an email service that caters to you. That's why I like MailerLite. MailerLite will help you to automate your email lists, manage landing pages, and engage your audience with pop-ups, and more! Plus, it's absolutely free to get started.

Need Help?

I've gathered a list of individuals and companies to help you with your book marketing. Check them and their sites out below. Keep in mind that I haven't used these services myself.

NameGenre Specialties
Kate Tilton’s Author Services, LLCOpen to most genres
The Happy Self-PublisherFiction, Nonfiction, Children’s
Fiction-Atlas PressAll Fantasy & Sci-fi subgenres
Westwind Book MarketingOpen to most genres

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