If you’ve self-published before, you’ll know that book marketing can get very expensive very quickly.
Luckily, there are some ways that you can market your book on a tight budget. In this article, we’ll go over 10 of my favorite low-cost marketing techniques that you can use to sell more books.
Most of the strategies listed are completely free. You’ll just need to invest some time to make them work for you.
1. Use StoryOrigin
StoryOrigin is a free tool that helps you work with other authors to cross-promote your books. With StoryOrigin, you can do the following:
- Manage your reader review copies
- Deliver reader magnets
- Offer newsletter exclusives
- Distribute promo codes and universal book links
- Newsletter swaps (more about those later)
- Group promotions
For finding other authors to cross-promote with, StoryOrigin is one of the best tools out there. There are always newsletter swaps and group promos you can take part in. There are promotions of various sizes too, so it doesn’t matter how new you are to the self-publishing game.
2. Use Facebook Groups
Depending on how long you’ve been on Facebook, you probably remember the times when pages had an insane amount of reach. You could post something to your wall and you’d be certain that most of your subscribers would see it.
Those were the days…
These days, pages have very little reach and Facebook groups are where the engagement happens. No matter what genre you write in, there’s a group for it.
So, find groups that match your genre, or where you think your ideal readers will hang out and join. However, it’s important to know that constant self-promotion isn’t acceptable. People join Facebook groups to connect with like-minded people and share views on a common topic. They don’t join to see what products business owners are trying to sell.
Instead, be an active member of the group. Start conversations and reply to others. Many groups will have a designated day where you can promote your work or a post where you can comment with a link.
This strategy isn’t a quick-hit, but if you’re an active member of a large group in your niche, then it will eventually lead to more sales.
3. Use The Right Kindle Keywords
If you’re marketing on a budget, you need to choose the right keywords for your Kindle metadata. These are the keywords you enter when you’re first setting up your book in your KDP account and can be found just above the section where you choose which categories you want your book to rank in.
A keyword is a phrase that someone types into a search bar on their computer, phone, trusty eReader, etc. You want to find keywords that people are actually searching for when they look for books.
Now, I will not go into all the ins and outs of how to find the best keywords. Here is a good guide on how to do that. Although, I will tell you you should pay close attention to what phrases Amazon auto-suggests.
You want to find keywords that are popular, but not too competitive. To see if a keyword is competitive, open Incognito mode on your browser and see if any of the top results for that phrase seem to target the keyword. For example, if you search “kindle self-publishing” some of the top results directly target that keyword.
This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to out-rank them, it just means you have competition.
You can also use a piece of software I created called PublisherRocket that helps with keyword research, turning it from a task that takes hours into a task that takes seconds.
4. Complete Mailing List Swaps
Do you know what’s better than a mailing list waiting to read your next book? Two mailing lists waiting to read your next book.
While you probably don’t have two unique email lists for the same target market, a newsletter swap is the next best thing.
Basically, a newsletter swap is when multiple authors promote each other’s books in email blasts and newsletters. Mailing List swaps work well for two main reasons:
- Your book is promoted to a brand new list
- Your work is recommended by another author, getting some valuable credibility.
There’s a bunch of ways you can contact other authors in your genre for newsletter swaps — such as through Facebook groups or email. StoryOrigin also lets you join or create your own swaps.
Remember, this is an email newsletter swap, so you’ll need a decent email list and open rates to take part.
5. Have a Great Cover
You may not think of your book cover as a marketing tool, but it’s the first impression readers will get of your book.
So make sure your cover is a winner. A way to make sure your book cover connects with your audience is to do some research about what is selling in your genre. For example, here’s a list of Urban Fantasy books that are selling well.
Do you notice that most of the book covers kind of have the same vibe to them? Well, that’s no accident. If you want a book cover that lets potential readers know what your book is about, make sure you use the same conventions as other top-selling authors in your genre.
Once you know what your cover should have on it, there are some great free tools that you can use to design a book cover. Or you can use a freelancer from somewhere like Fiverr.
6. Write a Book Description That Sells
An underrated sales strategy–and one that’s free–is optimizing your book description. Your book description may seem like a small step, but the right blurb can drastically improve conversions on your page. That means every cent you spend on advertising will go further.
I strongly recommend you read Bryan Cohen’s book, How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis. In the book, he gives this basic template for book descriptions.
- A tagline or hook to get the readers’ attention
- A short synopsis that tells the reader about the main parts of your story
- A selling paragraph to convince readers your book is awesome
- A call-to-action or ‘CTA’ to give potential readers their next step (clicking that buy button)
Here is a great example of that template in action:
You probably noticed that the image above has some simple text features like underlining and bolded text. Amazon lets you use basic HTML to format your book description–you’re able to change the text size, use italics, underline, bold and more. If you don’t know how to use HTML, you can use my free book description formatting tool to do all the coding for you.
7. Market To Your List
Do you know who’d really love your next book? The people who loved your last book! That’s why it is so important to keep an active email list.
You’ve got to do more than just put up a lead magnet and collect email addresses, though. To have an effective email marketing campaign you’ve got to make sure you’re keeping your list engaged.
All the advice at Newsletter Ninja is top-notch for self-publishers looking to build a great email list. There’s a book, online course, and a great website to check out for newsletter advice.
8. Make the Most of In-Person Marketing
One underrated way to get your name out there is to do some in-person marketing. Depending on your local area and your book genre, you’ll be able to market your book in person.
For example, I know of children’s book authors who sell a lot of books at schools and book signings. Often, schools will be more than happy to have a local author visit their students. See if there are groups of your target audience in your local area that you can work with.
Many libraries also run days for local authors. And if they don’t, some would be open to hosting local authors presenting workshops or book launches. A self-publisher that I know was from a small city contacted her local library to host a book launch. The library shared the book launch on their social channels and it even resulted in the local newspapers coming in to interview the author about her book. This was in a town of around 20,000 people. But hey, you’ve got to start somewhere!
9. Create Regular Content
A great way to make sure you are always marketing books is by producing regular content. That means you’re either writing a blog, creating YouTube content, or even recording a podcast….
There have been plenty of times when I’ve Googled something and the article I found with my answer had a book suggestion at the bottom of the page. This content marketing is pretty much free and builds in value as time goes on.
10. Write Your Next Book
It might sound counterintuitive, but sometimes the best way to market your books on a budget is to write your next book!
Adding more books to your series will increase the impact of the marketing you’re already doing. For example, if you sell one book, you’ll earn a few dollars after fees and AMS costs. However, if you have a decent read-through rate, you can turn that dollar into five, six or even seven dollars if a reader goes on to read an entire series.
Also, by adding more books to your catalog, you’re increasing the chances of a book being seen.
You don’t have to spend money to market your book. Sure, AMS and targeted Facebook ads are great, but if you’re starting out, you can’t always afford to spend money on advertising. Instead, use the steps listed above to get your work out there.
Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash
I’m 34 years old and an 11 year veteran of the US Navy. I was also a military kid and so have lived in all corners of the globe. But that’s not what defines me. After my family, my real passion is books, but more specifically the new world of Kindle e-books. I’ve made a pretty decent side income out of them.
You could say ‘I have a certain set of skills’?
If I had to describe myself, I would start by saying I’m a husband and a father first and foremost. But when I am not playing dress up or chasing the Bogey Man out of the closet, I am an online entrepreneur specializing in Kindle e-book marketing.