18 Marketing Ideas for the Self-Published Author

So yesterday afternoon I submitted my Rising Star Marketing Evaluation to iUniverse. Assuming they like my marketing plan, they’ll approve me for the Rising Star Award, which nets me a variety of benefits.

In the evaluation, they basically ask you how you plan to market your book. Easy enough, right? WRONG! I trawled the internet for hours, coming up with a list of marketing ideas that I’m now going to share with my awesome readers because that’s how much I love you guys.

Thus, my list of marketing ideas, in no particular order:

  1. Create a book trailer
  2. Hold a blog tour
  3. Press release for local newspapers
  4. Enter book into literary contests
  5. Include link to your website on every article you post, every email you send, etc.
  6. Connect with fellow self-published authors and ask for a book review exchange
  7. Donate books to the library, accompanied by a book reading and a press release
  8. Donate books to local middle and high schools, accompanied by a book reading or lecture on writing/self-publishing and a press release
  9. Free book giveaways hosted through blog/Facebook/Twitter
  10. Free bookplates (signed labels that you can paste into a book in lieu of an in-person author signature) for fans who’ve bought the book
  11. Sell themed merchandise (bags, mugs, t-shirts, etc.) on Zazzle.com
  12. Leave bookmarks and posters in key strategic locations – library, cafes, local stores, etc.
  13. Connect with other local self-published authors and set up an author’s panel/publicity event
  14. Set up an online newsletter to keep subscribers informed on upcoming events, special promotions, new releases, etc.
  15. Write guest posts on other blogs to build your following
  16. Create a “freebie” available exclusively on your website – e.g., a short story based on the book
  17. Release excerpts and snippets of upcoming works to build interest on blog/Facebook/Twitter
  18. Record an audio book version of the novel

Got more ideas? Tell me in the comments. We self-published types have to stick together!

Unrelated media of the day:

Source: http://imgur.com/0AJpY

Categories: iUniverse, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

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33 thoughts on “18 Marketing Ideas for the Self-Published Author

  1. I have also searches (and searched the internet for marketing ideas. Your list has everything I’ve been anle to come up with and more. Just expanding on #6, you can ask a few dedicated readers for a book review in exchange for a free copy.

  2. #13 – Use meetup.com to create a local self-published authors group (if one doesn’t already exist).

  3. Kim

    Excellent advice. And I NEEEED this right now. So thanks!

  4. #6, with erotica, I know there are people who just review books, who will review self-published work as well, so you should definitely be expanding your horizons in regards to that.

    Also, consider running free promotions, and signing up for sites that list free books.

    #15, 6 Sentence Sunday may be something to check out, although I think it’s ending sometime in February. I’ve been releasing a story related to my Vampire’s Gallery Novella through them.

  5. I hope I remember to revisit all these posts from my way-smarter-than-me blogger friends once I finally get that stupid novel from my head onto a stack of paper.

    • Hahaha you could do what I do and bookmark posts with ideas you like, so you can come back to them later. But then you get a bookmarks page with about 300 links, which can be troublesome.

  6. Wonderful information Michelle.
    I’d love to offer a spot on my blog if your interested.

  7. Well, making a list and actually implementing the ideas are two very different things 🙂 But at least I have somewhere to start, right?

  8. I particularly like 16 and 17. No. 12 sounds awesome too, though I doubt it’d work for me. It reminds me of how few people where I live frequent bookshops, so most likely my bookmarks would be thrown out without a second glance. 😦

    • Free marketing is the best marketing 🙂 That’s what I told the iUniverse people. They were all “Will you be hiring a publicity specialist to help you with your book marketing?”, and I was like, “Um, no, I’ll be doing as much free marketing as humanly possible because the sky doesn’t rain money where I live”.

      That’s sad, that people don’t go to bookshops so much any more. I blame … something. Television? The media? Global warming? Anyway, I was thinking the bookmarks would go less in actual bookstores, and more in places that don’t usually feature books, so the bookmarks would draw more attention to themselves. Examples: cafes, local stores, convenience store, bulletin board in the apartment laundry room, etc.

  9. Thanks for the list! Even for traditionally-published authors, I think promoting yourself in these ways is important. 🙂
    BOOK TRAILER. How are you gonna go about doing one of those?

    • Well, I have a friend who went to school for television broadcasting, so she knows all about filming/editing/directing etc. Traditional book trailers — the ones with music, text, and photos — can be fun, but I thought it would be even more awesome to actually film a scene from the book. Most of the scenes aren’t possible, since they involve aliens and space, but there’s a scene in the protagonist’s dorm room that cracks me up, and I think it would be pretty easy to recreate with the resources I have on hand – aka my friends, my apartment building, and my camera.

      • Oh, that sounds totally fun! I bet it will be a HILARIOUS thing to do with friends, if nothing else. 🙂 Can’t wait to see the results! And as for the rest of the list, sounds good. I’m going to remember this for (hopeful) future reference, ha ha. 😀

  10. Reblogged this on Mari Wells and commented:
    I had an awesome post ready then something happened and its gone! So instead… Here’s this Michelle has some awesome tips. It doesn’t really matter if you’re looking at the Self-Publishing route or the traditional we all need to have a plan to promote our work and she’s got a wonderful list here.

  11. Can you elaborate more on blog tours, how would an author hold a blog tour?

    • Well, I haven’t actually held one yet, so I can’t give you all the details. But basically, you contact fellow bloggers and ask if they’d be willing to feature you on their blog on a set date. You’d line up these dates in a row, so you’d have, say, 5 days of blog “hopping” around various blogs. And then on each blog, you would write a guest post related to your book – so, it could be an author interview, or you could ask the blogger to review your book, etc. And the guest post would always link back to your blog so you can drum up interest from the followers of your fellow bloggers’ blogs.

      Did that make sense? Lol. Um, I was part of Tania L Ramos’s blog hop. You could ask her about it if you have more questions. She’s super nice, and loves to help out fellow bloggers. Lemme find her blog URL … http://newauthorpublishing.wordpress.com/tag/tania-l-ramos/. Hope this helps 🙂

  12. Great ideas. I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out some good ways to promote my book. I might have to try some of these.

  13. Excellent tips! I hope I can make all of them!

    Although am on to most of them.

  14. Pingback: Self-Publishing on the Cheap « Audrey Driscoll's Blog

  15. This is excellent advice for self-publishers. I am not going to lie, I am incredibly impressed with you Michelle Proulx. Not only were you able to transform your novel into multiple formats, but it is also written so dang well! I wish to aspire to your greatness one day. ❤

  16. Thanks for this great post! So many great ideas 🙂

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