How to publicize your book without spending money

We none of us are rich. Some of us are the proverbial starving artists. We want to spend our time creating, and hopefully squeezing a little green out of our creation.

So how do you publicize your book(s) without spending any (or much) of that green in the first place?

  1. I’ve gone through a number of sites, collating ideas, just for you and me. Get reviewed by high profile book bloggers. You have to build up a relationship with them, through social media or otherwise, but if you can get a blogger or two to review your book, you’re doing well.
    To figure out how much traffic a given blog actually gets, type the blog address into the “site info” box on  Alexa.comIf the blog shows up as being top 100,00 then they’re popular. Top 50,000 or even 10,000 is obviously better. But shooting for 100,000 is a good aim.

2. Remember that writing is marketing. It’s not enough to use your creativity in your writing; you have to use that creativity to sell your writing. And remember that mouths love words. Word-of-mouth marketing is your best friend. Tell people, post something on your Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, any social media you use. Tell people in person. Tell your co-workers, friends, family. And tell them to spread the word to others.

3. Build your email list. Invite people to subscribe to en email list and give them content that’s interesting and worth their time. Remember, most everyone gets way too many emails, and most are deleted. Make sure your content is fun and engaging. Keep readers in the loop of your work and your writing, build up a cyber friendship with subscribers, ask for feedback so they become more invested in your activities, and visit their sites and engage, if they have their own sites.

4. Use writer’s sites, like Wattpad, and others, to critique others’ works, read other books, and promote your own work. Get enough of a fanbase on these sites, and you could extend your marketing hand when you list your published book and a link on your personal profile.

5. Reach out to your local community. Send a note to your local newspaper, alerting them that a local citizen (you) just accomplished having their book published. Ask them if they’d be willing to offer a quick interview and publish an article. Reach out to other local communities for more exposure. But make sure those local communities are book- or writing-relevant.

6. You should be doing this as you’re writing, but being part of writing groups, such as those you could find on, is helpful. When your book is published, alert your groups, If you’ve established yourself as an engaged member, you’ve most likely just brought on board a new set of fans.

7. Alert local colleges or state colleges. Let the local book or writing club on campus know about your book. Offer to send them a feee copy for review in their brochures or newsletter. If you can, offer to come in for an interview or a club meeting discussion. Bonus points if the college is your alma mater. Tell your own college/alma mater, whether it’s local to you or not, that a student/alumni of theirs is now a published author. They’d most likely want to advertise your success, and place you in one of their brochures or newsletters. Tell your high school even, if your book fits in with that age group.

8. Get popular sites, e.g. HuffPost, to review your book. You can ask their Book Club to review your book and post an article on their site. Ask BuzzFeed Books to review your book; they have a huge reader following. Follow the same approach with CNN Books, and GoodReads Book Reviews.

9. Write articles that link your book to trending topics. It doesn’t have to be deep or serious, but it certainly has to be relevant and meaningful.

10. Sell your book for free on BookBub for a few days.

11. Not sure how well this will work; it depends on whether you have an established cyber relationship (or more) with an established author. But send your favorite author of the same genre as your book, and ask them to review your book and post it on their blog, Twitter, or any other social media account of theirs. They may not respond to you, but it’s worth a shot.

12. Post on Reddit/Tumblr/Instagram–Might as well. Make the post short and sweet, but enticing, and add a link. You may get a few readers that way.

13. Ask a local theater to perform a screenplay rendition of your book.

14. Explore being listed as one of the books on Amazon’s Kindle First.

15. I used to live in Maryland, and annually, Baltimore hosts the Baltimore Book Festival, which includes author signings. Getting involved in local or nearby book and writing festivals, including author signings/readings is a good way to get out there. You may not have many people lining up to get your autograph, but it does get your name/face out there, which is the point. Spend a day with others who enjoy reading and writing just like you do is also simply fun, so even if you don’t get a bunch of fans at your table, you still get to be with like-minded people. The Bmore festival is typically also over a weekend, so missing work won’t be a concern.

16. Query Owlcrate and other book-of-the-month businesses and ask if they’ll circulate your book.

17. Reach out to Amazon’s Top Customer Reviewers and ask them to review your book.

18. GoodReads Giveaways.

19. Use FaceBook’s “Create Ads” feature.

20. Reach out to Instagram bookstagrammers to post pics of your book and a review (or bookbloggers or booktubers). Here are some ideas to get started: 

21. Local community magazine, like Washington Life magazine-be featured in the Literature section.

22. Find a local Barnes & Noble, and other bookstores to host a book-signing event. Consider having free treats on your table to entice people in. Try striking up a deal with the bookstore if they have an onsite Starbucks or cafe to have some free coffee, etc. and they get a slice of the book profits from that event.

23. Become a Goodreads author.

24. Local cofee shops (Jammin’ Java, etc.)

25. Local bookshops, including indie ones. Around my area are Scrawl Books, Reston Used Books, Capitol Hill Books, 2nd & Charles, and more. Find local bookshops who are willing to let you do a book signing there. Make sure your local newspaper or news outlet (this includes things like NextDoor, newspapers, community news, etc.) has word of your activities. It’s free publicity. Here are some in the DC area.

26. Authorpalooza

27. Post your book on Reedsy Discovery.

28. Participate in regional book festivals. For example, Fall for the Book, a George Mason University week-long festival. Or The Muse Writers Center, which offers workshops, readings, and other literary events. Or Virginia Festival of the Book, which is the largest gathering  of authors, writers and readers Va.

29. Consider an animated book cover for social media. Create, or hire someone, to create an illustrated book trailer to publish on your social media channels.

30. Book Riot ad – could be pricey, though.

31. Get on popular reading book challenge lists, like popsugar reading challenge.

32. Get involved in online ‘zines and bookclubs, like The Rumpus, which features a new book every month as part of their bookclub. At the end of the month, the author joins the conversation.

33. Find a book award council you could submit to. For example,

34. Looking into getting your book seen by Hollywood producers. The Hollywood Creative Directory is a good place to start finding the right people to bring your book to life on the big screen.

35. Check out if any local museums (e.g. in DC is the Planet Word Museum) allow you to host events and try using one as a venue for a book signing if they do.

36. Barnes and Nobles promotions, including ads.

37. Collaborations with favorite brands. I love Skylar perfume, e.g. and my book features a lot of pomegranates, so a collaboration idea could be a pomegranate-flavored scent.

38. Alma mater social media sites, such as instagram accounts, campus newspapers, student newsletters, etc.

39. This one will cost, but it’s nominal: on social media, encourage followers to share your post and tag friends, and invite a random draw for a signed copy of your book, for both the winner and the friends they tagged.

40. Get well-known authors to promote your book, by sending them a copy and asking them to provide a blurb for your own work. You may have to work through their agent or publisher, however.


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