Advertising as an Indie Author – Part 1

Woman_reading,_2003_(3253265421)Part of being an indie author – in effect your own publisher – is doing your own marketing in order to get your book(s) into readers’ hands. If you’re like me, you’re not too crazy about that part, and it’s OK.

The good news is there is a multitude of ways in which you can do your own book promotion. Some of them require spending money, but many do not. Below I break down the paid and free ways you can get the word out on your existing or forthcoming titles.

Paid promotion:

– Amazon ads (more in a separate post)
– Book blog tours (These can be free or paid. If you choose the former route, you will have to find and pitch book bloggers yourself)
– (Indie) bookstore readings
– Book club appearances (in person or via skype)
– Paid book promotion blogs to advertise your book at full price or at a discount
– Writing conferences (more in a separate post)

Partly free:

– Website where you blog about your work, your field of interest (in my case history), and your publishing journey (the only cost, other than your time, is the host fee for the website if you use a service like


– Making your book free or discounting it heavily for a certain period of time, usually up to a week (If you’re exclusive with Amazon KDP, you can set up a Countdown Deal to do that)

– Free book promotion blogs to advertise your discounts or free offers.

– Interviews (There is also a host of paid ones and some of them may have a larger reach if their subscription/reader/listener base is substantial, but exploring the free options is a good start. My Book Place is one website you can check out – that’s where I was able to place a free interview about my novel The Greenest Branch).

– Podcasts (There are several out there. I personally like New Books Network, where they have a number of editors who cover all sorts of different genres. I recorded a podcast with their historical fiction editor that came out last January)

– Reviews (While the opportunities for industry reviews are smaller for indie authors, they do exist. Kirkus Reviews has an indie section. There are also websites run by other authors (an example is Discovering Diamonds for historical fiction). You can also solicit reviews from members of your reading/writing community on social media by offering free ARCs (advanced review copies) in an electronic format)

– Guest blogs on topics related to your genre (both hosting and submitting to other websites)

– Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

Finally, a media kit. While not a marketing method per se, it is a useful tool that can help you score interviews, reviews, and online or magazine features. You can put one together yourself, or if you don’t have good graphic design skills (and heavens know I don’t), you can hire someone. I’m going to write a separate post on a good media kit.

Book_06456_20040730155804While it would be ideal to do all of the above, nobody has the time. Most authors I know would rather write than do any sort of marketing work. Thankfully, you can achieve reasonable success by picking a few approaches that work best for your budget and your time, and focus on those. If you’re lucky, a marketing move may have a multiplier effect: a discount promotion campaign may lead to an interview offer, and a conference appearance can put you in touch with a fellow author who may ask you for a blurb on the cover of their next novel.

In future posts, I will address some of these individual approaches. I have tried most of them, but not all, so I will focus on those.

Stay tuned and subscribe to my blog if you don’t want to miss it.

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