How do you even start to Market a Book? 7 Key Steps


7 Key Steps to Marketing a Book on a Shoestring

The key to marketing a book as in many aspects of life is to have a plan. Marketing a book is no different. 

All the experts will tell you to start 6 months early and you have the first 6 months of the book to make it big. Sure that is ideal, but the good news is that is no longer true. The new thinking is to go for the long tail. There are more and more books published everyday and if you could get 1% of 1% of those books you could be a very rich person.

 The long tail lives forever!




  • Today, books never go out of print. They live forever. 
  • Today, you can easily sell worldwide through online bookstores at no cost to you until the book is sold
  • Today, you can reach the world through social networking, social marketing, and the internet
  • Today, independent publishers can produce quality books just like the big guys
  • Today, you can use worldwide resources that make the competitive market a level playing field 


 Marketing a Book with a long tail in mind
You need to be in the game for the long haul. Find your niche, refine it, find out where they are, what they read, who they talk to , and how to get into the conversation and their view. Keep on doing this day after day after day. 


Make a Plan

Decide on a strategy to do a few things consistently. Most people make the mistake of hoping around from one latest craze to another. Focus on certain markets and niches, social networking sites, and consistent messages. Get engaged with your market and get people talking about you. If you only have time to do 3 things then do those well for 3-6 months, evaluate the results and make changes as needed. For us, we are focused on twitter and Facebook enrolling people in the conversation of Healthy Joyful Living, blogging, speaking, radio interviews, book signings, and In- home book signing/speaking events. 

Use Expertise Worldwide

Services like offer great expertise worldwide for PR, marketing, Web design and so forth. Yes, sometimes we want to use local resources, buy locally, and support our local markets, but when it comes to making your marketing budget stretch go worldwide. This especially applies to resources that are technical in nature and don't require a cultural perspective.  Examples of expertise we bought are as follows:

We found a fantastic PR Professional who had some time on her hands to write 5 pitches for the price of what another professional bid at 4 times the price/

Another company out of India designed a Facebook Fan page for 1/5 of other bids from referrals.

A young proofreader wanted great reviews and offered a huge discount in exchange for references.

A Russian company turned our book into 5 E Book types for 1/3 of the price of US competitors.

 Hire a Virtual Assistant 

The nature of a lot of marketing is consistent ongoing persistence and attention. Ten years ago when I wrote my first book, we hired a PR firm at $3,000 a month to do just that, send out pitches and follow-up. Today, I hired a virtual assistant (actually 2) to send out pitches (written by the PR Professional) and to follow-up with them. The result is I am spending 1/6 of the cost on a similar effort. Using the script the PR Professional wrote my VA is following up consistently and I am free to focus on what I do best. 

Hire a College Student or Graduate to manage your Social Networking/Marketing 

Who better to manage your social networking than a college student or recent graduate. They are energetic, love to be on line, understand the technology, and have great ideas. Plus it's great to help them get started in their careers. A few hours a week can make all the difference in the world in having someone monitor your Facebook, twitter, and other social networking sites. Train them to talk like you so that they can respond to comments, send you speciality items to respond to, and develop strategies for getting more followers and fans. 

Don't be Afraid to Ask

Recently I walked into the Borders in Palo Alto, the heart of Silicon Valley. I happened to be in town and thought, I have nothing to lose to see if they would sell our book in their store. The clerk called the manager and to my surprise she told me they were now allowed to host local authors for book signings and what date might I be interested in. Voila ! I had been told by Barnes & Noble it was impossible and thought it would be the same for other big stores and therefore almost didn't walk in the store that sunny afternoon. My lesson, once again, "You never know. If you don't ask, you won't get."  

Ask everyone in your network for help

Get everyone involved to help you, your mom, sister, friends, colleagues. Ask them who they know and can you send a complimentary book, will they host a book-signing, and will they tell everyone about your book, do they know someone who might be a good person to review the book or write a testimonial, a blog, or a book review. If it is a good book, people love to tell other people about great books. You just have to ask.