One question we often stumble upon is how authors can promote their work for free. These days, regardless of whether authors self-publish or traditionally publish, book marketing and promotion rests largely on the author. Because of this, it’s necessary to be aware of what you can do to promote your books and even amplify any promotional assistance you pay for.
As with all DIY approaches, this will take time and effort, but it will enable you to reach a wider audience. Read on for some tips on how to promote your book for free.
Social media remains one of the best ways to promote yourself and your work for “free.” Just be cautious about how you define “free,” as time is money. You may not have to spend money on most social media platforms to get yourself out there (unless you pay for certain features like ads, etc.), but the time you must invest is substantial.
You likely know about YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, but if you’re interested in social media that caters more specifically to writers, check out our post about these four niche social media platforms for authors. ArtsKeeper (as noted in the aforementioned post) is growing exponentially and also promotes books for free. You can also check out Writing.com.
Just try not to stretch yourself too thin. If you’re not used to social media, you may want to focus on just one platform and then move on to others once you get the hang of it.
A good way to increase engagement is to follow others in your niche, interact with them, and create posts that enlighten, enthrall, and entertain your readers. Post your work, post cover polls, share your progress with your readers if you’re still writing your book, or, if you have a completed work, discuss your favorite aspects of it or things your readers could learn from it.
You should create a separate profile for your author platform. This is more professional and will allow you to use your full profile to target your audience. For instance, when writing your bio on Twitter, you can include your book’s title and/or use hashtags related to your niche so that your profile ranks in the results when people search for those topics.
Free Book Review Platforms
Raise your visibility by sharing your work on various platforms such as Goodreads, The StoryGraph, Readers’ Favorite, BookBub, and OnlineBookClub.org. Some platforms require payment to feature your work, such as Netgalley, but unpaid platforms can provide a lot of value, especially if they have forums and other areas to socialize, such as Goodreads.
You may have heard of BookBub for bargain book deals, but it’s evolved since its founding, growing in social aspects as well as reviews. You can learn more about BookBub’s free offerings here. BookBub is now a good alternative to Goodreads if you’re trying to distance yourself from Amazon and the Goodreads trolls. The StoryGraph is another good alternative, as discussed in this post.
Platforms such as Readers’ Favorite and OnlineBookClub.org will promote your work among their reviewers and on their websites. BookSirens is another review platform that allows you to submit your book for free (depending on the plan you choose), but be aware that they may decline your book. You can also use their directory to find reviewers.
Offering free copies to reviewers and other influencers can help spread the word about your book. These reviews should also be shareable on your social media and other places where your book is featured or sold. Sharing endorsements is a great way to encourage people to give your book a chance.
Guest Posts and Interviews
Do you know other experts in your field? More than likely, the answer is “yes.” At the very least, you probably know other writers, likely through social media. It doesn’t hurt to ask if they’d like to do a guest post swap. You can write an article for their blog, and they can write an article for yours. This is a great way to show off your writing skills and expertise while revealing yourself to a new audience.
Similarly, you may swap social media posts. For instance, on Twitter, this can be as simple as retweeting another author’s tweet in return for them retweeting yours.
Some podcasters, YouTubers, and book bloggers will interview authors for free because doing so can build their engagement. For example, ArtsKeeper will be rolling out their ArtsKeeper Speaks podcast soon, and they’ll be accepting queries from authors and other artists interested in being interviewed.
Newsletters are a great way to reach your audience, particularly those who are already interested in your products. In fact, creating a newsletter is one of the best ways to encourage reader loyalty.
Through newsletters, you can build awareness about upcoming releases, offer giveaways, promote branded products such as bookmarks and t-shirts, share your reviews, and share any other information/announcements you feel your readers would find valuable or interesting.
Substack is one site that allows you to create publications for free. Some email marketing services, such as Brevo, Mailchimp, and Hubspot, have limited free plans that may be sufficient for your needs.
In a similar vein, you can add your book to your email signature.
Free Website Hosts and Builders
Creating a branded author website is an excellent way to promote you and your books. You can use your website to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise, connect with your audience, and share your other works.
Platforms like Wordpress.com, Blogger, and Weebly offer free plans that include hosting and use of their website builders. Depending on how much storage and bandwidth you need, a free plan may be sufficient.
Depending on the platform you choose, they may give you a subdomain, though this will look unprofessional and impact SEO. We recommend paying for a custom domain name through legitimate registrars like Porkbun, Namecheap, or GoDaddy.
Not all platforms allow you to connect a custom domain under the free tier, with the exception of Blogger. However, owning your domain will allow you to take it wherever you go. For instance, if you outgrow your free website, you can transfer the domain to your next website.
We do recommend hiring a qualified website designer so that your website attracts visitors and keeps them engaged. If you don’t have a design background, this is especially important, which is why we provide two author website plans.
Use Your Library and Local Book Store
Libraries and book stores often allow authors to host book signings and discussions to draw more people in. This provides an excellent opportunity for book promotion. Depending on your book’s genre, you may also be able to host book signings or discussions at other venues, such as a museum or various literary festivals. They may or may not charge for this.
Donating physical copies to your library is a relatively low-hassle way of getting your book into your local library. Of course, it will have to meet certain quality requirements in order to be put into circulation, which is why it’s important to invest in quality services during the production and publication of your book.
As you can see, you can promote your book in many ways without spending precious money on promotional services. At the same time, you might find yourself overwhelmed by all the book marketing possibilities.
If so, we can help.
At 1106 Design, our book marketing plans are designed to educate you about marketing while walking you through the process. We also offer book trailer production, press kits, and promotional extras you can use in your campaigns, such as branded bookmarks, logos, and postcards. To learn more, please contact us.