Book publishing and marketing go hand in hand. The truth is, writing a book is hard, but getting it out into the marketplace and into readers’ hands is another level of hard. Some writers rely on ‘hope’ marketing and word of mouth. That is, they’ll release the book and send a few tweets about it and hope for the best. As a strategy, this is always doomed to fail. If you’re like most indie writers, you’re probably on a tight budget. The good news is you don’t have to drain your bank account to market your book. There are some fantastic free marketing resources on the internet. We’ve put together our top 8 just for you. Read on!
This is a fantastic free marketing tool for the newbie and advanced publisher alike. Bookbub is a free mini writers platform. To get started, just create an account and upload your book. Readers can follow you, comment, review and recommend your book to friends and other readers. The best feature is auto reader notification. When you upload a new book, every person who follows you will automatically get an email letting them know you have a new book out. Like magic! Create a free bookbub author page right here:
2: The Creative Penn
Joanna Penn is one of the giants of the self-publishing world. She has been writing about all aspects of indie writing and publishing for well over 10 years, and the depth of content on her website is astounding. There are free resources and books on every single topic. From writing fiction or non-fiction itself, book research, book marketing, layout and design, audiobooks, courses, and writing tools – it’s impossible to list all the content here. Joanna is a passionate advocate of the authorpreneur – the indie writer who treats writing and self-publishing as a business. The core of that of course is understanding marketing. If you are just starting out on the self-publishing life, you’ll find the answers to all of your questions on The Creative Penn blog. Most of the content is free, but there are also some fantastic books and courses reasonably priced. Joanna Penn is also a very successful novelist under her alias JR Penn.
3: David Gaughran
Another self-publishing guru. David Gaughran is a book marketing expert and well worth following for his very entertaining blog and newsletter. Most of the information on his blog and website is free and is probably a bit advanced if you’re just starting out but still highly recommended. You can sign up for David’s free book marketing newsletter (delivered each Friday) and a free course on book promotion.
Streamyard is a service that lets you host professional live video streams. Yes, you can do this on YouTube, but Streamyard makes the whole process much simpler – and it looks great. Why would you want to do this? Well, every book launch usually has a live event. We can’t travel the country, visit bookstores and meet readers, so a virtual event can be a great part of your marketing strategy. During the pandemic, virtual book events became the new norm and Streamyard has become the go to. There’s a premium version with premium features but the free version is just fine to start. You can stream up to 20 hours per month on the free plan.
5: Newsletter Ninja
This is another book recommendation. Building a mailing list is one of the core marketing chores for an indie writer. Why? Well, you may have an Instagram or Facebook account with thousands of followers BUT if either platform changes its algorithm (which they do, regularly), how do you actually contact those followers? The answer is you can’t unless you have them on a mailing list that YOU own and control. If you’re a beginner and don’t know where to start with mailing lists this book is well worth the $4.99 investment.
6: Graphic Design Resources
This is actually a bunch of resources for doing your graphic design. That’s because doing your own book marketing requires a lot of graphic design. Just consider some of the content you’ll need to create – book teasers, review quotes, TikTok trailers, Instagram stories. You’ll need to make images for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram in all different sizes and formats. Now, you could hire a graphic designer to do this for you, or you could just use these free resources.
- For free graphic design elements and photos, look at Unsplash.com, Pexels.com and Pixabay.com – all royalty-free
- If you’re after fonts or Canva templates, check out creativemarket.com or hungryjpeg.com – for Instagram templates and product mockups.
- DIYbookcovers.com – this is great for the free 3d mockup cover. To do any marketing, you will need a 3d book cover. They look great on social media and this software lets you do it for free. All you need is the flat cover art, upload it and pick from their range of templates and voila! You’ll get a fantastic free 3D book cover.
- Canva.com makes it easy to create graphics and content for any format. There’s a paid tier, but the free version is quite powerful enough for anyone starting out.
If you’re going to focus your marketing efforts on Amazon and KDP, the reports on k-lytics.com (KDP analytics) help you analyse keywords, cover, title trends, niches and sub-niches that will help you target your audience in KDP. The reports are $37, but full of critical analysis that will help you sell more books.
8: How to Build Your Authors Platform
We’ve saved the shameless self-promotion for last. Wondered how to go about building a writers’ platform? We’ve literally written a book about it. It’s full of great tips for newbies and authors attempting to lift their game. Many writers now realise that they can self-publish, but few understand that to be successful they also need to self-market!
Book marketing is a lot of work, but can also be a lot of fun. We hope this resource list will help your book marketing efforts. If you want some help with your self-publishing project, you can book an obligation-free Zoom call to talk about any aspect of your book, including the marketing bits.