Question: What can I do to get my book out there? What are some great, affordable methods of advertising?



To advertise something means to pay an outlet to publically promote your product. While there are plenty of free ways to promote your book (which I’ll address at the end), allocating funds toward paid advertising can be worth the investment when done strategically. You just have to be wise about testing the waters first and finding which advertising methods are most effective for your book’s genre and target audience.

Traditional Media Advertising

When we hear the term “advertising”, most of us think of the traditional forms such as television, radio, print in newspapers and magazines, and on billboards. This type of advertising does have the ability to reach a large, broad audience but can come with a hefty price tag. It can also be difficult to target specific audiences with traditional advertising. Your advertisement is promoted to the general population and can easily get lost in the “noise” of other products and services being advertised around yours.

If you’re a known or established author and want to create awareness for your latest release, traditional advertising can be more effective. Readers are more likely to pay attention to an ad that features the work of an author with whom they are familiar. With print advertising in particular, authors can improve their ad’s discoverability even more by using niche channels. This includes advertising in genre-specific magazines for fiction, industry-specific magazines for nonfiction, or in book festival brochures and printed materials.Advertising in your local newspaper or community magazine is more affordable for authors.Debut authors can experiment with traditional advertising channels and find more budget-friendly options locally. Larger communities have local radio or television stations that offer advertising opportunities, and community newspapers and magazines can also be considered for print ads. Keep in mind that many print outlets are now going digital because their print readership is declining, which leads us to the type of advertising that is often most effective for authors…

Digital Advertising

Online advertising is where authors tend to see the biggest return on their investment. This is because the majority of books are purchased online and readers are already there actively browsing. Digital advertising is also more affordable, with ads starting at just a couple of bucks per day. Other benefits include the ability to set a budget, target specific readers, and track the results. With digital advertising, you can determine your cost per click (amount you pay each time a consumer clicks on your ad), cost per conversion (amount you pay to acquire a sale), and the return on your investment (profit made from the ad).

Here are the 3 popular digital advertising channels for books:Online advertising can be more effective and more affordable for authors.

Amazon Ads: Amazon continues to be one of the world’s largest search engines and is also the largest online book retailer. If your book is available for purchase on Amazon, you can access their advertising platform through your Amazon Author Central page or through your Kindle Direct Publishing account. The advertising system can take some time and practice to figure out, but can be worth the effort and investment.

Book Promotion Service Providers like Bookbub and The Fussy Librarian: You can apply to have your book advertised in the newsletters of these types of platforms. Many of these platforms promote discounted or free eBooks only, so if you haven’t created an eBook version of your book, you should consider making one to maximize your reach.

Social Media Platforms like Facebook, and Instagram: Social media provides the perfect advertising platform for authors because you can target specific categories of people and invest very small amounts of money to test the response.

Make Sure Your Book is Advertising-Ready

You can use every paid promotional tool available and still see poor results if your book falls short of reader expectations. Here are some important questions to ask yourself before you pay to advertise your book:

Is your book cover attractive and does it fit the genre? Do you have high quality images of your cover that can be used in the ads?

Have you polished your book’s hook and description? Does it make readers want to know more?

Do you have meaningful testimonials or review snippets that can be used in your ads?

Have you optimized your metadata online, including book categories and keywords, to ensure readers can easily find you?

What action do you want readers to take when they see your ad? Visit your website? Sign up for your newsletter? Buy your book?

Don't Forget the Free Promotional Tools

Even if you do have the funds to invest in paid promotions, it’s important to utilize the numerous free channels at your disposal. An integrated marketing plan that includes a combination of promotional efforts is most effective in creating awareness for you and your book. This includes your:

Authors should use all of the free promotional tools available to them.Author Website – Your website should serve as your central hub. Website platforms like Wordpress and Wix offer free, basic accounts to get started.

Social Media Pages – Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube are free to use and provide a great opportunity to connect with readers globally.

Amazon and Goodreads Pages – Many authors underestimate the importance of claiming and optimizing their Author pages on these large platforms. Make it easy for readers to find you.

Email Newsletter – Sending a weekly or monthly newsletter to your contacts can be a great way to communicate and build a fan base long-term. Platforms like MailChimp and MailerLite offer free, basic accounts to get started.

Testimonials and Reviews – Requesting testimonials from well-known authors or experts in your genre is free, as is requesting reviews from your readers (aside from a few free book copies you might have to provide in exchange). The more positive feedback surrounding your book, the more it will attract new readers.

Speaking Engagements and In-Person Events – Offering to speak or do book signings at your local bookstores, libraries, schools, and relevant organizations be can very effective in connecting with potential readers. You can also work your way up to getting paid for some of these opportunities!

The marketplace for books is competitive, making it difficult for your book to stand out and get reader attention. Paid advertising can be effective in improving your book’s discoverability, but should be used in conjunction with other book marketing channels to maximize the return on your investment.

anyaberkut via Getty Images
Diy13 via Getty Images


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