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10 free book promotion ideas

One of the most common questions authors ask is: “How can I promote my book without spending money?

There’s a lot you can do that’s free and effective; I’m listing 10 ideas below. Before acting on them, though, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is my book as good as it can be? Does it look and read like anything I’d find in a bookstore or library?
  • Is my book’s cover appealing and appropriate for the genre?
  • Is my book professionally edited?
  • Do I know who will love my book? And do I know as much as possible about those people so I know where I’ll find them both online and offline?

All of this is important because readers are interested in good books. Not so-so books. Not books you rushed through to meet an arbitrary deadline.

And, you need to be marketing to people who read the kinds of books you write. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time.

10 free book promotion tactics

So, presuming you’ve laid the foundation with a solid book, here are 10 free book promotion ideas to try. Implement one, then track what happens. If you see activity that suggests it worked, do more of it.

1. Create a Pinterest board for your book and its topic. Add two pins a week.

Pinterest is a good fit for lifestyle, food, and fashion books targeting women. Be sure to watch the video at “Quick tip for selling more books on Pinterest,” too.

2. Invite a key influencer for your book to guest blog for you.

An influencer is someone who is both active online and respected and followed by your target audience. “Key” refers to the influential people at the very top of your list. They’re the influencers who have the most clout and audience respect.

For more information, read “Who are your key influencers?

3. Create a group about your book’s topic or genre on Facebook.

Facebook groups are where people gather online to talk about topics they’re interested in. Unlike Facebook pages, groups are designed for engaging and conversing.

To learn how to do it, read “How to create a Facebook group.”

4. Partner with the author of a book on a similar topic to pitch article ideas or talk show segments where you both could be interviewed.

Reporters usually need more than once source for an article. When you pitch an appropriate idea that gives them two sources, rather than one, you increase your odds for success. Similarly, talk show producers like the balance that comes with more than one expert source for an interesting topic.

Promoting your book: 8 ways to pitch media outlets” explains how to do it.

5. Pitch an adult education center on a workshop based on or related to your book.

Use that experience to refine the workshop before pitching it to conferences or creating an online training program. It’s a great way to get more mileage from your book’s content.

6. Offer to use Skype to do an out-of-town book club appearance.

Book clubs allow you to interact with readers in a way that’s meaningful for both you and them. Learn where to find book clubs and how to work with them in “Authors and book clubs.”

7. Create a tie-in with a nonprofit organization or a charitable event. 

If it’s well-thought-out, the partnership will support the organization while helping to generate book sales.

Make sure there’s a connection between your book and the organization or event, or that it’s a cause you feel strongly about.

8. Collaborate with local authors to plan a “local author day” at a popular bookstore or library.

There’s power in numbers. When all participants promote the event, you all benefit from a larger turnout than any of you can generate on your own.

9. Send a digital copy of your book to five people who read books in your genre and ask them to consider reviewing it.

Authors always need more reviews, and the best way to get them is to give books to the right readers. Sending a PDF file doesn’t cost a thing. To learn how to send a Kindle mobi file as a Facebook Messenger attachment, read “Send review copies through Facebook.”

When you send your book, be sure to include the Build Book Buzz Reader Book Review Form. You want to make it as easy as possible for readers to write those reviews.

10. Post your book announcement press release on free press release distribution sites.

The word “distribution” is a bit disingenuous because these services don’t actually distribute your press release to the media. They host it on their site, where it might be discovered by a journalist. Still, by including a link back to your website in your press release, you’re helping your site’s search engine optimization — SEO.

Learn how to write this essential media relations tool in my e-book, Get Your Book in the News: How to Write a Book Announcement Press Release.

Take action

The tactics you should use will depend on which ones will reach your ideal readers and what you’re comfortable executing. There’s enough variety here to give you solid options, though.

Which of these can you implement today?

What other free book promotion tactics can you recommend? Please share your ideas in a comment.

Subscribe to the free Build Book Buzz newsletter and get the free special report, “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources,” immediately!

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  1. Here are 4 ways that I’m going to try to advertise my foreign-language phrasebooks in the near future:
    1. Ask the managers of seamen’s clubs in various port cities to post my 5.5″ X 8.5″ flyer (1/2 sheet of paper) on their club bulletin boards.
    2. Ask the pursers of ships to post the same flyers on their bulletin boards.
    3. Ask the attendants of pilot lounges at airports to do the same.
    4. Ask the managers of expat clubs in foreign countries to do the same.
    (Lots of research involved in this, I know.)

    1. I like where you’re going with this Robert. Have you thought about trying to get publicity in trade magazines or newsletters read by these audiences? It would probably be a lot less work.


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