Book Marketing 101, by David Broughton

In my role as a professional editor, I’m often asked about marketing the completed books. Many authors opt for the self-publishing route, even those with book deals still ask a lot of marketing questions, since major and minor publishers expect the author to do much of the promotion, often at the author’s expense. The first thing I tell the authors is to make sure they have the best product possible, not only in the writing, but in the production of the book. A newbie has to put their absolute best foot forward. The next thing I tell my authors is NOT to do what everyone else does. Even if a particular author is doing well marketing their work in a particular way, unless the newbie’s work is similar and on par, what works for one won’t work for another.

Here are a couple of tips:

Use your skills and talents. One author has little time to do promotional work, but she’s doing quite well simply with word of mouth, talking to people as she goes about her day. Of course, in her case, she knows many people that have a great deal of influence with others. Another author uses her gift of being able to write and play music, along with her natural bubbly personality to do talks at schools to promote her children’s book. Yet another writer travels for his living, so he talks up his books at every opportunity, and sometimes gives the books out as small gifts to certain people that will spread the word to others.

Get others to pay for your promotions. Depending on your book, there are dozens or thousands of sponsorship opportunities you can offer. Some sell small ads on their fliers and bookmarks, often making a profit of the ads, and getting the fliers and bookmarks paid for by local businesses in the area the fliers and bookmarks will be distributed. Major funding can be had with product placement in the book, (a certain product is mentioned or shown in the book.) You could go so far as to put an ad page in the book, depending on the type of book the opportunities will vary. If your book fits in the business world, you could sell your book directly to corporations, hundreds or thousands at a time, and/or be paid to give seminars.

Be open to new things. The key to successful marketing is to find different ways of presenting your work, some of the biggest selling books are unknown to the general public, but the author is making a good living. Work with what you have, your own talents, and the talents of those around you. While you might not hit on the absolute best way to market your work, find the best way for you. Remember, being on bookstore shelves is not the end all be all, neither is being available online. ¬†You can work just as hard to sell one book as you do to sell a thousand. Everything you do should be done with marketing the book in mind, down to such a simple thing is carrying a copy of the book with you everywhere you go, even to the grocery store. You never know whom you’ll happen to meet that can take your book to the stratosphere.

Be careful. There are hundreds of places that promise to print and market your book, for a fee. Most of these are flat out rip offs. Do your homework, check them out thoroughly before giving them any money, or your work. Frankly, even if they do what they claim, it probably won’t work, and you’ll have wasted your money. Think about it, they’re offering the exact same services to anyone and everyone that’s willing to pay their inflated price. If what they did worked, we’d all hear about it. No set package can work for every book, no matter what these slick sales agents might tell you.


David Broughton grew up in Colorado, with a brief stay in New Mexico. Retired from heavy construction due to permanent injury, he turned to writing. He has two novels available in print form, and twenty two available in Ebook format, but that’s only a small portion of the manuscripts he wrote with the help of his late wife of twenty-two years, Linda. David also writes book reviews for several papers and websites, along with the occasional article or humorous short story, often available at the American Chronicle. Mr. Broughton edits for hire, and consults with other authors on both marketing and production.