How to Market Your Book



“If a man writes a book, let him set down only what he knows. I have guesses enough of my own.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It’s one thing to write your book.  It’s another thing to publish it.   And yet It’s still another thing to market and promote your book or eBook.  While there is a lot of action and excitement and opportunity in the world of Publishing 2.0, the reality is that marketing your book can be tough, especially if you are taking the “Do-It-Yourself” path and you don’t have a roadmap.

If you’re an author or plan to be, this blog post might help you market your book with skill.  Unfortunately, the idea of, “If you build it, they will come” doesn’t work when it comes to putting your book into the hands of everybody in the world who might need or want it.

Mapping Out Your Marketing Plan

The goal of this post is to give you a map of effective strategies and tactics to draw from to market and promote your book.   I won’t claim to have all the answer, but I’ll give you a place to start, or at least something you can check your plan against.   It’s based on my lessons learned from selling my book, Getting Results the Agile Way.

Sometimes just having a list of ideas can help you figure out what you need to do.   That’s what this list of marketing ideas is for.  Use them to inspire your own marketing plan for your book.

If you’ve taken the time to write your book, then I want you to have some of the best ideas at your fingertips to be successful.

Friction-Free + Free Stuff + Raving Fans

The big thing to keep in mind is that the more valuable your book is in terms of the problems you solve, the easier it will be to spread it.   Your case studies and testimonials will build momentum for Word-of-Mouth marketing.   Friends will tell friends what works for them.  Also keep in mind that the more you can make it friction-free to share your book, the better.   This includes giving away high-value free stuff that supports your book and creates a platform.   The most important thing is to build a tribe of raving fans that really benefit from your book.   This will amplify your marketing success.  Lastly, if you make it possible for people to make money from promoting your book, you create a win-win scenario.  One of the simplest ways to do this is to have your book available in affiliate programs so that affiliates can make money selling your book to their raving fans.  This is how you exponentially grow your sales force in a viral way.

The Short List of Ideas to Market Your Book

Here are some very basic things to do right off the bat …

  1. Create a simple and effective landing page to point people to.
  2. Write a press release.   PR Web is a common resource that people use for press releases.
  3. Give your book away to people that will greatly benefit from your book.
  4. Write guest posts on relevant blogs to share your best insights, tips and tricks from your book.
  5. Inspire your blogger friends to announce your book and build the buzz.

This will at least get the ball rolling.

The Longer List of Ideas to Market Your Book

Here is a more comprehensive list of strategies and tactics for marketing your book or eBook:

Category Action Steps
  • Identify relevant affiliates that promote related products.
  • Ship book to top 20.
  • Identify relevant bloggers that promote related products.
  • Ship the book to the top 10.
Case Studies
  • Collect 10 high impact case studies and stories.
CEO List
  • Identify the CxOs of your favorite companies you want to positively impact.
  • Ship the book to your top CxO heroes.
Change This
  • Write a Change This manifesto.
Contests and Give Aways
  • Book give away (give away 100 books)
  • Have a Kindle Fire Give Away.
  • Identify editors of key magazines and online journals.
EZine Articles
  • Write 300 EZine articles to demonstrate your expertise and build awareness.
  • Create a Facebook Fan Page.
  • Get 10,000 Fans.
  • Test Facebook Ads.
Google Presenter Series
  • Give a talk at Google to build the buzz.
Guest Posts
  • Identify relevant blogs that do guest posts.
  • Write guest posts for top 10-20 blogs.
  • Identify relevant interview channels.
  • Do a batch of interviews or find a monthly cadence such as one interview per month.
Linked In
  • Test Linked In Ads.
  • Experiment with Linked In Groups.
  • Identify relevant magazines.
  • Write stories of impact for relevant magazines.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
  • Test Pay-per-click for “the phrase that pays.”
Press Releases
  • Write press releases that build buzz.
  • Create effective backlinks.
  • Create a keyword list.
  • Identify the top niches.
  • Identify the top search phrases with intent to buy.
  • Identify the top search phrases with intent to browse.
Stumble Upon
  • Stumble the key pages and resources.
  • Test Stumble advertising.
  • Get references in key Wikipedia topics and pages.
  • Create a video channel.
  • Create a viral video.
  • Create an educational series on your topic.

Example of Marketing a Book in Action

Here are a few of the things I’ve done so far ….

Keep in mind, I haven’t done all of the ideas in my marketing plan yet.  I’m sharing them as I go so you have ideas that you can test for yourself.  Mostly, I’ve been depending on Word-of-Mouth.   Also, I figure that I have more time ahead of me than behind me, so I’m plugging away at it with the idea that slow and steady wins the race.

If you have more ideas on how to successfully market a book or eBook, feel free to share.


  1. Timely, JD! You have no idea how timely! Thanks for sharing your expertise. I’m a guy who loves marketing, even though I didn’t have a lot of experience. My first book was a novel. While it was a fun read (in my humble opinion), it didn’t really solve any problems. But I wanted to be creative, so I decided to market it by putting a copy in the seat of a Portland, OR bus. I left instructions on the back of the book to share this book with someone when they finished and had a neat little place for them to get online and type in where they were from. The idea was, I wanted to see just how far it would go.

    Great science experiment (0 people from 0 cities and states read it); TERRIBLE marketing strategy. Now, there’s POTENTIAL there (I still believe this) and it IS thinking outside the box, which is closer. But ultimately, it wasn’t any of your tips. 🙂

  2. @ Evan — Perfect. I’ve learned a lot along the way, and I’ll continue to share what I learn.

    The big surprise for me was just how much work it really is, but how there are many things you really can control … while driving toward a tipping point or a lucky break.

    @ Bryan — You reminded me of yet another technique. I gave the book to a few of my favorite restaurants to put on display. In one of the restaurants, the book got stolen three times. I guess I can say that the book is good enough to steal 😉

    Whenever I get something stolen, my take is, they needed it more than me, and that’s usually true.

    On a good note, one of the restaurants has used the book to do amazing renovations and re-invigorate business and energize their teams. I’m hoping they’ll write a guest post some day on their transformation.

  3. Hi JD .. great post on Marketing – with some excellent ideas – I don’t see the Wikipedia aspect talked about at all .. and always wonder why ..

    Interesting – many thanks – Hilary

  4. @ Hilary — Thank you.

    The catch with Wikipedia is that you really have to have something that’s Encyclopedic in nature, and the challenge is that it’s difficult to get an entry that sticks, and there are several rules around contribution, what’s in, and what’s out.

    But, on the upside, if you do have a Wikipedia entry, it’s a fantastic way for people to find out about your stuff.

  5. JD
    I am trying to market my Professional Listening Services Wise Ears. com and your information is helping me too, and so far word of mouth has brought me all of my first clients

    People are still confusing it with counseling, which it is not…working on getting a testimonial from a Microsoft fellow who practiced his presentation to his group 4 times with me and then presented and received the go ahead – I think doing good work should help get more clients too – but then again I maybe his secret weapon?

    I am asking for some marketing help $ for Christmas, because my methods are just building clientele so slowly that I can not get ahead to have funds for some help.

    I can only afford to do 2 children’s listening services for every adult if I hope to make money. (Getting children reading is so important to me)

    And Coach Tim Brownson, at A Daring Adventure, was so helpful in helping me see how my dyscalcula was interfering with my Key Words usage and demonstrating how a marketing person could provide me with some success and a leg up

    I get so many good ideas here. Printed this off.
    I did discover that I do not wish to write a book…I love the “book of Days” approach on my PW blog but I am enjoying more the professional listening then I ever thought possible.

    Thanks for the good information…and I am reviewing some movies right now that are not very mainstream but I think you would enjoy

  6. @ Patricia — Hang in there and know that persistence pays off, as long as you keep testing, learning, and growing.

    I keep learning a lot of little nuances that really do make a difference, and all the little learning add up over time. I’m finally starting to connect more dots.

  7. Hi JD .. that’s interesting about the Wikipedia entry being encyclopedic in nature .. logical I suppose – if I got round to thinking that way.

    I’ll be amending an entry to Emily Hobhouse from her great niece who has all her papers and the entry isn’t ‘fair’ …

    Thanks for that information though about Wikipedia ..

    Cheers – Hilary

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