Books Lingering on Bookshelves? Try These 18 Book Marketing Tips

10-3-16-18-book-marketing-tipsDo you want to sell more books? Every author does. I know that I do.

The truth is, we can never sell enough books, right? It would always be great to be able to sell another 1,000 books, or 100,000 more, or maybe even 250,000 more. Or even 100 more.

Indie writers regularly contact me wanting to know how they can maximize sales of their books. Some of them dream of the day when their writing can support them – a lofty goal.

If you look at the great success stories of today’s indie authors, they support their careers with writing nonfiction or teaching courses. Look at thriller author Joanna Penn as an example. She has sold almost 500,000 books around the world and in five different languages.

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Book Marketing Tips from Industry Experts

Book Marketing TipsWhat book marketing tips do you follow religiously? Are you having success?

If you struggle with book marketing, don’t feel alone in your struggle. A lot of authors wish they could be selling more books.

If you have a beautiful author website, you regularly update your blog, and you’re fairly active on social media, you’re probably wondering: What gives?

I decided to contact some expert book marketers to glean their advice and this is what you’ll read below is their best advice.

Book Marketing Tips from Industry Experts

Joanna Penn

Joanna Penn was the first to reply when I asked her for her thoughts and this is what she said. Note: She was in a hurry and only had time for this succinct pearl of wisdom.

Book marketing tip from Joanna Penn


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Book Marketing Weekly Roundup

Book Marketing Weekly Roundup by Frances CaballoIt was such a wonderful week on the web for book marketing advice for authors. I selected a whopping five posts to share today because of the cornucopia of great content for authors. The big news of the week? Goodreads is testing the inclusion of Kindle ebooks in its giveaway program. This will be huge for indie authors. Plus, I loved being interviewed by Lorna Faith. So check out the show notes, podcast, or video.

Book Marketing Advice for Indie Authors

10 (Practically) Cringe-less Self-Promotion Ideas for Authors from Publishers Weekly and by Kimberly Dana: “Self-promotion is fraught with the cringiest of awkward moments, but my more experienced comrade was right. Combing the social media circuit in search of friends, followers, and readers isn’t just necessary; it’s an integral part of the average author’s day. I consoled myself with one small, comforting thought: I can at least be smart about it.” Note: Kimberly Dana offers some tangible steps for indie authors to follow.

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Authors: Just Be Where Your Readers Are

I just did it again. I added even more pages to Twitter Just for Writers, bringing it to 52 pages. And it’s Free for you.

Twitter Just for WritersGrab a copy of your 52-page eBook on Twitter today. In Twitter Just for Writers you’ll find:

  • Easy to follow instructions on how you can get started.
  • Instructions on how to devise a password that will never be hacked.
  • Terms and special hashtags just for authors like you.
  • A list of applications to use with Twitter.
  • Advice on how to select your username and write your bio. (So many authors get this wrong.)
  • Plus guidelines for advanced users!

Download your FREE copy now. (Why wait?)

Find Your Readers by Frances Caballo


“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”

― Michael Altshuler

The new marketing dictum for selling your books or anything else is this: You don’t need to be everywhere; you need to be where your readers are.

Remember that. Otherwise, you’ll waste time. Focusing your energy and time on the social media websites where your readers network is your first rule.

There are plenty of experts who disagree with this theory. But think about it. No one has the time to be everywhere. Let me qualify that. If you have a virtual assistant, housekeeper, personal chef, and driver, you have the time to be everywhere online.

But Indie authors like you do everything themselves. To be economical, many writers create their book covers. Every author, once a book is published, then handles the marketing and publicity.

Don't be everywhere; be where your readers are @CaballoFrancesClick To Tweet

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Share Your Marketing Story with Me

Mendocino 3I’m in Mendocino this weekend teaching at the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference.

Yeah, lucky me.

While I don’t have a new podcast episode for you, I do have an opportunity to extend to you.

Do you have a uniquely interesting book marketing story to share with my readers? If you do, I may want you to write a post for my blog.

Send me a guest post of about 1,000 words. And please explain how you used social media to publicize your book. (Just send me a note via my Contact Me page.)

If you experienced success with your public relations outreach, I’d love to hear about that too.

I’m looking for great examples to share with my readers. So let me know if you have experience or expertise that you can share with other Indie authors.

Further Reading

Advanced Twitter Tips for Authors

Social Media Strategy for Authors Plus 4 Tweets to Never Send

12 Things Every Author Should Know about Social Media
Looking for a Social Media Cheat Sheet to help you schedule your social media posts? Download my cheat sheet — it’s free!
Grab Your Cheat Sheet


Social Media Just for Writers by Frances CaballoAbout the Author: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. You can receive a free copy of her book Twitter Just for Writers by signing up for her newsletter. Connect with Frances on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+. Be sure to check out my Social Media for Authors Podcast.

How Not to Sell Books on Twitter … And What to Do Instead

5-18-15 Twitter Book MarketingToday’s guest post on book marketing is by author and editor, Jordan Rosenfeld.

After the thrill of writing and the exhilaration of publishing comes the thud of marketing. For many writers, this is where they fall off the face of the cliff in exhaustion or anxiety. Writers are, after all, more often creative people than business people, easily overwhelmed by shilling one’s work in a crowded marketplace.

And yet, writers are perfectly poised to use that same creative power that writes books, stories and essays, to design their social media strategy. In particular, I’m going to focus on Twitter—though what I’ll say can be applied to most other forms of social media in one way or another.

Writers are poised to design their social media strategy via @CaballoFrancesClick To Tweet

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Friday Roundup: Add Visuals to Your Book Marketing

Episode 4 - Use Visuals


[smart_track_player url=”″ color=”d8570b” title=”Visual Content Marketing for Authors” artist=”Frances Caballo” ]

Welcome to the Friday Roundup where you’ll find practical tips for marketing your books on the social web. This week’s segment includes summaries of four blog posts I found on the web,  and of course, your tip of the week on how to incorporate images in your marketing with Canva.

Let’s start with my weekly tip.

If you haven’t heard of Canva, go to This is an amazing application and now also a social media network.

I use it to create nearly all of my images for my blog and social media posts. Now, I say nearly all because I also use PicMonkey, another great app.

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How to Stop Wasting Time and Focus Your Book Marketing

10-6-14 Frances CaballoFacebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. Pinterest. Google+. Instagram. Tumblr. Rebelmouse.

Do we really need to be on all of these social media networks?

I remember when I was about to publish my first book a search engine optimization consultant advised me to build a Facebook page and Twitter account for every book I write. I took his advice and created my Social Media Just for Writers Facebook page.

Thank goodness the title of my book became the name of my business and this website. Can you imagine if I had continued to follow his advice and then created Facebook pages for Avoid Social Media Time Suck, Blogging Just for Writers and Pinterest Just for Writers?

It wouldn’t have made sense because I would have been splitting my target audience.

Besides, who has the time or energy to maintain multiple Facebook pages and Twitter accounts? I don’t.

I admit that I did start two other Twitter accounts with good intentions but after a few months, I then shut the extra accounts down. I could justify having two Twitter accounts if I were marketing to two completely different demographics, but I’m not.

Even when I finally get around to finishing my novel, I’ll still use my present Twitter account and turn my focus to readers who are interested in politics in Spain.

Conserve Your Book Marketing Energy

We’re all aware of needing to curb our carbon footprint. But what about our personal energy? You’re a writer, and that means that what you love to do most is write. However, if you want to sell your books beyond the borders of your city, you also need to become an Indie marketer.

Social media marketing is the equalizing force in Indie marketing. You now have at your disposal all of the online tools that Amanda Hocking and Isabel Allende have.

Social media marketing is the equalizing force in Indie marketing via @CaballoFrancesClick To Tweet

Remember Sharon Hamilton’s story? I interviewed her on this blog a few weeks ago. She began writing about eight years ago and quickly got into self-publishing. She’s now a powerhouse in the Romance genre, and she accomplished that by staunchly sticking to her writing schedule, blogging, and building and rewarding her Facebook fan base.

She doesn’t create a new Facebook page for each book she writes. That would be ludicrous. She has 13,000 fans so why wouldn’t she want to build her page further? That would do more for her SEO than multiple Facebook pages.

Which Social Media Networks Should You Use?

I always advise clients to start their online marketing by selecting one social media network. Once you feel comfortable with that one, then consider another social platform depending on your genre.

My advice has changed over the years. I used to tell conference attendees to diversify their social media presence. My reasoning was that prospective readers may be on Facebook but not Twitter. Or a devotee of LinkedIn might abhor Facebook.

I don’t agree with that philosophy anymore.

It’s more important to be clear about your reader demographic. Once you know for whom you’re writing, then I suggest using the social media networks that your demographic prefers.

For example, if you write Romance novels I recommend a presence on Facebook and Pinterest. Women dominate these networks. In fact, 80 percent of Pinterest users are women so it would be worthwhile for Romance writers to delegate some time to this platform.

If you write YA, you need to be on the social media networks that your demographic prefers. Those would include Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram.

Do you write nonfiction? Then LinkedIn will be a must for you. Create a professional profile and join and participate in some groups. Over time, you may even want to start your own group. Depending on the age range of your demographic, and depending on your energy, you’ll also want to be on Twitter.

How do you manage your time on social media?

Also see:

7 Reasons Why Writers Need to Use Social Media

56 Social Media Terms Writers Need to Know

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Frances Caballo- Author of Avoid Social Media Time SuckAbout the Author: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for authors. You can receive a free copy of her book Twitter Just for Writers by Clicking Here. Connect with Frances on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+.

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web



Lisa Tener on Publishing, Platform and Book Marketing

Lisa Tener bring-your-book-to-lifeI met Lisa Tener at the San Francisco Writers Conference in February and was immediately impressed by her presence. She’s a sought-after book coach who has helped authors such as Deb Scott, Carrie Barron, MD, Anne Burnett and others secure big publishing contracts. Despite Lisa’s accomplishments, she’s one of the most humble – and talented – book coaching and publishing experts I’ve met. Here’s Lisa in her own words on coaching, nonfiction publishing, platform building, and the benefits of devoting time to book marketing.

I’ve read your bio but I want to hear from you how you rose in your career to become such a talented and coveted book coach?

Wow, thank you for saying that. It was a circuitous path. I knew I’d grow up to be a writer since first grade—just didn’t know what kind. And coming from a family of educators, teaching is in my blood. I majored in management and minored in writing at MIT—and I got to study with some amazing writing teachers, including Frank Conroy who went on to become the Director of the famed Iowa Writers Workshop.

I started out in technical jobs (programming related), but even in that first job, we developed courses and manuals for internal clients, so I’ve always been teaching and writing. I did lots of writing as a nonprofit executive.

Who do you work with and what do you help them accomplish?

I work mostly with people who have expertise in a certain field—coaching, medicine, therapy, business, consulting, healing arts, educators, and others—but who are not usually professional writers. The majority of my clients are writing how-to or self-help books or other types of nonfiction.

Some want to traditionally publish and I am guide them through that entire process—from fine tuning their book idea, to generating the platform to developing a first class book proposal, which includes polished, compelling sample chapters.

Others self-publish and then it’s more about writing the book—again, I help them with their book concept, I edit and I guide them to resources to help them with other aspects of their plan.

How can you tell when a book is right for a major publisher?

Major publishers are looking for 3 main things:

1. A large potential audience: they want to be able to sell a lot of books!

2. A new angle or fresh voice or new perspective on a topic that is already selling: So new, but not so new that it’s an unproven market

3. An author with a platform: It’s crucial to publishers nowadays to know that the author already has a pent up demand for the book—that there are people the author currently reaches who will buy this book when it comes out. And that the author can build on that reach to sell books to even more people. Publishers are risk averse in this current environment. The author can’t look like a risk.

Yes, they’re looking for compelling writing, but if the concept and platform are attractive and there’s a big audience, they might recommend a ghostwriter or co-writer.

Lisa TenerWhat role does marketing – especially social media marketing – play in helping a self-published author rise from obscurity?

Marketing is crucial for both traditionally- and self-published authors. You need a plan to sell books. And social media is taking a bigger and bigger role in helping authors get known. Through social media, people get to know authors, so there’s this attractive piece about connecting with your audience. In addition, people use social media to recommend books to others—so social media helps books take off.

How important is it today for authors to have large followings on social media? Do publishers really make it a numbers game?

No question that social media is playing a bigger and bigger role in publishing and book sales. So publishers are much more compelled to want to see a significant audience. But they also want to see engagement. So what if you somehow got 30,000 followers who are not engaged with you?

While numbers are an important factor, I would not say it’s a numbers game per se—so many factors go into a book deal. To give you an example, I have a client who blogs for Psychology Today and also gets picked up by the Huffington Post. He’s excellent with Twitter. He’d good about retweeting other relevant information, supporting his colleagues—he’s a team player.  He has a bit over 14,000 followers. So a nice number but nothing blockbuster on Twitter. However, his posts for PT and HP often get a lot of play. Two different major publishers approached him about writing books and he got a six-figure book deal. So, certainly his engaged presence on digital media played a major role in getting his book deal. But it’s not like there is a magic number that made it happen. Just that the engagement and reach were high.

What are the traits of a bestseller, whether it is a work of fiction or nonfiction?

Well, I specialize in nonfiction, so I’ll focus there. And I specialize in self-help and how-to. There’s some part strategy and some part magic, so I can’t give you a formula but here are some of the usual ingredients: Something fresh about it, even if it’s a popular topic; relevant to a large audience; a compelling and fresh-sounding title definitely helps—it should give a sense of benefits or potential results of reading the book; well written; entertaining—often it’s fun to read—there’s a strong voice and maybe the voice is even playful or sassy or smart or very humorous; well-organized—easy to read. But a book can have all these things and not be a bestseller. Much has to do with what the author does to get the word out. I think one of the biggest keys to success is persistence and believing in your book—being willing to do whatever it takes to get the word out. You will hit challenges and the bestselling authors see those challenges as opportunities.

What advice on marketing do you give the authors who work with you?

Take marketing seriously! And have a marketing plan that generates money from things other than book sales. If it’s all about book sales, you can invest a great deal of time and money to generate a small amount of money, but if you have something else to sell—online courses, consulting, coaching, seminars, speaking gigs, etc.—then one book sale can generate a great deal of income and you can, in turn, continue to invest some of that money back into marketing and promoting the book.

I also advise authors to blog. A blog gives you a home base where people can find you and connect and, hopefully, sign up to hear more from you so they stay in touch. A blog also helps with Google and other search engines. And it helps you engage in your communities with something to offer. Then, other social media is important for connecting with new people and expanding the reach of that blog.

Lisa Tener quickstartWhat is your favorite part of coaching?

I love the variety, so it’s a bit hard to pick one. I do love starting with an author who is at the beginning stages and still shaping the book, because we can be very creative and at the same time responsive to the marketing aspects from the get-go. I personally enjoy finding the synergy between marketing/business/publishing and the creative inner voice and inner knowing of what I refer to as the muse. I like to work with the left brain aspects of a book and then see what the muse has to say. I have an exercise I take people through, I call it “Meet Your Muse” that facilitates access to that inner muse for clarity in making creative decisions—and any decisions—about the book. Readers can access it here: Meet Your Muse Visualization.

What is the most difficult element to being a book coach?

When someone is uncoachable it can be incredibly frustrating. They want to get an agent but they’re not willing to grow their platform. Or maybe they don’t even want to build a website—that’s a nonstarter! I’ve been in the business long enough to know when it’s not a good fit for me. I’m pretty lucky. I get to work with amazing people.

I’d say once in a while I hear from someone who has a full first draft complete or a large section complete and I know it needs reorganization, yet for some reason it’s a complex book or it’s just not clear to me how to structure the material, and I feel overwhelmed, I know it’s time to bring in a colleague who specializes in that. So, it’s helpful to know your limits and when something is not playing to your strengths or it’s just not a good match (maybe not for the whole project but certainly for that aspect). Again, I’m lucky to have amazing colleagues I can call on if I get stumped on a particular book, which happens maybe once a year, if that.

Can you highlight the benefits and differences in your different coaching programs?

I tend to customize work with clients but the main things I do are:

 1. Book proposal coaching: this is for someone who wants a traditional publisher. It includes guidance on developing the book concept and structure, making the proposal highly marketable, and often on platform building as well. I will contact agents I know who seem a good match for the book. If we don’t get an agent (or if the author is not interested in much platform building, or the topic doesn’t lend itself to a publisher big enough to interest an agent), then I either help guide the author to query individual publishers or in some cases I contact smaller publishers whom I know and think are a good fit.

2. Book writing coaching: we can do this on an individual, customized basis or authors can join my annual Award-winning Bring Your Book to Life® Program to write a first draft in 8-12 weeks. We can then work on editing to complete the book for self-publishing or switch to working on the proposal.

3. Individual Consultations: These can focus on the publishing decision, platform building, next steps, or a book concept consultation. For the latter, I might recommend someone work through my “Quick Start to Kick Start Your Book” program which is $97 or $116, depending on whether digital or hard copy. It guides writers through developing the book concept and structure before diving into the writing.

4. Editing: Generally, I only have time to edit for someone who has gone through one of my programs above, but for the right project I have been known to take on someone new. I also have some skilled colleagues I recommend for editing, as part of the services I offer.

There are a lot of book coaches. What distinguishes your coaching from other professionals?

Probably the most important feature to someone looking for a coach is the results my clients get. Many have been published by—or recently signed deals with—major publishing houses including Random House, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Beyond Words, Hay House, Yale University Press, New World Library, New Harbinger and more. And others choose to self-publish, many of who have won multiple book awards.

I have both a marketing background (and won a Gold Stevie Award for Marketer of the Year-media) and strong writing training. I am a traditionally published author myself. I have two business degrees from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. I serve on the faculty of Harvard Medical School’s publishing course. So I bring to the table all the pieces that help make an author successful—the writing, the business and marketing aspects and an understanding of the industry coupled with strong contacts in the industry, including the agents and publishers who serve with me as faculty for the Harvard Medical School Course.

I’ve won multiple awards for my work, and the fact that I teach at various writers conferences, plus on the faculty of Harvard Medical School’s publishing course all speak to a certain quality.

Clients tell me they value my ability to help them access their creative and intuitive abilities which are critical to writing a great—and successful—book that helps them actualize their potential.

Probably more than half of the people who contact me already know I’m the book coach for them and they want to hire me. I think some of that is word of mouth, but the majority is from the testimonials they read on my website. I think those testimonials give people a sense of what I bring to the table so it automatically attracts the people who need what I have to offer. I’m not going to be the perfect book coach for everyone—but I seem to be ideal for those people whom I work with and who value the items I just mentioned.

Lisa Tener inspiration-to-authorYour 8-week signature Bring Your Book to Life® Teleclass has helped a number of authors write their books, navigate the publishing world, and enjoy tremendous success in terms of publishing deals and awards. What are the keys to their eventual success and how does your program help them?

Wow, I could say a lot about that. I guess one key is that the program focuses on having them have a very strong start so they likely have clarity on the book concept and structure before our teleseminars begin (there’s pre-work they complete beforehand, including one-on-one work with me). In that pre-work we work together to capture what that author has to offer that makes the book special and marketable and resonate deeply for their audience. It’s fun work. It’s creative, and I so enjoy that one-on-one which is often crucial for writing the best book you can.

Then, the program has quite a bit of built-in accountability so its structured to keep you on track—and most people complete a remarkable amount of work in the 8 weeks of teleseminars—often completing a first draft or first draft with a few holes (of a book or book proposal), in that relatively short time. And yet, because of the pre-work and the material we cover, as well as the feedback from me, the books are also high quality.

Avoid Social Media Time SuckAbout the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of  Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write, Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter and the San Francisco Writers Conference. You can find her on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+. 

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web