7 Best Book Marketing Services & Tactics to Consider

There’s no way around it. To succeed in self-publishing, you’ve got to promote. But with so many ways to go about it, where to start? Let’s go over the best book marketing services and tactics to consider.

Key Takeaways

  • Begin with a solid distribution and promotion strategy. Your chosen tactics should align with your overall blueprint, such as who your target audience is, how big your budget is, and what your publishing timeline looks like.
  • The best book marketing services for self-published authors are both free and paid, easily accessible, and intended for a global and digital audience.

Indie Book Marketing Should Be Global & Digital

Before getting into the best moves to make, let’s be strategic from the get-go. Here’s what to know: The demand for digital books is booming around the globe. Although physical bookstores are still prominent, online is where you’ll maximize your reach.

See how huge the online retailer Amazon is:

For tens of thousands of indies self-publishing through PublishDrive (a platform that distributes to hundreds of bookstores), Amazon is a significant platform to sell their books.

The rest of the stores are made up of other online channels like Apple Books, Google Play Books, and Kobo, which can help authors earn 40% more royalties.

Overall, self-publishing has been thriving in sales growth:

In 2023, the growth was significantly global:

As we can see, it makes sense to go digital on a global scale. The demand for online content is apparent – whether ebooks, subscription libraries, or audio streaming apps. Check out these 2023 book sales statistics for more insights.

Although you can incorporate local methods like in-person book signings, online is how you’ll scale up your publishing gig. The list below is curated with these trends in mind.

7 Best Book Marketing Services & Tactics to Consider

1. Create a solid book marketing plan

Before spending any money or energy on your promotions, take the time needed to develop a solid blueprint. Think of this work in three main steps:

  1. Develop your main strategy: Conduct market research and define your target audience. Who are your ideal readers? Where do they hang out? Your strategy should also define your goals, budget, and other constraints.
  2. Choose the tactics that best align with your strategy: After solidifying your strategy, learn about the various book marketing services and tactics available, especially the best practices to know in every indie author marketing plan (which I share down below).
  3. Put everything into a timeline that lines up with your launch and overall publishing schedule. This is your transition from concept to reality.

Here’s an example timeline:

Keep in mind that author branding is a crucial part of your marketing strategy. Your author brand should capture your values, tone of voice, online persona, and more, dictating how you express yourself as an author across marketing collaterals like website design or ad copy.

If you haven’t gotten started, see this step-by-step guide on how to create a book marketing plan. If you’re ready to put your tactics together, let’s get through the rest of this list.

2. Collect book reviews

Collecting book reviews is not only a priority but a prerequisite. Without at least a handful of positive reviews, it’ll be a waste to spend money on ads or other marketing efforts. Even if you generate a ton of visitors to your book page, zero reviews will turn them away.

You can collect reviews by:

  • Asking your friends, family, and network
  • Offering free incentives for reviews
  • Swapping reviews with other authors
  • Using book marketing companies for paid reviews like Smith Publicity Reviews
  • Reaching out to book reviewers

See this write-up on the importance of book reviews for more ways to collect those reviews.

⭐ You can use PublishDrive’s review copy tool to send book review requests to readers on Apple Books and Google Play Books. The function is cool because the reviews are DRM-protected, meaning they can’t be duplicated. They also appear directly on reading devices.

P.S. What is PublishDrive? It’s an all-in-one platform for self-publishing to hundreds of bookstores. It also helps with promotions, like providing tools to collect your reviews with ease. Check out PublishDrive’s full suite of book marketing services for indie authors.

3. Schedule periodic price promotions

After landing at least a handful of positive reviews, you’ll feel more confident about running various marketing activities. One of the best ways to promote your book is to run free or discounted sales events. Everyone loves a good bargain!

If one of your objectives is to get more attention, offering your book for free is a fantastic way to convince readers to check out your book. It’s also a fantastic way to collect more reviews.

⭐ On PublishDrive, you can easily schedule price promotions on all the big retailers such as Amazon, Apple Books, Google Play Books, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

4. Look for free featuring placements

With your discounted book campaign, be sure to promote it in spaces looking for free/discounted books. Many of these sites and newsletters will list your book for free. For example, Best Book Monkey accepts free and discounted books on its website and shares them on its social media channels – without you having to pay a fee. See this ultimate list of free and paid book promotion services.

Your indie book marketing plan may be under a tight budget. That’s because, as an indie, you take care of the entire publishing process without the support of a traditional publishing agency. To keep up with the free opportunities, take an hour or two every month to gather a list of upcoming programs. It’s worth it.

⭐ With PublishDrive, you can access free featuring opportunities with newsletters like Freebooksy and sales events with stores like OverDrive. All you need to do is browse from a list of upcoming programs, click on the one you’re interested in, and then submit your request. 

For indie author MK Meredith, PublishDrive helped her novel One Jungle or Two get featured in Freebooksy and Red Feather Romance for two days. A total of 3,460 books were sold. Read more about PublishDrive’s promotion success stories. And watch just how easy it is to submit your title for promotions:

5. Invest in paid book ads

If you have the budget for it, consider running paid advertisements. Although free placements are great, paid ads will guarantee you get seen whenever you’d like. The results can be quite impactful, multiplying your return.

These are the most popular ads for authors:

  • Amazon ads: As the mecca of online books, Amazon is a popular space to run book ads. You can get your title in front of consumers based on related products, keywords, and consumer interests.
  • Facebook ads: As the #1 social media channel in the world, you can run Facebook ads to create buzz for your book launch, share the news about your discounted book sale, or simply generate traffic to your author page.
  • BookBub ads: BookBub is a book discovery service, where readers stay up to date with the latest updates in their favorite genres. You can run BookBub ads to reach this pool of book lovers.

Getting started with paid ads can feel intimidating. No worries. Here’s a simple guide on how to advertise a book. Once you understand the basics, including what different metrics mean and which elements to take care of, you’ll get the hang of it.

⭐ Along with free placements, you can pay for placements on PublishDrive as well. There are four main channels to advertise in:

  • Freebooksy has over 368,000 registered users looking for free book deals.
  • Bargain Booksy has over 277,000 registered readers looking for titles priced at $3.99 or below.
  • NewInBooks has over 576,000 readers looking for new titles across genres.
  • Red Feather Romance is the #1 site for romance books, with readers looking for steamy romance books.

There’s also a nifty Amazon book ads tool made perfect for beginners. Its AI integration helps you identify the most relevant products to target.

6. Maintain a social media presence

You can use email, blogging, or other mediums to communicate and interact with readers. However, social media has the best reach and engagement numbers. It’s where everyone hangs out. Decide on at least one channel to get active on:

  • Facebook: As the #1 social platform, Facebook can be an ideal place for you to keep in touch with your readers. You can even start a Facebook group where readers can exchange thoughts, share fan art, make friends, and more.
  • Instagram: As a visual-based platform, Instagram can be great for posting eye-catching content. Its explore page makes it possible for non-followers to discover you based on shared interests.
  • TikTok: This is a wild platform for discoverability. Just like Instagram, its algorithms will suggest your content to non-followers. Many authors are finding success through TikTok’s BookTok community.

All in all, social media is a way to build a connection with your readers. Among all marketing tactics, I’d even argue that fostering this connection is most important. You want to build a true fandom of readers who will advocate for you and your stories. See these tips on how to build a fanbase of readers (social media is key.)

You can also work with top influencer marketing agencies or reach out to influencers yourself to boost your presence online. For example, you can ask TikTok's BookTok influencers to review your new book.

⭐ If you have an upcoming release or recent success you’d like to spotlight, you can ask PublishDrive for a shout out on social media.

To learn more about utilizing PublishDrive’s author marketing services, hop over to how to ace book promotion campaigns with PublishDrive.

7. Diversify your distribution strategy

Last but not least, diversify your distribution and, therefore, promotion strategy. What does that mean? It means publishing wide, making your content available in all markets and formats possible. As mentioned at the beginning of this write-up, the demand for digital content is at an all-time high. And, the demand is global. You can maximize your sales potential by maximizing your reach.

You can publish wide by self-publishing with an aggregator like PublishDrive to sell in all the major retailers like Amazon, libraries like Bibliotheca, audio apps like Spotify, and more. You can also distribute your content in all book formats, such as ebook, audiobook, and print, to tap into every type of book consumer.

Need Book Marketing Services & Beyond?

Now you know all about the best book marketing for indie authors. What next? Watch PublishDrive in action:

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