How to start marketing a book like you’ve been doing it for years

marketing a book
October 28, 2022
Book Award Pro

Marketing a book isn’t easy, and you shouldn’t feel discouraged if you’re having a hard time getting your book out there.

In fact, 79% of indie authors state marketing as the hardest part of publishing their book. It’s astonishing because we know how vital marketing is for the success of your book.

From not knowing whom to trust or what works, marketing a book takes a lot of time, resources, and effort. That’s why we put together this guide to teach you book marketing tactics the pros are using and how you can take advantage today.

Find Your Target Readers

The first step to creating a book marketing plan that works is understanding your readers. Ask yourself, is your book fiction or nonfiction?

I Have a Fiction Book

What genre is your fiction book, and what type of person likes to read that genre?

For example:

  • Romance readers are typically female and mostly find books through in-store displays.
  • Fantasy readers vary in age, with 75% reading ebooks. Older fantasy readers prefer paperback, whereas younger readers prefer digital copies.

I Have a Nonfiction Book

What is your book about, and who are you trying to reach with it?

For example:

  • Self-help readers are primarily women looking to build confidence, grow in their career, or need motivation. They look for relevant life experiences that will help them solve personal problems.
  • Mathematicians are mostly males over the age of 4o. They rely on research that’s well-written, asks a lot of open-ended questions, and helps them think critically about the problem.

Take ten to fifteen minutes to research what type of person reads books in your genre. Don’t forget to look into your subgenre if you have one of those as well. Google is a great place to start with this, but always check your articles' sources for accuracy.

Once you have a basic idea of who your target readers are, you can create a story marketing strategy to begin today.

Know Your Marketing Budget

The correct answer to how much you should spend on book marketing is always the same: it depends.

We recommend authors start marketing their books before publishing them, and the same goes for determining a budget that works for you.

So, with each marketing approach below, we’ll provide you with an estimate of what authors typically spend. We also put a spending table at the end of this article for you to reference quickly.

Establish Credibility With A Book Award

In the beginning stages of marketing a book, it’s essential to do something that instantly establishes your credibility. Winning a book award is the fastest way to do that. Plus, your book can win awards before it’s even published.

Book awards are the cornerstone of your book marketing campaign. Becoming an award-winning author starts the conversation and gives someone a reason to pick your book over another. The award-winning badge that comes along with a book award is enough to draw the eye of a reader and encourages them to pick it up.

Being able to refer to yourself as an award-winning author even before your book’s publication gives you the recognition you need to get into bookstores. Book awards are a defining moment in any author's career, and if you don’t apply for them, you’ll never win.

It doesn’t cost any money to look at the award opportunities for your book, and expert submissions start at just $199 a month.

See ideal awards for your book today

Create your free Book Award Pro account

Design An Eye-Catching Cover

We know you should never judge a book by its cover, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. The first thing someone notices about your book is the cover, then the name. Your story won't be picked up if your exterior isn’t inviting, intriguing, or worse, blends into the shelves.

Each genre has its own best practices for book covers, which is why it’s essential for you to work with a book cover designer who has experience in your genre. Expect to spend around $500 - $800 for a single book cover.

Be sure to let your designer know you’ve won a book award, and send them the badge so they can include it in their design.

Create An Engaging Social Media Following

Some of the best book marketing campaigns come from social media. The first step is claiming or creating an author account on these platforms:

  • Goodreads
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • TikTok
  • Twitter

Now that you have those secured, think back to the ideal readers you defined at the beginning of this post: where do they like to consume information? If your readers are primarily on Facebook or LinkedIn, create a posting strategy that revolves around those. You do not have to invest in every social media site. Focus your resources on the channels where your audience is most active.

Some authors leave social media to professionals, ranging from $900 per month to $20,000, depending on your needs. Thankfully, social media is a marketing tool you can initially do for yourself, costing you nothing but time.

Since you’re new, we recommend saving your budget and creating posts for yourself. You should be posting on your chosen social media channels at least five times per week. Ideally, you’ll post daily, but focus on creating quality, engaging posts to attract your audience.

Connect With Readers

Book Award Pro knows how essential it is to share fresh updates with your followers, but we also know how hard it can be to create those messages. That’s why we launched our free Connect with Readers feature, making it simple to share exciting updates about your book with your audience.

As you progress through your award-winning journey, Connect with Readers will automatically update the messages for your social posts. You never have to worry about what updates to share with your readers; we’ve created the posts for you.

Create An Author Website

You need to have one central location for your readers to find everything they need to know about you. If you’re somewhat tech-savvy, you could get away with building your first author website yourself. There are great free platforms, like Wix, which many authors choose as a starting point.

Buy your domain, trying your best to get it as close to your pen name as possible (like If you can’t get it exactly, try adding “author” to the end to keep it relevant. Whoever you build your website with can help you acquire your domain name.

We recommend having a professional build your website if you’ve never made one before or aren’t very tech-savvy. Most authors spend between $1,000 and $1,500 on a professional website.

No matter which approach you choose, your author website should include these details:

  • Author bio
  • Links to purchase your books
  • Upcoming work
  • Awards you’ve won
  • Links to your social channels
  • Email subscription sign up
  • Contact page

Work With Other Authors

Other authors aren’t your enemy. The book industry is unique in that readers want to read multiple books, and you’ll never be able to supply them with all the books they want.

The average American reads 12 books annually, and many authors only release one or two books in a year. Don’t think of this gap as a loss to you. Instead, think of it as an opportunity for your author community.

Start creating relationships with other authors so you can work together. A great place to start is by joining some of the many author Facebook groups or collaborating with the other winners when you win a book award. You can share your experience and learn from theirs as well.

Several authors marketing together can reach a much wider audience and bring far more interest from readers. Make it a fun opportunity where readers want to get involved with multiple authors and all the excitement of their books.

Start Marketing Your Book Like the Professionals

Now that you have a better understanding of what it takes to begin marketing your book, it’s time for you to get started. Create a timeline of when you plan to complete each of these book marketing strategies, starting with winning a book award, and you’ll have your book soaring in no time.

Remember, this is just your first step to marketing a book, and these are just a few of our favorite book marketing campaigns. Make sure to come back to our story marketing blog often for more tips you won’t want to miss.

Budget Table for Marketing a Book

Winning Book Awards

$15 - $199 monthly

Book Cover Design

$500 - $800

Social Media Posting

$0 - $900+ monthly

Connect with Readers

$0 monthly

Author Website

$0 - $1,500

Work with Authors

$0 monthly

Begin your award-winning journey

Get started with Book Award Pro

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