How to Promote Your Independently Published Book or Ebook

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How to Promote Your Independently Published Book or Ebook

Post by Scott »

How to Promote Your Independently Published Book or Ebook
by Scott Hughes

In a previous article, I outlined how to get a book published the traditional way. If your book is being published by a big publishing company, then you will have received a significant advance which you can use to promote your book that is on the shelves at almost all book stores. Otherwise, you may choose to publish your book independently. With the leaps in popular usage of ereaders and ebooks, it is easier and cheaper than ever to independently publish your own book. You even sell ebooks through top retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble who have almost nothing to lose by selling your ebook on their popular, trusted websites. But once you have places to sell it, how do you promote it? You won't have that big advance to use, so what are some free or cheap ways to effectively promote your book?

If you haven't already, make it an ebook

Times have changed even in just the last few years. Ebooks are no longer a special format just for short pamphlets sold or given away over the internet. Every big publisher now also sells their published books as ebooks. Many book lovers have ereaders. As an independent author and independent publisher you get even more of an advantage selling your book as an ebook because you get to drop much of the costs, investment and complications of printing, handling, shipping and selling expensive piles of paper. It essentially costs you nothing to 'ship' your ebook over the internet as a small digital file. Moreover, you can create your ebook yourself for free without having to pay a company to print it. You can sell it directly yourself or you can also sell it through ebook retailers like Apple, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Make sure your book is very good

You are making a huge mistake if you think the main ingredient in becoming a best-selling author or earning-money selling a book is great promotion of a mediocre book. 99% of getting your book to sell or be read like crazy is having a very good book. To be successful, your promotion efforts need to be the analogue of giving a bolder at the top of a steep hill a strong nudge. Even if your book is not totally awful, you will still be futilely trying to roll a big bolder up a steep ice-hill if your book is anything close to mediocre. You need to write a very good if not amazing book. Then you promote that amazing book as much as you can. By doing that you get a relatively few people to read it and then it starts promoting itself. It's the only way to do it. You cannot promote your book into a decent seller let alone a best-seller. Your promotion and advertising only give the book the chance to start rolling to success, which it will do if it is good enough.

Give away a small part of your book as a free sample to all

If you walk into an ice-cream shop and ask to try a spoonful of a certain flavor of ice-cream for free, the shopkeeper will almost certainly give it to you. Why? It's good business practice. Almost nobody will be willing to pay for the chance to try out some book of which they never heard by an independent author of which they never heard. But nobody will hear good things of your book until someone else has read your book to tell them about it. How do you break out of this catch 22 and get people to read your book in the first place? Give them a free taste! If they like it, then they will want to read more. If they do not like it, then find someone who does. If most people do not like it enough to want to keep reading after the sample, then you need to read the paragraph before this one about 10 more times until you get it.

Give away free review copies of your book, or even pay for honest reviews

If you can find someone who would be willing to read your book and publicly review the book in exchange for a free review copy, you may have a lot to gain from this. The more of a voice they have to other readers, the more you have to gain. If you give Oprah a free copy of your book and she reads it and loves it, you will become a best-seller. Of course, she is almost certainly out-of-your-reach. But you can find people not nearly as influential as Oprah but still way more influential than the average Joe. Book club organizers, trusted book-reading bloggers, people with lots of friends on social networks and even the top posters at the book and reading forums could give your book quite a bit of publicity if they enjoy it. Politely ask them to promise to write a full, honest review of your book in exchange for you giving a full digital copy to them for free. Depending on how influential they are, you may consider even paying for people to read and review your book. Remember, the idea is to get trusted reviewers with a voice to give your book a good review because your book is good. You are paying them only to read the book and honestly review it. Do not waste your time or money on some dishonest scammer who is willing to agree to positively review your book before reading it; that's a dead end. You want trusted reviewers to tell other people your book is good because it is good, which you can trust will usually happen if your book is very good. If your book is not good, go back two paragraphs and read it over 100 more times until you get it.

Click here to have a member of's official review team review your book or ebook!

Advertise the reviews

Once your good book has good, honest reviews from a trusted source, advertise those reviews. Do not spend time, money or effort pointing strangers to the place you merely sell your book or trying to sell it to them right off the bat. People do not want to invest time let alone money reading an unknown book from an unknown author without having heard good things about it. Advertise the reviews of your book. As your book sells more and more, these trusted reviews and good ratings will show up right on the sales pages at relatively trusted websites like Amazon. But at first you may need to send people elsewhere to read the trusted good reviews of your book, and then they may buy your book because now they have heard of it from someone other than you who to some degree they trust. If people want to buy your book, they will easily find out how. You do not need to give them the link or URL of where to buy your book. You don't want to waste effort or money advertising that. Advertise the genuine reviews. They need a reason to buy your book, not instructions how to buy it.

Again, you can get your book reviewed by some of the trusted posters at and then the review will get top exposure on this popular website. Just submit your review request using our official form.

Comments? Questions?

What do you think? Do you have any comments on this article? Do you have any other suggestions for promoting an independently published ebook?
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Post by louisgeorge »

Very nice & impressive article you have posted.. It's very helpful.useful tips :)
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Post by surfkalapaki »

ANyone can help me paste the amazon URL of the book I want into the form? It says the URL is invalid everytime? I think amazon changed the format.
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Post by Michelle222 »

Fantastic article, very informative and well timed as I am just about to go down that route myself and self publish my travel/lifestyle change non fiction book based in Tuscany, Italy. Hopefully if I follow your tips it will be a hit. Many thanks.
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Post by psyche »

I think that in addition to the book, the cover and blurb need to be good, clear and look professional. They should make it absolutely clear what "type" of book it is. I see many self-pub books with covers and blurbs that are vague and give very little info about the book.
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Post by Poli-Tainment »

good article. wish there were some examples of how that success looks on the way there.
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Post by mhjames »

What do you think of services that review books only for fees? Do you find that these reviews are trusted? In addition to, are there any reviewers that you would recommend or caution against?
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Post by Sherelle »

Self promotion is very challenging, especially on a budget! I've independently published six books and the marketing aspects is the most difficult. Most of us are writers, not marketers. Interesting article!
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Post by riyanj »

Marketing is most definitely the most difficult part! It's hard to get 'trusted' sources without a fee being paid in exchange. I've had the pleasure of meeting a few debut novelists and wonder how they manage to get so many amazon reviews. I'm definitely glad I found this site today.
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Post by MMissionary »

Really great article! As an indie reviewer and indie author these are certainly great tips for people who are not sure of how to sell their book. Mark Coker's book Smashwords Marketing Guide is my Bible.
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Post by hcheartland »

Thank you for the informative article. I wouldn't mind a list of reviewers that libraries respect. I know that Kirkus is a big name that will make heads turn but the fee is too high. I would love to know other review companies that people respect that won't break the bank.
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Post by R_H_Ali »

Lovely article! All great information needed for promoting books in this era of technology.
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Post by Hurricane John »

Promoting your eBook is definitely the hardest part of the self-publishing process. I've had several people read my eBook and personally tell me how much they enjoyed it, but only a small fraction of them will take the time to leave a review, even when asked to do so.

Thanks for sharing your insightful tips.
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Post by mellybean »

This is a lot of really good information. Thank you so much! :)
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Post by drradha »

my book is in paperback, hardcover and ebook formats.
But its with the publishers. How do i get to upload my ebook to you for a review?

When i go to this website forum for online bookclub
it does not open.

Dr. Radha
New member.
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