Marketing for Authors & 6 Easy Ways to Get Started Today

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Table of Contents

What do authors need to know about marketing?

Marketing for authors is about sharing your book with the people who want to read it.

If you want to sell your book, you need to help your prospective readers to find you.

Marketing doesn’t have to be scary or overwhelming. Once you know what to do, you’ll be able to confidently promote your book, increase your sales, and grow your following of devoted readers.



It’s important to start your marketing early

Starting early is essential.

The most successful authors begin promoting their books well before the publication date.

So wherever you are in the writing and publishing process, now is the best time to start your book promotion efforts.

What you’re about to learn about marketing for authors

This article will answer two main questions:

    1. How can you promote your book to raise awareness and find your target readers?
    2. How can you get prospective readers onto your sales page on Amazon or elsewhere?

I’ll also be helping you create an action plan to actually start getting things done on the marketing front in a way that doesn’t feel scary or overwhelming.

It’s okay to start small and do one thing at a time. And the more little things you do, the easier it gets to keep going and tackle bigger things in the future.

Marketing has a bad reputation

Marketing has a bad reputation for being spammy and sleazy. This is because there are so many people out there who are doing it wrong.

When you do it right, it isn’t like that at all.

If what you’re offering is valuable to your audience, you’re actually helping them and they’ll be glad that they found you.

As long as you have a high-quality book and you’re targeting the right people with your marketing efforts, all you’re doing is sharing your book with people who want to read it.

Stages of the book marketing process

The process of marketing your book has four stages:

    1. Creating awareness for your books and for your author brand
    2. Driving traffic to your books’ sales pages
    3. Generating sales with a sales page that convinces readers to buy
    4. Giving readers a high-quality book that turns them into loyal fans who will continually market your book for free

This article will focus on the first two stages. I plan to cover the other two in a future article.

I’m presenting the stages in this order because this is how your readers will experience the process. You need to start thinking like them if you want to sell to them.


And here’s a text version of the information in the marketing for authors infographic presented above in slightly more detail.

Awareness: You promote your novel

This can be through word of mouth, an email newsletter, various social media platforms, paid ads, a blog if you have one, etc.

Actively promote your book so your target audience can find you.

Traffic: Prospective readers click on your links

People might click on links you provide or find your novel by searching the title or your name on Amazon or on another bookstore’s website. 

When you’re giving people links to your sales pages, present your novel in a way that makes people want to know more.

Selling: Prospective readers view the listing for your book

Once they get to your sales page, people will decide whether to make a purchase based on its title, cover, blurb, reviews, author bio, genre categories, and the “Look inside” sample from your book.

Represent the book accurately on your sales page and specifically target your ideal readers.

Loyal Fans: Your new readers join your fanbase

Once they become loyal fans, your new readers will leave positive reviews, read your other books, tell all their friends, and start marketing your books for you.

If you want loyal fans, you need to create a high-quality book that delivers on what you promised on your sales page and in your promotional posts and other communications.

Awareness: the first stage of marketing for authors

The first thing you need to do is to raise awareness for the existence of your book.

This is the beginning of your marketing process.

And it isn’t just about your book. You also need to show people that you exist as an author.

It’s important to tell people who you are and encourage them to start getting interested in your writing.

How to create awareness through your marketing process

There are many platforms you can use to create awareness for your book. The key is to find the ones that work best for you.

Social media is a great marketing tool for authors. Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and Pinterest are all good options to try out.

Word of mouth is also important. If you tell everyone you know about your book, they might each tell a few people who they think might enjoy your book.

You never know who might be interested in your novel until you start telling people about it.

Market your book in a way that you enjoy

It often works best to use the platforms that you enjoy most.

If you enjoy spending time on Facebook, for example, you’re more likely to follow through on your marketing plan to post about your book there.

So when you’re deciding what social media platforms to use, focus on the ones that you are already using.

Marketing for authors who hate social media

If you don’t like social media, focus on bringing up your book in your in-person interactions.

Tell your family and friends.

Tell random strangers you’re having small talk with.

(“Hi, how are you?” “I’m great! I’m in the process of publishing a new fantasy novel and I’m really excited about it.” “That’s so cool, my friend loves fantasy…”)

Even if you’re using social media, word of mouth is a great way to supplement your marketing efforts and improve your book promotion strategy.

Generating awareness is a process, not a one-time thing

People are more likely to buy something they’ve heard about multiple times.

That’s why you see the same ads from the same companies over and over. Those companies are spending their money on what they know is going to work.

So mention the book you’re writing over and over again.

Keep updating people on how you’re book is going.

Regularly post about it on social media.

Once you have a cover, post a picture of it on social media several different times.

Whatever you’re doing to raise awareness for your new book, do it multiple times.

It’s about you as an author, not just your book

People are more likely to buy from an author they hear from frequently.

You want to get to a point where you feel familiar to the prospective readers you’re trying to attract.

If you’re providing value to them and seeing you is always a positive experience — for example, if you’re having interesting conversations with them in a writer group on Facebook — that’s where you really start to build trust.

And trust is essential if you want people to buy from you.

Traffic: the second stage of marketing for authors

The second stage of marketing as an author is about driving traffic to your book’s sales page(s).

If people know about your book but don’t know where to find it or aren’t going to your page, you won’t get any sales or any new readers. And that loyal fanbase you’ve been dreaming of isn’t going to happen.

The people who want your book need to know how to find it, and you’re the one who has to tell them.

You want to do this in social media posts, in your email newsletter, on your blog if you have one, through word of mouth and in-person interactions, and anywhere else you can think of.

How to send people to your sales page

Most authors are selling books on Amazon, so one of the places you want people to go is your book’s Amazon listing.

The best way to get people there is by giving them a link. This makes it really easy for them, because all they have to do is click on it.

You want to make their job as easy as possible, because then they’re more likely to follow through all the way to the point of making their purchase.

What if you’re telling people in person?

Sometimes you aren’t in a place or on a platform where it’s easy to just give people a link. You probably can’t write it down for them on paper, and even if you did, you probably can’t trust them to type it in correctly.

The second best way of getting people to your sales page is by telling them what website to go to and how to search for your book.

Where do you want them to go?

Tell them where you’re selling the book and the title they need to look for.

Maybe it’s on Amazon, Barnes & Noble,, or at the local bookstore.

If you’re self-publishing, try to get your book sold everywhere the way a traditionally published book would be. It helps you look professional and it helps you sell more copies since some of your readers will have a specific preference.

Some people have an aversion to Amazon and want to support local businesses instead.

Send people to your website if you have one

Having a website makes the process easy. Tell them your name or pen name, or whatever they need to google to get your website to come up.

Keep in mind that if there are other people with the same name, your website might not come up first. If that’s the case, tell them the URL for your website.

(If you’re planning to create a pen name and haven’t committed to one yet, this is an important factor to consider, even if you aren’t ready to get a website yet.)

Make sure your website has links to all the places your book is being sold so that people can purchase the book from whichever bookstore they prefer.

It isn’t just about telling them where to go

In addition to showing them where to find your book, you also need to convince people that they want to go find it.

Make them want to click your link or go to the relevant website and type your book title into the search bar.

When you share your link or tell people to go buy your book, make it clear what’s in it for them.

How to make them click

Making people want your book is about communicating what kind of book you’ve written and why it’s for them.

What genre are you writing? What tropes are you using?

Who is the main character that your readers will be spending time with?

When you’re talking to a group of people (not one-on-one conversations) speak directly to your target readers and give them enough information to explain why your book is perfect for them. Do this for every social media post.

For in-person communication, you’ll want a more abbreviated form of this, tailored to the specific person you’re talking to. Then you can tell them more if they seem interested.

Selling: the third stage of marketing for authors

I will cover this in more detail in a future article, but the third marketing stage is where you use an awesome sales page to convince prospective readers to purchase your book.

You need to optimize each element on your sales page with the goal of converting people who are merely curious about your book into enthusiastic buyers.

These elements include the title, cover, blurb, reviews, author bio, genre categories, and “Look inside” sample. Each of these contributes to someone’s decision to buy or not buy your novel.

Make sure that each is specifically targeting the people who are most likely to enjoy your book. You want the right people to buy your book, and the right people are the people the book is perfect for who are going to leave five-star reviews.

Building a fanbase: the fourth stage of marketing for authors

Like the third stage, I plan to cover the fourth stage of your marketing in more detail in the future.

But to give a brief overview, this is where people actually read your book and hopefully become loyal fans.

In order for this part of the process to go well, you need to have put in the work earlier on to create a high-quality novel that’s a perfect fit for your target audience.

Ensuring your novel is high quality comes from self-editing as well as working with editors and beta readers.

If you prepare for stages three and four correctly, you’ll end up with a fanbase of loyal readers who market your book for you by leaving good reviews and telling all their friends about your books.

Create an action plan for marketing as an author

If you want your book to sell, you need to put in the work.

And the sooner you start, the better.

So take a look at the action steps below. It’s important to start right now, and it’s equally important to make a plan for your future marketing efforts.

Marketing action steps for new(er) authors

Maybe you don’t have a book out yet or you don’t have much experience with marketing.

In this situation, you’ll want to focus on marketing activities that raise awareness for you as an author and for the book(s) you’ll be publishing in the future.

You aren’t trying to sell anything at this point. You’re just telling people that you’re writing a book.

And if you find people who are interested, you’re providing more information and encouraging them to stay in contact with you.

Action step 1 for authors new to marketing:
Use word of mouth to promote your book

Tell your friends and family about your book.

Create a habit of bringing up your book with strangers.

If telling everyone about your book feels like a lot, start by choosing one specific person and plan how you’re going to bring up your book the next time you see them.

Action step 2 for authors new to marketing:
Get started with using social media for book promotion

The first step to marketing your book on social media is to choose a social media platform. Your primary options are Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest, but there are others out there as well.

Often the best place to start is on the platform you already know best and spend the most time on.

Once you’ve chosen a platform, start talking about your book. Don’t be salesy, but create posts about how the writing process is going.

If your book is relevant to what others are talking about, mention it in your comments on other people’s posts.

Focus on how excited you are about your book and bring that excitement to other people. This is how you promote your book without it feeling salesy.

Action step 3 for authors new to marketing:
Start an email list for promoting your book

Once you get people onto your email list, you’ll have their contact information and it will be easy to tell them about your book once it’s published.

So how do you do that?

First, sign up for an email service provider. I recommend ConvertKit, which is free.

Next, create a sign-up form or a sign-up page that will collect people’s names and emails and add them to your email list automatically. A sign-up form is good when you already have a website, but if you don’t, you’ll want a landing page. Which is free if you use ConvertKit.

Finally, start directing people to your sign-up form when they sound like they’re interested in your writing. You could also add a link to your social media pages.

Marketing action steps for published authors

If you have at least one book out already, you’ll want to focus on getting people onto your sales pages.

(You’ll also want to do the action steps for authors new to marketing that I list above, if you haven’t done them already.)

At this stage, you want to be selling your book but without sounding salesy.

So focus on what other people would get from buying your book.

Tell people how excited you are about your book and try to get them excited about it too.

Action step 1 for marketing as a published author:
Create an elevator pitch

An elevator pitch is a short introduction to your book that gets people interested right away.

Try to get it down to one sentence.

It should communicate what kind of book you’ve written and who your target audience is. When you give your elevator pitch to someone in your target readership, it should immediately make them want to know more.

If you don’t know where to start, check out the elevator pitch formula that publishing expert Jane Friedman shares on her website.

Your elevator pitch is especially going to come in handy when you’re marketing through word of mouth.

It’s also a good foundation to use when you’re writing social media posts or email newsletters.

Action step 2 for marketing as a published author:
Post on social media

Go to your favorite social media platform.

Write out a few sentences or paragraphs about what your book is about and why you’re excited about it.

(Or if you chose TikTok, you’ll be creating a video of yourself saying those sentences or paragraphs rather than writing them.)

Add an image of your cover, or of yourself, or of you holding your book.

Add at least one link people can click on to go to your book’s sales page.

Bonus points if you take that piece of text and that image and repurpose it to post on each social media platform you’re on.

Action step 3 for marketing as a published author:
Email your subscribers

Go to your email service provider and create a new email.

Write out at least several sentences about your book, or about how excited you are that it’s getting published, or about how the publishing process is going. Or whatever else is relevant.

Include multiple links to your sales page(s) throughout the email.

Emails can be longer than social media posts, and often longer emails will do a better job convincing readers to click on your links.

At least 250 words could be a good ballpark to shoot for, but really that’s just an arbitrary number. It could also be shorter, and something longer might work even better.

Read through the email to catch any typos, and then send it off to your subscribers.

Marketing for authors: the big takeaways

If you want your books to sell, you need to get them out there.

Talk about them all the time and to everyone. And describe your books in a way that makes people want to go out and buy them.

Learning about book marketing isn’t enough. You have to add actions that align with your goal of publishing a book that earns you money and gains you a following.

And you’re more likely to do that if you start today while this information is fresh in your mind. So choose at least one action step to start on right now.

Start marketing your book right now

You can choose one of the options I’ve talked about, or you could create your own. The important thing is that you’re doing something.

It’s also important to create a plan for the marketing you’re going to do in the future. But don’t do that yet.

Actions are more important than plans, so you need to start by taking action and then get your planning done afterward.

Choose a book marketing action step

These are the action steps I’ve discussed above in more detail:

    1. Tell people about your book
    2. Get started with social media
    3. Start an email list
    4. Create an elevator pitch
    5. Post on social media
    6. Send an email newsletter

So pick one and start promoting your book!

Or if you don’t have time right this second, bookmark this page for later and write yourself a to-do item to start your marketing efforts on a specific day later this week.

Clara Carlson-Kirigin

Clara Carlson-Kirigin

I’m Clara, the editor behind Prometheus Editorial. I work with fantasy and romance authors who want to invest in professional editing to help their novels succeed. I love teaching people how to harness the power of language, find their voice, and reach their target readership.

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