Reach More Readers

By Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith

As we all know, marketing our books to potential readers is necessary to be a successful author. The concern many authors have is the cost associated with hiring a publicist to get booked on media, running ads to get traction to their websites, or securing a social media management agency to run your various accounts. These can all be very expensive and produce little to no return on investment.

A better option is to begin your marketing efforts by doing as much as you can yourself. This allows you to track the effectiveness of each type of marketing to see what your readers respond to best. Then, you can focus your marketing strategies on the techniques and avenues that are the most profitable. Plus, many marketing options won’t cost you any money to get started.

Here are some free online marketing methods to consider to reach more readers:

  1. Partner up with other authors. You can join forces with another author who writes on similar topics/genres. You can then cross-promote on each other’s social media accounts.
    • Consider doing an Instagram takeover for a day where you post and share content on a fellow author’s page. It’s like a friend inviting you to speak at an event they are hosting virtually. You’ll automatically get both of your audiences’ attention, resulting in more exposure and adding more followers to both accounts. 
    • Partnering on a marketing campaign can bring long-term benefits if you transition those new social media followers to become email subscribers.
  1. Build an email list. If people visit your website and social media pages, the chances are good that they are interested in what you have to say. Make a form available for them to join your email list. Some email providers allow you to get your first 1000-2000 subscribers before upgrading to a paid account.
    • Once they’ve signed up to this email list, you can send emails to these potential readers with further information about your books. Let them know when you have a new release, share locations where you will be speaking, send special book sales/promotions and other fun details to keep them engaged.
    • Treat your email list subscribers like family because these are the people who enjoy your content so much they are willing to have you periodically drop into their inbox.
  1. Pitch online media platforms. Would you be excited if I invited you to speak to a group of 100 people about your book? Most authors would jump at the opportunity. However, those same authors often fail to see the same value in sharing their message in an online setting. Think of podcasts as virtual speaking opportunities. There are thousands of podcasts looking for guests.  If you’ve written a fiction or non-fiction book, don’t let all those hours of research go to waste once the book is completed. You can use what you’ve learned to develop speaking topics to pitch hosts for podcast interviews, YouTube video interviews, or guest blogging. The key to transitioning these opportunities into platform growth and book sales is to follow some of the same essential steps you would do at an in-person event.
    • It is common for speakers to mention they have a book table in the back after an in-person speaking event, do the same at the closing of your online speaking opportunities. Provide a website where listeners can go to learn more about you and your books.
    • When people peruse your speaker table, not everyone will buy a book at that time. It’s always important to have a few flyers, bookmarks, and other freebies on your author table for those individuals to take with them. The purpose of these items is to serve as a tangible reminder about you and your work. Virtually you can accomplish this by using an online freebie (or lead magnet). The free offer should be something you can deliver electronically, like a downloadable PDF or a special video session, and should be easily spotted when someone visits your website.
    • Lastly, you will want a way to say in contact with those who took the time to drop by your author table. At an in-person event, you can have attendees share their contact details on a sign-up sheet. Online you also need a way to capture names and emails. You can do this by having your freebie delivery attached to an email newsletter sign-up form. This will allow you to continue to stay in contact with readers who resonated with your message.

It’s certainly possible to do effective book marketing without spending a lot of money. Be patient as you put these free strategies into place. Some of these methods might take some time and effort to implement, but the results are worth it.

Question:  Which strategy will you try first?  (We’d love to read your comments.)


Are you registered for the July 14-16, 2021 virtual Speak Up Conference yet?  Yes, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith is on our faculty. You can attend the writers’ track or the speakers’ track and there are three packages.  One of them is sure to fit your budget.  In addition to 5 live keynotes, 4-panel discussions, and 42 breakout sessions, you’ll have opportunities for one-on-one ZOOM appointments with industry professionals. All of the info is here.

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1 Comment

  1. Arlene Pellicane on 2021-05-04 at 1:12 PM

    These are great tools, thank you Saundra!!!



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