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WritersServices Self-publishing Guide 9

Help for writers

Marketing and Promotion for Indie Authors: Online

Joanne PhillipsWriting a great book is only part of the picture. Getting it uploaded to Amazon with a great cover, and perhaps printed via POD, isn't the whole picture either. However great your book, however beautiful or useful your product, no one will be able to buy it if they don't know it's there.

Marketing and promotion are essential for today's author - whether indie or traditionally published. Able to act without waiting for approval from a publisher, indies are perhaps better placed to take risks and try out new marketing methods - one of the many wonderful freedoms that come with being self-published. Following are the most effective online marketing tools being utilised by indie authors today - but do remember that in the fast-moving world of social media marketing, things can change in the blink of an eye. Be sure to check out the current relevance of each of these methods before spending your hard-earned cash.


Bookbub is currently one of the most successful ways of promoting a special offer, or free promotion, with a subscription list of readers that is truly enormous. Because email subscribers can choose the criteria of the offers they receive, the uptake on Bookbub's daily email is far greater than the lesser services. This route directly to readers, however, is not cheap. Expect to pay upwards of £300 for most popular genres, and expect to be subjected to Bookbub's stringent submission process - many books submitted get turned down the first few times they apply. Bookbub seems to operate most successfully in the US market - it doesn't have many subscribers in the UK, and there is currently no viable UK alternative.


Goodreads has been around for a while and is primarily a reader-resource - that is, readers use it as a community for sharing recommendations. There are many authors active on Goodreads, but the ones who do well do so by interacting with readers in a way that is authentic and useful to the reader - not by trying to sell their books the whole time. One of the most effective tools offered by Goodreads is the book giveaway. Only print copies are eligible at this time, but offering a couple of signed copies of your title has the effect of encouraging many readers to add the book to their ‘To Read' list, meaning that even those who don't win a copy may go on to read your book, raising its visibility immensely.

Facebook (and other social media)

There is talk that the Facebook bubble will soon be bursting, but it's still a viable community for authors wanting to engage with readers. Use a Facebook Page instead of your personal account, and post regularly - not simply posts about your book, but things that will be of interest to readers. Think of it as a mini-blog and a way to build loyalty and engagement. A Facebook page can be fed by an active blog, and supplemented by Twitter posts and perhaps a Pinterest wall containing photos of images that are relevant to your book.

Twitter no longer works for those authors who simply Tweet a constant stream of sales messages. Most people who are active on Twitter now follow too many people to be interested in these type of Tweets - instead the focus should be on building relationships and engagement, and having an interesting profile which will prompt interested readers to click and take a look at your books. Facebook posts can be ‘promoted' by a small payment (around £10 to £20), raising visibility to friends of friends, or friends of those who like your page, and Twitter are currently experimenting with a similar system.

WritersServices Self-publishing Guide 1: What is self-publishing?

An explanation of self-publishing as it stands today, introducing the term ‘indie' and a brief overview of routes to market for indie authors.

WritersServices Self-publishing Guide 2

Choose Your Self-publishing Route

WritersServices Self-publishing Guide 3

EbooksDigital bookstore selling wide range of ebooks in 50 categories from Hildegard of Bingen to How to Write a Dirty Story and showing how the range of ebooks available is growing.: How to sell on Amazon

WritersServices Self-publishing Guide 4

Formatting your book for Kindle

WritersServices Self-publishing Guide 5

Ebooks: Distributing to Other Eretailers

WritersServices Self-publishing Guide 6

Cover Design Know-how: Tips from a top designer on how to make your indie cover look professional and stand out from the crowd.

WritersServices Self-publishing Guide 7

Print on Demand for Indies

WritersServices Self-publishing Guide 8

Ebooks: Pricing Strategies for Indie Authors

WritersServices Self-publishing Guide 10

Marketing and Promotion for Indie Authors: Offline


Joanne Phillips lives in Shropshire, England with her husband and young daughter. She divides her time between writing novels and freelance indexing. She's the author of commercial women's fiction Can't Live Without and The Family Trap, and the Flora Lively Investigates series of cosy mysteries. Can't Live Without was an Amazon top 100 bestseller in 2012 and her books regularly appear on category bestseller lists. Joanne blogs about writing and publishing at

Connect on:
Twitter: @joannegphillips

Other articles by Joanne Phillips on the WritersServices site:

The Business of Writing
The Ins and Outs of Indexing
How to Market Your Book Online