The Non-Marketer's Guide to Marketing a Book

Many people have 'write a book' on their wish list. But once you've actually made that leap to write your book and have it published (whether it's self-published or otherwise), there's a massive sense of achievement as well as the niggly thought..."What if no one reads my book?"

Well, people do want to read your book--but you need to be clever about how you get it into their hands. Just because it's a new book isn't enough to make it fly off the shelves or get thousands of downloads on Amazon. You need to have a strong marketing strategy to make the most of your literary creation.


Here are the steps you need to think about when marketing your book and getting it into the hands of your readers:

Develop a strategy

I know exactly how stressful and all-consuming producing a book can be, but you need to think about marketing from the moment you write your first word. You do need to take the time to develop a marketing strategy. Trust me, it will pay off in the long run.

Your strategy should be based on what your objectives are. Do you want to make money from selling your book? Are you going to use it as a tool to be seen as an expert? Are you hoping it will create new business opportunities for you? Whatever they are, your strategy needs to start here.

When you were planning and writing your book you probably already had a target audience in mind, so you're ahead of the game. Your strategy should also include time frames and measureable targets--for instance, "By the end of the first six months I want to have 'sold' 1,000 books."

Find your tribe

While you may have identified your audience in the initial planning and writing phase, you need to dig a little deeper and understand their habits, who they are and how they consume information.

It is these insights which are going to help you develop tactics that will hopefully put your book in their hands. For instance, if you're targeting mothers with young children, think about partnering with a popular family blogger and do a book giveaway.

Pre-promote yourself

Before your book is even launched, start building your profile so your audience becomes familiar with who you are. Launching a book isn't enough these days to put you on the map or build trust; you need profile. Your book will resonate much more strongly if you've already built trust and credibility.

You can do this a number of ways. For instance, pitch yourself as an expert to journalists, develop a personal website, start blogging, get on social media--just make sure everything you do is related to your book and your audience.


Think about how people will get a copy of your book. Will it be on Amazon, iTunes or in book stores?

I spent about 12 months building a database through free offers, Facebook ads and lead magnets on my websites and blogs, knowing that a database is key to my Unknown To Expert business model.

When I launched my book, From Unknown To Expert, I offered my database a copy of my book for free for a limited time, and I offered other products that related to the book.

Another idea is to think about other organisations or people with customer bases similar to your target audience and see if you can do a deal about offering your book to their customer base.

Promote the book, continuously

It's normal for a new book to get the most attention when it's just published, but marketing a book is a long term activity.

Use PR, social media, speaking, add it to your bio, give it out at networking events--keep looking for ways to get your book into the hands of the audience that matters to you. Create scarcity, do free book offers or bonus offers to keep interest piqued. Or maybe offer discounts at certain times, like the end of the financial year.

Having your book published is a major life achievement. Ensure you make the most of the opportunity and have in place a marketing plan that will help get your book read by the people that matter to you.

About the author

Catriona Pollard is the author of From Unknown To Expert, a step by step framework designed to help entrepreneurs develop effective PR and social media strategies to become recognised as influencers in their field.

Catriona is also the director of CP Communications, which merges traditional PR tactics with cutting-edge social media strategies that engage consumers as well as business.