Promoting a Self-Published Novel

I recently decided to be more active on Quora, and today I stumbled across a really great question by a self-published author. The question was, “What are some ways I can promote my self-published novel?”

There were some really great responses. One answerer recommended YouTube book trailers, Facebook pages, and Twitter handles. The Facebook page could be used to run contests and capture emails, or even to sell copies of the book. Another answerer said authors should try to get book reviews on GoodReadsShelfari, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, as well as use Hubpages and create an Amazon capsule. Others recommended setting up an Amazon author page, and making sure to use keywords in the book description so search engines can easily find it.

These are all useful tips, though ones I’ve heard before. One responder gave a really helpful list of tools and websites the author could use to be more effective on social media and to build a platform online. The two that sounded the most exciting to me were Kindle for the Web, which allows bloggers to embed previews of books sold on Amazon and earn an affiliate referral fee, and Zeen, an online book promotion platform that promises on its website to “measure and improve reader engagement and increase book sales.” I don’t know how it works exactly, but if it does, it could be a powerful tool.

I also contributed some things I’ve learned from publishing The 13th Cycle. I’ll repost what I wrote here:

The best way to promote your novel is to find your target audience and find ways to appeal to them. Use Mailchimp or another email service to set up an email campaign, and try to collect as many email addresses as possible. Then, you can send out (but don’t spam) messages to people who are interested in your book, and you can alert them to any special deals, or future books you might publish.

One way to cultivate this audience could be through Twitter. It will be a lot of work, but you can search hashtags that relate to your novel, and find people who are interested in your topic (and therefore probably interested in reading your book) that way. But make sure that if/when you do reach out to those people, you’re not just spamming them. Try to tweet something meaningful and build a connection.

Another way to promote your book is using Rafflecopter. You can create giveaways of your book, and then have people like your Facebook pages or follow you on Twitter in order to increase their chances of winning. This worked really well for me when I found a few book bloggers and reviewers who were willing to let me do a giveaway on their sites. They used Rafflecopter on their site, and their audience–mostly really enthusiastic readers of self-published books–got excited about my book and started following me and tweeting. Then once the giveaway ended and I sent out my book to the winners, I got a lot of really touching emails from people stating how excited they were to read my story.

Lots of really great ideas here. If you’re an indie author, let me know what has worked for you!


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