10 Free Ways to Promote Yourself as a Self-Published Author

Love ChildThis is a guest post by A.M Torres, author of “Love Child“.

Ana M. Torres A.M. Torres is the author of nine books. The first one of these books Love Child was first published in 2011, but it was reedited in 2016. Her books are all available on Amazon, but Love Child is also available on the Barnes and Noble website.

Love Child is her first book, and is the first book of her Child Series. Child No More, and Child Scorned are the sequels to Love Child. It’s the story of Tommy Hulette who fights to survive in Love Child, while in Child No More, and Child Scorned he’s coping with the events from Love Child. She’s also written her yearly Christmas book J and K Christmas since 2012. The Christmas book are themed in poetry, and some short stories all based on Christmas. J and k Valentine covers poems and a short story for Valentines Dad. She also released Shadowed Tears her first real poetry effort. Shadowed Tears is her first poetry release.

Ana was born in New York City, but grew up in Brooklyn with her parents Gabriel and Ana Torres along with six siblings. She graduated from High school in 1988, and attended La Guardia Community College until she earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Ashford University for the Social Sciences with Education Concentration. She earned this degree in 2008. Ana loves the Social Sciences, but her true love is writing. She has been writing for years. Since childhood when she received her first diary on a special birthday, and she fondly remembers writing a winter essay in the fifth grade which was chosen as one of the four’s best in the class, Ana knew she wanted to become a writer. She writes novels and poetry, and she loves it. She loves hearing from her readers even more.

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A.M Torres

Author

You’ve written your first book. You’re excited, and manage to get the book published. As most self-published authors know when you publish, your book, you are responsible for everything that goes with that. You are responsible for everything from book signings, and appearances, and this will require some spending money, but what if money is tight? What if you’re unemployed or are managing a tight budget, and you don’t know where to begin? This can be a problem as it is frustrating. You will need money to run a successful book promotion, but it’s not only having money it also comes to having the money at the right time. Perhaps you need to budget more tightly, and saving some money for book promoting may take some time.

Whatever your case may be, you don’t have to wait until you have money to promote your book even if though you will always need it especially in the future.  Here are ten ways you can promote your book that won’t cost you anything or very little money.

Word of Mouth

This will always be the easiest way, and cheapest way to promote your book. Spread the word! Let everyone know you wrote a book, and where they can purchase it etc. Whether you’re at a party, with family, at work (be careful there though) don’t waste a moment to tell others about your book. Recruit the same people to help you spread the word. Go around the neighborhood. Ask family for help; friends. Anyone you think can help would be a great source to help spread the word. Make sure your book is always in eBook format so you can point that out as well since many eBooks are more affordable than paperbacks. It’s good to have this option.

Social Media

If you don’t have a Facebook account (and I’m sure you should) then open one. Create an author page there which won’t cost anything (though you do have to pay to boost postings, but that is easily optional) Make sure you also open a Twitter account, along with Instagram, Tumblr, and even Pinterest. Post pictures of your book cover, on all these accounts. Share the book synopsis, and make sure to keep in touch with your followers. Post constantly on your pages, at least once a week. Share updates, but you’ll need more to share on your social media pages than just your book. Take time to post a good morning, along with other things your followers can engage in. It’s no different than making small talk. Make small talk with your followers, and always inquire to know how they are to show you appreciate them. Share anything that can be fun and engaging.

Start a Blog

This is easy though it can be time consuming. But it doesn’t have to be. Every week (or whenever you can, but I recommend at least once a week) post something on your blog. Share details of your book, where to get it, and what it’s about. Post excerpts, reviews, and information about writing that can help others.  Explore your story, and characters, along with other details like what made you write the story, and why, and what your writing aspirations are for the future. Engage your audience as much here as you would on your social media pages. Check other blogs for ideas or inspiration if you find yourself stuck on what to write about, but make sure your writing is yours. Blogger and WordPress are two blogs you can open for free.

Plan a book signing

We know book signings mean money at least to purchase books which you will need for any event. Contact book stores to see what their rules are about book signings. Many book stores are not interested in self-published authors (unless you can prove to them that your book is already doing well, and can do well in their store) Try your local book store first, and then try other locations. If your local supermarket sells books they can be the perfect fit for a book signing. Reach out to them, and let them know you’re the neighborhood’s local author, and will like to discuss a book signing with them.  Good chance they’ll have interest in the local author. Don’t waste time letting them know (book stores too of course) how your books are selling, and what kind of reviews they are getting.

Work on a promotion plan, and share that with them. Most authors get discounts when ordering their books, but maybe one of these locations would be willing to help with that, if you can sell them on why your book will do well in their store. A book signing will help prove that so even before you plan anything start spreading the word of your book signing even as you plan it.

Schedule book readings

You can do this in public, and online. Contact your public library, and speak to someone there about arranging a book reading.  They may refuse to accept self-published books (they refused mine originally, at least one library did) but you can donate the book to them without mentioning that it’s a self- published book, or you can ask someone to donate it for you. Tip: Donate it with other books. However, in going back to readings, even when a library refused to take my self-published book, they were open to allowing a book reading in their library. It’ better than nothing, and a reading is one way you can spread the word especially if you choose a good part of your book to read. A juicy part. If enough people attend, it could make the librarians change their mind about your book.  Make videos of yourself doing readings, and share these on social media networks like You Tube and Vevo.

Get an interview

I know this is easier said than done. For one where do you start? Certainly preparing a press release would be a good start. With a press release announcing your book, you can email or mail that to newspapers, magazines, and your local channels. A local newspaper in your area may be the perfect place to mail a press release especially if you explain that you are the local author trying to get an interview.  Podcasts are great for authors, and many have managed to get interviews with them. Some blogs may also post interviews on their blogs, so these are worth pursuing as well.

Get Book Reviews

Book reviews are important for any author. It would be wonderful if the New York Times would review your book, but that won’t just happen.  However, getting reviews from your readers on Amazon, and Barnes and Noble is one way to help your book get recognition, and it proves people are reading them. The more reviews you get the better. Twenty-five reviews on Amazon can help you get more recommendations from them. Ask for reviews from anyone from readers, but also your family and friends. If you’re going to share your book or lend it to anyone make sure a book review comes with the requirement before you loan it out. It’s worth a try. If you know fellow authors perhaps you can agree on reading each other’s books and reviewing them. Everything helps.

Become a Goodreads author

I could easily leave Goodreads in the social media section, but Goodreads is different than Facebook and Twitter, and it’s worth mentioning alone. It’s a social media network, but this network is mainly for authors and readers. You don’t have to pay for any membership, so you can create your own page there, and post your books at no cost. You can meet fellow authors, write a blog, and share reviews. All this can be done free, even though they do have some low cost opportunities you can purchase to promote your book on their website.

Promote on YouTube

Again You Tube could land in social media, but I want to explore everything an author can do on You Tube. Every author should have their own You Tube channel. As I mentioned on number five it’s the perfect place to post your online readings. Read a chapter from your novel, or if you published a book on poetry, read a poem. You can promote yourself in different ways with a You Tube channel. Post video greetings, book reviews on your favorite books for example. You Tube is the one place you can allow your readers to see you so engage them as much as you can. Make it fun.

Advertising

Naturally advertising takes money, but there are ways to cut down that cost. Look around, do your research, and you’ll be surprised at what you can find. In my church they put out their Church bulletin every week, and there’s always room for advertising there that won’t cost much. If the church knows you’re a local author they’d likely work with you. (Of course you do have to consider that being a church they may consider content before they agree with any book you offer them) However it doesn’t hurt to try. The priest in my parish makes the announcements covered in their bulletin every week so if my book is mentioned there he’d would mention it too.  Then there are bulletin boards. Cashiers, and colleges are very helpful with this. They’ve allowed me to pin my book sale sheet on their bulletin board at no cost. It’s a small step, but one that led to some exposure of my book.

So there are ways to promote yourself, and your book even when you’re cash strapped. It takes a lot of work, but if you’re determined you can do it. Promotion will always require some kind of money, but there are ways to make that work for you as well. Perhaps you can team up with fellow authors to pay for an ad in a major paper for example. Keep in mind too that you need a website for your book and places like Wix allow you to open one free. Everything helps. Just never stop promoting yourself, and your book.

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