Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The 5 Best Ways to Promote Your Book on a Budget:

A.F. Stewart
is the author of Chronicles of the Undead

The following is based on A.F.'s vast experience on marketing and promoting on a budget.

Your blog:
This is an essential tool; post writing articles, excerpts from your books, character interviews, and important book updates. Add links to your book to these posts, and/or a picture of the book cover. You can also write book reviews, short pieces of fiction or a serial type story.
Don’t forget to promote your blog: Add it to site directories that list blogs and join a site like Feedburner to try and increase your blog traffic. Also, comment on other people’s blogs, add a blog roll and follow or subscribe to blogs you like; you never know who will reciprocate.

Social Networking:
The key to good book promotion is interconnecting with your social sites, and not over extending yourself on too many sites. You want to interact with writers, editors, publishers, readers; attend online events, join and create groups, comment on discussions, etc.

Recommended Sites:
• MySpace: A great site for connecting with e-zines, editors, small publishers, authors, promotion companies; many of these services have budget friendly prices.
• Facebook: A Facebook fanpage is great promotion for an author.
• Twitter: Short updates, great way to remind people of events, news, or to say hi.
• Create a lens on any topic (I have a page about writing fantasy novels), make a page about your book, or write about yourself (in the SquidWho section).
• This network has dozens of social sites for writers and great interaction.
• WritersCafe: A writer’s site. You post stories, poems, books and sample chapters, get feedback from members.
• AuthorsDen: A great place for an author profile, complete with your books, news, excerpts or stories. It’s free to join, with reasonably priced upgrades.
• A nice place to find fellow authors, books, and to post articles.

A Press Release:
The best way to get the word out on your new book. Basically you need a catchy headline, followed by a one or two line description, then two detailed descriptive paragraphs (if you have any good review quotes, add them) and a good closer. Add a short author bio, contact info and a book link.

Check out these links for complete details on writing a press release:

There are two types of press release services: ones you pay for and ones that are free. The paid service will get a wider release, but the free services are effective; I use the free online press release services Sanepr and PRlog. You will need a press release for each book, and you can also send out releases for book events, the launch of your website, for winning awards, etc.

The Virtual Book Tour:
A Virtual Book Tour or Blog Tour is a series of guest posts, interviews, and/or book spotlights on other people’s blogs; it is an excellent way to promote a book and yourself as an author. There are several places on the internet that will organize a tour for you for a small price; Pump Up Your Book Promotion being an example. But if your budget does not allow the extra expense, you can organize your own tour.

• You will need a list of articles on writing to use as guest posts (you can use your book to illustrate your topic in examples, or discuss your process in writing the book). I would say five or so is a good number, but it will depend on how long your tour runs, so if you want to write more go ahead; you can always post leftovers on your own blog later.

• Be prepared to answer interview questions. Some hosts will want to do an interview and will supply you with a list of questions. If you are unsure what to expect check out other interviews. You can also do a Character Interview, where you answer questions as a character from your book.

• Some of your tour stops can be Book Spotlights. You will need a snappy book synopsis, a small photo of your book cover, book links, and possibly a book excerpt. The blogs Authors Promoting Authors and Authors and Their Books offer book spotlights on a regular basis.

• Have at the ready an author photo; some blogs will want one, some won’t; it never hurts to have a short author bio handy as well.

Once prepared, you have to find your hosts, so send the word out on your social networks. I simply wrote a post stating I was thinking of organizing a blog tour and asked if anyone was interested in hosting me. Before I knew it kind and generous people were offering. Try keeping to a manageable level of hosts, in a set time period, say a month or so.

If you want to participate as a host in someone’s blog tour, just do one of the following: offer to let the author guest post; offer an interview, either an author or a character interview; spotlight their book.

Book Trailers:
You can get a professionally done book trailer, (there are inexpensive options) or make your own. Windows Movie Maker or similar programs can be used to make an imaginative promo; all you need are photos that relate to your book, music or narration, intriguing captions and patience.

Your trailer should be around 30-50 seconds long, have an ending credit sequence featuring your book title, a book link and any photo or music credits. You can make elegant credit and title sequences with Powerpoint, by saving individual slides as Jpeg’s.
If you use your own photos/music or have permission to use a friend’s, you may use your discretion as to crediting the owner. If you plan to use anything from the internet, check the copyright! Royalty free does not mean it won’t cost; a photo or music clip is only free to use with a Creative Commons License. Even then you generally must give the owner a credit for the copyright.

Check carefully though, sometimes free means only for personal use and not for commercial purposes. You can find free-to-use photos on Flickr and free-to-use music clips at

To sum up, good promotion needs capable planning, commitment, and a working knowledge of Google.

A.F. Stewart

Narrated as the personal journals of Samuel, Edmund, and Charlotte Harrington, CHRONICLES OF THE UNDEAD tells three stories of temptation, vengeance, and redemption. The plot unfolds as the lives of this family unexpectedly intersect with two vampires. Find out who succumbs to the seduction of a vampire, and who struggles to combat this evil influence that permeates their lives. Adult content.


  1. Thank you for the great advise, A.F. And thanks for stopping by and hosting my blog. Your budget gives me hope.

  2. You do have to get creative when the budget borders close to non-existent, like mine does at times.

  3. I can relate. We live 500 kms from Vancouver in the south-west and Kelowna in the south. I'm supposed to be doing a tour this spring. While I sit and wait for winter to end, gas prices keep soaring. It's downright depressing.

  4. Terrific post - appreciate the tips. (I'm friends with AF on another writer site - don't recall which one.) Biggest headache for me is the technology - I struggle through my inability to become a computer wizard & trying things out seems like such a waste of time (like adding links) 'cause I seem to fall on my face with some kind of mistake. The one thing I don't do is promote my work on someone else's blog - as in story description etc. I feel like if my comments generate curiosity - anyone can click on my name & check things out - & then discover that my blog is sadly lacking in the promo department. What the heck - I like wacky 'what goes on in life' kind of posts - not experienced enough to offer much in the way of suggestions on writing or promotion.

    AF - Thanks for the great info & Joylene - good job as always. You Canadians are alright with this southern livin' Yank.

  5. You're very welcomed, Dave. And thanks for the compliment. You southern gentlemen are so polite.

  6. Thanks for the tips, A.F.; it's always nice getting advice from those who have been there already.

    I've been meaning to tell you, it's nice to see you "unmasked."

  7. Thanks for the tips. I'm following your links and trying to find out more about press releases.

  8. It's interesting to get someone else's perspective on this aspect of marketing. Thanks for the info.

  9. This has been a very helpful overview. My first book comes out this spring...but this on line PR world is tough to navigate. Thank you for the help

  10. Thanks for stopping by, Jaki. Glad AF's post was helpful.

  11. This is the most comprehensive post I've seen on the methods for promoting books. I expect these tips are applicable to we audiobook narrators, as well. Thank you.

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