Once your book is finished and out in the world, your job as an author is not over (spoiler alert: it’s like parenting – it never will be!). It’s time to market your book, which you should think of as a continuous activity that can actually be a lot of fun. It doesn’t matter whether your book has just been released or came out five years ago – these 10 tips will help you get your books into more readers’ hands. Remember that each time someone enjoys your book, they will tell a couple of other people about it. I like to think of it as getting my books into circulation, which will hopefully have a snowball effect.

1. Join BookTok and make videos

#Booktok is a sub-community on TikTok and it has caused some authors to have a stratospheric increase in sales. It may take a little practice to feel comfortable while the camera is rolling. My tip is to not take it too seriously and just have fun and experiment. Simply add the #booktok tag to your videos. The algorithms change all the time, so just be yourself and see what happens, numbers-wise. You will meet some fun people there as well.

Colleen Hoover is probably the best example of #booktok success. Her quirky personality saw her follower numbers go ballistic – as did her book sales.

She sold a modest 12,000 books in Australia in 2020. In 2021 she sold 177,000 and by 2022 she had made $10 million from sales in Australia, which is just extraordinary. 

“TikTok absolutely got it started. It was nothing any publisher or bookseller did. Then lots of people jumped in,” said her Australian publisher Dan Ruffino, managing director of Simon & Schuster Australia. “It’s real fans who have read [the books], are crying about them, talking about them, reading out passages. It’s something we’d never seen before in the industry.”

Fun fact: Colleen Hoover self-published her first book. She has since sold a mind-blowing 20 million books.

2. Listen to the Sell More Books Show

This is a fantastic podcast with Amazon ads guru Bryan Cohen. It has an extensive back catalogue of over 500 episodes and all his guests share their top tips for selling more books. I listen every week for news updates on the self-publishing industry. He has a cute ‘Hot potato of wisdom’ segment at the end. 

3. Do a newsletter swap with another author. This is a fun and free way to grow your audience. Find an author who writes in the same genre as you – for the obvious reason that their fans enjoy the same kind of writing as what you produce. Offer to showcase their books in your newsletter and vice versa. Don’t have a newsletter? You really should start one! Having the email addresses of people who enjoy your books is much more valuable than having them follow you on social media. That is because account access can be lost overnight (this happened to me with Twitter, and I never regained access to my account after it was hacked), and the rules of the game can change. 

4. Put copies of your book in street libraries. I love doing this. I keep spare copies of my books in my car and I pull over when I see a street library. Sign the book in a way that will spin out the person who finds it. And always put it right at the front, facing out! When you drive past again, see if your book is still there. This gets your book into circulation, and if the reader enjoys it, they will tell a friend about it. Make a Tiktok video as you do it to share the tip with other authors. See it is a mystery gift and a nice thing to do.

5. Run a price promotion. Drop the price of your book for a limited time, such as a week or a month, and see sales grow. Having a cutoff time motivates people who have been meaning to buy your book for ages to finally buy it. If you’re lucky enough to be chosen as an Amazon monthly deal, you will see how readers love a bargain and you will move a lot of units. I wish I had a tip for getting your book on the monthly deal, but alas it is chosen by Amazon internally.

Start a podcast or be a guest

6. Go on podcasts, or start your own. You get to spend time in the ears of listeners who will buy your books if they are interested by what you say. In the majority of cases, there is no fee to appear on a podcast (nor should there be, I believe) and there are so many great podcasts out there with large audiences. It is very time-effective. Get in touch if you’re a self-publishing expert or nonfiction author and would like to come on the Hembury Books Podcast. And take a look at Podcast Guests to find shows you could be a guest on. I had a fantastic response from potential Australian guests. I create my podcast on my own with Spotify for Podcasts – it really doesn’t take very long and it is so user friendly. I love making podcast episodes.

7. Join the Facebook group, Wide for the Win. There are loads of helpful people who can help you with a self-publishing or marketing question. There is also a Facebook group dedicated to newsletter swaps. ‘Wide for the Win’ relates to authors choosing not to go exclusive with Amazon and its KDP select program (which pays per numbers of pages read, rather than units sold).

8. Record an audiobook. Loads of people prefer to consume books as they do other things, like walk or garden or drive. The royalties aren’t as high for audiobooks, but it opens you up to a much wider audience. 

9. Join the Hembury Books Readers’ Club. Members receive a free ebook in exchange for an independent review on Goodreads, Amazon, Tiktok and the like. This helps get the algorithms going on places like Amazon, which will start showing your book to those looking online for their next read. I used the paid service on Goodreads but I found that members are mostly in the United States, so I decided to start an advanced readers club in Australia. The HBRC is for nonfiction books.

10. Keep writing books. Having a back catalogue is essential to selling more books. What can a reader do after they finish your first book? Buy the second and the third! Make sure that you have a note at the end of your books that alerts them to the existence of your other books (and encourages them to sign up to your newsletter). Keep writing, and write about things you are passionate about. Your fans will find you.