Updated: Aug 1
Self-publishing authors often feel overwhelmed by the idea of marketing their book on a budget. But authors can still have successful book launches without having to invest too much money in marketing. If you’re releasing a book, but have limited funds to market it, you can benefit from learning how to maximize your budget and use free or inexpensive marketing tools. In this post, I’ll highlight 9 strategies for marketing your book on a tight budget, which include:
Whether this is your first book or you’re already a published author hoping to move more copies, I’m here to help! You can learn more about how to have a successful launch and book a FREE discovery call with me here: Book Rockstar VIP Session.
9 Strategies for Marketing Your Book on a Tight Budget
1. Defining your target audience
It’s possible to define your target audience without spending money on audience analysis. Your target audience is the group of people your book is most likely to help or entertain, and are therefore the individuals who are the most likely to purchase your book.
Determining your target audience allows you to craft your messaging to connect with a specific audience. For example, if you identify that your target audience is mothers raising teenage boys, you can tailor your messaging to connect with these mothers by sharing parenting advice and personal experiences, which they likely find relatable (and may share with other mothers). I explain more about how you can identify the right target audience for your book in the link below.
2. Utilizing dollars for targeted advertising
Knowing your target audience ensures you spend your budget effectively. For example, you may use targeted Facebook or Instagram ads to help grow your email list by advertising your lead magnet. You might also pay to boost your posts on Facebook and Instagram to ensure that they reach more of your target audience. Even if you don’t have a large advertising budget, you can make even $50-150 go a long way if you have a good target audience. When you invest in advertising, it can help create a larger audience, benefitting future releases.
3. Using Amazon advertising
Amazon is a sales platform where you can spend a little money and still see good results. Consider investing in Amazon ads to ensure your book is showing up for people searching for a book with a similar topic or by similar books and authors.
With Amazon ads you bid on keywords/search terms, and only pay when a consumer clicks on your book.
The average bid you will place can vary by genre and depends on the popularity of similar titles in your genre. When you first create your campaign, it’s best to set your default bid in the following range: $0.30-$0.59. This ensures to keep your campaign low cost as you start out, but you may need to increase your bids over time to make sure your book ranks for the keywords.
4. Create Amazon A+ content
Amazon A+ content allows authors to showcase more about their book in visual ways. A+ content used to only be available to publishers, but now it's available to authors who self-publish through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).
A+ content is built within the Amazon platform and is made up of different modules that authors can select. These could include:
Graphic + text
Set of 3 or 4 graphics
These modules can allow authors to showcase additional content related to their book. I've seen authors and publishers use this space for highlighting:
Endorsements and blurbs
Additional photos of the book
Images of the interior pages of the book
Key quotes from the book
Other editions and formats of the book (I.e. audio and ebook)
More books from the author
The best part is that any author using KDP can take advantage of this promotion opportunity for free. If you're working with a traditional or hybrid publisher, talk to your publisher or editor about getting this content added to your Amazon listing.
5. Taking your book on a blog tour
A blog tour is when an author takes their book on a virtual tour of various book blogs. As an author, you might write a guest post or an excerpt. Many authors simply opt for promotional posts, which usually include essential information about your book and information about you as an author.
There are some low-cost blog tour companies that can help you arrange for reviewers to post about your book. Using a blog tour company is an excellent strategy for getting more exposure without spending too much money.
One thing to note about investing in a blog tour is that it rarely leads to a large increase in book sales. However, if you’re aiming to increase exposure and impressions, it can be a beneficial strategy. Remember, the more you invest in growing your online presence, the bigger your audience can be for future releases.
Need a place to start? Check out these virtual tours:
iRead Book Tours
Silver Dagger Tours
Rockstar Book Tours
Love Book Tours
6. Building an author email list
Building an author email list is a low-cost way to reach and connect with your audience. An author email list is a collection of email addresses that an author gathers from individuals visiting their website or blog. When someone adds their email address to your mailing list, they permit you to contact them by email. You can take advantage of this tool by sending marketing materials, like book updates, offers, and event information, to multiple recipients at once.
Most email service providers are free when you’re starting up to a certain number of subscribers. For example, email service provider ConvertKit is free to use until you pass 300 subscribers. Even when you surpass the free subscriber limit, service providers usually remain low cost. Once you exceed 300 subscribers using ConvertKit, the price increases to $15 a month.
You might begin building your email list by asking people in your network to sign up. Offer a free lead magnet, such as a free download or an exclusive giveaway, to entice people to subscribe. Inform potential subscribers what kind of content they can expect if they choose to sign-up.
Networking is free, it just takes time and putting yourself out there. Consider the people in your community and reach out to them for support. Ask them to share your book with their followers via their social platforms or email list.
Consider putting together a launch team, where you organize your supporters within your network into one place and provide them with the tools they need to share your book. For example, you might place a high-resolution image of the book in a Google or Dropbox folder for a partner to include in an email or on their social media accounts and then draft 2-3 different captions that they can copy and paste with their social media posts. The easier it is for others to share information about your book, the more likely they are to actually do it.
8. Utilizing free social platforms
Utilize free social platforms that make the most sense for you and your audience. Once you determine where you can best connect with your target audience, ensure that you’re active on the platform. Most social media algorithms reward active users with exposure. So share content, like posts, and comment on others’ posts regularly. As these platforms are free to use, utilize all features to maximize results. Here are some ways you can use popular social media platforms:
Instagram: If you target readers on Instagram, you might use Instagram Reels to discuss your book or share more information about your experiences.
Facebook: You might join a Facebook Group to communicate with an existing community that is similar to your target audience. Joining a group can be effective if you’re an active member and not simply promoting your work.
LinkedIn: If you’re promoting a business book, consider using LinkedIn. You might write a motivational post or connect with other professionals in your field.
TikTok: If you want to find new readers, consider jumping into TikTok and creating relevant and engaging videos for your target audience.
9. Adding your book to your email signature
People use email every day to communicate with family, friends, colleagues, and more. You can maximize impressions on your book and provide a link to learn more through your email signature.
Adding your book information to your email signature is fast and easy, and can help expose your book to new readers, and also remind those in your immediate network about it. You might include a small thumbnail image of your book cover plus a link to the book website or Amazon page.
I hope that you’ve found these strategies helpful and can implement some of them to help you launch your book successfully. One last note I’d like to leave you with regarding when to implement these strategies: If you have the luxury of time before your book’s release, it’s best to start trying to grow your audience organically as soon as possible. For example, if your book comes out in a year, it’s not too early to start growing your audience now. The more work you put into growing your audience before you release your book, the more likely you’ll sell more copies.
Whether you’re in the midst of the writing process or have already finished your book, now is the perfect time to consider a marketing strategy. To help you get started, I’m offering a FREE download of my guide, 10 Things You Need For A Successful Book Launch. This valuable resource is packed with expert tips and strategies to empower you to craft an effective book launch and connect with a larger audience of eager readers.