9 Ways to Market Your First Book

May 30, 2024 6 min read

Have you ever wondered why some first-time authors gain a lot of attention while others don't? The secret often lies in how well they market their books.

For new authors, getting the hang of marketing can make a big difference. Having a solid plan to promote your book can really boost its success.

Today, let’s go over some practical steps to help your debut work get noticed. Here are 9 ways to market your first book:

1. Establish Your Online Presence

Creating an author website is the first big step to managing your brand and improving your online visibility. On this website, fans and potential readers can discover more about you and your books. This way, you control the story around your work instead of leaving it up to retailers or reviewers.

How to Set Up an Author Website

Starting a professional-looking author website is simple. Pick a clean, straightforward design and a reliable web hosting service. Include important elements like your bio, book descriptions, excerpts,  ISBN numbers for books, and links to buy your books. Add a blog to share updates, events, or articles about your writing journey.

Tip:  While creating a whole website can be tricky and time-consuming, creating a landing page is more accessible and cheaper, and you can do it in a few hours without help. There are many free tools available for this purpose. For example, a free tool called Booklinker creates optimized book links using book database information. These links can help authors sell more books by improving the user experience and making it easier for customers to find specific ISBNs across multiple retailers.

2. Use SEO for Your Website

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is what you need to be doing to make sure that your website shows up in search results when readers are hunting for new books. Let’s say a reader types “new adventure books for teens” into Google. If this is your genre and target group, then you’ll want to make sure that your website shows up as high as possible in the search results of this reader.

For authors, this means sprinkling relevant keywords throughout your site – from blog posts to book descriptions.

Tip: You don’t need to start out with expensive SEO programs.  Google Search Console and  Google Analytics are great tools for beginners and SEO experts alike.

3. Conduct Market Research

Knowing your market is vital before launching your book. Understanding your competitors, similar books, and the specific niches or gaps your book fills can also help you tailor your marketing efforts effectively.

How to Do Effective Market Research

Start by determining your target audience's demographics, interests, and reading habits. Tools likeGoogle Trends, social media insights, and genre-specific forums can offer valuable information. Then, check out reviews of similar books to learn what readers liked or thought was missing.

Book databases can be beneficial for providing detailed information on existing books. They allow users to explore a wide range of books and access various types of book metadata. 

4. Optimize Your Book Title

Your book's title is often the first thing a potential reader sees, so it's essential to get it right. Use SEO and market research to find commonly searched keywords and incorporate them into your title without losing creativity. The title should be catchy and descriptive.

Think about it this way: it should give readers a good idea (or feeling) of what the book is about. Make sure it resonates with your target audience.

5. Design a Captivating Book Cover

Your book cover is like a sales pitch to potential readers. It's often the first thing they notice and can greatly influence their decision to pick up the book.

So, what does a good book cover look like?

Tips for Designing Book Covers

  •      Know Your Audience: Understand what your target readers like. Different genres have different styles that attract their specific readers.
  •      Keep It Simple: Avoid clutter. A straightforward, striking design that captures the mood or theme of your book works best.
  •      Use Professional Help: If design isn’t your strength, you might want to hire a professional.
  •      Use The Right Tools: If you want to try designing the cover by yourself, tools like  Canva offer easy-to-use templates made by professionals.
  •      Test Your Covers: Get feedback before you finalize. Use social media polls, focus groups, or ask fellow writers for their opinions.

6. Select the Appropriate Social Media Platforms

Not every social media platform will work for marketing your book. It depends on where your readers are most active. For example, young adult fiction might do well on Instagram and TikTok, while business books might get more attention on LinkedIn. That means allocating your marketing budget wisely.

Social Media Marketing Tips

  •      Consistent Branding: Make sure your social media visuals and messages match the branding of your book and your author's website.
  •      Engage Regularly: Post consistently and interact with your followers through comments, live sessions, and discussions.
  •      Use Paid Ads: Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have powerful tools to help you target specific demographics.
  •      Partner with Influencers: Collaborate with social media influencers who can help promote your book to a larger audience.

7. Build and Utilize a Mailing List

A mailing list gives you direct access to your audience. This way, you get to bypass social media algorithms. Emails can update readers about new releases, exclusive content, or special promotions.

How to Build a Mailing List

  •      Offer Value: Encourage sign-ups by offering something valuable (like a free chapter, an eBook, or exclusive insights into your writing process).
  •      Use Sign-Up Forms: Place sign-up forms prominently on your website and blog. Make them easy and quick to fill out.
  •      Promote Your Sign-Up: Use your social media platforms to invite followers to join your mailing list. Tell them about the benefits they will receive to incentivize.
  •      Keep Subscribers Engaged: Send relevant and interesting regular updates, but avoid overwhelming your subscribers with too many emails.

8. Develop a Strong Lead Magnet

What is a lead magnet? It’s something valuable you give away for free in exchange for contact details. Lead magnets are great tools in book marketing because they help you build a mailing list. This allows you to directly engage with potential readers, which can help build relationships and encourage book sales.

How To Create Effective Lead Magnets

  •      Free Chapters: Offer the first chapter or a selection of chapters to give readers a taste of your book and make them want more.
  •      Guides or E-books: Create content related to your book that offers additional value and complements the main publication.
  •      Email Courses: These can educate readers on topics related to your book over a series of emails. They’re especially useful for non-fiction authors.
  •      Checklists or Templates: Provide practical tools that add value for readers in your book’s niche.

9. Engage Actively with Your Audience

Active engagement can turn passive readers into enthusiastic advocates for your work. It builds a community around your books, gives you direct feedback, and increases  word-of-mouth marketing.

Tips for Effective Engagement

  •      Respond to Comments and Messages: Show that you value your readers by engaging in conversations and answering their questions on social media, your blog, or through email.
  •      Host Live Sessions: Use platforms like Instagram Live, Facebook Live, or Zoom for Q&A sessions, book readings, or discussions.
  •      Create Interactive Content: Polls, quizzes, and contests keep your audience engaged and interested in your updates and announcements.

Take the Next Step

That's it! Now you know all the tips and tricks for marketing your first book. Once you can check all nine ways off your list, your book is ready to attract more interested readers.

Begin by setting up your author's website and go from there. Your journey to becoming a recognized author is just a few clicks away.


Barbara Hartman is a CMO at  BookScouter. She is committed to the company's goal of helping readers find literary experiences at the best prices.

Medium:  https://medium.com/@Barbara_Hartman

Quora:  https://www.quora.com/profile/Barbara-Hartman-37

More reads:  https://bookscouter.com/blog/author/barbara-hartman/


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