9 Ways to Market Your Book With No Money

POSTED ON Oct 17, 2023

Joel Friedlander

Written by Joel Friedlander

Home > Blog > Marketing, Self-Publishing > 9 Ways to Market Your Book With No Money

The old trope of the “starving artist” has a hint of truth to it. Many authors and other artists don’t make huge amounts of money with their artistic work. So that begs the question, how do you market a book with no money? After all, if you can get book sales coming in without having to spend a lot of money on marketing, then you’ll earn more profit per sale.

While sometimes it’s worth spending money on marketing efforts, there are plenty of free ways to market your book. Just remember: you’ll have to spend either time or money on marketing (and sometimes both), and it’s up to you which one you’re willing to spend more of. 

With self-publishing tools so readily available, it’s tempting to simply push books out there, upload them to KDP, and wait for the orders to come in.

But it rarely works out that way. Inevitably authors come to understand that nobody is going to market their book for them. It takes a kind of dedication to continue to find ways to let people know about your book. You can get off to a good start with a book launch.

Book Launches for Fun and Profit

Book launch is an exciting, terrifying and exhausting time for self-publishers. As an author you might have thought your work was done when the manuscript was finished, but the publisher knows the hard work is only starting.

Self-publishers are in a good position to market their books, regardless of the budget involved. You know your book better than anyone. You also know the people who are likely buyers of the book, and what other books deal with the same subject.

As you consider your book launch, think about two things:

  • Who are the people who will benefit most from your book?
  • How can you communicate those benefits most effectively to those people?
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9 Ways to Market a Book With No Money

If you know who your readers are, you just need to figure out how to communicate with them. Hey, you’re an author, a content creator. This won’t be that hard.

Not only that, many of the best communication methods we have cost nothing but your time. Here are some examples:

1. Writing Articles for Publication

You can write articles for online or print media publications in your niche. You can also take advantage of sites like Medium and Substack for publishing content without any gatekeepers (and can even turn those into additional revenue sources).

2. Online Forums

Participating in discussions in online forums about your book’s subject is a great way to connect with readers. Many online forums allow you to include a signature that can link to you book, which allows you to focus on sharing relevant and useful information in your posts.

3. Press Releases

Communicating with the media by issuing regular press releases about your book launches, speaking events, or other news-worthy information is a great way to get your name out there. Don’t overlook the power of local media, as it can be much easier to get a mention in your hometown newspaper or on local radio than it is to get featured in bigger publications.

4. Guest Blogging

Creating content for publication by bloggers in your field is a great way to connect with their audience. Plus, many blogs are constantly looking for more content and welcome guest bloggers. You may be able to link to your book or other articles in the body of the post, but even if you can’t, most sites allow you to include an author resource box at the end.

5. Public Speaking

There are tons of events happening all over the world all the time. Public speaking as an author is a great way to get out there and meet new readers in person. Look for events or organizations in your area where your target readers would likely be present, and reach out about speaking opportunities. 

6. Contests and Giveaways

Sponsoring contests and giveaways, using your book as a prize, is a low-cost way to reach more readers. If you’re giving away an ebook as the prize, it can be done completely for free. Consider if there are other authors or related businesses you could team up with for giveaways, too.

7. Book Bloggers

Querying book bloggers and reviewers to see if they will review your book is a free way to potentially reach thousands or tens of thousands of readers. Look for book bloggers who focus on your niche for the biggest impact.

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8. Email Marketing

Set up a mailing list for people interested in your work, and using it to communicate ideas that expand on your other communications. Be sure to provide useful information to your subscribers and not just constant marketing and sales emails.

9. Curating Content for Your Readers on Social Media

Curating content from other sources for people in your niche and sharing that content on social media can be a great way to attract more readers and market a book with no money spent. This can be particularly useful for nonfiction authors, but even fiction authors can use this technique. Just think about the things your target reader cares about and is interested in, and then focus on sharing great content about those topics.

This list could go on. Although there’s no financial cost to these activities, each one will support your image as an expert in your field and put you in contact with networks of people interested in your subject. And each place you make a contribution is somewhere else people can find out about your book.

That’s where book marketing meets the real world. There’s nothing more valuable than the contact you have with readers of your content. And there’s no more efficient way to spread your message than through the networks of other people interested in your work.

In a sense, your book launch may never end. We will probably never run out of communities to communicate with about our work. And when you publish your next book, think how much ground will already be prepared for your book marketing efforts.

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Editor’s note: This article was adapted from an interview that Joel Friedlander did back in 2011, but has been updated and expanded with more relevant information and marketing tactics.

Joel Friedlander

Written by
Joel Friedlander

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