Promote Your Book With a Shoestring Budget

POSTED ON Nov 16, 2020

Joel Friedlander

Written by Joel Friedlander

Home > Blog > Marketing > Promote Your Book With a Shoestring Budget

By Hayley Zelda

In today’s article, Hayley Zelda discusses book promotion for self-published authors. Have a read. You might find a unique idea or two!

Writing a book is really tough. Great stories are hard to come up with. Writing takes a long time. Editing takes longer than we think. And after this long process that can take years, we finally have a book ready–only to realize how hard it is to actually publish and promote the book.

Having worked with a number of authors with digital promotion and built large followings on a number of social sites to promote books, I’m excited to share a few strategies that have worked for me when it comes to online book promotion.

Book promotion strategies are especially helpful for self-published authors, but can also be extremely useful for traditionally published writers as well to put their books in the hands of more readers and increase the chances of ending up with a bestseller. There are many efficient and cost-effective marketing strategies out there to spread the word out about the book.

Leverage Online Communities


Create a Twitter account if you haven’t yet, and consider participating in or hosting a Twitter chat. Many “tchats” can be found on Google or for Twitter searches to engage with the community.

Many of the people that participate in these t-chats are very active within the niche communities and if they end up sharing your stuff or retweeting you, you can be in front of a very targeted and engaged audience.

Use hashtags to find and interact with your niche readers who are interested in the topic you have written or writing about. An easy way to find these is to look at people active in the specific community you are targeting and look for hashtags they are using.


Facebook is another very handy and viable medium to take your book to the readers.

One unique way to leverage Facebook is to run a viral contest. AgoraPulse is one example of a tool I’ve used for creating viral contests that allow you to give your book away and get people hyped about your story.

Facebook Groups are also a great way to tap into existing communities on Facebook. Get creative with the types of searches you use to really zone in on groups that are the right fit. The more specific your group is, the better it will be. It’s very important to not just join the group and start promoting your book.

Ask for advice, see how other people are promoting, see what’s getting engagement, and then get clever. For example, in some YA book groups you might find that questions about covers get a ton of engagement. You can then post your cover and ask for feedback and get some exposure and engagement while you’re at it.


Instagram is one of the most powerful networks out there when it comes to reaching a younger audience. Personally, I’ve had the most success working with influencers here.

Look for people with 2k-20k followers. Pay special attention to accounts with a lot of likes and comments that are zoned into the audience you want to target. Shoot them a message and see what they’d be willing to do for a promotion.

You’ll want to focus on some volume here. Reach out to a lot of people. Some will ignore you. Some will ask for huge sums of money. Some will ask for reasonable sums of money to promote your book that you can actually leverage to get tons of readers. Others may even just ask for a free book!

Writer-specific Communities

Commaful and Wattpad are two great places to attract people who specifically like reading. These are currently more fiction driven though I’ve seen success with nonfiction as well. Post snippets, write side stories, engage with the community, and then calmly plug your book. If the stories do well, so will your book!

Blog About It

Starting a website and writing a blog about your book is a very creative way to market the book and establish yourself as a thought leader in your niche.

You can also offer to write a guest post on well known or influential blogs in your niche to educate the readers about a common topic that you as well care about. If you have great original ideas and share great teaser information that you dive more deeply into with your book, it can be a great lead magnet for more readers.

You can try studying basic keyword research to help your articles rank on Google. This is an especially strong tactic for people writing nonfiction or instructional books. Reedsy has some good examples of author websites with good blogs, analyzing what they do well.

Leverage Local Press Outlets

Local press is one of the easiest ways to get press and build credibility. Want to get featured by mainstream press? Give talks? Put logos on your website? Local press is one powerful way to get all of that and more.

Go as small and niche as you can to start (unless you’re already famous in which case, stop reading this post and just leverage your fame! You can bypass all of this.) Pitch local journalists that you think cover local success stories or cover your niche.

Make your story sound interesting. What makes you unique? Is there something about why you wrote the book or what you did before the book that makes people go “wow” when you tell them about it? Make it as interesting as possible to maximize your chances of coverage.

With some perseverance and luck, most authors end up with some small press. This small press sometimes catches the eye of others and helps creative a positive spiral. If it doesn’t; however, do not despair! Just start moving up the chain. Go a little less local, a little less niche, slightly bigger publications… Pitch them and mention the success of your previous press coverage.

Share Snippets to Book Summary or Snippet Sites

One of my favorite and underrated tactics to promote nonfiction books is to directly reach out to book summary and snippet sites. This works for both fiction and nonfiction, but I’ve seen the strongest results from nonfiction sites.

To find book summary sites, just go on Google and search any book title that is in your niche and the word “summary”. You’ll find a long list of sites that write book summaries. From there, reach out to them offering a snippet or summary of your book that they can put on their site and share to their email list.

Start with the smaller sites. For example, at a quick glance, Wired For Youth is a good target for a nonfiction book targeting a more business-minded audience. It’s a newer site that is still actively posting and is starting to get a nice trickle of readership and engagement. This means they are likely to respond to my email and be willing to collaborate.

Once you get the easier ones, you can start climbing the ladder for bigger and more exclusive sites. I haven’t managed to get Blinkist to play ball yet, but I imagine if you get enough momentum and email the right person, you could make it happen!


To make the self-publishing work, when it comes to marketing all you need to do is work at it regularly with your new ideas and remain committed to it, even though the efforts may take some to yield the results.

Hayley Zelda is the founder of Zelda Media Group. She has been writing online for years and have accumulated hundreds of thousands of readers to her works. She has worked with self-published authors and entertainment companies on marketing strategies to help drive more viewers and book sales.
Photo: BigStockPhoto

Joel Friedlander

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Joel Friedlander

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