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The Craft > How to promote your book with a budget of £0

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message 1: by Charles (new)

Charles Elford (CharlesElford) | 3 comments Hi All
I'm new to GoodReads and this group and would really value the experience of others. I self-published in 2008 with no idea how to promote the book and no budget and it did ...ok. I'm republishing in 2012 but want to do some things differently to really get the word out there and generate buzz.

So, if you've effectively promoted your book with a budget of zero and could only do 3 things to spread the word wide and fast, what would they be and how (in a nutshell) would you do it?

I'd really value the advice of people who've been there and done it.
Many thanks in advance.

message 2: by Sabine (new)

Sabine Reed (sabineareed) | 28 comments Goodreads. Sending book to bloggers and review sites. Blogging, if you can commit to it. If not, twitter. Best of luck.

message 3: by Charles (new)

Charles Elford (CharlesElford) | 3 comments Thanks Sabine. This is really helpful.

message 4: by David (new)

David (davidjburrows) | 5 comments Link your website to as many others as possible. Or better, get their site to link to yours. To see which websites to link to check out other sites and search for them on google and you will see all the possible links.

message 5: by Charles (new)

Charles Elford (CharlesElford) | 3 comments Thanks David, good tip. Much appreciated.

message 6: by Jay (new)

Jay Taylor (jaytaylor510) | 1 comments I found people who did interviews with "Indie Authors" and asked to be interviewed. So far one interview complete and a couple others scheduled. Also, finding people on here and twitter that love reading and reviewing. Send them a free book and ask for an honest review. Create a page for yourself and book(s) on Facebook. Great community of writers on there. Here is my FB page to give you and idea:

message 8: by Belinda (new)

Belinda Buchanan | 26 comments Wow! Thank you Sabine! This is a great starting point.

message 9: by Raychelle (new)

Raychelle Muhammad | 1 comments I love this thread! I am looking for authors to interview on my blog as well as authors who want to be guest bloggers on my site. I am not charging any fees. I simply want to connect with you so that we can promote our work! Here are the details:

message 10: by Karina (new)

Karina Kantas | 4 comments This is that exact thread I was looking for. Thanks for the links.

message 11: by Prudence (new)

Prudence MacLeod (PrudenceMacLeod) | 3 comments Wow, such a great thread; thanks for the links. Raychelle, you'll be hearing from me soon. :)

message 12: by Virginia (last edited Feb 01, 2012 01:08PM) (new)

Virginia Llorca | 32 comments Find Shayna Gier Maybe through google or book blogs. As a reviewer, she is very down to earth and very cooperative and she just moved to a new blog so she might need you.

She gave me a three but a nice comment.

message 13: by Aimee (new)

Aimee Collier I just made a group on Goodreads called Confessions Of A Book Addict if you are still interested in promoting your book/s, then I would be more than happy to help you.

message 14: by S.B. (new)

S.B. Sebrick (SBSebrick) | 1 comments Great input everyone, very helpful :)

Don't forget to add a small blurb at the end of your book directing new readers to your social media and websites. Catch them right when the books over and offer them more :)

message 15: by Belinda (new)

Belinda Buchanan | 26 comments You can also add a unique signature to your e-mails that you send to people on a daily basis.

Wisestamp gives you the ability to add your book cover and whatever else you want with a link. You can make that link to your website, amazon page or wherever you want to direct them.

I have found it to be a very effective tool, and have actually made some sales using it.

The best part is that it is free!

message 16: by Shavaun (last edited Mar 24, 2012 05:24PM) (new)

Shavaun Devlin | 4 comments I've found the website
to be a really valuable tool for current social media links. Take a look around at what everyone is doing. If you use the 'browse' icon at the top of the page, you can jump from site to site, and check out all those links. Therefore, if you have a Linkedin, Twitter, Blog, Facebook, etc., you can create 'linkbacks' and it presents a great opportunity to place your work higher in the search engine (and I find the design options to be very attractive!

message 17: by Karina (new)

Karina Kantas | 4 comments

This is my about me page.

You can also try Booksie. where you can upload some samples for people to read.

message 18: by Anthea (new)

Anthea Carson (AntheaJane) | 5 comments Sabine wrote: "I have been featured in the following blogs. You can check them to see if they will interview or let you guest blog."

Jay wrote: "I found people who did interviews with "Indie Authors" and asked to be interviewed. So far one interview complete and a couple others scheduled. Also, finding people on here and twitter that love r..."
Very helpful, thank you Sabine

message 19: by M.T. (new)

M.T. McGuire (MTMcGuire) | 5 comments There's a really good list on Simon Royale's indie reads. I think if you just put indiereads and simon royale into google it should come up. I worked methodically through that and it definitely helped.



message 20: by Don (new)

Don Chase (donchase) | 24 comments Great thread here. I have very little in the way of a budget so I've been trying to find different ways to use the lovely internet. I have the official FB page for my book plus a wordpress blog and I am on several book pages like here and authonomy. I'm not sure how much any of these are helping but I'm hoping to learn more so that I can use them more effectively.
i do seem to be having a bit of an issue with the review sites. most of them do not include post apocalyptic action stories as things they review.
Any and all tips and advice are greatly appreciated! :)

message 21: by Tommy (new)

Tommy Jason Charles (TommyJCharles) | 6 comments You can join our Twitter retweet group. The more members we have, the better everyone does.

message 22: by Mick (new)

Mick Wade (MickWade) | 4 comments Don, I hear you. It may seem like most book bloggers focus on romance, paranormal romance and literary fiction. But if you comb through the sites carefully, you can usually find some reviewers who are open to reading anything. They love books and they love discovering new stories. I had some luck by contacting a few who had mentioned sports and/or mysteries with a message that usually began something like, "I know you don't normally review motocross books, but..." and then explained how there were elements of action, suspense, romance etc. that I thought they might like. You never know. One blogger wrote me back and told me she was actually a motocross fan.

Also offer to giveaway a hard copy of your book. Many bloggers are backed up with reviews, but they still need to post frequently. I did that too, and a couple people were nice enough to host a giveaway and guest blog and

Do your research, be thoughtful, and you'll find book bloggers who will be receptive.

Good Luck!

message 23: by A. (new)

A. Rose (KatieRose7) | 3 comments Hi, all, may I join your discussion? My name is Katie, although GoodReads refers to me as A. (My author name is A. Katie Rose). Anyway, I'm new to the publishing business, new to GoodReads, blogging, Facebook, Twitter and my first novel went live two weeks ago today. So I read these great ideas about marketing my novel, so I was wondering if I may utilize them. I don't want to horn in, but would rather politely ask permission. And I have a question: can we authors do any review exchanges: you review mine and I'll review yours? I'm still learning the rules here at GoodReads and don't want to step on any toes or offend anyone. So please set me straight if I wander off the path.

message 24: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Marvello (drmarvello) | 48 comments Hi Katie,

You should feel free to take advantage of the advice other authors give on threads like this one. That's more or less what the information is here for.

The question of exchanging reviews is one I've seen debated several times, here and elsewhere. Some people feel it is unethical to exchange reviews. If readers find out that you exchanged a review with another author, many will see that as a black mark against you. On the other hand, you can find review sites that are designed specifically to facilitate author review exchanges.

My personal feeling on the matter is that exchanging reviews is a recipe for emotional disaster because I've seen what can happen first hand. If one author gives a great review and the other does not, hurt feelings are inevitable (and anger is probable.) In addition to that, I believe bias is unavoidable. If you publish a 5-star review of my book, am I going to give yours anything less? Similarly, if you publish a 1-star review of my book, how am I likely to feel about yours?

If you want reviews, do a Goodreads giveaway or do a book giveaway on a blog. You can host the giveaway on your own blog and/or find another blogger who would be willing to host a giveaway for you. You can also submit your book to one of the many book review blogs out there.

Good luck with your new book!

message 25: by M.T. (new)

M.T. McGuire (MTMcGuire) | 5 comments Well said Daniel.

I do review fellow author's books but I tend not to offer until I'm pretty sure it's the kind of book I would give 4 or 5 stars to anyway. Then again, I'm unlikely to read anything I don't like the look of which means I'm unlikely to give anything less than 4 or 5 stars. I have very little time to read so I select my books carefully ;-).

Like you I am quite leery about reviewing. On the whole, though, I think that where I've reviewed and given 5 stars, if I don't get a return review, it usually means they would not have given mine 5 in return. That's OK by me. It's still feedback, of a kind.



message 26: by A. (new)

A. Rose (KatieRose7) | 3 comments You know those thoughts did cross my mind, so I appreciate what you said very much. Ok, that's out, no problem at all. As I come up with questions, I'll certainly ask. I'm so green its not even funny.

message 27: by Michael (new)

Michael Ward | 20 comments Raychelle wrote: "I love this thread! I am looking for authors to interview on my blog as well as authors who want to be guest bloggers on my site. I am not charging any fees. I simply want to connect with you so th..."
Hi Raychelle

If you are still doing author interviews I would be happy to do one with you. I have a Scandinavian crime novel on Amazon, plus two books of short stories and seven single short stories.

Michael Ward

message 28: by Nikki (new)

Nikki Broadwell (nikkiBroadwell) | 113 comments I actually paid for a review before my book was in print in order to have something to add to the back cover--after it went on Amazon I had several people review it...what I hear is 6 reviews is the minimum...I had people I know as well as a couple of people I didn't know write a review and I'm still looking for reviewers. I think it helps to look for bloggers in your genre who do reviews and contact them...I think this is better than exchanging reviews although I'm sure this often works.

message 29: by Michael (new)

Michael Ward | 20 comments Nikki wrote: "I actually paid for a review before my book was in print in order to have something to add to the back cover--after it went on Amazon I had several people review it...what I hear is 6 reviews is th..."

Hi Nikki

If you are in KDP select and have any free days on Amazon let me know and I'll be happy to download your book and review it for you. I think you can only review a book on Amazon if you buy it or download it for free. My email is
Anyone else who sees this and has a free day can also let me know if they want. I know that reviews are important - I am selling about 70 books a month at the moment but hardly anybody reviews them.

Michael Ward

message 30: by Nikki (new)

Nikki Broadwell (nikkiBroadwell) | 113 comments Michael wrote: "Nikki wrote: "I actually paid for a review before my book was in print in order to have something to add to the back cover--after it went on Amazon I had several people review it...what I hear is 6..."
I am in KDP select--just asked amazon how to do the giveaway thing on Kindle...I would love to be selling 70 books a month! how do you do it?

message 31: by Michael (new)

Michael Ward | 20 comments Nikki wrote: "Michael wrote: "Nikki wrote: "I actually paid for a review before my book was in print in order to have something to add to the back cover--after it went on Amazon I had several people review it......"

Hi Nikki

I'm still learning. I published my novel on Amazon in mid February. I emailed Joe Konrath and he advised me to "get a presence on Amazon and then they can't ignore you" so I published two books of five short stories towards the end of February and then I have published 7 individual short stories as well during March and April. The novel and two books of short stories make up 70% of my sales but then something weird will happen and I will sell 3 books in one day of one of the individual short stories.

My best selling book is called "SHORTS - Five Free Short Stories" and that often sells at a rate of one to two per day but it starts slow at the beginning of each month and then speeds up as the month goes on. I keep weekly and monthly stats and anyone out there who would like to have a copy of my excel spreadsheet is welcome to have it by email - just send me an email to I will leave my own stats in so you can see how its done and create a new sheet for you that you can put your stats in. I create all my book covers myself using photos I have taken around the world and I prepare and upload all my stories myself. Again anyone reading this is welcome to have a copy of my input sheets and you can just copy your story or picture over mine and then upload your own book. Amazon has great instructions and great help pages so I just worked all this out myself but there is no point in reinventing the wheel so feel free to ask for copies of my input sheets. I have two short stories going free over the weekend "SHORTS 2 - Five Short Stories" on May 20 and May 21 and the other book is "Lisa Molin – A Quiet Kill in Interlaken" on May 20. I have information in the books asking people to tell friends - feel free to copy this and use it yourself. Maybe this is helping sales. At the moment I have nobody to compare with so I would love to have feedback from other authors. My sales in the UK are usually about one third of the sales in the US - I'd be interested to hear how other people are doing. It would be great to compare notes and if one person can find something that works then we can all do it.

Michael Ward

message 32: by Marie-Anne (new)

Marie-Anne Mancio (hotelalphabet) | 32 comments Hi there I published my novel on Amazon for Kindle but also on Smashwords and if you go to the Smashwords site you can download Mark Coker's free e-book on marketing on a zero budget
I'm at the beginning of the marketing journey and would also love to have more reviews but I think time is probably the best investment you can make.
A slightly impatient, Marie-Anne Mancio

message 33: by Geoffrey (new)

Geoffrey Wakeling | 3 comments I second the use of Mark Coker's free e-book. There's a lot of obvious material, but it's often a good idea to go over ideas and marketing concepts again. Plus, as it's free, why not download it!

message 34: by Matthew (last edited Aug 04, 2012 08:13PM) (new)

Matthew Akers | 5 comments For nothing?
Yes! For nothing.

There is a company,, that will make your writing into an ebook, design, implement, and integrate, your new website to social media and to the all important "buy now" button linked to your paypal account.

They do everything. I can barely find the power button on my computer, and yet here it is...

See for yourself.
Thank God for

message 35: by Michael (new)

Michael Brookes (Technohippy) | 387 comments I've been blogging my attempts at self promotion, it's mostly basic stuff, but may be of use. I'll post more as I try new things.

message 36: by Eve (new)

Eve Rabi (EVE-RABI) | 32 comments Belinda wrote: "You can also add a unique signature to your e-mails that you send to people on a daily basis.

Wisestamp gives you the ability to add your book cover and whatever else you want with a link. You can..."

Thanks for that. Really great app.

message 37: by Peri (new)

Peri Collins | 7 comments I don't know how someone can be successful in Indie pub with zero budget. I'm doing a long range plan that includes writing, networking, finding affordable and quality resources and budgeting for everything. It will cost to have promotional materials printed and website hosting, etc. I think that if we want to rise above the crowd with a professional product, then we need to find the money for the basics including an editor. Some authors have eaten sack lunches for years or worked extra at a day job or made other small daily sacrifices while writing to save for a publishing budget.

message 38: by Michel (last edited Aug 08, 2012 09:56PM) (new)

Michel Vaillancourt (MichelV69) | 12 comments Peri wrote: "I don't know how someone can be successful in Indie pub with zero budget..."

Me neither. I did a bit of an analysis based on "going rates" over on my blog ( and figured that at sane prices it was about $2500 a book if the author wanted to get paid in the first year.

message 39: by Peri (last edited Aug 09, 2012 05:44AM) (new)

Peri Collins | 7 comments Michel your estimate looks similar to what I've seen. It depends on whether you launch each book in hard and soft cover print versions along with digital and audio right away. I'm blessed to be in an indie group that got a pro recording studio as one of our sponsors. The studio does audio books as well as podcast support now in addition to TV and film audio. It's great to have made this connection with a discounted consultation for group members.

message 40: by Tommy (new)

Tommy Jason Charles (TommyJCharles) | 6 comments M.R. wrote: "The best advice I can give is for you to round up 5 dollars and buy this: The First Ten Steps - What to do AFTER your new book is published"

Is one of the steps self promotion on GoodReads?

message 41: by Peri (new)

Peri Collins | 7 comments I met a successful local author who kept his "day job" as a newspaper columnist to fund his book budget and of course to continue to feed his family. However, he has a great strategy for book sales that isn't expensive. He culled info on local groups from the community section of his paper. He found contact info for each group and wrote, emailed and phoned them to offer his services as a free speaker for their meeting. He said of more than 100 groups about one quarter invited him that first year! He promotes himself, not as an author but rather based on his content as a consumer advocate and humorist. You can look up his more recently begun online presence, Dave Lieber from the Fort Worth Star Telegraph paper and Watchdog Nation is one of his sites. He sold more than 4000 books last year almost exclusively through personal appearances to speak. He gives good content with stories in his presentations that make one want to buy the books to find out more. He has poster board size copies of his book covers to sit on a portable easel while he is talking as each topic is reached, so it is more visual aide than hard selling tactic. He always has a free "gift" of tips such as for consumers to save money in some area.

Another speaker I saw had a larger than postcard, double-sided glossy promo card for his media group with a detachable card for the audience to give a name and email for future contact in order to enter a drawing for a prize. An author could do something similar for a free book or audio cd at group appearances to build a following and email list. Obviously, books/cds and promo materials are not free, but engaging with people who now have personal connection through having met an author is more likely to engage and keep a reader than random ads online or unsolicited emails. T
here are companies that research these things and will help an author build a brand like Author Media in Austin, Texas. Anyone curious can check their site to get an idea of services offered and pricing. It is more costly than DIY, but for those who have more money than time at some point it could be worthwhile to pay the pros to get things organized properly.

message 42: by Virginia (new)

Virginia Llorca (virginiallorca) | 26 comments I consider my pub efforts a pastime rather than a career so it may not apply to any of you, but my outlay has been thirty bucks for Getty images that don't always work out too well and lots of promo time. I' ve only cleared about a grand, but I consider it gravy and there is a couple hundred in the pipe right now. Even if I got an agent to sell me to a publisher, I'd still be in the waiting stage. One friend that paid for hardcover and paper back pub never recouped his costs. His only Amazon sale was me. But he isn't too big on promo. He seems to have dropped off the map.

message 43: by Peri (new)

Peri Collins | 7 comments Virginia, I think that the less one wants to spend in cash on building themselves as a brand and promoting individual books, then the more time they will have to dedicate. Honestly, just observing people who have been successful without huge publishing deals I see that they treat their writing as they would being a small business owner. We are ultimately promoting ourselves as the brand or product, so it will take more effort up front and some regular work weekly if we want to get our "product" into the hands of an audience. I'm the type of person who would be frustrated with making a half effort. When I invest in the creative effort, I feel it becomes a meaningless exercise if I don't get it into the hands of people who might find it enjoyable. I see lawyers do a similar thing when they hone their skills and aren't successful because they neglect or mismanage the business side or their careers.

message 44: by M.T. (new)

M.T. McGuire (MTMcGuire) | 5 comments I'd agree with Peri. I sell more books from having acopy in my handbag.

"What do you do?"
"I write books."
"Really? What kind of books?"
"I have one in my bag if you want to see."

I quite often end up selling one.

I'm a stay at home Mum but my lad goes to school next year so I'm doing a talk at my local library and I'm hoping to get into some local schools if I can. I'll look for opportunities to do signings, too but they're harder because the best day is Saturday.



message 45: by Eric (new)

Eric Wright | 68 comments Good plan M.T. I always keep a box of books in the trunk of my car for this reason.

message 46: by Pat (last edited Aug 16, 2012 10:06AM) (new)

Pat Frayne (goodreadscompat_frayne) | 5 comments Enjoyed reading all of your comments about marketing your own books. I am just beginning to do this, and I find it is getting a bit easier as I venture to put myself out there more and more. It's hard work though, and so time consuming. My book on GoodReads is Tales of Topaz the Conjure Cat. My website is undergoing a major overhaul at the moment, but if anyone cares to take a look in a few days here's the link Pat

message 47: by K.J. (new)

K.J. Joyner (spearcarrier) @Sabine: there's someone who will review graphic novels! Thank you for sharing! Thank you!

D.M. Andrews (author) Andrews (DMAndrews) | 79 comments I've put up an article which explains, complete with screenshots, how a reader can support and promote your book on Amazon. Feel free to share with your readers/subscribers:

message 49: by Nick (new)

Nick (nickanthony51) | 400 comments Ahhh, nothing like cooking the numbers, even when readers have not read the books.

Way to go DM Andrews...

message 50: by Paul (new)

Paul (PaulLev) | 8 comments I was told years ago - by a big science fiction publisher - that word-of-mouth accounts for at least 90% of sales, and the remaining 10% can be attributed to reviews, ads, and everything else.

Word of mouth today is obviously more than speech, and consists of Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, blogging - all the social media that have been under discussion here.

My best advice about how to promote your book with a budget of zero is talk and write your head off, online, any place and every place you can.

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