A young woman seated in her sunny kitchen with her laptop in front of her takes notes on a pad of paper.
To ensure your books can be found by readers, having a strong online presence, which includes multiple social media channels and a website, is essential. — Getty Images/Halfpoint Images

Like most fields, the publishing industry has changed by leaps and bounds with the ubiquity of the internet and ease of communication. While there are more resources than ever for authors to produce their work and share it with the world, it can also be tricky to get your book in front of your target audience without marketing professionals leading the way.

Here are eight tips for marketing a self-published book.

Know your target audience

Think about who your book is for. Is it for adults, young adults, or children? Particular genres also have specific audiences. For example, readers of young adult fantasy tend to be teenagers with an interest in magic and are more likely to spend money on books and related merchandise.

In considering your target audience, make sure you get as specific as possible. Consider whether your target audience has a particular career, what life stage they are in, and what they spend money on.

Build your online presence

A major part of selling your book relies on people finding it. Building your presence on different social media platforms and having a clean, well-designed website can help generate interest in your book and answer readers’ initial questions.

You can easily develop a website through resources like Squarespace, Weebly, and WordPress. Also, focus your effort on social platforms that are popular with your target audience. For example, you may not need to get on TikTok unless you’re trying to reach younger readers.

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Leverage book metadata and keywords

Metadata and keywords are like secret breadcrumbs that lead online searchers to your website and book. Brainstorm any words or phrases that people may search for when looking for books like yours and narrow those terms to the most specific ones. Once you have your keywords, you can incorporate them into your author bio and book description.

Metadata and keywords are like secret breadcrumbs that lead online searchers to your website and book.

Use email and social media marketing

Build up an email list of the people who are or might be interested in your work. You can leverage email marketing platforms to simplify the process. Gather contact info for experts in your field or people who have spoken on related topics. Your website should also have a sign-up for an email list so you can follow up with people who are already interested in your work.

When using your social media accounts, find creative ways to promote your book in relation to whatever trends or memes are popular. Don’t be afraid to edit graphics so that people can quickly and easily find the selling points of your book. You may also consider paid advertising on your social platforms, though this will depend on your budget as well as your target audience.

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Collaborate with influencers

Connect with other promotionally savvy writers or book bloggers to reach broader audiences. Book bloggers can level the playing field between traditionally published authors and self-published authors.

You can find peers to network with by searching relevant hashtags or even for books that are similar to yours. Although you want to sell more copies of your book, those online relationships should feel genuine and not impersonal or transactional.

Seek out reviews and endorsements

Reviews are one of the best ways to interest people in your book. Establish a profile for yourself and your work on sites like Amazon or Goodreads.

As people find and read your book, they can leave a review for others to see. You can also ask people to post their reviews on your social media and website, or ask friends and family to help get the ball rolling.

Submit your book for awards

Like reviews, awards are a way to promote your book to the world. You can find lists of awards specifically for self-published books. (You may need to pay a submission fee for contests and awards.) Make sure to closely follow any guidelines or requirements, and pass another careful eye over your work for final edits that may be needed.

Assess the results of your efforts

Even if you have a marketing system in place, you aren’t necessarily done. Conduct regular audits and adjust as needed. Keep track of the time and money you spend on self-promotion, and measure the results of your efforts — whether it be book sales, followers, or site visits.

Whatever website builder or email marketing service you choose will have ways to monitor visits and clicks. You can reallocate your resources into more successful methods to continue growing if things aren’t going as planned.

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