3 Cool, Cheap Promo Ideas for Self-Published Authors

Freelance writer and aspiring author Kate Willson has a few promotion ideas for you this week!

Utilizing social media is by far one of the easiest and most financially sound ways to market and promote your self-published book – especially if you’re a student or underemployed aspiring writer. But with hundreds of self-published authors doing the same thing, it can be hard to find techniques that can set you apart.

While there is no guarantee that your book sales will soar by integrating social media, you can at the very least get creative with your marketing to help you stand out, solidify your brand, and earn more buzz surrounding your book. That said, here are three sophisticated but inexpensive techniques you can adopt to help step up your book promotion campaign.

Host a Video Podcast
Google+_icon-OptimizedOne of my favorite tools from Google+ is the Hangout feature. While Google Hangout was originally intended for up to10 people to video chat simultaneously, you can use the tool to create a really fun and interactive video podcast that has the potential to go viral.

For example, you can create a video podcast of your interaction with guest speakers – these guest speakers can be editors, artists, or other individuals who inspired you or helped with the creative process. You can create a podcast showing the interaction between a few book reviewers giving honest feedback about your work.

You can also use the Hangout feature to answer fans’ questions about your book or even to conduct polls. Debating a change in your cover art? Take a poll. The possibilities are endless. Remember: Although you want to sell your book, you’re also working on developing a “brand.” Podcasts can help put a name to a face.

It’s important to note that Google+ doesn’t have a recording feature, so use this method to create a video podcast:

  • Download Camtasia.
  • Create a private Google Hangout, but allow access to those featured in designated “Circles” (participants, experts etc.).
  • If you want the video podcast to be live, set to the general public to view.
  • If you want to ask questions where members of the audience can chime in on real time, enable the host (you) to selectively allow people watching the live video podcast to get some face time.
  • Use Camtasia and press the record button to start your podcast.
  • Save on YouTube.
  • Post YouTube link on social media accounts.

Design a Book Trailer
google_youtubeAnother option that has the potential to go viral if done well is a book trailer. Similar to movie trailers, book trailers help your fans get a little taste of what your book will be about before it’s released or purchased. Some big-budget book trailers, such as the one made for Sense, Sensibility and Sea Monsters, hire actors and a production team to help get the message across. But you don’t have to do all that. You can use a slide show of artistic photos, book excerpts, and appropriate background music using Windows Moviemaker, iMovie or some other free slideshow software like Photoshow to get the job done. Again, post the finish product on all of your social media sites.

Host Contests
Last, but certainly not least, you can increase your fan engagement by hosting contests. You can post questions on Facebook, and those who answer correctly or just have the most creative answer can win an advanced copy of your book or some other sort of prize, such a gift card to a chain book store. Again, questions can also help you with the creative process from the very beginning. For example, not sure what to name your characters? Hold a contest!

Kate Willson is an education freelance writer, aspiring author, and a regular contributor to Collegecrunch.org.  She welcomes your feedback.

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10 Responses to 3 Cool, Cheap Promo Ideas for Self-Published Authors

  1. John Moore December 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    I’ve done a trailer and I am working on a contest and or some version of one. I like the video podcast idea. Something to think on.
    Thanks for the great ideas Molly.

    • Molly Greene December 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

      Hi John, sounds like you’ve been a busy self-published author. Welcome to the club – best to you on all your projects, come back and let us know how everything goes!

  2. André December 18, 2012 at 4:11 am #

    Interesting ideas! You should add though that google hangouts has an integrated feature of streaming live to YouTube and recording it right on your channel. It’s called Hangouts On Air: http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/hangouts/onair.html

    • Molly Greene December 18, 2012 at 8:31 am #

      Andre, welcome to my blog and thanks so much for telling us!

  3. cindy December 18, 2012 at 7:05 am #

    Molly, this will be my new year’s resolution! Great ideas:)

    • Molly Greene December 18, 2012 at 8:32 am #

      Book trailers, podcasts and videos in 2013? I like it!!

  4. Matt Ice December 20, 2012 at 9:04 am #

    I want a new computer, with a webcam! I’ve been real good!
    This was a great post. If I had the equipment, I would be all over that!

    • Molly Greene December 20, 2012 at 9:10 am #

      Matt, if I were Santa I would grant that wish immediately! Keep in mind there’s always the after-the-holiday sales. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!

  5. Synethia Bland December 27, 2012 at 6:58 am #

    This article was very inspiring to me I look forward to hearing from you again Keep up the good work I am a first time self published author my book is on sale on amazon but I had no clue in what to do next

    • Molly Greene December 27, 2012 at 8:26 am #

      Hi Synethia! Welcome to my blog and congrats on your book launch! I hope the content here helps – You might read the post “How to get your book reviewed” next.