Book Sales

20 Success Tips from Trade Publishers


Marketing steps by traditional publishers are usually for their bestselling authors only.  This includes for example: Advance Book Reviews, posted on the book’s cover, book tours and signings of celebrity authors, lots of media coverage including reviews, speaking engagements, book signing tours, and placing new books at major bookstores who report to bestseller lists.  How can author-publishers use the methods of global trade publishers to promote their self-published books?
7 Million Self-Published Titles: Stiff Competition!
Since years, millions of new self-published books appear, and almost all can be found at online retailer’s websites.  These titles will be offered for many years to come, as most of them are in digital format.  The “Gold Rush” seems to be over and self-publishing has been dropping almost fifty percent per year, obviously “separating the wheat from the chaff”.
You might not be yet a New York Times bestselling author.  You don’t have a publicist.  And your Amazon sales numbers are awful.  Should you quit writing books?  No, absolutely not!

For those authors who want to succeed at self-publishing: use also some traditional marketing methods, create a business plan and a budget, including anywhere from 5-10% for your overall book marketing, website / blog hosting, IT help, and graphic designers.

Traditional publishing uses multiple ways to promote their latest books.  Self-published authors attempt to market their books to the entire world via Amazon, social media, and their website, it seems.  Publishers select books in order to stay in business, and also to determine what the publishing house’s identity is.

Here’s how you can copy traditional ways to market your books – adjusted to self-publishing.  One step at a time, but continually every day – split in small tasks.

1. Start Early!
Market Research – the very first step to do! An editor for a publishing house will need to make a case that the book fills a market need.  And to do that, the publishing house will look carefully at what’s out there.  Has the competition a recent publication in this sub-genre? Does the manuscript have similar scope? Is it widely available?
Authors, and especially self-publishing authors need to study their competition carefully too: Read their books, study book covers, pricing, reviews, and the marketing of competing books.  The most powerful and essential steps you can take toward promoting your book begins long before the actual writing of the book.  At least two years before the book is published, start building a network of supporters and reviewers.
2. Advance Book Reviews in Magazines and Newspapers.
Did you ever wonder why brand new books had already reviews?  The Amazon-owned Goodreads website noted that some 4,000 (in words: four-thousand) ARC’s, Advance Reader Copies for “The Girl on the Train” were sent out to not only to booksellers, but also readers (including Stephen King) and book critics to build a buzz around the title long before it hit the shelves.

New author-publishers can learn a lot in bookstores: Check out how professionally published books look like: Many of these trade books have either on their back cover (paperback) or on their binding flap (hard cover) several snippets of early book reviews, as well as endorsements from bestselling writers or other professionals, that were already written before the book was printed.
Traditional publishers may budget anywhere from fifty to several hundred “free and review” copies.  Advance Review Copies (ARC’s) are what they send out half a year before book launch date.  How these pre-editions (Galleys) are produced and to whom they should be sent is explained in How to Get Reviews Before Your Books Launch.  Prepare your book review query well in advance and learn what to avoid when pitching to reviewers.

3. Set up Your Book for Pre-Orders.
Pre-Orders on Apple iBooks can start up to 1 year before book launch, and at Amazon you can start three months before, but calculate at least three weeks for pre-orders at Amazon.  Don’t forget to set up your book also for Giveaways on Goodreads and LibraryThing at the same time.  This will give you plenty of time to promote the book heavily before its launch day, and to gather the first orders from your readers.


4. Print Format is Essential!
Traditional publishers concentrate on print books, which still make up for about 60% of the book market, depending if you look at book sales numbers or revenue per book. Audio Books: The audio-book market is certainly growing, and Trade Publishers are not only investing in digital (even so it took them a very long time) books, but also in audio-books.

E-book authors might be happy with their sales on Amazon, Apple, Kobo or Barnes & Noble.  They might have even turned it into an audio book. But the questions for a “real” book, paperback or hard-cover copy from conservative friends or elderly family members are nagging…  And wouldn’t it be nice to walk into a Chapters or Baker & Taylor or one of these rare independent book shops and see your book in the shelf? You will not earn a fortune, not even a living, but for a couple of months it is a nice pocket change.  Only months… yes, because longer than this, barely any book will stay in the book store, unless it really is a bestseller and gets re-printed.
If you go the indie route and choose for example the POD services, your book will never get discarded (good: no-return-policy in Print-on-Demand worldwide distribution), however it will not be automatically distributed to bookstores, customers can only order it there.

5. Audio-Books:
Why not additionally create an audio-book from your novel or even from non-fiction? Audio-books are becoming more and more popular!  Your readers can listen to your audio-books, which can easily double their book consumption because they are using time that previously was not available and turning it into valuable “reading” time.  They can listen in the car, bus, train, plane… while exercising, walking or hiking, on the beach or while doing mundane tasks around the house or yard.  Special needs readers, such as blind ones will have access to your written words in form of an audio-book.
Audio-books can be listened to on an iPod or iPhone/SmartPhone or other MP3 player, even on most e-readers such as Kindle and Nook.

A membership at (owned by is a good deal for your readers.  They can choose from various plans, and easily download digital audio-books to their preferred device.  Or your readers can go to their local public library to get audio-books for free.

6. Book Sales at Several Outlets.
Imagine you could buy all books from Penguin only in one book chain… Publishers distribute their books to as many outlets as possible, to brick-and-mortar stores, independent booksellers, mass markets, online book sellers, even via Affiliate programs.

Authors: Sell your books, e-books and audio-books not only through Amazon, but as well on Barnes & Noble, Apple and Kobo websites, to have your “eggs in more than one basket”.  And don’t forget the potentially huge potential market for hardcover books, selling them to libraries all over the country! However, there are way more online retailers for e-books and books than just Apple, Sony, Diesel, Kobo or Barnes & Noble.  Sign up with a book distributor / fulfillment company for your print-version of the book. Distributors mostly require just three books to be listed as a publishing business, and if authors have not written three books yet, they can band together with other authors to reach this minimum.  Aggregators will distribute also single books.  See a comparison of book distributors here.

Traditional publishers and the books of their authors can be found on Bowker’s global database of books.  How to get into “Books in Print”, a worldwide database and to register your book for FREE! with Bowker is the topic of another blog post.

A great source is the late Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual, a classic publishing guide-book, or Joel Friedman’s A Self-Publisher’s Companion.

7. Set up Your Own Book Sales Page.
Many big publishers and major online retailers sell from their own website print and digital books – and so can you! How?  Get all the information you need to start selling your titles from our former article: How to Sell Your Books From Your Own Website.
Make at least 30% more on your books, compared to selling it on Amazon, B&N, or Kobo – up to 95% of the book’s sales price.  Get your revenue immediately and get to know your readers, a very important point for your future marketing and to keep in contact with your customers.  ALWAYS include your website, blog and social media information in your book, no matter if e-book (where readers can have a direct link to your sites) or print book, so that readers can join / contact you.

8. Sell Your Books to Libraries.
All traditional publishers sell their books to libraries. According to statistics from the American Library Association and the Book Industry Study Group, libraries yearly purchase books for nearly $2 billion.  But not only books, also audio-books and other forms of publications.  Around 95% from major publishers. Imagine, you sold your $15 book at a 50% discount to only 10% of these libraries, you will earn more than $75,000.  But how can you tap into the lucrative library market?  It is explained in detail, including valuable links of wholesale companies who sell to libraries, in a former blog article at SavvyBookWriters.

9. Attend Book Shows & Fairs.
Representation at the applicable trade shows includes bookseller trade shows like the Bookseller Expo America (BEA) or one of the regional bookseller shows, such as the New England Booksellers Association, Book Shows for the Library Association (ALA) and certainly the world’s most important, the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany every October.

Which Book Fairs or other Literary Events will you attend in the coming months to present your work?  How to organize your participation and how to attract visitors is explained in detail in this blog post, pointing out the do’s and don’ts at book fairs.

10. Offer Book Signings.
An author tour can take various forms. Two weeks of travel, flights from city to city, an author appearance every day, twice a day if possible. Publishers often make their choice on the basis of three factors: if the book can sell in quantity in bookstores; if the book can be reviewed in newspapers, not simply journals; and if the author is presentable.  How you can organize your own book signing is explained in detail, even with a time-table, here on this blog post at

11. Lobby to Book Clubs.
Traditional Book Publishers sometimes sponsor book clubs, or invite them to participate in a contest, such as the one offered by Random House of Canada “Book Clubs are Beautiful”.  Members suggests four or five books that they must have read and then the voting and lobbying begins until they’ve got their list. member suggests four or five books that they must have read and then the voting and lobbying begins until they’ve got their list.

Authors on the book clubs list have attended a meeting or contacted them by phone or email.  Writers can find easily contact addresses of book clubs via Google Search.  Offer them a free copy of your book, just as big publishers do. Don’t overlook the virtual book clubs at Goodreads, Wattpad, Bibliophile, LibraryThing etc.

12. Enter Writing Contests.
Many published authors compete in writing contests, and publishing houses sometimes organize contests.  How to Get More Readers from an Award: Publicity around a book award will boost your book sales. Contests are a great way to hone your craft and show the world how much better you are than other writers. Winning a book award for your self-published fiction or nonfiction book is a great way to gain recognition and approval. You will not only see an increase in your book sales – if you market it well – you also can add the award sticker to your cover and mention the achievement on your back cover, in your books’ description, and in all your marketing and promotions – online or offline.  Here is a list of  25 Writing Competitions You Should Enter.

13. Content Writing for Magazines & Newspapers.
World-famous bestseller writers from big publishing houses, such as Ernest Hemingway, Margaret Atwood, Tom Chiarella, Gloria Steinem and Stephen King did it: Writing occasionally short stories and magazine articles – before blogs became fashionable.

Your book has been launched months ago or even last year. NOW readers need to see something NEW from you. It doesn’t need to be a whole new book:
The three main assets you have already

  • your writing skills
  • the content you already penned
  • the research you have done for your book(s) can be used to write at least 20 – 30 articles or blog posts – and if regularly posted on Google+ it is raising your Search Engine Ranking (SEO) on Google tremendously

More benefits of writing content:

  • it is a subtle way to promote your book
  • you receive valuable backlinks to your website or blog
  • you will have lots of possibilities to post on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Facebook
  • include links to your articles in email newsletter (that you hopefully send out regularly to your readers)

Post these articles on your blog or contribute guest blogs to other sites that are focused on the same topics as your book.
Content is used to draw in your ideal readers / reviewers, it will link to your book sales page or your website and it helps a lot to build a platform. Last but not least it gives you a lot of material to post and to tweet. The result: you will increase your exposure, show your writing skills, grow a loyal following and attract reviewers – in one sentence: you will achieve success with your writing – and in many cases, even get paid for it.

14. Press Kits on Your Website.
Bestseller authors at traditional publisher have the support of the publisher’s in-house (or out-sourced) publicity department. How much publicity support depends on many factors, but there are the basic elements that a publicity department will likely provide: Book Press Materials.  Near publication date, the book’s publicist will email the electronic version of the press kits to a large number of applicable editors and producers to garner interest in the book. Book Media Follow-Up is the next step.  The book publicist will follow up with any media outlet that responds to the mailings or e-mailings, will mail additional copies of the finished book, and will make additional calls or emails to other outlets to remind them the book is in their in-box.

To get the word out about the upcoming book launch, to receive positive articles in newspapers., magazine, book blogs, or to get interviews, writers should professionally deal with anyone who could tout their book – not only national press or TV.  Don’t make these common errors: Not having a press page on your website for example.
Unfortunately most writers are not aware that journalists, bloggers or radio hosts need a bit more information than what they see on an Amazon page.  And they won’t just copy and paste your “about the author” or the description of your book on the sales page.  Check out Stephen King’s website, see how he organized his page for the media, where journalists can download high-resolution press photos.

15. Radio Interviews.
Bestseller authors often appear as guest at TV or radio stations. Publicists for major publishing houses have longstanding contacts to their editors and arrange interviews for bestseller authors.

Authors can go the same route, starting with internet radio stations, such as this one: The Book Report.  Don’t forget when you plan the marketing of your public events, to announce it for free on Google+ and on Goodreads, use their free Event pages.

16. Speaking Engagements.
Keynote Speakers and Motivational Speakers are handsomely paid, often $10.000 to 15,000 for a two-hour speech!  Most celebrity authors, found as speakers, are writing Non-Fiction books.

Speaker agencies, or organizers of Writers Conferences are the best approach if you want to earn more with speaking engagements than with your book. If you are really serious about publicly speaking, join first and then the Certified Speaking Professional Association where you can get certifiet in public speaking.

17. Foreign Rights.
Basic subsidiary rights that publishers contract with their authors include translation into foreign languages, foreign rights, and reprint of selections by other publishers in other countries, just to name a few.  For example: An American publisher may also license a book to a British house for separate English-language publication in the UK and the Commonwealth.

Foreign Rights as well as translations into other languages can be a great way to leverage the value of your manuscript – but don’t expect big numbers right away.  Additionally, it will add an international, professional image to you and your books.  Revenue will be an advance and approximately 6 – 10% royalty of the retail price, minus percentage for the agent.  Try to get the highest advance possible.  It’s also a long-term project as it takes around 18 months until the book is translated and finally available online and in bookstores – and another half year for royalties to arrive. There are platforms on the internet, which enable self-publishers to offer their books or search for foreign publishers.  You might call it DIY Selling of Your Foreign Book Rights, which doesn’t require agents, and their stiff commissions.  To consult a foreign rights contract lawyer before giving the manuscript away, is highly recommended – and certainly a thorough research.

18. Bookstore Placement.
Placement in bookstores, both chain and local (especially bookstores that report numbers to the Bestsellers List) William Germano explains in his book:
Trade publishers’ marketing departments issue all kinds of catalogs to promote books—ones you see and ones you won’t unless you’re a librarian or a bookseller. The trade catalog is a publisher’s principal tool for making sales to bookstores.  Publishers with two trade catalogs bring out one per publishing season.  The fall season usually begins in September and continues through the winter. The spring season begins in February or March, and continues through the early summer.  Books to be announced in a catalog must be securely in place at the publishing house up to a year ahead.

19. Placement of Books in Big Box Stores.
Wandering into a Walmart or Shoppers DrugMart outlet, you will most likely find close to the entrance / cashier desk the shelves of magazines and books, often from Bestseller authors.  Big publishing houses sell tons of books to these big box stores – at steep discounts I must add.

If your books are selling like hot cakes, consider selling in bulk too.  Book wholesalers or websites, such as and, provide contact information for hundreds of buyers.  You could also visit the websites of your most coveted outlets.  Target even maintains a “vendor hotline” to answer questions by phone.  However, be aware that having at least a dozen books is the minimum before you approach purchaser at big box stores vendor department.  They will not order single titles.  If you have a book that should go into a specific department, for instance Sporting Goods, Electronics, Childrens, etc. contact the local store manager and ask who the purchaser is for that specific department, check out this YouTube video.

20. Reader Communities.
Not something, where trade publishers have a huge presence, but important for self-publishers: For a book to sell, you need to create the demand.  You need an audience, a platform – which you will get when your book is showing up on many websites and forums, visible to readers, bloggers and to book reviewers.  There are top websites where you can sign up, join the community, show your books or upload parts of your writing.
Start with Wattpad, Goodreads and LibraryThing!  Wattpad has more than 45 million members spending an average 30 minutes on the platform per visit. There are more than 130,000 signups daily.  The service is offered in English, Spanish, Danish, Polish, Italian, Swedish, German, Turkish, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, Catalan, a total of more than 50 languages.


This is just a small selection of the many book marketing activities that authors can copy from major publishers – beside Social Media networking.

“Just Because You Wrote a Book, Readers Won’t Line Up To Buy It!”  
Authors who take their publishing endeavour seriously and work as hard on their publishing business & book marketing as they do on their writing, will always succeed!
Find many more detailed tips and links to all aspects of author-publishing and book marketing at SavvyBookWriters, especially how you can act like a professional publisher and take your books to the next level.  Try to wring the maximum value out of your work – by creating magazine and newspaper articles, short ebooks, audio-books, magazine excerpts, foreign language editions and more.  Remember that you don’t have to do all of this at once!  Take one step after the other.




How Can You Measure if Ads Work?


Today I planned to write an article for my Monday blog about the benefits of writing content and giving readers samples of your work – rather than posting ads for their books.  I was already sitting in front of my laptop, clicking through my Google+ timeline, when I stumbled over a post that made me stop in the tracks:

For the second time this week, I heard from authors that their ads at book promo sites don’t work (anymore).  The first article just made me feel like: He didn’t plan his marketing better.  Not even trade publishers buy ads anymore.  Why did he expect to sell books with ads…  But now there is again an article posted where an author explains a bit more in detail her dismal experiences – and she even has a clue why her ads didn’t work anymore.

Well, this is Common Sense…
“I scheduled an ad in January of 2015, and this time sold 53.  I scheduled an ad for July of 2015 and sold 12.”

Here the author gives herself the answer: “Once a promo site is used two to three times for the same book, it tends to lose effectiveness.  This is more true for some sites than others, and I imagine that has to do with the rate at which new subscribers sign up to receive promo emails.  If I’m scheduling ads faster than the site is adding new subscribers, I can expect the effectiveness to go down considerably with repeated ads.”

How Will You Measure the Success?
“I signed up again in March of 2015, but this time I also signed up for ads on ReadCheaply, EbookBooster, and EbookLister at the same time.
I sold 78 books, but there’s no way to tell which sites resulted in sales.”

Never run ads for the same book on several sites on the same day!  Yes, she is right: there is no way to measure which ad was successful and which not.  Maybe none of them – readers might just have ordered by coincidence all at the same day.  Promo sites cannot report the numbers of books sold – even though they are all in affiliate programs and make additionally a couple of cents for each book sold.

Against All Marketing Rules.
“I don’t necessarily have to make my money back in order to consider an ad a success, but I do need to gain some exposure.  I once ran an ad on seven of the lesser-known sites on the same day and sold zero. And no exposure at all.”

Common Business Sense is to get a return of investment.  Why else would you spend money?  Look at the revenue to cost ratio: incremental revenue driven by an ad campaign divided by the cost.  Rule of thumb for most companies is that 5x is a decent return, and 10x is a home run.
Compare the impact of your ads to the money you invested to evaluate the “return of investment” (ROI). Read also the 10 shocking truth about advertising.

Write More!
The author concludes: “First and foremost it means we need to keep putting out new books.  New material is the way to go….”.

Absolutely! “New material” – however it must not be necessarily books, use your manuscript and the research for your book to write article after article for more exposure.  Let your potential readers discover you on the internet, in magazines and newspapers.  Every fiction manuscript has at least 50 – 100 keywords and topics one could write about.  Consider writing a prequel for each of your books.  There are thousands of media outlets (print and web) your can write for.  And in each of these articles you are mentioned as an author, who wrote …(title of your latest or most important book) added by a link to your book sales or your author page.
Get lots of addresses in our latest book:  111 Tips on How to Market Your Book for Free. 

Write More Content, not Only in Book Form.
All the big brands use now content ahead of other marketing forms, and not only communicate, but involve their customers via storytelling. Content offers value, news and appeal, instead of plain promotion.  It is about the consumer (in our case about the readers), not the brand (the author).  These days at least half of the marketing budget is used for content, often re-evaluating their entire advertising strategy – which means also: good writers are on demand.
Make sure that not only your books, blogs and short stories, but also your social media content has substance, and that it adds real value for your audience.  Substance comes from consistent interesting blog content, real-time social media engagement, superb visuals and videos, interesting info-graphics to increase reader loyalty.

More Ways to Use Your Writing Instead of Ads.
If you have at least half a dozen books, set up one short title permanently for free on Amazon, listing and linking to all your other books. Everything is better than to pay for useless ads.  Get more ideas and detailed explanations in each of our marketing books.

Sampling is the Best Way to Hook a Reader.
Retail businesses always have known the importance of sampling.  Now, readers can download samples of any book published electronically.  If they like the book, they will most likely buy it.  Some reader communities are even specialist in offering sample chapters (i.g. Wattpad) before the book’s launch.  Equally important is a large following on Goodreads, on Google+ (for a great SEO), Twitter, and in a variety of literary sites and communities.
Why not browse through the blog posts at SavvyBookWriters where I explain in detail, how you can show your future readers, book purchasers and reviewers your writing talent:

Don’t Throw Money for ads Down the Drain.
I must admit, I am reading very few fiction books, so I have never heard about this very prolific author before, who has written around a dozen fiction books, short stories – and even a how-to-guide book about self-publishing, where she admits on page 107: “….one thing that stood out is the need for continuing crash courses in marketing.”
I hope she convinced lots of writers of her article on TheBookDesigner that advertising is NOT marketing and often not a good idea to sell books via ads – even not to get more exposure.  Browsing through the author’s books, I was pretty impressed with her writing style, and she could for sure get far more exposure (and often well-paid) at magazines, guest blogs, or writing for newspapers – on and off-line.  Better than throwing money for ads down the drain.  If you need more ideas read “How to Organize Your Book Marketing”.


THE Best Place to Find Your Readers


Do you still wonder where you can find new readers for your books? THE best place is good old Goodreads.  It has more than 27 million users who join Goodreads to learn more about books and their authors.  Do not forget the ten-thousands of communities and groups for every kind of literature one can think of, as well as discussion groups, and book clubs on Goodreads.
As a Goodreads member – no matter if writer or reader – you can post your own reviews and catalog the books that you have read, that you are currently reading, or plan to read in the future – exactly what almost every Goodreads member does.
Use Goodreads to Learn About Interested Readers:
You might have used already Goodreads’ Giveaway feature, had hundreds of people applying for a free copy of your print book. The great benefit with these giveaways is not only the opportunity to receive reviews, but also to see who wanted to get and read your book. Check your giveaway page several times a week and immediately follow these readers on their Goodreads site (and on social media, if they post it on their Goodreads site).

Follow Your Giveaway Applicants.
Sure there will be some members who are only chasing free books and enter lots of giveaways.  But the majority is at least interested in your genre and your book.  After the giveaway ended, send them a message through your Goodreads email.  Thank them for entering the Giveaway, and ask them if they might be interested in a free e-book version as a consolation prize.  In order to send your e-book to them via Amazon or as a PDF or ePub version from your files, they need to give you their email address.

Meeting Readers via Book Shelves.
Goodreads ‘Book Shelves’ are another way to find your potential readers.  You know for sure who are the bestseller authors in your genre.  Go to their book’s Goodreads site and find all people who ‘shelved” (added) their book, then scroll down and see exactly who “marked it as to-read”.  Follow these readers on Goodreads, on their blogs, websites or their social media appearances, and connect with them online. You might also send them an invitation to your next virtual book launch through Goodreads or Google+.

Readers who ‘shelved’ your own book to their Goodreads page will automatically receive a message once you start a book giveaway.

Join Reader Forums at Goodreads.
Do you realize how many writer forums and groups are on Goodreads? Just go to the top of each page and click on “Groups”. A new page opens and shows “Recently Active Groups”, “Featured Groups”, “Goodreads Author Groups”, and so on.  On the right-hand side of the page you will find “Browse by Tag”.  This is where all the groups are listed by over 1,000 keywords.  For example:

  • Book Club
  • Historical Fictionistas
  • Non-Fiction
  • Young Adult Book Groups
  • Suspense
  • Super-Natural
  • The Perks Of Being A Book Addict

As you can see, when you scroll down on the right-hand side, there are ten-thousands of groups: Books & Literature (26598) Business (1393) Entertainment & Arts (2222) Friends & Common Interest (6914) Geography (490) Goodreads Authors (2535) Just for Fun (22709) Organizations (3365) Student Groups (6129).

There is even a group that encourages Author-Publishers (Indies) to promote their books – a rarity at Goodreads, where obvious self-promotion is not well received otherwise.
These groups are a hidden gem, helping readers and reviewers to meet. Almost all are public groups.  Anyone can join and invite others to join. However, it is not a place to blatantly tout your books, with the exception that I just mentioned.  Goodreads explains it as follows:

“Authors are welcomed and Goodreads supports authors in many ways, but the groups are primarily geared towards readers.  Authors should join and participate in the group as a reader first.”  Once you are known in these forums, your author site will be known and your books will automatically be read – and often reviewed.  Do not miss to join this group, where writers and book reviewers meet.
As you can see, with a little bit creativity you can find out who are your actual and your potential readers. Goodreads is just one example, there are many other reader communities, such as LibraryThing, Wattpad or Shelfari and social media places to meet your readers.


If you would like to get a mentor and our support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer for three months all this and more for only $179 – or less than $2 per day! Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting / Book Marketing for your success:

To learn more about professional book marketing and publishing, please read also“111 Tips on How to Market Your Book for Free”

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How to Find Out Who Bought Your Book at Amazon

Did you ever wonder who are your readers and book purchasers at online stores – or brick-and-mortar?  Would you like to tell them about pre-orders for your next title?  Unfortunately, no retailer would ever give you their names or email addresses.  They all consider customer details their propriety, and also respect their customer’s privacy.  If the person really enjoyed the book, however, it’s possible they’ll contact you, the author, themselves.  And if you have taken full advantage of your Amazon Author’s Page, interested readers can click a button to follow you, after which Amazon will send them an email when you have a new book release.

How Can You Get to Know Your Print Book’s Purchasers?
Each book you are creating, no matter if print and digital, should include a prominent message to your readers, encouraging them to connect directly with you, the author and publisher via your blog, your website and all your social media accounts. Read more in detail how to do this at 111 Tips on How to Market Your Book for Free.

***However, giving readers a compelling reason to buy in the future directly from your own bookstore – instead from online retailers, such as Amazon, you have to give them an incentive to connect with you and to stop by at your author website.***

Sell From Your Own Website.
Setting up your own web store is easy and inexpensive and will give you approx. 85-95% revenue from your book – versus only less than 70% maximal from Amazon, Apple, B&N or Kobo. How to set up your own store, and even more important: to get to know your readers – can be found in this article at the blog: How to Sell Your Books From Your Own Website.

Take advantage of these three fantastic benefits of selling your books from your own webpage:

  • You will have much higher Revenues
  • You get paid faster – immediately
  • You will get to know your readers

Here is How to Find Out Who Are Your Readers:
The best way to do this is to offer the free e-book edition of the book your reader just purchased from a retailer – no matter if online or in a bookstore.  If they just bought your print book version – for example as a birthday or Christmas gift – they might also like to read it themselves, as an ebook on their phone, laptop or in the Kindle app.  For them, just sending you a receipt copy or a screenshot via email in exchange to receive the Kindle edition of that same book for free is a no-brainer – much better than Amazon’s “Kindle Match Book” where you will never learn who are your readers.

How to Make a Screenshot of a Book Purchase Receipt.
Ask your readers to scan and email the receipt from their print purchase or even easier: to make a screenshot from their Amazon receipt, which they received via email. Not everyone is familiar with the procedure, so tell them how to make screenshots. Here is how it works on Mac and here it is shown how to do it on a PC.

Get to Know Your Readers.
Now as you have established a connection with your reader via your free ebook, you can follow their social media sites, or their blog or website and also ask them if they would like to get a message once your next title is available, maybe even if they want to sign up for your newsletter or for your blog posts.
However, make sure to place an invitation for your free e-book into every print version – at the first pages of your book and at the end of the story again, in case your readers missed it. Write an article in your blog posts about this generous offer of a free ebook and let your social media followers know about it.

More Related Articles:

How to Set-up Your Online Bookstore

111 Tips on How to Market Your Book for Free

Here is the only “how-to” book that authors will ever need – Get Detailed Plans and Smart Strategies for Your Book’s Success. 111 Tips on How to Market Your Book for Free.

Readers of our latest  will be provided with 111 tips, (plus almost 600 links to book marketing topics) on how to successfully marketing their books for free – in an “organic” way. Successful publishing can not only done through content writing, networking, but through many other small, savvy steps during the writing, publishing and book-layout process.
Now Available on Amazon Kindle.

Content marketing secrets and the latest social media tips will enable authors to capitalize on their writing competence and to increase their readership tremendously.  111 tips and explanations and almost 600 links will help every self-publisher to find and implement numerous “passive” book marketing steps – in detail explained throughout this how-to book with almost 200 pages – leading the way to publishing success.
Becoming a truly successful self-published author is not easy.  If you are a writer looking to increase book sales, get a cornucopia of detailed introductions to book marketing.  Both, publishing novices and experienced authors will find these 111 Tips on How to Market Your Book for Free  informative and helpful.  And if you follow this book’s advice you WILL be successful.
  • Chapter 1 – Content Book Marketing
  • Chapter 2 – How to Create Your Author Platform
  • Chapter 3 – BOOK REVIEWS – and how to get them
  • Chapter 4 – Networking: Social Media and Offline Networking
  • Chapter 5 – “Passive” Book Marketing
  • Chapter 6 – Even More Marketing Possibilities
One of the best motivations to write is simply the love of writing! 
If you learn the steps to successfully market your books, you will be comfortable in book marketing as well, especially when using a lot of content writing.  Remember, it takes five years, 10,000 hours, or five books until you are really known in reader circles.  This is about the same amount of time as artists in other professions, or athletes, need to establish themselves in their field. So, there is no need to implement all these tips in a week or a month. 
111 Tips on How to Market Your Book for Free
Available as e-book on Amazon, next month also on iBooks and Kobo.
The print version and more retailers will be announced in spring 2016.
Book Bloggers and professional Reviewers who are author-publishers and are Amazon and Goodreads members, are invited to request a review copy at




Cyber Week Deal
Just $39 (instead of $79) for your own BOOKS’
Advertising and Social Media Promotion,
including your reduced or KDP FREE e-book campaigns.

SAVE $ 40
IMPORTANT: You need to have at least 3 REVIEWS!
So, new books will get the same chances as established ones!
Your Benefit for 3 months and beyond:
– Introduction of your book (1 page, incl. links)
on 4 websites (stays there forever!)

– Posting of your book article (incl. URL) on all our Social Media sites
– Sales campaigns & KDP FREE days are promoted 10x/day
– Your book will be on the front page for at least one week

We have almost 1 Million Readers so far on our SavvyBookWriter blogs: SavvyBookWriters’ ranking is in the top 5% of American websites. But your book will be introduced and promoted on three more websites!
Your Book will be Shown to our 60,000+ Social Media Followers
All these pages are connected with each other, which means your book and it’s cover will show up on dozens of places on the internet –

*****Price is just $39 during Cyber Week*****

Click here to order:

You will receive a confirmation from PayPal
and we will send you a question form within 48 hrs
with questions we need to create your book’s article.
Get a great head start for this holiday season!


When to Schedule Your Holiday Book Marketing


Even if everyone tries to sell books as holiday gifts… yet marketing your own books too is still worth it.  Here is a last-minute checklist – in case you did not plan your sales campaigns for this year’s holiday season yet.  And if you need support, just find the right program for you that allows you to save time.

November 27 – Black Friday
THE most important day of the year to run a sales campaign or free promotions. Consumers and readers just expect it on this day!

November 30 – Cyber Monday
Same as with Black Friday: People expect specials.  The amount of internet users who are shopping online on Cyber Monday is very high.  And they are all looking for specials…  Amazon typically experiences 3 times more traffic to its website on Cyber Monday.

Christmas Order Deadlines
December 16 – 22 are the shipping deadlines for Amazon and other online retailers, depending on your location and available shipping options.  Promote your print books heavily in mid-December, and remind your readers about the shipping deadlines.  Offer them “bundles” – your print book as a gift and the e-book version for themselves. See our article about book-bundling.

Thursday, December 24, Christmas Eve
A fantastic benefit of e-books – no shipping costs and time saving! Friends and family of your customers will not know that they have procrastinated : )  Offer your e-book as a last-minute gift for which your customers only need the email of the recipient.

Saturday, December 26 – Boxing Day
Everyone who received a new eReader for Christmas, a Smartphone or a tablet, wants to use it right away and starts buying books and music to fill them up right after the Christmas holidays.  Many people also receive gift cards for Christmas and start redeeming them for e-books and other entertainment.  Promote your book as a great read for new tablet or e-Reader owners!
Schedule your December book campaigns right away – or get help from us to claim more family or writing time.

Less Revenue for Authors from Amazon?

Amazon Revenue

Did you read Amazon’s Newsletter last week?  One of the sentences in the text was: “Starting with the November fund, we will work to take these marketplace differences into account and payouts per country will differ based on local country factors.”
Sounds rather unassuming, doesn’t it? However it might mean LESS MONEY FOR AUTHORS…who are signed up with KDP Select.  In India for example Kindle Unlimited subscription service is much lower priced: $3 only per month.  So a revenue pay-out per book on KU will also be much lower than for those in the USA, where customers pay more than three times for monthly subscriptions.
But Amazon might also reduce the subscription prices for other countries in order to eliminate competition… Or am I too suspicious?
Making KindleUnlimited available in India also taps into a market with a lot of growth potential.  According to Digital Book World, e-books currently account for just two percent of the country’s $2- billion-market, but that amount is expected to grow as more people get their hands on inexpensive smartphones and tablets, and the biggest competitor Flipkart is outnumbered by Amazon (maybe).

What Bloggers Say:
Mark Cocker wrote: “None of this should come as a surprise, yet thousands of authors will be surprised once they realize the slippery slope that is KDP Select.  It’s an inevitable outcome when authors surrender full pricing and compensation control via their KDP Select enrolment to a company whose entire business model is predicated upon commoditizing and devaluing products by stripping suppliers (authors) of pricing control.  Amazon does this in the name of offering customers the lowest possible prices.”

And Nate Hoffelder blogged a while ago:
Following the launch of KindleUnlimited, the payout from KDP Select declined by 25%, and it continued to decline ever since.  The payment hit a new low in October, dipping to $1.33, and according to the latest KDP newsletter it increased slightly in November, 2014 to $1.39.  Authors are wondering whether KDP Select in particular, and Amazon’s subscription e-book service in general, are such a great idea.”

What are the Pro’s and Con’s of KDP Select?
In exchange for giving Amazon exclusivity for your e-book for 90 days, you receive five days to make your digital content available for free or in a Kindle Countdown Deal, and you also get paid during these 90 KDP Select days for any of your e-books that are lent through the Amazon Prime library or through KindleUnlimited. Since June 2015 only the pages that were read will be paid by Amazon.  Also, you will earn 70% revenue for sales to customers in Japan, India, Brazil and Mexico.


  • If you are a new author with only one book, then building an audience on Amazon before branching out to other venues might be an good choice.  Often new authors are receiving higher numbers of lends while more established authors are getting less.
  • If you sell exclusively through Amazon, you only have to manage one site and one set of changes.
  • Multiple-book authors might rotate content through KDP Select if they are getting a significant number of paid lends and new readers from the program. Or use KDP Select to launch a new project, getting reviews and feedback on Amazon before distributing the title elsewhere. If your free days land you on the Top 10 or 20 (first page) of the free bestseller list, that exposure might! Increase sales for the days following a free promotion due to the exposure and higher ranking.

But consider this: you don’t need to be on KDP Select to offer your book for free.  A great option are “Pay-with-a-Tweet” or to have one of your books permanently free on Amazon!



  • As an indie author, you should not be dependent on any single income stream. In business it is never good to work only with one customer or one supplier – nor is it smart to have only one product / one book to sell. Consider only during the initial period exclusivity, in order to earn your tiny share of the KDP Select Global Fund amount when your book purchasers read more than 10% of your book from KindleUnlimited, or to borrow your e-book from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL).  Enrolling in KDP Select means your books are automatically included in both programs.
  • As writers have to remove their books on all other platforms to be exclusive for KDP Select campaigns, the timing of price changes for sales is a real hassle.  You never know if scheduling a price change on Kobo, Barnes & Noble and iBooks works smooth and timely – nor will it always work perfect on Amazon.  After the campaign you have to change back everything on all platform, which can really be a pain.  And even if you use any aggregator services, errors can and will happen.
  • Global growth of digital markets: Apple iBook and Kobo sell in 58 countries.  Amazon may be the biggest player in the USA, but there are more online retail stores and devices that are dominating in other countries.  Sales in Canada for example are coming primarily from Kobo.  And don’t under-estimate the future massive Asian markets…
  • Selling on more platforms – on- and off-line – allows readers all over the world to buy your work in any way they want. Don’t limit the amount of money you might make.

Bestselling author Dean Wesley Smith mentioned in one of his blogs: “In regular publishing, if your book is all over the world in every store and not limited, your sales potential has no ceiling. Think J.K Rowling book sales numbers.”
“In KindleUnlimited, you only have the amount in the prize pool that Amazon sort of sets after the fact and decides to give you – considering pages read… Being exclusive to one bookstore is for sure a mistake.”


Just in Time for Halloween – Two Thrillers FREE

You might have heard or even know Patrick Jones’ 400+ pages thriller
THE WOLF’s MOON  which is FREE on Kindle today, October 29 and on Friday and Saturday, October 30 and 31.



Get it via the “international” link  –  FREE for all countries 

About the book: Mark Lansdowne, whose friendly exterior masks a history of covert missions and lethal violence, is still recovering from the death of his beloved wife one year prior. The outside world intrudes into his grief in a bloody fashion with a string of horrific attacks on locals. The body count spirals; the apparent culprit is an animal allegedly extinct for thousands of years. Lansdowne relentlessly tracks the creature, inadvertently becoming engaged in a life-or-death battle. Victorious but wounded, Lansdowne ends up in the hospital – while outside, evidence implies that the animal Lansdowne killed was not the only one of its kind.

Bestselling author Patrick Jones – read also an interview with him – has a second Halloween gift for readers:  His latest book THE RIVER  – it’s FREE too for the next three days.



Get it via the “international” link –  FREE for all countries 


Follow Patrick Jones on his social media and author pages too:
Patrick Jones’ author page at Amazon
Patrick Jones’ Twitter page is, another link to Twitter
Goodreads The Wolf’s Moon
Goodreads The River


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