Written by A Guest Author December 28th, 2023

5 Ways to Promote Yourself as an Independently Published Author

By Audrey Wilson

Writing a novel in itself is a huge accomplishment. That feeling you get when you write those two precious words, “The End” is truly priceless. You think nothing can beat it. Then months, or more likely years, down the road, your book is published. You’re holding that first published copy in your hands and, somehow, that feeling is topped. As writers, we should hold onto that feeling. We should cherish it. And we should also ask ourselves, “What now?”

Whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, one thing every author needs to know is how to promote their work and themselves. Of course, being writers, many of us would prefer to spend our time, well, writing. But with great publishing comes great responsibility to promote your work.

Having worked solely with traditional, independent publishers, I have learned how to leverage my own promotional tactics in addition to the promotion that my publishers have provided. In short, the more work you do on your end, the easier it is for your publishers to promote you, and vice versa. Now you may have heard that one of the best ways writers can promote themselves is through social media. While that does hold some weight, there are many other important ways writers can promote themselves.

  1. Create an Author Website – Your website should be where you can direct anyone and everyone who inquires about you or your book. Keep it clean and straightforward, focusing on a few key sections – about your books, about yourself, your blog (if you have one), upcoming events, and a section where folks can contact you and sign up for your newsletter (we’ll get to that shortly). Platforms like Weebly are very user-friendly, allowing you to build a simple, presentable website without taking too big of a cut from your royalties. You can also purchase a domain name on sites like GoDaddy. Remember, the domain name you choose is important. Keep this simple and direct as well – something like www.JohnGreenBooks.com or www.TAWhiteAuthor.com tell people everything they need to know about who you are and what you do.
  2. Send Out a Monthly Newsletter – One great thing about having a website is having a place where people can sign up for your newsletter. Once you’ve developed at least a small following, set aside a few hours every month to send out a newsletter about any upcoming releases, positive reviews, events, and author news. Websites like MailChimp are fairly inexpensive and easy to navigate, and allow you to create and save email templates. This way, once you’ve settled on a design you like with a style that fits your brand, you can use that template every time you want to send out a newsletter, allowing you to change up the content while keeping your style consistent. Remember, whether it’s the 1st, 15th, or 30th, be sure to send your newsletter out around the same day and time every month.
  3. Post Blog Content – When you’d rather be working on your next novel, it can be hard to see the value in writing blog content. However, it’s important to look at the bigger picture – the more content you publish on your website, the more traffic you’ll receive, and the more people will get to know you and your work. Thankfully for the busy writer, blogs don’t have to be long. They can be short, simple, and to-the-point. Write about writing – the dos and the don’ts. Write about lessons you’ve learned on your publishing journey. Share with other writers what you wished you’d known when you started out. More than likely, you know other folks in the writing and publishing industry – try reaching out to them to do a blog exchange where you write a blog for their website and they write one for yours. It’s a win-win way to build a library of content for your website.
  4. Print Promotional Materials – Every author should have their own business card that includes their phone number, email, and website, but there are several other promotional materials that are great for authors to keep on hand. Bookmarks are the perfect promotional piece for any writer (and your readers will love them too!). Invest a bit of money in a graphic designer, and get your bookmarks printed up through a site like UPrinting. Remember, it’s important to not try to pack too much into a single bookmark. If you are the author of several different books, create several different bookmarks. Although the colors and images on each bookmark might change, keeping a similar style across all your bookmarks will help keep your brand consistent. Another promotional material that every author should have is a large poster of their book cover – these can come in handy at writing events where you need something a bit bigger to catch the eye of passersby.
  5. Connect with Local Bookstores – While many writers may dream of seeing their book on the shelves of Barnes & Noble, there is great value in developing good, strong relationships with local bookstores. Not only do a lot of local bookstores love selling books by local authors, but many of them also offer opportunities for authors to host “meet and greets” in their stores. Do a simple online search for bookstores in your area, see which ones tend to host local author events, and give them a call. Some of the most sales I’ve made during a single author event were at local bookstores. Plus, you’re sure to meet plenty of friendly readers who are excited to support amazing local authors such as yourselves.

Promoting yourself as a traditional or independently published author can seem daunting, but it’s definitely possible for any author to do. Most importantly, keep your eyes open for opportunities to showcase your book and build your network. Especially when you’re first starting out, no opportunity is too small – you never know when one door might lead to another.

Audrey Wilson is an award-winning writer of both screenplays and fiction, as well as an Emmy-nominated producer. Audrey’s first novel, Wrong Girl Gone, was published by Dreaming Big Publications in 2021, and her next novel, Only Human, will be released on February 1, 2024 from Flashpoint Publications. A Chicago native, Audrey has also spoken professionally at numerous writing events in and around the area, including the Independent Writers of Chicago, the Southwest Michigan Writers Conference, and in 2024 she is honored to be speaking at the Let’s Just Write! Chicago Writers Conference. As a professional screenwriter, Audrey is represented by Aligned Talent Group. You can learn more on her website.


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