How To Market Your Book Online

I recently received this excellent question:

My first novel is due to come out in the next few months. Rather than looking for a traditional public relations expert, I thought it might be interesting to contact you and brainstorm what ideas you might have to work as a virtual assistant in developing an online marketing campaign to include blogs, articles, newsletters, well as developing relationships with various online media in order to promote the book. This is new territory for me and I’m ready to jump in and have a great time with it! The old way of an author traipsing from town to town visiting local bookstores, signing some books and moving on seems time, labor, and energy intensive compared to what a strong online campaign could accomplish! 

Thanks so much for getting in touch with me. It is very wise of you to do online marketing to promote your book (and your business), and it’s good to start the marketing before the book comes out, as it takes a few to several months to make an impact on the search engines. So, the steps you’re taking now to start an online marketing campaign for your book are an investment that will pay off later.

Whether you have a traditional print book or an e-book, it is such a good idea to market your book online for a few reasons:

Google is powerful:The publicity your book’s website can receive on Google is more than any in-person book appearance can generate. Not to say that you shouldn’t also do in-person appearances if your book is in bookstores–that is a great way to make personal contact with your readers, and there’s no replacement for that.

But you shouldn’t pass up the power of getting worldwide exposure on Google.

It’s time-saving: As the person above noticed, it is exhausting to do old-fashioned book publicity, not to mention expensive. It will take time and consistent effort for you to market your book online, but the payoff is worth it.

For all of you who have e-books and print books that you’re wanting to sell online, I wanted to share a basic plan for doing so using blogs, articles, newsletters and social media. This is a plan that you can do yourself or delegate to your virtual assistant. It’s not overly technical, although you may need to learn a few new skills in order to implement it.

Here’s the first step:

Set up a website for your book where you can capture email addresses.

This is how you’ll build your newsletter list, and it’s also how you’ll sell your book.

Why do you need to build a newsletter list?

When people visit your book’s website, most likely they won’t buy the first time. Most people need a chance to get to know you better and feel more comfortable with the product you’re selling.

By getting them to sign up to your newsletter list, you have a way of keeping in touch with them even after they leave your website. You then can automatically send them follow-up emails with more information about your book. You can set up these auto-emails in a newsletter management service such as (There are many other similar services, but Aweber is one of the most popular, and it’s pretty easy to use.)Things to think about–what is a compelling reason for someone to be willing to give up their email address to you?

Most of the time people are motivated by a free gift, such as an e-course based on the book (assuming your book is non-fiction), or maybe an excerpt (first 10-20 pages) from the book (that would work with fiction or non-fiction).

Your Homework:

  1. Think of a compelling incentive or “lure” that you can offer your website visitors to make them want to sign up to your newsletter.
  2. Set up a website for your book and make it so that you can capture email addresses.

Next time we’ll cover the next step in your online marketing strategy: A blog to accompany your book’s website.