8 Tips for Promoting Your Book Online

Shouting1. Begin well in advance of your book launch to build an email list of people who “opt in” to your newsletter or monthly email.

2. Avoid the “Buy my book!” tweet or Facebook post. ALWAYS offer value to your reader… Tweet a quote, a question, or something fun, along with a link to your book online.

3. Start talking about your book online long before the launch, but don’t just talk AT people. Get them engaged and invested in the process by sharing your writing and publishing process, by letting them help choose the cover, title, etc.

4. Use Pinterest to pin quotes from your book. You can piggyback off of this and hold a contest on Pinterest.

5. Get people involved in conversation related to the themes in your book. For example, if your book deals with the theme of forgiveness, solicit readers’ stories of a time in their life when forgiving was really hard.

6. Create Twitter hashtags around the themes in your book (not your book’s title) and get conversations going there.

7. Do giveaways! Use Goodreads, Facebook, and Pinterest to create contests and give away fun prizes (besides your book).

8. Create a launch team (could be a dozen people or a hundred people) who agree to be a part of promoting your book at the time of release. The more people who talk about you and your book, the better.

What ideas can you add to this list?



Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. Steve on September 26, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    My book was just published by Outskirtspress. The title is
    I Just Thought I’d Ask
    Would u consider putting the book in your book store?
    Book is powerful and encouraging

  2. […] fact, for an author, an email list may be even more important than a blog. And it’s never too early to start building your email list. Chat with a stranger on the plane about your book? Hand them your card and send them to your […]

  3. […] 8 Tips for Promoting Your Book Online by Rachelle Gardner […]

  4. Nazaree Hines-Starr on June 6, 2013 at 1:23 AM

    Great ideas!!

  5. Kelsey McBride on March 14, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    Great tips! I would just add 2 things: you should promote your book at least 2 months before it is released and a publicist is a good investment. PR is the best way to get the word out about your book, build credibility, and reach your target audience. Check out this blog on how to promote your book before it is released using PR – http://www.kelseymcbridepr.com/promote-book-before-release/

  6. free stumbleupon followers on December 23, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    Thank you for another informative web site. The place else could I am getting that type of information written in such a perfect way? I’ve a project that I am simply now working on, and I have been at the glance out for such info.

  7. Dr.Raj on September 29, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    PR release fetched me a few interviews

  8. Dr.Raj on September 29, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    My book- PRELEX- is non fictional -http://www.prelexbook.com
    It is about the latest treatment for vision correction.
    I have found events to be helpful. Also Linkedin
    Are their book clubs focussed on health? What about blog tours?

  9. Marketing Domination on September 11, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    The second point (Avoid the “Buy my book!” tweet or Facebook post) is so true. I’m member of quite a few authors’ networks and what I see there is that writers spam constantly “buy my book” messages.

    Having been on Internet Marketing for 15 years, I can say that it never works like that.

    Thanks for the post.

  10. Julie-Ann Blackmore on August 28, 2012 at 6:00 AM

    Thank you for all the advice it was helpful. I am an author of over 20 books all published and would like to add a bit of advice of my own. Trust and remember you wrote the book for a reason and the reason is the people who will read it. Trust they will come

  11. Thom McGuire on August 21, 2012 at 12:32 AM

    After doing tons of research about running promotions on facebook I suggest anyone read this from the facebook pages TOS.

    If you use Facebook to communicate about or administer a promotion (such as a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including the official rules, offer terms and eligibility requirements (e.g., age and residency restrictions), and compliance with regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered in connection with the promotion (e.g., registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals). Please note that compliance with these guidelines does not constitute the lawfulness of a promotion. Promotions are subject to many regulations and if you are not certain that your promotion complies with applicable law, please consult with an expert.
    i. Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App.
    ii. Promotions on Facebook must include the following:
    a. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
    b. Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
    c. Disclosure that the participant is providing information to [disclose recipient(s) of information] and not to Facebook.
    iii. You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app. For example, you must not condition registration or entry upon the user liking a Wall post, or commenting or uploading a photo on a Wall.
    iv. You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism. For example, the act of liking a Page or checking in to a Place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant.
    v. You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.
    vi. You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages.
    vii. Definitions:
    a. By “administration” we mean the operation of any element of the promotion, such as collecting entries, conducting a drawing, judging entries, or notifying winners.
    b. By “communication” we mean promoting, advertising or referencing a promotion in any way on Facebook, e.g., in ads, on a Page, or in a Wall post.

    We reserve the right to reject or remove Pages for any reason. These terms are subject to change at any time.

    I would suggest finding a good third party app and working out all of the correct verbiage to make sure you will comply with these terms.

    If you would like to know what I use feel free to email me

  12. Industry News-August 19 » RWA-WF on August 19, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    […] Rachelle Gardner gives  tips on promoting books. Social-media expert Kristen Lamb warns writers to shun spammy book […]

  13. Links of the week #32 « S. J. Maylee on August 18, 2012 at 7:09 AM

    […] Rachelle Gardner : 8 Tips for Promoting Your Book Online […]

  14. […] 8 Tips For Promoting Your Book Online by Rachelle Gardner at Rachelle Gardner […]

  15. Michael on August 16, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Great post! I am starting a new ebook project next month. I will definitely refer back when ready to launch…


  16. Eva Lesko Natiello on August 16, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Love the Pinterest idea of pinning quotes from the book. Makes me want to go back and plant some really good ones to pin!

  17. LaShaunda on August 16, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    Introduce your book with your signature line. Include a short blurb and link to your website.

    Ask your facebook friends if you can visit their wall for the day. Tell their friends you will stop by and talk about your book. (Give away freebies – exceprts, bookmarks, giftcards)

    Host twitter chats with your readers or book clubs

    Create a fun online newsletter to send to your readers

    Create eblasts that introduce your characters/ include a excerpt

    I always tell my clients if you don’t tell us about your book how will we know it exists? It’s your job as the writer to let the readers know you have a book. Don’t depend on the publisher or bookstores.

  18. WRITING ON THE ETHER: Shark Week | Jane Friedman on August 16, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    […] The first is from Rachelle Gardner: 8 Tips for Promoting Your Book Online. […]

  19. buy book on August 16, 2012 at 2:45 AM

    Thanx and nice idea. i applied this idea and got awesome result. !!!!

  20. Janny on August 16, 2012 at 1:55 AM

    I learned so much from this post being new to indie publishing. How else do I create great books and promote them to targeted clients? Thank you so much!

  21. Gerri Wetta Hilger on August 15, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    Fantastic ideas, but no mention was made of family and college frats/ sorority sisters—guess those are friends. Always good info on this site. Love it.

  22. Omar Luqmaan-Harris (@BookMarketing33) on August 15, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    Thanks for this list. I want to take a step back and prioritize things for the authors out there looking for guidance. You have to build a web that brings readers to the center of your web or in other words Amazon. Getting readers to want to click on the links to your “optimized” Amazon page is the point of all your online promotional activity. But you must be subtle in your promotional efforts. What are the components of this web? Everything Rachelle lists above plus author profiles everywhere: google +, facebook, twitter, goodreads, shelfari, wattpad, pinterest, and about 25 other sites I won’t list here. The hardest part of online book promotion is spending your precious time doing the highest value things you can do. These high value things are getting good book reviews, conducting interviews and blog tours, and interacting with as many readers as possible. You also should consider goodreads advertising, as a way to get readers to add your book to their goodreads shelf, thus indicating to their social reading network that they intend to read your book. That way while you are focuses on reviews, expanding your network online, and engaging readers, goodreads is drawing people back to you.

  23. Dana Sitar on August 15, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    Love the launch team idea!

    I’d add (if you have the time to manage):
    A website that creates a community around your book’s topic. Something like what Jeff Goins did with Wrecked, inviting people to submit stories, or what Sebastian Terry did with ‘100 Things’ (http://100things.com.au/).

  24. Kristin Laughtin on August 15, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    I love these ideas, although I wonder how some of them would work. (For example, #3: Presumably your book’s name is finalized long before the launch, so how would fans help name it? Or, if it’s to help name your next book, wouldn’t you be concerned the publisher will reject that title? Of course, if you can get your publisher on board with your efforts, that’d be great.)

    You can use Facebook to provide quotes from your book, too. I love when authors do that in the week or month leading up to the launch, and the careful selection of quotes can build a lot of anticipation.

    I think the hardest part is just getting started, though. At least, I anticipate getting those first few followers (beyond your friends and family) to be my biggest challenge. Once you do that, though, things will snowball if you work it right!

  25. Julie Sunne on August 15, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    Super ideas, Rachelle! A few of them really captured my attention. I’ll tuck them away for the future (hopefully near).

  26. CharityHawkins@theHomeschoolExperiment on August 15, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    I’d agree with the launch team idea, and specifically bloggers who have a platform in your target market. For example, my target market is for homeschoolers, so I asked if bloggers would like a free review copy. I used a smaller publisher, so if you have a publicist, they might do this for you, but I found people quite receptive to getting a free book in exchange for a review. Some have thousands of Facebook followers, so their review can reach a large platform of people. So, think about your target market, research key bloggers (checking out the FB likes will give you an idea of platform size), pray, and just humbly ask them to help.

  27. Anne Marie on August 15, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    I love the idea of posting quotes on Pinterest! I’m not there yet but I’m looking for joining and also getting on Facebook.

    God bless, Anne Marie 🙂

  28. Reba on August 15, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Thanks Rachelle, My book is not finished yet, but have already started posting about it on my fb page. This is my 4th book and I want to have a bigger buzz for each book the them one before.

  29. Martha Ramirez on August 15, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    This is excellent advice, Rachelle. Thank you so much!

  30. Jason Joyner on August 15, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    What about blog tours? I’ve participated in numerous tours in the last several years. I’m curious if anyone has hard numbers about any boost from these.

    I feel like they’re worthwhile if the author gains some “influencers”, people who like the book enough to be a sort of evangelist for the author. There have been several books/authors that I have started to recommend due to blog tours. Of course, there’s the flip side as well!

    On another note, I’m not a fan of book trailers. I’m curious what others think.

    • CharityHawkins@theHomeschoolExperiment on August 15, 2012 at 6:59 PM

      My thought on blog tours is that it was worth it to me to organize a small one for my book. I got ideas from http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours, a firm Rachel Hauck recommended.

      I think it was worthwhile because a) it gave exposure to the blog’s audience b)it gave me reviews I could excerpt for my press page and to send to larger review places like Focus on the Family, etc. and c)it was pretty cheap. With the book + postage, about $10, more if I included a giveaway. I ended up with about 10 blogs, so $100 + giveaway cost when I did those.

      I do NOT have hard number on sales, but I do know lots of people I met at conferences would say, “Oh, I read about that on a blog!” I think it helped get the word out.

      • Jason Joyner on August 15, 2012 at 8:16 PM

        I know Brandilyn Collins commented on blog tours a while back. She had a marketing background and said that anything to get your name out was a good thing.

        I wonder about some blog tours being too “inbred”. The people that come to the posts are in the same circle anyway. However, I’ve been a longtime part of the Christian Sci-fi/Fantasy (CSFF) Blog Tour, and we have a good time discussing the books and issues related during the tour. We’re small enough we can interact like that, so I hope it provides fodder the author can use for further writing or marketing.

        Thanks for the reply!

  31. Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on August 15, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    Thank you, Rachelle. What excellent and concrete advice.

    In response to numbers 2 and 3, I’ll say that, as a Twitter person, I get REALLY tired of authors whose only tweets are “Buy my new book!” I don’t generally unfollow them, but I do stop reading their tweets.

    Even though my novel isn’t finished yet, I’ve started working on #5 and 6. It’s a fantasy novel, so first I started talking about fantasy and fantasy creatures. About a month ago, I started a hastag #fantasyquest and ask a fantasy-related question of the day, for example, “What if you could be any fantasy creature today, who / what would you be and how would you spend the day?” I’ve encouraged people to tweet their own fantasy questions as well. So far no one has done that, but the responses to the questions are picking up.

    I have two blogs, one of which is dedicated to fantasy topics. Recently, I began a “Interview With a Banshee” series, since one of my characters is a banshee. The blogs readership has picked up since I started this. I haven’t mentioned that it has anything to do with a book. My plan is to introduce characters a little at a time by doing outside the book things with them and to introduce their world of Cu Tailte. Hopefully, when the book (please God) is ready to be published, there will be a group of people already familiar with and interested in Cu Tailte and some of its inhabitants.


    • Lisa @aboutproximity on August 15, 2012 at 6:48 PM

      Creative ideas Christine, I love them. You have built a great twitter presence.

      I’ll be looking to your example!

      I find social media very difficult. I am a very background person and its a huge stretch for me. I know God will help me find my way but its slow going sometimes:)

      • Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on August 16, 2012 at 1:09 AM

        Thank you, Lisa. I completely relate to what you’re saying about social media and being a background person. I feel the same way. When I started Twitter I thought, “Who’s going to want to follow me?” Also I didn’t think I had anything interesting to say. Hash tags help a lot, not just putting them on, but checking them out to see where they lead. #writing and #Iamwriting come up often and these will lead you to other writers. Connecting with other writers gave me a wonderful support group. Also, those writers sometimes retweet my tweets to their followers who then start following me. It is a slow process, though, as you said. Don’t let that discourage you. The momentum will build. For me, the bottom line is relationships, connecting with people as…well, people. I don’t think, as a writer, you can totally forget that social media is a marketing tool, but I think it’s vital to remember that it’s not JUST a marketing tool.

        Believe in yourself and in God’s help and it will work out. Blessings! 🙂

  32. sally apokedak on August 15, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    Maybe this isn’t exactly online, but it’s virtual–skyped visits to schools or, for writers of adult books, to readers’ groups.

  33. Sue Harrison on August 15, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    Thank you so much, Rachelle, for all these great ideas – the perfect foundation for creative strategy!

  34. Beth Overmyer on August 15, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    I love (and will probably use) all your suggestions, Rachelle!

    @Icy Sedgwick – Okay, that idea screams “Awesome!” at me, so I’m going to try it. Maybe my library’s community room would allow something like that.

  35. Jeanne on August 15, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    These are all great ideas! I don’t have any to add, but I’ll cheer on those of you at this point in the process! 🙂

  36. Icy Sedgwick on August 15, 2012 at 5:09 AM

    Turning your book launch into a themed fancy dress party can be pretty cool – it makes it more of an ‘event’ for the people who attend, and takes the pressure off you to sell.

  37. Sundi Jo on August 15, 2012 at 3:57 AM

    I had the honor of being a part of Jeff Goins’ launch team for “Wrecked.” I learned so much I don’t even know where to begin. It’s never too soon to start promoting. My book doesn’t come out until April, but now is the time to start.

    • Lisa M. Airey on August 15, 2012 at 7:46 AM


      What does a launch team DO exactly? Can you tell me some of the actions you were tasked with?


      • Sundi Jo on August 15, 2012 at 12:26 PM

        We wrote reviews, guest posted for each other, made a video, put images on our facebook pages, used Pinterest, reviewed on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, worked together to make recommendations, tweeted. It was an amazing experience.

        I’ll be doing a book launch for my book which comes out in April. Let me know if you’re interested in learning more. I’ll be doing many of the things Jeff Goins did.

        • Reba on August 15, 2012 at 1:40 PM

          Sundi Jo
          Very interesting, I would be interested in hearing more.

        • Lisa M. Airey on August 15, 2012 at 2:06 PM

          Yes! I’d love to learn more! My book comes out in October 2012.(Aakenbaaken & Kent, NY) Do you have a website or another way we can hook up? My website is http://www.lisamairey.com

  38. Neil Larkins on August 15, 2012 at 2:33 AM

    Thanks for these tips, Rachelle. Can’t add any of my own but will give yours a go…if I can get some “go” of my own. It seems every time I read tips such as these and decide to implement them, I suddenly feel weary and drained. This is before I’ve done anything. Guess I need to work on my mentals, give my facebookatude an overhaul.

  39. EnnisP on August 15, 2012 at 2:28 AM

    Great ideas! I’ve only done one, kind of. I installed a plugin on my site that allows people to sign up to be notified when my book in published. It’s working but slowly.

    This post emphasizes what many are saying. Writers can’t specialize. Multiple disciplines are required to succeed. Good writers that don’t learn to market are just speaking to the wall.

  40. Jill Farris on August 15, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    Create a professional video about your book. You can interview people about your book or simply talk about why you wrote it. It can be beautifully done and it can generate a lot of excitement and anticipation for your book.

  41. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser on August 15, 2012 at 2:09 AM

    An overarching requirement is to be genuine in setting a tone. Be yourself, so that you don’t have to devote energy to maintaining a publicly acceptable facade of personality.

    It’s perhaps not an obvious a suggestion as it may sound – I have a personal example. When I started teaching, I didn’t have a typical academic background – to put it mildly. I thought that by affecting a tweed jacket and cut-glass BBC accent, I would be more acceptable to students and colleagues alike. (Does that sound idiotic or what? But I did it.)

    Well, I was a hit, and I hated every minute of the job. I chose to place myself on stage, and the heat of the footlights became unbearable – and when I finally put aside the act, I disappointed my ‘audience’. No one came out ahead.

    Marketing a book is, more than ever, the development of a cult of personality – based on the book, and on the author. Be comfortable with yours, and keep in mind that the book that your readers love was written by a person they’ll also come to love.

    Just trust them, and give them that chance.

    • Jennifer Major @Jjumping on August 15, 2012 at 10:43 AM

      Good morning Andrew!

      Don’t you find that it’s SO much easier to accept the skin you’re in than to try to be what you think that others want?

      I did thesame thing you did, in college, I hated myself by the 3rd month of keeping track of everything I said and claimed to have done.

      At the ripe young age of 40-something, I’ve accepted me for who I am, but it took about 38 years to do it. When I do break into the literary world, I’m glad I have friends, like you and many I’ve met here, along for the adventure who’ll smack me upside the ego and keep me grounded.

      When I come for a book signing in your neck of the woods, I’ll make sure my people give you a wristband that gets you higher up in the line of thousands, you know, to shake my hand, that any of the other Miscreants.

      • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser on August 15, 2012 at 11:03 AM

        I’ll hold you to the promise of the wristband!

        It is easier to be who you are – though I took it a bit far. I got so comfortable with myself that my lingo slipped into boonie rap, which got me an interview with the Chairman. He was a Viet Nam veteran, and though it was his job to dress me down he could not refrain from laughing while he did it.

        But I’ve learned. At a dinner party, I no longer say, “Pass the f***ing rolls.”

        Now I say, “Please, pass the f***ing rolls.”

        (BTW, always Viet Nam, NEVER Vietnam or, worse, ‘Nam. First, the name has a meaning – ‘far south’; second, the VC and NVA were worthy adversaries, and certainly worthy of respect)

        • Jennifer Major @Jjumping on August 15, 2012 at 11:29 AM

          Why am I not surprised that you’d ask for rolls in such a manner? That’s why you only ordered a Diet Coke? So you didn’t have to ask me to pass you food?

    • Lee on August 15, 2012 at 11:04 AM

      Good advice…

    • Cherry Odelberg on August 15, 2012 at 5:01 PM

      “Be yourself, so that you don’t have to devote energy to maintaining a publicly acceptable facade of personality.”

      Bingo! That comment hits home.

      Kind of reminiscent of Shakespeare’s “To thine own self be true and it follows..” you can’t be false to anyone else.

      • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser on August 15, 2012 at 6:29 PM

        Exactly. Shakespeare is so often taken out of context, with everything left off after “To thine own self be true”. It became a sort of mantra for the Me generation.

        Shakespeare really covered all the human conditions, didn’t he!

  42. Lara White on August 15, 2012 at 1:21 AM

    Love the launch team and pin able quotes ideas! Would like to suggest to make your book cover your twitter background and Facebook page profile image to keep the image fresh for people.

    • Sharon A Lavy on August 15, 2012 at 7:59 AM

      But won’t that make you seem like a one book wonder? You are your brand. You need to promote you.

      • Lara White on August 15, 2012 at 10:01 AM

        A one book wonder? Yeah, if I don’t properly promote my book, that may happen! I promote myself (and my brand all year long. When my book comes out, for that month I will promote that book.

  43. Jennifer Major @Jjumping on August 15, 2012 at 12:24 AM

    Many churches and colleges have denominational websites, newletters and magazines. *When* I get published, I’m fairly certain I’ll be advertizing on the website.