Social Media for Authors: Where to Find New Content to Post

How to Find New Content for Social MediaIf you’re an author active on social media, you know that sharing nothing but “BUY MY BOOK” on Twitter, Facebook or other platform isn’t effective. Constant self-promotion turns off followers and gets boring. To really succeed on social media, you should mix your promotional tweets with re-tweets and new content. But where do you find interesting, relevant content on the web to share on social media?

How often to Tweet

Twitter Fact: Limit Your Tweets to 5 a Day for Maximum Impact

Where to Find Content to Share on Social Media

From apps to feed aggregators, you can find great content to share – content that is tailored to your interests and those of your followers. If you know where to look and which apps to download, you can be sharing helpful, relevant links in no time.

Hootsuite Suggestions is a free app that “analyzes your posting history on Twitter and recommends articles that are relevant and interesting to you, your followers and friends. It then places them into the prime spots within your content calendar for easy editing and publishing.” Learn More Here.

Scoop.It is similar to Hootsuite Suggestions, but it allows you to gather content one piece at a time or to aggregate content in a virtual magazine format that you can share with followers. You tell the app what keywords to look for, and it crawls the web for content based on those keywords. Scoop.It is a time saver in that it allows you to share the same content to multiple social media channels all at once. Learn More Here.

How to Make Facebook Posts Stand Out

Want to Get Your Facebook Posts Seen, Clicked, and Shared? Add an Image to Make Them Stand Out. collects interesting content on a variety of subjects from all over the web. You can search by keyword or if you connect Digg to your Twitter account, use their new tool, Digg Deeper, which analyzes what people you follow are reading and sharing and then bases content suggestions on that information. Learn More Here. allows you to search for a specific topic on social media, to let you see what others are sharing. It even allows you to go deeper, by analyzing how many links or photos about a topic have been recently shared and giving you information about whether a certain word or phrase is trending. If you want your tweet to be tagged with the most popular, trendy tags, use Topsy. Find Out More Here.

The Needs gives you personalized suggestions for blog posts, social updates, videos and articles to share based on the interests you specify. It also analyzes posts you’ve liked and shared in the past, to provide hyper-targeted suggestions, based on what you’re most interested in. You can use it to share content on Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter. Find Out More Here.

How to Optimize Google Plus Posts

The first 10 or so words of your Google Plus post will become a headline in Google searches, so give some thought to how to start your post

Other Social Media Sharing Tips

Want more information on how to really excel on social media? Read the following articles for advanced social media tips:

The 2 Crucial Book Marketing Steps to Take Before You Publish Your Book

How to Market a Book Before it's Written

How to Market Even Before You’re Done Writing

by E.T. Carlton

Book Marketing expert Seth Godin famously advised self published authors to start book marketing 3 years before publishing. While that may seem far-fetched (how do you market something that doesn’t exist yet?) marketing your book online takes planning and patience and it’s best to start as early as possible. In the highly competitive world of self publishing, the earlier you start, the better your chances are to connect with potential readers.

Write this down arrowThe key to understanding why authors need to market their books early is this: in self publishing, it’s the author that’s the product. In other words, authors need to brand themselves well before they publish, so that, by the time their first book appears, they have established an online presence and have created relationships with influencers and readers.

Author Branding

But how do you, as an unpublished author, start the process of branding yourself? It may seem impossible to sell yourself as a writer when you haven’t written a book yet, but there are 2 crucial steps that you can take right now — wherever you are in the writing process — to start marketing your book. The book that doesn’t exist yet.

1. Start an Online Author Platform

An author platform is usually a website or blog. Why do you need a website and blog before you’ve published? The older your site is, the more trusted it will be by search engines. That will translate to you being more easily found online. But simply registering a domain name isn’t enough to establish an online presence — in order to do that, you’ll need to add content to your website on a regular basis.

Yes, that means blogging and no, it’s not as bad as it sounds.

Author Blogging

You don’t need to blog daily or even weekly to have an effective online presence. They key is setting a schedule and sticking to it. That could mean posting twice a week or once a month, as long as you do it on a regular basis and as long as you post interesting, helpful content that showcases your personality. If the thought of blogging feels overwhelming, take solace in the fact that not everything you post on your blog has to be written by you. Let’s repeat that: you can post content from other websites on your blog, as long as you link to the original source and give the source credit.

If you’ve decided that you want to post new content to your author blog twice a month, that might mean that once a month you write something original, and once a month you post something from another website.

Blogs for authors

  • For ideas on what to write about, look at other author blogs for ideas and by all means check out this article on author blogging ideas.
  • Not sure where to find articles written by other people to post on your blog? Search press release sites for book news;  set up Google alerts for terms like publishing news, self publishing, book news, and authors and new content will be delivered to your inbox; use feed aggregator sites like Alltop Literature and Bloglovin; and feel free to use articles you find on this site.

Bonus to Having an Author Website: You Can Collect Email Addresses

Collecting email addresses from potential readers is considered by many the best way to market your book. There are several ways to capture email addresses on your site, and many of them are inexpensive or free. Our recent article on how to start an email list outlines the benefits of email list building and provides a step by step guide on how to do it. We even give you examples!

Building an email list

Building an email list will make it easier to connect to readers once your book is published.

2. Network on Social Media

While there are any number of companies that will post information about your book on social media for you, the real purpose of social media for authors is to establish relationships. Remember that the key to marketing a book online is marketing yourself, not sending out repeated messages to buy your book. How do you market yourself on social media? By posting interesting articles and links and by interacting with other users.

Getting Started on Social Media

Getting Started on Social Media

If you are new to social media, start with the basics: Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. Yes, Google Plus. Really.

  • Google Plus: It’s run by Google…the same people who control the search engine. Your website will rank higher in search results if you share your blog posts on Google Plus. It also has hundreds of book-related communities you can join. If you’re not sure how to find communities, check out the communities Readers+Writers Journal is connected to.
  • Twitter: Probably the best place for making connections with book blogs and influencers in self-publishing, if you use it correctly. That means following Twitter lists, re-tweeting frequently and using the correct hashtags. The Book Designer’s “Ultimate Guide to Twitter for Writers” is a comprehensive guide to everything you need to get started on Twitter, from how to write your bio to how to size your profile picture to how to navigate around the site. Also see Readers+Writers Journal’s articles on Twitter lists and how to write a great tweet that gets attention.
  • Facebook: It’s not just for cat memes and secretly gloating over how poorly your high school boyfriend aged. Facebook can be a powerful book marketing tool. Once you’ve published, you will want to set up a book page, but even before you publish, consider setting up an author page that is separate from your personal profile so that you don’t wind up bombarding your personal friends with book-related information. The other bonus of having an author page: fans can follow your posts without you having to accept them as friends. Once you become a famous author you won’t want to be bothered with hundreds of friend requests a day.

Depending on the genre you write in, you may want to consider joining other social networks. Writers of novels for young adults may find it useful to be on Snapchat, for instance. Non-fiction and self-help authors can establish themselves as experts on sites like Quora.

If you’ve already published a book or even a series of books, you can still benefit from the suggestions above. As you set up your blog or social media profiles, keep in mind that book marketing is really about author marketing — it’s about creating an Selling Books Means Selling the Authorimage or brand and making connections. Corporations use branding to sell an image and form relationships with consumers — people line up to buy Iphones on the day they’re released because of the Apple brand, not because of the phone’s new features. By marketing yourself as an author before you publish, you can establish the same kind of loyalty and have readers lining up to buy your first book.

Photo by Samuel Lahoz NY ET Carlton

photo: samuel lahoz photography

E.T. Carlton is a writer, blogger and digital marketing consultant for brands, companies and authors.  FOLLOW AUTHOR ON TWITTER

The Crucial Steps to Marketing Your Book Before Publishing It

Click for Larger Image — and Feel Free to Share!

Email List Building for Authors: Get Started with Email Marketing


The Most Effective Book Promotion Tool

If you’re a published author, you probably use several methods to connect to your readers: you tweet, you’re involved in Facebook groups and Google plus communities, and you blog.

What would happen if those methods stopped working? How would you reach readers?

The most effective and direct way to speak to readers and potential readers is by growing an email list. If you don’t have one, it’s time to start list building.

What is List Building?

List building is offering something of value for free, in exchange for an email address.

What are the Benefits of an Email List for Authors?

Direct emails let you tailor your message and speak directly to potential readers. If you’ve given them something of value in exchange for their email addresses, you’ve already established a relationship. email marketing

Imagine what it would be like to have a list of 5,000 people who read in your genre who you could email when your new book is released, with a direct link for them to buy your book.
Convinced yet?

How Do I Start Building an Email List?

Setting up a system to gather emails is relatively simple. First, sign up with a trusted email marketing service like Mailchimp or Aweber. Then create a sign up or opt-in form on your website where you offer something free using simple language (sometimes called a “Call to Action) that tells users the benefits of what you’re giving away and clearly explains that they need to submit an email address to get it.

What Can Authors Give Away in Exchange for Emails?

email lists for authorsIn order to get people to give you their email addresses, you need to offer them something in return. The most effective thing you can give away is information. Useful, entertaining, engaging information. What that information is will depend on what you write about, but some ideas are:

  • The first chapter of your novel
  • A short story you’ve written
  • Tips and how-to advice that relates to what you write. If you’re a psychologist writing a book on troubled teens, you could offer a short guide to communicating with your  teenager. If you’re in the process of writing a contemporary romance novel, offer a list of the 100 most romantic novels of all time. For writers in any genre, you can compile a list of 20 sites that offer free books.
  • A discount on your book, when it’s published
  • Marketing tips that you’ve learned from promoting your books
  • Writing tips

You will need to think creatively about the kind of information that your target audience will find most attractive, but once you’ve come up with an idea, it can be packaged in a PDF document and sent to new subscribers automatically, using the email marketing program you signed up with.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with what kind of giveaway works best. You may have to try a few offers and tweak the wording of your offer until you get it just right.

The Rules of Email List Building for Authors

Don’t buy lists. In some cases buying email lists is illegal and gathering emails yourself will ensure that the your emails are targeted to people interested in your genre.

Never sell or give away emails from your list. Doing so could violate anti-spam laws and will violate the trust of your subscribers. Guard your list like it’s gold.

Don’t over-sell. Yes, you should use your email list to let people know about book releases, new reviews and personal appearances, but you should also use it to continue to send subscribers valuable information. Tips, previews of new writing or even reviews of other books will keep subscribers interested and engaged — and will make them want to open your next email.

email list building

Other Ways to Grow Your Email List

Ask readers to share the content you’ve sent them. Mailchimp and Aweber make this easy, but don’t forget to enable the share buttons in your emails or newsletters. You can grow your list exponentially if your content attracts attention on social media.

Put a call to action inside your book. You can use the same language and same giveaway. Bonus points if you put in in the first few pages of your book so that anyone reading the free sample will see it.

Examples of List Building

RWJ Call to Action

Created using SumoMe and Mailchimp. Cost = $0

Readers+Writers Journal’s Tumblr Blog displays a pop up where visitors can enter their email address to get a free guide, “The 75 Most Important Hashtags for Book Marketing.” See it in action here (and feel free to enter your email address to get the guide.)

Joanna Penn Squeeze Page

Author and self publishing blogger Joanna Penn uses a squeeze page — an entire page devoted to her offer. The advantage of squeeze pages is more real estate to describe what she’s offering and to display testimonials. See the page here.

hubspot offer

Inbound Marketing agency Hubspot uses a discreet pop-up that offers a “featured download” in return for your email address. The title of the guide varies based on the content of each page – their page on email marketing offers a blueprint for writing emails. See it here.

See? Email List in Action.

See? Email List Building in Action.

How to Reach Readers on Goodreads

finding readers on goodreads3 Steps to Connecting with Potential Readers

by Carmen Amato, via Book Marketing Tools

Serious readers live on, the giant social reading site, and so should serious authors. Goodreads, which was acquired by Amazon in 2013, likely will integrate more with the big retailer this year. That means a new opportunity for authors.

The key to Goodreads for authors, which has had some unfortunate incidents of fake review bots and author bullying, is to establish and maintain a professional and polished author presence. Goodreads gives authors numerous opportunities to build that presence but the site is neither intuitive nor full of handy guides or tutorials. In addition, building your Goodreads author presence is best done on a computer. The site has a suite of apps for tablets and mobile devices but these don’t have the same range of options.

Here are my latest hot tips for finding your audience—because first the readers have to find you.

The Basics

On Goodreads, you must first have a member account before creating an Author Profile and claiming your books. Once you have done that, you can find “Edit My Author Profile” from the My Account link under your picture in the top right corner of your screen.


Once your author profile looks right, follow the link on the right to your Author Dashboard.


The Author Dashboard is the key to the professional author presence on Goodreads. Make sure to take advantage of every option, because the more you have on offer, the more likely it is that a reader will find you.

The Essentials

  1. Answer reader questions

Goodreads has a set of pre-made questions for you to answer, plus you can salt this easy “interview” with your own question or two. It’s a way for you to talk about your writing style, next projects, and inspiration. You can also prime readers by personalizing the message they see when invited to ask a question. Goodreads always has a page of Featured Authors who answer questions, and making it onto that page can really boost your visibility.


  1. Upload ebooks

Every author can upload 2 ebooks. If your books are published and listed on Goodreads, then Goodreads will prompt you to make your ebook a lengthy excerpt. If your book is enrolled in KDP Select, no more than 10% should be uploaded.

Ebooks get their own space on the Author Profile that readers see and help polish your author presence. They also are included in a separate page of all ebooks where Goodreads ranks them by number of downloads.

Even if your ebooks never rise to the top on the aggregated page, they are a great marketing tool. Publish links to your ebooks on all your social media accounts with the hashtag #goodreads.

  1. Add images

Goodreads gives you two smart places to add images to burnish your author presence: your Author Profile where you can add pictures and videos of yourself doing authorly things like reading, engaging with book clubs, signing copies, raising your glass at a launch party, etc., and the actual book page where you can upload complementary product pictures as long as they aren’t additional book covers.


I love this last feature because you can create mini-promos for the books and upload them as images. Be creative with titles and captions. Combine quotes from the books with images that capture the vibe of the story.

Once again, after uploading, call attention to the images by publishing the link on social media sites using #goodreads.


Bonus Tip: Use Your Genre

If your book fits one of the Goodreads genre categories, you can find book lists, groups, and tags used by people who read that genre. I especially like the fact that popular tags are listed on the bottom of the genre page, which you can add when uploading additional images and writing blog posts (you linked your blog to your Author profile, right?!) Here are some examples from the Mystery genre page:



About the author

In addition to political thriller The Hidden Light of Mexico City, Carmen Amato is the author of the Emilia Cruz mystery novels set in Acapulco, including Cliff Diver, Hat Dance, Diablo Nights, and the collection of short stories, Made in Acapulco. Her books all draw on her experiences living in Mexico and Central America. Visit her website at for a free copy of The Beast, the first Emilia Cruz story.

For More Book Marketing Ideas, See Our Free Book Marketing Ideas Page and Subscribe to Our Newsletter.

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Read My Book: How to Find Readers on Twitter

Twitter for Book MarketingThe Simple Method for Finding New Readers on Social Media

All authors, whether self-published or traditionally published, are in search of new readers for their books. But if you’ve been marketing your book for any length of time, you know that sourcing new readers isn’t easy. In a saturated market, writers and publishers are competing for readers’ attention, and simply blasting a link to your book on Twitter or other social media isn’t necessarily your best option. How do you know who you’re reaching? How do you find readers who will actually be interested in your book?

Target Readers Who are Already Interested in Your Book

By using Twitter’s search tool, you can easily find readers who are already interested in your book – even if they don’t know it yet! Specifically, the search function allows authors to pinpoint readers who are interested in the same type of book as theirs. Follow the steps below and chances are that you will find a goldmine of potential readers. All it takes is a little time and some social media reciprocity.

twitter burstGet Started:

Using the search function on Twitter, type in the name of popular books in your genre. For instance, if you’re a writer of Young Adult fantasy, you might type “Harry Potter” into the search field. Then scroll down, and you’ll find readers who mention Harry Potter in their Tweets. Chances are, if they’re talking about Harry Potter, they’re interested in YA fantasy. Note: you’ll have to weed through some accounts that aren’t relevant, but if you take a few minutes, you will eventually find individuals who mention the book you’ve searched for.

Remember to click the “All” link at the top so you can see every Tweet that includes your search phrase, not just the most popular Tweets.

Search for New Readers

Then, review the search results and to find users who are readers in your genre.   Click on the names and the user  profiles will pop up – click each one to follow them. Many of the people you follow will follow you back and will therefore see posts about your book.

Target Fans of Similar Authors

twitter burstUsing the same method, type the name of a well-known author who writes in your genre or who writes books similar to yours. For example, if you write historical romance, you might want to search for author Beverly Jenkins, who has written over 30 best selling books in that genre. If you’re not sure how to find best selling authors in your genre, check Amazon’s list of bestselling books, and then select a sub-category or Google “NY Times Best Sellers (your genre)”. Chances are, if these readers are Beverly Jenkins fans, they might be interested in your books.

find readers author search

Follow the accounts that mention the author you’ve searched for, and you may have found a new fan base.

Make Finding Readers on Twitter Work for You

This simple method only works if you’re willing to put in some time to think about and research books and authors in your genre. And, like everything on Twitter, it works best when you follow the “give to get” rule. Social media is about reciprocity, so no matter how many accounts you follow, if you’re not interacting with others, liking and re-tweeting others’ Tweets and posting interesting content, you won’t see much benefit from following readers. And remember the Golden Twitter Rule: Don’t over promote!

give-it-a-restStudies of “optimal” numbers of Tweets per day put the number at 5. After 5 tweets, engagement drops off. If you’re Tweeting 5 times a day, only 3 of them should be promotional.

For more on the best ways to use Twitter for book promotion, see our articles on Book Marketing on Social Media:

How to Write Tweets That Get Noticed: The advertising trick for standout tweets

The 12 Most Important Hashtags for Book Marketing: How to use tagging on Twitter

Twitter Lists for Authors: The movers, shakers and influencers you should be following on Twitter

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Cover Me: The Best Self-Published Book Covers

book cover design for self published authorsBook Cover Design – How to Get a Book Cover Right

For better or worse, the way your book looks on the outside is just as important to your book’s sales as what’s on the inside. In the world of e-commerce, factors like paper quality and bindings no longer matter – cover art is key to getting attention, generating buzz and, ultimately, key to selling more books. We recently covered how to write a book description that attracts readers, but without the expertise of a publisher and a team of professional designers, how do you figure out what the cover of your book should look like? Read on for some tips on book cover design, as well as examples of self-published books that got their covers right, and how they did it. (And if you’re looking for an affordable book cover designer, see our directory here.)

5 rules for better covers

5 Rules for Book Cover Design

  • Consistency – The design should reflect the tone and themes of your book and each element should work with the other elements to create a consistent look.
  • Keep it Simple – Complex designs using multiple colors and gradations can obscure the book’s title and make it hard for the reader to instantly recognize your book’s genre.
  • Readable in Every Size – Make sure your cover design works well in small images as well as large, as online retailers may display a thumbnail of the cover in search results. Your cover should look as good at 100 x 150 pixels as it does at full size.
  • Pay Attention to Inside – Interior formatting for e-Books is part art, part science and getting it right can make all the difference between whether your book looks polished or amateurish. Remember, readers can see a sample of the first few pages of your book on sites like Amazon, and no matter how well written those first few pages are, if they’re poorly formatted, readers will be turned off.
  • Cover Design is NOT a DIY Project – Just because you CAN design your own book cover, doesn’t mean you SHOULD design your own book cover. You may know how to use programs like Photoshop, but unless you’re a professional designer, it’s best to hire someone to do it for you or use a book cover design template. For book cover design resources for all budgets, see our page devoted to book cover designers.

Cover DesignsSelf-Published Book Covers Gallery – Covers that Work

Below are some of our favorite book cover designs, with explanations of why they work. We hope you use them for inspiration for your own covers.

Book Cover Field of FireField of Fire by James O. Born

Why it Works: The graphic elements, though simple, immediately communicate the themes and genre. Heat, drama, tension, and a race against time are all here.

Cover by Damonza Designs

Indie Book Cover Border Crossings

Border Crossings by Charles Novacek

Why it Works: Though there are three images here, they all work together to convey a sense of history, loss and mystery. This cover tells the beginnings of the story and makes the reader want to find out more.

Cover by Kimberly Glyder

Click Date Repeat CoverClick Date Repeat by K.J. Farnham

Why it Works: The relatively spare design is attention-getting, while the crumpled paper effect and pastel colors convey a sense of whimsy. The use of multiple typefaces adds visual interest without detracting from the overall look. Readers can look at this cover and instantly get a sense that it is a lighthearted romantic comedy.

Cover by Okay Creations

Cover Design Earthquake DollThe Earthquake Doll by Candace Williams

Why it Works: The simple, symmetrical design, which is reminiscent of traditional Japanese design,combined with the Japanese bench in the photo give reader a feel for the book’s setting. The intriguing title is front and center here, with the cover photo lending a hand at piquing readers’ interest.

(The doll in the photograph belongs to the author, who lived in Japan as a child.)

Why Leadership Sucks Book Cover Design

Why Leadership Sucks by Miles Anthony Smith

Why it Works: The bold image matches the bold title of the book. One gold fish among a group of blue fish creatively communicates a message about standing out and thinking differently.

Cover by Moxie Studio

how to wordpressHow to WordPress by Ciprian Gherghescu

Why it Works: The cover, title and subtitle all work together to communicate one message; this is a book designed to teach you to use WordPress quickly and easily. The WordPress logo breaking through communicates to readers that this is a book that can finally help them get a handle on WordPress.

Cover by Digital Book Launch 

The Tau Ceti TransmutationThe Tau Ceti Transmutation by Alex P. Berg

Why it Works: The tongue-in-cheek homage to pulp fiction, combined with futuristic typography and space ship images tell readers that this is a sci-fi thriller laced with the darkness of pulp detective novels of the 1940’s and 50’s. The juxtaposition of retro with futuristic is intriguing and effective.

Cover by Damonza Designs

spiralling out of controlSpiralling Out of Control by Michelle Dennis Evans

Why it Works: The close-up of a young girl immediately tells readers that this is a book about a young woman in turmoil. The graphic and typeface of the title add to the feeling of loss of control and crisis. This cover puts the main character front and center, inviting the reader to find out more.

Cover by DIY Book Covers

The ScribeThe Scribe by Elizabeth Hunter

Why it Works: The use of an almost monochromatic color palette keeps this cover from being too busy, despite the fact that it uses several elements and tells a story. The typography on the main character’s back is an interesting design element, and his stance and the buildings in the background intrigue and entice the reader.

Cover by Damonza Designs

The DeterminingThe Determining by Rebecca Grous

Why it Works: An exceptional book cover that communicates several feelings immediately The type and fractured design communicate sci-fi, movement, uncertainty and chaos, while the evocative expression on the woman’s face invites the reader to find out more.

Cover by Scarlett Rugers Book Design

For more information on the designers featured in this post and a listing of book cover design services, see our Directory of Cover Designers Page.

Cover Designers

4 Phrases That Sell More Books

4 tips for improving book descriptionsStudy Reveals the Elements of Book Descriptions that Sell More Books

Discount eBook newsletter giant Book Bub recently conducted A/B testing for several elements of book descriptions, with the intent of finding out which words sell more books. The testing was conducted by sending two different descriptions of the same book to their newsletter subscribers, and then seeing which description received the most clicks from potential readers. Clicks, in this case, mean interest in a particular book.

The results are revealing – and useful for book descriptions, press releases, blurbs and even book trailers and social media posts about your book. The variables that caused the biggest change in click rates among potential readers who receive the  discounted books newsletter are highlighted below.

Book Description Factors That Matter

quotation marks1. Blurbs Should Quote People, not Publications. Those short quotes on the front of your book (“The Best Beach Read of 2015!”) should be from a person, not a publication. Book Bub’s research showed that when the quote came from another author, the book received a 30.4 percent higher click rate.

camera2. Put Your Reader in the Picture. If you can help a potential reader see herself in your book description, you’re more likely to make the sale. “If you love military thrillers, don’t miss this gripping new read” will sell more than “Gripping new read” alone.  Put another way, reach out to romance lovers, historical fiction lovers, cozy mystery lovers, etc. and tell them that your book is for them. Book Bub’s research showed that these small additions increased click rates by as much as 20%.In the case of historical fiction, simply adding the time period in which the book takes place to the book description increased clicks by 25.1%!

star3. Reviews Matter. Books that had at least 150 five star reviews on Amazon or Goodreads were more 14.1% more likely to be chosen by potential readers who receive Book Bub’s newsletter. Having positive reviewes on Goodreads seemed to have a greater impact than the same number of positive reviews on Amazon, but whichever number is higher for you should be the one that you play up in your description or press release or sales copy. The more positive reviews your book has on either site, the better the sales.

award4. Award-Winners Win. If your book has won an award, mention it. No matter how small or how obscure, award-winning books had a 6.7 % higher click rate. This was especially true for awards that were genre-specific.


Book Description Factors That Don’t Matter

The results of the A/B testing for book descriptions was just as interesting for the variables that didn’t seem to matter. Among the variables tested that had little or no effect on the click rates of potential readers were:

Bestseller Type. Being able to honestly say that your book is a bestseller matters, but where it’s a bestseller does not seem to have an impact on sales. New York Times, USA Today and Amazon bestsellers all did equally well. This is a boon to self-published authors who mostly sell online: Amazon calculates bestseller status much more frequently than any other site, and only takes its own sales into account. That means that many more books are likely to achieve bestseller status.

Questions vs Statements. Book descriptions with opening lines (or “hooks”) that posed questions did no better than those with hooks that made statements. For instance “Will Leila find out that he’s the perfect guy?” and “Leila may find out that he’s the perfect guy.” will yield the same number of clicks.

Age is Just a Number. Mentioning the main character’s age had no impact on reader interest, even in the Young Adult genre.

New Author vs. Seasoned Professional. When a book was an author’s debut, mentioning that fact had no impact on the amount of reader interest/clicks the book received.

To learn more about the study, visit BookBub’s uPublishU site.

For more FREE Book Marketing ideas, resources and how-to guides on publicity and book promotion, see our page devoted to Book Marketing Resources for Self-Published Authors.

Research on Book Descriptions Inforgraphic (1)

E.T. Carlton Book MarketingE.T. Carlton is a book marketing and digital branding consultant who writes on a variety of book marketing topics, including tips on writing book descriptions.


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How to Get Your Self-Published Book Into Libraries

By ParentingPatch via Wikimedia Commons

By ParentingPatch via Wikimedia Commons

A Step by Step Guide to Marketing Books to Libraries

via Wikihow

If you’re a self-published author who is trying to promote your book and get it into bookstores, why not try getting it into a library first? Libraries are great marketing tools – they enable people to read your book and tell other people about it, making it more well-known and easier to eventually sell to bookstores.

First Things First: Ensure that your book is high quality. Many people are wary of self-published books because they believe that they are low quality. Make sure that your book is formatted and has been carefully edited. Also, choose your bindings carefully, as libraries generally won’t stock books with that are comb bound, spiral bound, or saddle stitched (stapled). It’s a good idea to call your local library and ask them what their requirements are. Ensure that the cover makes the book look professional and interesting, as many people do judge a book by its cover.

And Then…Promote your book. Start promoting your book before contacting libraries to get the word out and show that you’re serious. Create a website or blog for your book, and make sure it looks professional.

 Be professional. Find out who the acquisitions librarian is (the librarian who purchases books for the library or branch), and call her, email her, or set up a brief meeting with her to ask about donating some copies of your books. Don’t just put your book in the donations bin or hand it to a random librarian at the check out counter – chances are it will end up in a book sale that way. Be polite, professional, and respectful. Consider giving her a copy to look over if she seems unsure about your book.
Be prepared to donate a few copies. Libraries are usually non-profit organizations, and as such, they like donations. However, most libraries will require you to donate more than one copy of your book, as it costs money to catalogue it and is only worth their time and money if there’s more than one copy in their library. Some libraries have special systems or sections in the library specifically for self-published local authors, so enquire about that.
Get a review. In order to not only get the attention of the not only the librarians, but the general public, get your book reviewed. Try and land a review from Library Journal, CHOICE, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, or Kirkus Reviews. There are also programs that will send flyers about your book to local libraries for a fee.
Ask others to request your book. Libraries usually take requests seriously, so it’s a great way to get them to put your book on the shelves. Ask some friends and family members to request your book. Be careful that you don’t have them submit dozens of spam-like requests for your book; librarians can tell which requests are fake and which are legitimate, and they won’t be happy if you waste their time with fake requests.
Continue marketing your book. Once you get the book on the library shelves, your battle isn’t necessarily over. Libraries will usually weed out books if they don’t circulate well to free up shelf space for books that will. Make sure to promote your book as much as possible to ensure that people want to take it out.

Book Promotion on Pinterest: Your Guide to Getting Started

 A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Pinterest for Book Promotion

Pinners are buyers. Statistics show that Pinterest, more than any other social media site, drives sales. Pinterest users spend more money on shopping – an average of $50 more, according to Shopify, an ecommerce platform that tracks sales referred from social media.  The sales statistics are startling, but Pinterest is a valuable tool for more than just direct selling – Pinterest, more than any other social media platform, can help you define and promote your author brand.

Used correctly, Pinterest allows authors to showcase their personalities, solidify their author brand and connect to new readers. 

Getting Started on Pinterest

1. Create a Business Account. If you already have a personal profile on Pinterest, don’t worry – the site will convert your old account to a business one for you. Business accounts on Pinterest are free but they offer a number of benefits over a personal account, including the ability to add the word Author to your profile title and weekly analytic reports on pin views. You can create a business account here.

2. Fill Out Your Profile Using Keywords. Depending on the genre and type of book you write, these will vary, but should contain the words author or writer. Make sure you use this space both to describe what you do and let a bit of your personality show.

3. Start Creating Boards. Like offline bulletin boards, these are places to pin articles, photos and other content. Create as many boards as you want, centered around themes. If you’re new to Pinterest, start with 5 boards, each with 5 pins, and build from there. Think creatively about your boards, with your target audience in mind, and then make boards that will appeal to as broad an audience as possible.

 EXAMPLE: If you write fantasy romance novels, you could create a board called “fantasy images” that you use to post images from books, movies and artists that are fantasy-themed. You can add book covers, clothing, quotes – anything that revolves around fantasy. And, of course add your book cover/link to buy to this board. WHY IT WORKS: You reach and connect with Pinners who are interested in fantasy in general, not just those searching for a book. The more varied the subject matter of your boards, the more people you are likely to reach. Pinterest works best when authors reach out to find new readers, instead of waiting for book buyers to come to them.

Other board ideas: Mood Boards that use images to convey your book’s ambiance, feel or setting; Writing Tips Boards; Inspirational Quote Boards; Book Promotion Articles Boards; Book Cover Art Boards, Favorite Authors Boards, Book Lists – Lists of Summer Reads or Top 100 Books. You can even have shopping and recipe boards – as long as they somehow tie into the kind of book you write or showcase your personality as an author.

Mix Content About 80 percent of the content on Pinterest is re-pinned from other boards. Which is fine – you will find wonderful things to pin from the boards of others and re-pinning is a key part of networking on Pinterest. But if you add new content, you’re more likely to get noticed, so try to mix your boards so that they contain fifty percent re-pins and fifty percent new content you’ve added.  .


4. Get a Pin it Button. Install a pin-it button on your browser, so that as you use the internet you can instantly add new content to your Pinterest boards. Pin-it buttons save time and trouble and instant pinning from any website means you don’t have to bookmark or remember to come back to a site later. You can get a pin-it button here.

5. Label Pins Correctly. Make sure that you’re using keywords on each and every pin.Meaning, describe the pin fully. Never pin an image with a name like: img;43994 or it will never be found. You can experiment with keywords, based on the anyalytics Pinterest sends you or even using a keyword tool like Google’s Keyword Planner

6. Follow, Like & Re-Pin.  Pinterest is like all social media in that it only works if it’s reciprocal. Simply pinning your books or images without networking with others won’t get you very far. Try to follow as many relevant people as possible, like others’ pins and re-pin them and you will get a lot more out of Pinterest.

For More Board Ideas, Visit Readers+Writers Journal on Pinterest. Follow Readers Writers Journal on Pinterest


Free Book Promotion on Social Media: CoPromote

 Social Media for Authors CoPromoteAccess Thousands on Social Media for Free

CoPromote is a website (there’s also an app) that links people with similar interests so that they can share each others’ content on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites. There are paid plans, but the free plan is  a good option that allows access to thousands of potential re-tweets and shares.

How Authors Can Use CoPromote

Sign up for free and CoPromote will ask you to link your Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr accounts. You can link all 3 or just one. It will then ask you to select 3 interests so that it can match you to members whose content is similar to yours.

The next step is choosing the content you want to promote (CoPromote calls it “boosting.”) It shows your most recent shares from Twitter, Facebook, etc. and you select which one you want other co-promoters to share from their accounts. Free members can only boost 1 at a time.

Once you have picked the tweet or post you want boosted, you are shown posts and tweets from other users with similar interests.  You select which post or tweet you would like to re-tweet or post. You’re also able to see how many followers each user has on each social media platform. There are usually many to choose from, and you can choose as many as you want.

CoPromote has a video that explains how it works:

Give More Get More

You are given credits based on how many tweets or posts created by other members you elect to share from your social media account. The more you share from other users, the more the content you’re boosting gets shared. The shares are in the form of re-tweets or re-posts, and there is no mention of CoPromote in the re shares.

Pros & Cons

  • You sometimes have to sift through potential tweets and Facebook posts that have nothing to do with your interests and that you probably wouldn’t want to appear on your social media.
  • CoPromote sometimes runs out of relevant content about books, writing and reading.
  • You cannot choose when other CoPromoters share your content. The number of shares you get is also based on how many followers you have. For instance, this site has thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook, and we get access to a large number of share opportunities on those sites. But we have under 100 followers on Tumblr and therefore have access to many fewer Tumblr shares.
  • But even with its limitations, the free account provides access to the large social networks of others, meaning potential readers you haven’t reached yet. Check it out and see if it works for you.
Social Media Book Marketing Screenshot

From a recent Readers+Writers Journal CoPromote Boost. You can see the name of the post, how many people shared it and how many new people the post reached.

Hints for Making it Work for Book Promotion

  • If you’re sharing book-related content, you’ll want to choose the “Media and Entertainment” section when you select your interests. From there, you can get more specific and choose “Fiction and Literature” or “Thrillers” or “Suspense.” Even if you write in a specific genre, you may want to stick with “Fiction and Literature” to reach the broadest audience possible.
  • Make sure the tweet or post you’re boosting is properly tagged. If you’re not sure what tags work best for book promotion, take a look at our list.
  • Tweets and posts with images get more attention on social media. Make sure you’ve attached a photo of your book cover or other graphic. Ideal graphic sizes for posts are: 1200 x 628 for Facebook and 1,024 x 512 for Twitter. No idea what that means or how to make graphics in those sizes? Try using Canva, a free graphics program that’s online and that has dozens of pre-sized graphics that you can customize and add images to. It’s one of Readers+Writers Journal’s favorite sources for quick graphics.

Get More Book Promotion Ideas