How to Get Readers to Read #authortoolboxbloghop #amwriting #writerscommunity #writeordie #wednesdaywisdom

After a three-month, whirlwind, much-appreciated hiatus, I find myself in yet another round of edits during this month’s blog hop.

(For newcomers to this blog, you’d do well to check out the incomparable Raimey Gallant and her home page for the Author Toolbox Blog Hop.)

Something that’s been on my mind lately, is what to do after a book is published. My book will drop into the marketplace a little over a year from now, but I’m already weighing the merits of post-publication strategies. Namely, How Do I Get Readers to Read?

Here are a few options below, each of which carrying pros and cons. Let’s dive in!


1. DIY marketing campaigns: Many authors, both with traditional pub houses and independent authors (and hybrid authors) choose to invest time, energy, and money into creating pre-order and post-order campaigns. These can range from bookmarks bearing your marketing scheme’s image and log line, signed copies of your book, or larger items, such as tote bags, t-shirts, or mugs. Each of these carries a hidden cost (time/postage/shipping) but all of them accomplish your goal: Publicize your book, and make readers aware that it’s out there.

2. Local bookstore appearances: Same as above, lots of traditional authors and independent authors find a home in their local bookstore. I walked into one last weekend in Portland and asked whether they hosted author readings. The closer I get to my pub date, you can bet I’ll be hitting up local libraries and suggesting they pre-order The Paris Twin, as well.

3. Book Clubs: If you know of a book club, cozy on up to them and suggest they choose your novel for next month’s featured tome. They might even suggest you do a book reading. #Suggestion4

4. Book readings: Man, I would love to do this! I’ve sat in on a fair few, and can attest that few things get me more excited about a book than hearing the author discuss its stakes. See Suggestions 2 and 3 for location possibilities.

And finally…

5. Quality: Write your best book. Ultimately, there’s no substitute for a well-written novel, and all the publicity in the world won’t help unless you put your very best work out there.


How do you publicize and market your book? Did you start before or after your publication date?

Share your thoughts in the comments below, and thanks for reading!


28 thoughts on “How to Get Readers to Read #authortoolboxbloghop #amwriting #writerscommunity #writeordie #wednesdaywisdom

  1. I’m really intrigued by the collaborative opportunities (i.e. hooking up with other debut authors publishing in the same year, possibly in the same or similar genre, and cost-sharing for e-campaigns like giveaways in exchange for follows/e-mail signups.) Have you joined a group for 2021 yet?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh interesting! I haven’t seen a group for 2020 debut authors yet, but my eyes are peeled. You? I’m not sure yet what my marketing plan will be, but I’m absolutely open to ideas.


  2. A tip: when you’re creating your post, shorten the extension part after .com to something short so it’s easier to post in places where there are limited characters. Go see my latest post for an example. I take out all the hyphens and shorten the title where possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As I write in English but live in a country that is not English speaking, most of the opportunities above are not open to me. I rely on digital marketing (newsletter, FB, Twitter, Instagram, Amazon ads, etc.) It’s a lot of work – taking up more than 50% of my time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m a strong believer in writing the best book possible – if you can get a reader to read your book, you want that book to be good enough that they come back for the next and the next and the next.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Don’t forget establishing/maintaining an online presence through blogging and other platforms. 🙂

    I once attended a convention panel where an independent publisher talked about some of the interested questions they faced when considering how to promote. They tended to pose 4 questions to themselves:
    1. What’s the cost of the item/promotion (both in time and money)?
    2. What’s the physical/time footprint for the recipient?
    3. Does the item have a diminishing quality if it’s left alone for a long stretch (lost in the mail or forgotten at the recipient’s home)?
    4. Does the promotion have any unique tie in with the story?

    It was a really interesting talk. They cited how many forms of candy had a bad habit of “going bad” quickly (particularly if the season/region was very warm), and how often audiences might discard more elaborate promotional materials because they were large and/or ill-suited to their needs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These are all such important things to consider when planning out marketing strategy. I definitely fear spending a ton of time and money on items that audiences will quickly discard. Gotta find that balance, I suppose, between all of those factors you listed. Thank you for the thorough response!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Of course.
        It definitely represents an interesting challenge, finding that elusive balance. Some of it, I think, comes from looking at one’s own experiences at conventions and such. I definitely remember a few times where I received bags with assorted “goodies”, many of which were well designed, but had little value for me. Often it was bookmarks, magnets, and other small/flat items, which were very easy to store or display, that I ended up keeping. I remember one place that gave out small novelty license plates. Granted, metal can be expensive, but I think anything that is under the thickness of a few cards, and isn’t larger than the average paperback, can avoid the “cumbersome size/shape” component.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I only recently found out (from Mackenzi Lee’s Instagram story about publishing) that the merch authors giveaway/sell to market their books isn’t paid for by the publisher! I didn’t expect it to come out of the author’s own pocket, so that was a real surprise, but I suppose it means we can choose our own products. The risk is ending up with 100 enamel pins or canvas totes with our book quotes on though 🙂 I do love hearing authors reading from their books, I always thoughts I’d be way too nervous and all my favourite authors seem so confident, but following them on social media I now know a lot of authors feel nervous and anxious when they do events, so I’m in good company! Thanks for sharing these tips 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely! You are not alone. Which is also why I’m examining other ways to promote a book post and pre publication. The idea of creating a whole bookmark campaign is certainly daunting!


  7. I’ll definitely be putting some of these great ideas to use! Like you I think book readings sound like an EXCELLENT thing to undertake!


  8. I went into a local bookstore and was treated quite rudely (I guess they don’t consider indie authors to be real authors) I haven’t worked up the courage to try again anywhere else.
    I’m open a craft brewery and plan on selling books from ALL kinds of authors there and hosting books and brews night and a books and brews book club so readers can discover books they might not find outside of that local bookstore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. K, I think that’s a great idea! I’m also nervous about approaching local bookstores, but I think that’s the nature of the game. Rejection = progress, because at least we’re trying, right? Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

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