Sell Your Book

Book Promotion – Where’s Your Audience?


There are as many (or more) book promotion ideas as grapes in this guy’s hands. But which one/s do you pick? It depends on where your audience hangs out.

It’s possible that the book buyer who’s in love with Pinterest is also on Instagram but is he also on Digg? And yes, your readers may watch cat videos on YouTube, but is that their go-to site for finding new books? If you don’t know the answer to the questions, you need to find out. Now.

But how?


Go to SurveyMonkey and create a free survey. Then post the survey on your website or email the link to your mailing list. Ask where they go to find new books, book deals, and new authors – like you.

What to do after getting survey results?

In my own survey, I found these were the top responses:

  1. Browsing Amazon
  2. Amazon book review
  3. Choosing books by authors you’ve already read
  4. Online reviews (bloggers, book websites)
  5. Magazine articles
  6. Author newsletters
  7. Friends

The important thing to remember is that this is a survey of people who read MY newsletters; it won’t reflect online sites that would draw romance, mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, or thriller readers. My readers (at least those who took the survey) aren’t on Pinterest, Instagram, Digg, or Stumbleupon looking for books. That isn’t to say that YOUR readers won’t be.

Lesson: When you do the survey, remember that it’s going to reflect your readers, not mine.

So, what can be learned about book promotions?

For me, the lessons about how to promote my work are clear:

  1. Don’t waste my time on social media marketing except for my own Facebook page or group.
  2. Search out bloggers who might like to review one of my books or courses or who might like me to write a guest post.
  3. Be consistent in writing my own newsletter.
  4. Most important: Dramatically improving my book descriptions on Amazon
  5. Get more book reviews on Amazon

Book Promotion Plan:  If I concentrate on just those five things, perhaps one each day, then rinse and repeat each week, I believe my book promotional efforts will improve as will my sales.

What about your book promotions?  Get a survey going, see where your readers hang out and leave a comment about your promotional ideas.  Let’s all get more interest in our work!


p.s. what do you think of the little audio at the beginning of the post? like, don’t like?


  • Norma

    I liked the little audio promo at the beginning. For one thing it reminded me to read to the end and it is always good to hear the voice of the person writing. Even though my book is not ready to be promoted, it has given me some ideas as to how and where to start. What I really need is someone to take me by the hand and lead me to the computer.

  • Sarah Johnson

    I really like the audio. And, although I haven’t published my first book yet, I’m saving this information so I won’t make a mistake when I DO start promoting. Thank you!

  • Lisa W

    Hi Nancy,
    I liked the audio blurb. It makes your post more personal and gives readers the feeling that they’re getting to know you.
    What you learned from the survey was valuable, when I get to this stage I will certainly remember to do the same.
    Btw, I guess I’m one of those rare readers who actually do use Pinterest and pin books, but only in the how-to sector, such as crafts/sewing, tech and on writing. I wouldn’t be searching there for the latest mystery necessarily, but never say never! I’ve pinned books on Evernote and Scrivener also, so don’t disregard Pinterest!
    Thanks for an interesting post –

  • ClaireBear

    Hi Nancy, I love the idea of a brief introduction in the form of an audio message, nice to hear your voice too. I thought the recording cut off a bit abruptly(?) so an upbeat sign-off like ‘Thanks!’ or similar (as a kind of ‘over and out’) would complete the audio perfectly!

    Also, thank you for the free e-course (15-Minute Writer). I’m halfway through – and enjoying it! I’ll do a proper review at the end.

    Happy Writing!

  • Nancy

    Norma, thank you for taking the time to comment. I really hope that the information is helpful even though you haven’t yet published. And if I could, I’d pull you over to the computer! Have you checked out my 15-Minute Writer course on Udemy? The 15 minute concept might be one that’s helpful for you ??? Info is on my website (and discount codes). Nancy

  • Nancy

    Sarah – Thank you for your comment. And thank you for saving the information – remember i’m always available to lend a hand if you need help.


  • Nancy

    Hi Lisa – I love Pinterest too – and I think it’s a great place to find books on crafts, sewing, weddings, fashion, food, etc – the truly visual arts. I simply (personally) haven’t found a way to use it to effectively promote my books. Maybe I’m doing something wrong!


  • Nancy

    Hi Claire,

    You are absolutely right about the abrupt ending. I need a sign-off! And you’re very welcome about the freebie course- I’ve gotten great feedback and it encourages me to continue finding ways to help everyone write, even with the busiest of lives! Now I’ll be thinking about that sign-off thing all day!


  • Michael

    Enjoyed the audio and the post. The audio ads a nice personal touch to the post. I enjoyed the post as I am still working on finishing my book so I am always looking for new ideas to implement once I start promoting my book. I appreciate your sincerity in wanting to help other succeed. Thanks Nancy!

  • Nancy

    Dear Michael – thank you for your comment. It looks like the audio might be a keeper 🙂

    I wish you every success with your book and am always available to brainstorm ways for you to promote. Just shoot me an email.


  • Bill Rigg

    The audio intro is *great* idea – allowing you to get more boiler-plate like messages across without filling up the article with the extra text. But, yes, you should have a branded sign-off!…:) I’m going to steal this idea for my new blog!..:)

    As for the survey, it’s telling that all the big answers involve Amazon. I would hope a larger sampling would reduce that somewhat, but it demonstrates the very odd position the whole business of literary creation is in today. And I think an audience that looks to Amazon, where you also buy your paper towels and organic coconut oil, for book advice is really mostly an audience interested in genre works, since 90% of the books Amazon actually sells are genre works.

    Case in point: Emmi Itaranta’s recent debut novel, Memory of Water, is a crazy-good Sci-Fi, feminist work – serious critics have already proclaimed her a new Ursula K. LeGuin – and it’s on the shortlist to win the Clarke award this year. But I don’t think anyone who gets their literary news primarily from Amazon will have ever heard of it. And it certainly isn’t going to be an Amazon bestseller, so why would they bother with promoting it?

  • Nancy

    Hi Bill – good to see you again (and I think you owe me an In ‘N Out!). Thanks for the thumbs-up on the audio – and yes, I need a sign-off! And don’t forget to send me a link to your blog. Yes, you are absolutely correct about Amazon and genre work. I know my friends who are avid sci-fi and fantasy readers don’t rely on Amazon to find new stuff – they hang out online with people who read what they read. And since I don’t read sci-fi it takes notes like this for me to even be aware of a new and great author. While the Internet has brought the world together it’s also segmented us in ways we probably don’t even understand, and it’s hard to get news about most author who we’re not already aware of. Thanks for the thoughtful comment – much appreciated.

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