How to promote your book politely


Being flooded with ‘Please read my book’ and ‘check out my new book now’ requests on various forums, I thought it may be time to scribble a few hints for new self-published authors. I am so tempted to title this list of hints ‘Don’t piss people off before they’ve discovered your book’, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll settle for this.

Ten Helpful Hints For Promoting Your Book

1. DO NOT direct message people on any forum asking them to read your new brilliant masterpiece. Guaranteed method for really pissing people off, and poof! There goes a bundle of potential readers/buyers in an instant (message).

2. DO engage with people on social media. The rule of social networking is to make friends, make fans, make buyers. Don’t ever think there’s a short-cut.

3. DO have a blog and a website. These are the suitable places to have ‘Buy My Book’ links. But make sure you have some decent content showing off your writing skills there. Yes, your writing skills need to be on show. Do you think readers are stupid? They won’t just click and buy your book without a good reason.

4. DO NOT pretend. Be yourself no matter what. You’ll only succeed if people are genuinely interested in you.

5. DO be careful with responding to book reviews. You may want to thank a book blogger for reviewing your book, but don’t do this in a blog comment. Thank them by direct message or email. You can click ‘Was this helpful’ on an Amazon review, which will add a little weight to the review, but don’t comment. Most importantly, never, ever respond to negative reviews. This will only inflame, and make you look silly. Always ignore bad reviews!

6. DO NOT try to flood the Internet with your book. It’s flooded already, so who will notice you? Be targeted and know your potential market. (I know mine, but that’s my secret!)

7. DO use bookmarking sites to promote your blog. A well written and topical blog post can potentially go viral. This is the way to get some attention, but be careful. Don’t over do it. I post every day, and perhaps once a month a post really goes mad. Be patient and write well.

8. DO learn how to format anchor text in your links. Nothing looks more amateur than a web address link like this.
It should look like this:  Get HAL Here.

9. DO NOT write short crappy bios on social media sites and blogs. You’re supposed to be a writer. If you can’t write a decent bio about yourself, give up writing and take up pottery.

10. DO be patient. Most overnight successes take about 30 years on average, so don’t rush it. Learn to walk before you run.

Now if you’re still reading, there are of course many more do’s and don’t’s but this will get you started. Use your head and think before you jump. My golden rule is how I would react if I came across myself and my book marketing. Too simple huh?


How To Promote Your Book – Politely

47 thoughts on “How To Promote Your Book – Politely

  • 20/08/2011 at 10:45 pm

    Good advice, Derek. I disagree with #5, though, because it seems stalkerish and intrusive to me, and may inhibit people from reviewing you in the future. I rarely even read reviews because I think the reviewer deserves the integrity and respect to not be monitored by the author. However, if someone tells me they reviewed my book, or if it’s on a blog, I do stop by and say “Thank you for taking the time” without commenting on the content of the review itself.


    • 20/08/2011 at 11:04 pm

      Thanks for your comment Scott.

      I agree with you about commenting on the content of reviews. However, the reason I made the point in #5 was from a couple of experiences I had with book reviewers. Not all let you know they’ve reviewed your book, which is fine, but I got a couple of ‘clanging’ reviews and it turned out it was because of the ebook’s formatting.

      Once I contacted them, I discovered it was an issue with one book in one particular file format on Smashwords, which they both had purchased. I supplied them with correctly formatted copies and they were both very generous in posting updates to their reviews.

      Even if you don’t wish to thank each and every reviewer, I think it is prudent to know what is being said about your books. If I hadn’t done that Google search I would probably still have a corrupted ebook for sale.

  • 23/08/2011 at 10:15 pm

    >>Most overnight successes take about 30 years on average<< Best line on the subject. I need to use that more often to explain to people my "Zen-like" patience.

  • 25/08/2011 at 11:50 pm

    Recently wrote a post about the same topic – I look at it from a “benefits” marketing perspective. Every time you put yourself out there, you need to be delivering some benefit to your potential readers. That way your information is a gift rather than an irritation.

  • 02/09/2011 at 8:10 pm

    Hi Derek,

    Thanks for your article. I’m off to take you up on thanking everyone who has reviewed my book. That is a great thought.


  • 02/09/2011 at 8:21 pm

    Your post confirmed that I have the correct approach to marketing, it also taught me a few things. Excellent perspective I could not agree with youj more.

  • 02/09/2011 at 9:24 pm

    Great article. I definitely agree with acknowledging all reviews politely, good or bad. How do you thank reviews from amazon, etc? By posting in the thread yourself? Or is there a way to contact directly?

    • 02/09/2011 at 10:00 pm

      Hi Pooks. Normally you can track down an Amazon reviewer from their profile and respond from there. Just clicking their name on the review normally does the trick!

  • 02/09/2011 at 11:05 pm

    Hi Derek,
    I like your advice but am troubled by your suggestion it’s going to take thirty years to be an overnight success. I am too old to wait that long and I have a short attention span; twenty-plus years is my longest career.

  • 02/09/2011 at 11:14 pm

    Well Nancy, I look at it this way. Dead authors sell far more books than us living scribblers. So just look at as a career move. The pity of course is that we won’t be around to gloat over our well earned success. Our grandkids might be happy to get a few bucks out of the deal though :)

  • 03/09/2011 at 6:29 pm

    Thanks…new at this, need all the good advice I can get!

  • 11/09/2017 at 11:29 pm

    My least favorite promotional tactic is the all-caps screaming Twitter posts that include lots of emojis and little content. These posts are visually obnoxious and seem to be repeated ad nauseum. My advice? Get social media/advertising assistance from someone who does this professionally.

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