How to Market Your Book on a Budget

Rachel Kent

Blogger: Rachel Kent

I did a series more than a year ago on some easy, inexpensive book marketing ideas. Here are links to those posts, but I’d also like a add a few new ideas today.

Idea 1: Doctors and Dentists

Idea 2: Mail Marketing

Idea 3: Newsletter Marketing

Idea 4: Interest Group Marketing

Idea 5: Book Club Marketing

Here are some additional ideas to hopefully spark some creative marketing for your book.

1) Tebowing, Owling, or Planking anyone?

Have you heard of these photo crazes? People have been taking pictures and posting them online with viral results.

Here are some examples:

Tebowing: Copying Tim Tebow’s pose around the world.








Planking: Making your body into a plank in different locations. This one is not a recommended location.









Owling: Perching like an owl.










So my suggestion is that you ask your fans to start Planking, Tebowing or Owling with your book in hand. If they post the photo to a public blog or webpage and tag it as Tebowing, Owling or Planking the picture will come up on an internet search. Your fans will most likely love it and be sure to do one yourself too!

Cost: Free or the cost of a small prize to offer in a drawing for all fans who participate.

2) Photo Mascot

We have a couple of clients at Books & Such who have consistently taken pictures and posted about things and it has “branded” them in a way. Author Sarah Sundin posts about her dog, Daisy, all the time and Daisy has even advertised Sarah’s books. Author Judy Christie has a green couch that she has made to be an icon of her writing career. Click here to see a pic of Judy on the couch.

Because Sarah has built Daisy up as an important part of her life, she could easily ask her fans to take similar pictures of their pets with her book and post them on Facebook.

In Judy’s case, I know that she brings the couch with her to some book signings and she takes pictures with her fans while sitting on the green couch.

Is there a creative way you could create a photo bomb to advertize your book? Do you have something in your life that could act as a “mascot” for your writing career?

Cost: Free again unless you want to host a giveaway or drawing to go along with the photo mascot challenge.

 3) Help your community and share about your book.

This one is a little tricky because serving others should always be done without ulterior motives but I do think there’s some merit to the idea. Please feel free to change it up to make it work best for you and your beliefs.

I suggest hosting a sales drive for a new release where you donate to a charity a certain amount for every ten books sold or so. It doesn’t even have to be a monetary donation. You could donate food, books, clothes, time–or whatever seems to be the best fit for your book and circumstance. This way you are giving back to your community and helping others while promoting sales for your book. Setting a time limit for sales is a good idea. A month might be a good amount of time for a promo like this.

I think this idea actually sounds a lot less selfish than many promotions because while you are pushing sales of your book, you are also giving back with the money that you will be making from the book sales instead of just pocketing all of it.

The other tricky part of this idea is figuring out how to track the sales. Teaming up with a certain local bookstore or even your publisher might be the way to do this or you could just ask book buyers to inform you of a purchase and use the honor system. I’m sure that if you think this idea through that you can make it stronger and more God-honoring.

People like to know that purchasing something is going to help a good cause and they might buy more because of it. Just make sure your heart is in the right place though.

Cost: Depends on what you decide to give. Maybe 10% of book sales?
Feel free to take any of these ideas and make them your own. You can do a lot of marketing for very little money if you get creative!

Do you have any creative ideas to share?


61 Responses

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  1. Great ideas, Rachel! I’m filing them away. 🙂

  2. Anne Love says:

    Great easy ideas that are cheap but also not too time consuming, and they look fun! :o)

  3. Jeanne T says:

    Love these ideas. Those pics were funny, especially the Planking. 🙂 I’m going to keep this in mind for when my time comes to market my book.

    • Rachel Kent says:

      Please don’t plank on a tiger! lol.

    • I knew about Tebowing and I think I’d heard of planking, but the owling got me excited. I love owls, much to Beth Vogt’s eternal terror. I wonder what she’d do if I sent her a pic of me owling someplace spooky. I’m an evil friend.

      • Rachel Kent says:

        She’s scared of owls? But they are so cute!

      • Beth K. Vogt says:

        To clarify, Rachel, I am only terrified of the owls that spring forth from Evangeline’s oh-so-vivid imagination. I’ve been in critique group with E for several years. What that woman imagines with owls … OH MY WORD.
        I might not ever “OWL” for E, but I have been known to go Goth for her … but that’s another story.

  4. That would be quite the catch phrase in publishing…”plank the tiger!”

    Due to a back injury, there will never be a photo of me planking anything, useless it’s a floaty mattress thing in a pool.

    I really do like the photo mascot idea.My little dog might struggle with a whole book though.

    Hey, I know! Since I don’t have a book published, I can take pictures of me with my memory stick?

    “Why yes, that IS me with my book….file.”

    Nah, maybe not. 😉

  5. Bahaha, these are brilliant! And I’ve never heard of owling…maybe there’s a reason for that.

    I post a lot of pics of my dog too (and we’re getting another soon!), so I could definitely capitalize on that somehow…

    I’m putting these away in the crevice in my brain marked “Someday.” First things first, but these are awesome tips!

    • I’ve never heard of owling either. It kinda looks weird.
      You’ll notice the fun factor go way up when Chloe has a new friend. We saw that with our dogs, they even played tag!!

      • Rachel Kent says:

        My old dog hated the new puppy at first but he can’t live without him now. Good luck on the first few weeks, Lindsay!

      • Yes, I think she’ll have a ball! Since she’s only a year old, she’s still a puppy herself and has so much energy. I full expect her to play mama/big sis to her new little brother. We’re picking him up the day after I get back from ACFW. #gonnabetired

  6. Michelle Lim says:

    These are great fun! Thanks Rachel!

  7. Bonnie Doran says:

    I did a booksigning once at a nursing home for a devotional compilation for caregivers of aging parents. I’d written one of the devotionals. The nursing home set up a coffeehouse atmosphere. I sold seven copies, not bad for a first experience.

    • Rachel Kent says:

      It does sound like that audience would be a hard one to market to. Where do you find them? 7 copies is good for a first book signing–especially one that is not held at a book store.

  8. Wow, Rachel, what creative ideas! I especially loved the one about the dentist and doctor offices. It seems so obvious–now that you’ve said it. And I had no idea that you could make your own stamp. I have paid much attention to the USPS in a while.

    To celebrate the 25th anniversary of a church I once belonged to, the pastor had children in religious ed. write scripture passages on bits of paper that were then put into balloons. The balloons were filled with helium and released to fly away and land wherever. Perhaps the same could be done with a book cover–especially if a mascot-with-the-book kind of picture. The pictures could be tied to a string outside the balloons. Maybe it would intrigue those who found the balloons.

    Blessings on your day!

  9. Sarah Sundin says:

    Daisy will be thrilled to see this! Of course, now she’ll be in diva mode all day. “Fluff my pillow. Give me a bully stick. No sprig of mint in my water bowl? You will remedy that immediately.” Sigh.

    Now to put something together for my new release….

  10. Wow. such easily done innovative ideas, Rachel! Thanks! The pictures of tebowing, owling and planking are great!(& Daisy too!) 😀

    I would so not plank on a tiger. But if my pet cat would plank on a tiger then now we’re working with some sort of brand. ha! Now I’ve got to start brainstorming these photoshoots. Come here, kitty… lol.

  11. Great ideas and very timely, since my book comes out this Christmas. Thanks, Rachel.

  12. Great ideas. What a fun post.

    I plan on doing a funny video that will go viral. Not that you can plan what will go viral anymore than you can predict a bestseller, but…I’m aiming at a viral video, anyway. When…you know…I actually have a book to promote. 🙂

    • Rachel Kent says:

      I bet you’ll be able to get your video to go viral. I love your sense of humor in your comments on our blog. I think you could make a great video!

  13. Lisa says:

    These are great, we have done jr. high youth group for over a decade, so I am very familiar with these poses. Luckily, I am usually the photog, not the poser. The tiger has to be the most amazing I have ever seen:)

    Filing them away, with a prayer that I can use them eventually:)

  14. Tari Faris says:

    These are great ideas.

    I like the one with the pet especially since a dog plays a key part in my current story.

    However, a picture of my dog chewing my book to pieces probably isn’t the best marketing. Perhaps by the time I get this book in print he’ll have grown out of that phase. 🙂

    • Rachel Kent says:

      You never know what might go viral. With a right caption a pic of your puppy ripping your book apart might work just fine. Something like “When I asked him to edit it, I didn’t expect him to tear it to shreds!” or…

      I’m sure he’ll grow out of that stage soon though. Most doggies do!

  15. Thanks for sharing. These are great ideas. Some are quirky so they stick in a person’s mind.

  16. KatieC says:

    This is great Rachel! Thanks for sharing.

  17. Very nice! Thank you, Rachel!

  18. And I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m a total sucker for cute dog/cat pictures. Stick a book in front of a dog, I’m definitely going to think about buying it. Put the dog or cat on the cover and it’s like I have no choice! It’s a sickness…

  19. This is a little embarrassing, but our best marketing strategy for The Dragon and the Turtle picture book is the cookie recipe in the back. Seriously, at book signings we flip to that last page and say, “There’s a cookie recipe,” and it seems to clench the deal. It works even better if we bring cookies with us for people to sample.

  20. I remember the marketing series you did last year. Thanks for linking to those and sharing even more ideas here.

    Jody Hedlund is sponsoring a Pinterest contest where readers take pictures of her newest release in unique locations and pin the photos (similar to your first idea in this post). It seems like a fun way to incorporate readers and generate buzz!

  21. Ann Bracken says:

    The owling cracked me up! I suppose that’s better than crowing, sitting on the corner of a building yelling, ‘Buy my book! Buy my book!’ That might get the police involved.

    Thanks for this great post, and for the links to all the others. I’m going to save this for when/if my book gets published.

  22. Cheryl Wyatt says:

    Fun post, Rachel!

  23. Yvette Carol says:

    Thank you Rachel. That’s a great help!

  24. Genius ideas Rachel! I’ve literally just stumbled across this blog post and want to read more. Thanks also for the links to previous marketing ideas. I’m taking a look now. Marketing your own book can be a really expensive feat, but just goes to show, a little ingenuity can go a long way!

  25. By the large volume of comments here, it seems that this article did its job and got people stirred up. Hey, at least its generating a conversation. Thats always a good thing.