No Money, Mo’ Problems: Marketing Your Book without Selling the Ranch

You’ve written your book. It’s been meticulously edited. You got a great cover designed. The marketing text makes you drool. And you’re about to release it to the world … or perhaps you’ve already released it last year.

You find yourself watching your Amazon sales … only to discover there aren’t any! What’s an author to do when you’ve permanently disfigured your fingers from typing, gone bald from pulling your hair out, and added an extra set of bags under your eyes from sleepless nights writing … and yet you’re not selling?


Lucky for you I’ve done the same song and dance, and did some of the dirty work for you to help you find the most successful marketing strategies to help you sell books without a second mortgage to fund it.

I’m first going to address books that have already been published … meaning you can’t use a pre-release review service like NetGalley. But don’t fret; there’s still lots of options even years after you published.

  1. Start building a mailing list and a newsletter. Over time your mailing list will include your devoted fans, your followers, so make sure to give ’em something to talk about. As you build a mailing list, use it to create a newsletter, but make sure to deliver goodies, like pre-release deals on a new book or offer contests and prizes to keep them coming back for more. There are tons of newsletter services (most free) like MailChimp, among others. Need subscribers? Sign up for Instafreebie and offer a free book in exchange for their subscription to your newsletter. It costs $20 a month to use the subscriber program, but you can sign up just long enough to get a decent subscriber list and then drop it later if your budget can’t afford it. Cost = $20 per month; Profit = lots of fans!
  2. Amazon ads. An author’s nightmare, I know. I’ve dabbled with these a bit, and so far I’ve found them to be highly profitable. No longer do you have to be in KDP to use the ads–anyone can! I’ve run both types of promotions they offer, but I manually select my target audience. This will take time weeding out the right keywords, but it’s worth it. As a thriller author, I focused my keywords on popular thriller titles and authors, tallying easily 100+ keywords per ad. Cost = make your own budget; Profit = significant increase in Amazon sales and rankings
  3. Running a discount promotion on various sites. I’ve plotted and planned extensive discount promotions in an attempt to achieve BookBub-quality results at a fraction of the price, so here’s what I’ve seen from my promotions when I ran a three-week campaign combining these various services. These are some of the more easy-to-get promo sites that will accept most books, but there are other more competitive sites out there too. Keep in mind that every author’s experiences are different, so it may be worth trying each out for yourself:
    1. Bargain Booksy: Cost = $50 The results for discounting my book to $0.99 (thus a $0.34 profit on each book) meant I needed to sell 147 books to break even. I sold about a third of this, so I would not recommend it based on my results and the higher cost.
    2. eReaderIQ: Cost = $24 I couldn’t determine my sales due to it corresponding with another same-day promotion. At the lower price point, however, I would be likely to try it again.
    3. Book Basset: Cost = $8 I sold 86 copies, making a $21 return, so you’ve sniffed out a good deal with this basset hound.
    4. Choosy Bookworm: Cost = $25 I’ve used CB a couple times, both with less-than-stellar sales. I won’t be choosing Choosy again.
    5. Booksends: Cost = $50 This was another letdown at the price. A bit too high for the return. Sending my money elsewhere when it comes to Booksends.
    6. Digital Book Today: Cost = $30 I would possibly consider doing this one again. While the return wasn’t a huge profit, I at least broke even while increasing my Amazon sales rank. DBT is TBD.
    7. FKBT: Cost = $30 This has been a favorite of mine. I always get a solid return on the investment. FKBT has my vote!
    8. Kindle Book Review: Cost = $40 For the price it wasn’t bringing in enough return to recommend it. Sorry, KBR!
    9. Robin Reads: Cost = $50 I made a little profit on this one, and it was one of my higher returns. It’s a bit pricey, but all in all Robin offers some good reads so I’d use them again.
    10. Sweet Free Books: Cost = $8 For the price and the return–which was a small profit, but at least a profit–I’d recommend this sweet deal.

That’s all for this posting so that I don’t overwhelm you, but I’ll be back to discuss other book marketing tips on a budget. Stay tuned for more tips that help you turn your passion into profit … without selling the ranch to do it.


3 thoughts on “No Money, Mo’ Problems: Marketing Your Book without Selling the Ranch

  1. I hadn’t heard of Book Basset before, so thanks for that! I appreciate the run down on the rest too, because how’s an author to know when they’re piddling their money away, right? I had checked out Instafreebie this morning, but they are credit card only. Not always an option. So I was pleased to find Book Basset accepted PayPal.


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