Independent Publishing Chapter 7

Chapter 7 – How do I Self-Publish and Market my Indie Book?

Market Your Book Effectively

Everything I’ve done thus far indicates I’m preparing for a longer-term author career and making decisions that suggest a wider distribution model.

I’ve learned how to build a beautiful website that hopefully attracts people. I’ve studied search engine optimization through Yoast to help plan my blog post writing and website design. The future redesign will include a revised front page with pop-ups asking for visitors to sign-up to my newsletter in exchange for free artwork and samples from my book. Before publication, I’ll revise the front page again to attract readers to buy the paperback, e-book, or audiobook.

Because it suits my brand, I designed over 150 beautiful character profiles in Adobe Spark. I will post to my Instagram profile and website leading up to the book launch. I hope the art will pull readers into liking or disliking characters. While this process was fun and creative, it was particularly draining. The next time I build images, I will pay the $10 for a month and not cram the work into the free two-week trial period. Or, I won’t create as many images…

Rather than blasting customers with free promotions or Countdown deals every 90 days via Amazon, my brand and books are more suited to regular and steady drip campaigns. My goal is to build a customer base over time with mailing list strategies, a slicker website, useful blog content, quality newsletters, reader magnets, and targeted ad campaigns using Facebook, Amazon, and Bookbub.

So I’ve decided to use the wide distribution model. How does this affect my pre-launch, launch, and post-launch marketing strategy?


Gaining Email Addresses Through Giveaways

Knowing my goal is to increase readers to my mailing list, I first must decide which service to use. I’ll most likely use Mailer Lite because of its quality and free pricing up to 1000 subscribers. Next, how do I gain emails and newsletter subscribers beyond my current network of family, friends, and past colleagues? Giveaways are a useful tool, and I plan to use Kingsumo and Goodreads.

I understand some may only give me an email address for the free goods and may unsubscribe after the giveaway ends. Reedsy recommends emailing the giveaway list a link to your reader magnet. You’ll know which people are generally interested in staying as subscribers if they request the reader magnet in exchange for an email address.

Gaining Reviews Before Launch

Goodreads giveaways don’t give email addresses, but I hope to receive reviews from readers in Goodreads. This way, I’ll have sufficient reviews before launch week. I plan to offer the max of 100 e-books through the standard or premium package, and I may offer 20 or so paperbacks through the premium package. Buying the premium package will depend on my overall marketing budget and expected return on investment.

Another way to get reviews before launch is to pay services to read my book and give reviews. For example, Netgalley, Writers Digest, and many others offer these services. I’ve read the pros and cons of paying professionals to read and write reviews. At this time, I’m leaning towards not using this option and getting reader reviews through Goodreads instead.


I’m currently learning about Facebook, Amazon, and Bookbub advertising. All seem very effective in targeting readers, but they do require a learning curve and trial-and-error. I plan to run a few campaigns using A/B testing and will promote the book’s release prior to launch and during launch week.

Key Questions

A Kingsumo giveaway will generate email addresses, but how many will be good leads?

Is a Goodreads premium package worth the high cost ($599/giveaway) to potentially get reviews versus a standard package ($119/giveaway)?

How do I make a newsletter unique? Why will readers give me an email address?

Create an Awesome Launch Plan


Reedsy lists websites that offer book promotions. Many cater to readers looking for free or deeply discounted books in various genres. Each website shows different promotional packages for authors. Some cost more than others depending on the genre, mailing list size, and if professional reviewers read the book before accepting submissions. Most sites require the e-book to be free or discounted below $2.99. As most websites indicate, authors will get the most downloads with free books, and the next most with books priced at $0.99.

Currently, I’m leaning against being exclusive with Amazon for KDP Select and Audible. I want wider distribution with more retailers. However, this means if I want to offer free promotions during launch week, I need to price the e-book free each day with different retailers and rely on Amazon to price-match. Hopefully, if I initiate this process early enough with Amazon, they will accept.

Example Launch Week Plan Fall 2021

Promote with Facebook, Amazon, and/or Bookbub advertising prior to launch week and during launch week.

Monday: Send notes to followers and email subscribers about free promotions on Freebooksy and Booksends. If I have received the planned Bookbub promotion date, I will use Bookbub. Bookbub is very competitive, and the promotion price must be equal to or lower than the price over the last 30 days.

Tuesday: Free promotions on Robin Reads, Fussy Librarian, and Book Rebel.

Wednesday: $0.99 promotion on E-Reader News and Bargain Booksy.

Thursday: $1.99 promotion on Early Bird Books and Riffle Select. Both sites are more expensive and selective with book submissions. Books must be reviewed first.

Friday: $3.99 on all retailer sites.

Saturday: $5.99 on all retailer sites.

Sunday: $7.99 on all retailer sites.

Monday: Regular e-book price of $9.99.

Each promotional ad will include a universal book link, pointing customers with one link to the different retailers selling the book.

When the Findaway Voices audiobook is finished, I’ll add samples to my website. I’ll promote sales through my network, mailer list, and targeted ad campaigns.


~$500-$900 for launch week costs. Costs will be lower if I don’t include the more expensive promotional sites from Early Bird Books and Riffle Select. To save costs, I’m leaning towards excluding the more expensive promotional sites and extending the free promotion to another day. I can use the more expensive promotions during post-launch.

Additional costs for Facebook, Amazon, and Bookbub ads.

Additional costs for giveaways.

Additional costs for book release parties in Raleigh, Durham, and Cincinnati.


From post-launch until Christmas, I plan to run Facebook, Amazon, and Bookbub ads tied to Christmas gift spending.

Beginning in 2022, I’ll run targeted campaigns and will periodically email my mailer list asking people to leave reviews. I’ll submit Cornerstone for book prizes. Next, I’ll seek to collaborate with other authors and offer book bundles through Bookfunnel. I’ll also add new items to my reader magnet or add items available only to my mailer lists such as deleted scenes, artwork, and short stories. I plan to send weekly newsletters, though this goal seems a little daunting to me at this point. I’m currently drafting ideas for newsletter topics, but I will need help from readers for suggestions.

Additionally, I’d like to publish a hard-copy version of Cornerstone with illustrations in 2022.

Meanwhile, I’m beginning to write book 2…

1 thought on “Chapter 7 – How do I Self-Publish and Market my Indie Book?”

  1. Wendy Edwards

    Wow! This sounds like a great plan! Please include me in everything!

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