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Indie Publishing: Promotion as an Aspiring Author

Alright. Here we go, jumping into a subject that isn't only hard to write, it's hard to act upon in healthy ways. Whether you're a future author or a seasoned veteran, you have an opportunity to share your stories with the world on your own terms. Here is a little about my experience, learning, and hopes in this realm.

Self-Publishing: Promotion as an Aspiring Author

In today's over-crowded world of books, writing a masterpiece isn't enough to get eyeballs on your work. You have to show passion for your written words. Readers want to see that new authors value themselves and their work. After all, they want to trust that your book is worth the time and money.

Hint: Think of self-promotion as showing pride in your work and demonstrating your desire for readers to experience what you have to say.


Here are a few reasons why indie authors need to promote even more than established authors. We need the following:

Awareness: Putting yourself out there and sharing your writing and yourself helps you attract the attention of future readers. If nobody knows about you or your book, they won’t know to check it out. You're depriving them of the opportunity.

Credibility: Effective self-promotion can help you establish trust. Showcase your talents and share your writing process to demonstrate you are an author. (Sometimes we need this self-inflicted reminder for ourselves.)

Interest: By sharing excerpts, revealing your book title, and announcing release dates, you can create anticipation and excitement among your growing audience. Believe it or not, this does work.

Community: Self-promotion is an opportunity to build a community of fellow authors and dedicated readers. By actively engaging with your audience on social media, through your website, and elsewhere, you can attract new followers and fans.


For me, one of the hardest steps in self-promotion is sharing what I'm working on with as many people as I can. It's easy to think that incomplete or out-of-context tidbits will turn everyone away. Whether it's a novel, a collection of short stories, or a non-fiction book, give future readers the opportunity to decide for themselves. Don't deprive them. You'll find that you'll resonate with some of them. Those are your people.

Hint: Post updates on your social media channels. Share behind-the-scenes details, photos, or videos about your writing progress.


Your author website is your online home and the central hub for your self-promotion efforts. Make sure your website is up-to-date with information about your current projects, upcoming releases, and contact details. This is an area that I feel confident in because I have decades of experience developing websites, so if you have questions, please ask. This is a short read that I wrote on the subject.

Hint: Put yourself front and center until you have a book cover to display. You can still promote your "Book" or "Projects" on the front page of your site or a separate page by introducing a book cover, title, and summary.


I know, I know. Writing a blog is hard. I'm trying to write one every week, and it's tough going. The trick for me is to take a question that other people ask, and then answer it. This post about self-promotion came from a question posed on X (Twitter). The question you answer can be deep, simple, or silly. It’s up to you. What do you eat for breakfast and why? How do you deal with stress? Why did I search the running speed of a heavily laden camel?

Fortunately, you’re a badass and an author, so writing is in your wheelhouse, even if it’s a different format than you’re used to. As a beginning author, confidence can be hard for me and might be for you. Here is my post on imposter syndrome. Interestingly enough, with each post, I gain more confident in myself as an author. Think about how much you know about publishing today as compared to before you started this journey. Think of all the things you wish your favorite artist wrote about when they were in your shoes.

Hint: Consider writing book reviews, author interviews, personal anecdotes, jaunts into research, the meaning behind a sentence, or how it felt to read a great review.


This is a piece of advice I get from my fellow authors but struggle with following through on. Give your current and future readers a sneak peek into your writing by sharing excerpts or passages of your work in progress. By sharing them on your website, blog, or social media channels, you can build anticipation and excitement for your upcoming book. Hugh Howey drummed up so much fanfare this way that he became a world-famous author.

Hint: Excerpts can showcase your writing style, character development, or micro plot twists. Be careful to entice them without revealing spoilers.


Once you've chosen a title for your book, share it with your audience! Your book's title is an important part of your book’s aesthetics and feel. Readers are often intrigued by what is behind a book's name. Every touch point helps.

Hint: Create a visually appealing image featuring your book's title and share it wherever you can.


Your book cover is the first impression readers will have of your work, so make it count! Set a countdown to the reveal, then let it loose into the universe. There is absolutely nothing wrong with showing how excited you are about the cover. Let your smile loose on the interwebs.

Hint: Get advice on how to get the cover you want at a price you can afford. Here’s my cover advice.


Once you have a release date for your book, share it with your audience! Remember, every touchpoint is a good touchpoint. Every nudge brings people closer to pre-ordering or buying your book.

Hint: Comment on how excited you are for people to see it three months out, then two, then one, then a week out. You will be thrilled and nervous and proud and all the other emotions, so be sure to share your big feelings.


Guest interviews are a fantastic way to reach an audience of potential readers. This is a piece of advice that I took to hear even if they are hard on me as a chronically ill dude with serious limitations. Here's my experience with podcasts. Look for podcasts, blogs, or other online platforms in your genre. Reach out to them and inquire about guest interview opportunities. You may be nervous about this, but hosts are great at calming us down and helping us show our best sides. They genuinely want to help us shine.

Hint: Prepare talking points and key messages. Practice your 30-second elevator pitch for your book. Pass it by a friend. Make sure you have a quick description of yourself. Have your webpage address and social media handles memorized.


You’ve probably heard, “build a following,” a hundred times and still don’t know what it means or where to start. Social media is both daunting and a powerful tool for connecting people with like interests. Your goal is to share your passion and books with other book-minded people. By sharing your opinions, asking readers and authors some bookish questions, and interacting with them in a positive way, you'll slowly grow a community of people who support you and find you interesting. Yes, you are interesting. If you have words that flow out of you, you are one of the most interesting people on the planet.

Hint: Post regularly, about your work in progress, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and genre-specific trivia. Respond to comments. Ask questions. Share content you are genuinely interested in. If you like model planes, discuss that. If you're an ancestry buff, then engage people with those interests.


There are countless things you can do. Ultimately, it comes down to what you have the time, skill, and interest in doing. Some of these things may feel uncomfortable at first, but you’ll get used to them if you try.

Virtual Launch: Host a virtual party and answer questions about your book on launch day.

Exclusive Content: Give email subscribers extra info that others don’t get. Hint at it to drum up more subscribers.

Collaborate: Working with other authors on joint promotions or giveaways doubles your reach.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions should be answered on social media and your website.


The goal is to get the most benefit for the time you spend on promoting yourself and your books. It’s easy to overdo it and gobble up the time you allotted to writing, slowing your progress. It’s also easy to let it go and forget about it. Here are some tips that may help:

Schedule Posts: Preset dates for your promotional material to drop. Most social media and blog platforms provide this.

Promotion Sprints: Set a pattern with social media when you allow yourself to work on avangelizing your work. Outside this time, social media should be off-limits.

Non-Creative Times: We can’t always be creative. For me, this happens at night and on bad health days. That’s when I write posts like this one and engage more on social media.


Please be kind to yourself. This doesn’t come naturally to most of us. Lord, do I know. Most of us sign up for authorship to put words on the screen because we have a desire or compulsion. I have to remind myself to be okay with the fact that I'm not a natural self-promoter and that's okay. I'm learning. You will too.


Q. What if I'm not comfortable promoting myself?

A. Start by talking about things you like. Find people who like those things. As questions. “What’s your favorite type of wool?” or “Are toads prettier than frogs?” Respond to and follow people with similar interests. 

Q. How can I measure the effectiveness of my self-promotion efforts?

A. Track key metrics such as social media followers, blog views, and most importantly, book reviews. (I value reviews above sales because it means I impacted someone.)

Q. Should I invest in paid advertising to promote my book?

A. Paid advertising is a whole different beast. It’s a messy animal with too many facets to cover in one post. Here’s one about Amazon Ads.

Q. How can I leverage my existing network to promote my work?

A. Reach out to friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances. Ask them to support your book. Note, sometimes it’s harder to get family members to help than random strangers. Your mom might not appreciate your genre whereas there are millions of readers out there who do.

Q. What if I receive negative feedback or criticism?

A. Not if, when. It’s inevitable. It can hurt, particularly when someone tanks your book-baby in a public setting. If they’re trolls, their sliminess is their issue. If it is honest feedback, listen with an open mind. What they say may help you grow or might tell you that you’re marketing your book incorrectly. A post about this will drop in a few weeks.

Q. How can I stay motivated during the self-promotion process?

A. Focus on your passion for writing and the excitement of sharing your stories with readers. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small, and stay connected with supportive fellow authors and readers.

Q. How long does it take to see results from self-promotion efforts?

A. Results may vary depending on various factors such as your target audience, promotional tactics, and book genre. Be patient and persistent, and continue to refine your strategies based on feedback and data.

Q. What if I make mistakes or face setbacks in my self-promotion journey?

A. Mistakes are a natural part of the learning process. Embrace them as opportunities for growth and learning. Stay resilient, adapt to challenges, and keep moving forward with determination.

Q. How can I maintain authenticity and integrity in my self-promotion efforts?

A. Stay true to your values. Be honest, transparent, and genuine in your interactions with your audience. Prioritize building meaningful connections over sales pitches.


As always, I appreciate your support of indie authors. In the name of putting myself out there, here are a few of my works.

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