Guest Post: Marketing on a Budget by Kathryn Jones

Kathryn Jones contacted SPALs with an article about marketing on a budget. Since we believe in the freedom of each author to make their own decisions, we decided to post this guest post for those that may be interested. Please be aware that by posting this, we are in no way endorsing or ensuring the effectiveness of the process presented below.


Whether your book is not quite finished or has just begun to see the light of day, you’ve probably been thinking about marketing. Whether you’ve been published with a national publisher or have decided to go the road alone, you know that in order to sell your book you’ll have to tell others about it.

In a recent Verso survey it was estimated that 49.2% of people discover books from personal recommendations and only 11.8% of books are discovered from social networks. Does that mean that you should eliminate social networking efforts altogether?

I don’t think so. More than giving up on one marketing idea over another, I think it’s more important to balance your time to the degree readers discover books. That means that first and foremost, you must:

Talk your book up. Say I’m at the grocery store and waiting in line. What do I talk about? My book. I’ve just finished eating at a restaurant. I want to compliment the cooks on the meal I’ve had. I ask to talk to the manager. We discuss the great meal and then I thank the manager by handing him/her a postcard about my book. You get the idea.

If you’re excited about your book, others will be, too. And I’m not suggesting getting overbearing about it, just to mention it. If the person is interested, they will ask you questions, if not, so be it. There will be plenty of people out there that want to hear about your book.

Bookstore and staff recommendations are pretty high too, 30.8%, but not all self-published authors are able to get their book into a large store like Barnes & Noble (though they can usually get it in Barnes & Here’s what many do instead:

  • Place their book on consignment in an independent book store. Give the store 40% of the profits for every book they sell.
  • Be a part of a side-walk event, conference, or other endeavor that brings in large numbers of people interested in books.

Advertising makes up 24.4% of the pie, but it doesn’t have to cost you a cent. Try advertising your book through book blogs on others’ sites, interviews, YouTube, contests, free press release sites, and more. It’s amazing what is out there in free advertising, especially if you’re willing to do something in return.

Get your book in the library. This is a tough task, one I’m working on right now. But recently, through listening to others I have discovered some juicy tidbits.

  • Take your book in as a donation with some marketing material such as a press release and a list of reviews.
  • Have trusted friends and family call the library near you and ask for a copy of your book. I will be talking about my new book at a book group, and there are no books yet available within the library system; this has made it difficult for some readers of the group who rarely buy fiction. I’ve got to get working!

Blogs take up 12.1% of the pie, so it’s nice to have a blog/website. If you’re not sure how that looks the main idea is that you want to have a site that continually changes and updates, at least once a week. If not, folks may stop by once to see what you’ve got going, try again a second time, and when they see nothing has changed, stop coming back.

Book Reviews are also important. Readers will discover your book 18.9% of the time here. I have worked pretty heavily on book reviews; maybe more than I should have, but my goal was to have a minimum of 10 reviews on Amazon. I currently have 9.

In addition, online algorithms take up 16.0% and search engines, 21.6%. These two topics are important to your listing when people search for your book title or name online. You want to be high in ranking—either first or second at all times—and come up numerous times after that. The more you are seen the better.

When it comes to book marketing, the more you believe in yourself and the book you have written, the more others will get interested in what you have to offer. It is never enough to merely publish a book, you must get out there and spread the word.


Kathryn has published various newspaper stories, magazine articles, essays and short stories for teens and adults.  She is the author of: “A River of Stones,” a young adult fiction novel dealing with divorce published in 2002, and “Conquering your Goliaths—A Parable of the Five Stones,” a Christian novel published in January of 2012. Her newest creation, a “Conquering your Goliaths—Guidebook,” was published in February of 2012.

Visit her website at

Check out her books at

One thought on “Guest Post: Marketing on a Budget by Kathryn Jones

  1. williamkendall1 May 1, 2012 / 10:54 pm

    Great post, Kathryn!

    I’ve done some of the talking the book up thing with people I’ve come across from time to time.

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