*All of the books featured in this article can be purchased on Amazon.com. Just search Amazon for the author’s name and/or book title. If your purchase initiates from this website, I get a small commission that keeps me in business. Thank you!
You don’t need a big budget, a lot of time, or expertise to promote your books. Here are 10 things you can do — for free.
- Ask your fellow indie authors if they are interested in interviewing you. Many have blogs and need content.
- Tweet and post about the interview. You can do this every other day for at least a few weeks on Twitter.
- Share and retweet the blogger’s promotions of the interview.
- Post a link to the interview on your own website. (Don’t have one? Read this.)
- Write a press release about your book. PRLog has a free option. Here’s an example.
- Promote the press release on Facebook and Twitter.
- Tweet about your book regularly. Use Hootsuite to schedule tweets in advance.
- Retweet other authors’ tweets. Most will return the favor.
- Post about your book (occasionally) on LinkedIn.
- Setup your author page on Amazon.
The absolute easiest marketing you can do is RETWEET (not just like) and SHARE tweets and posts about your books.
You retweet so all of your followers will see it. Liking a tweet is just you telling the tweeter, “Hey, nice tweet.” Same on Facebook. Sharing tells all your followers (friends and people who like your page). Adding your own comments to the share or retweet is optional, but more powerful.
There are setup options in Facebook and Twitter to be notified if someone mentions you in a post or tweet. You login to your account, click on notifications, click on each notification to directly go to the post or tweet, then click the share or retweet button. Three clicks. Three free clicks. To get free promotion.
The Gittle List is an annual book competition I have hosted for the last four years. It is exclusively for self-published children’s picture book authors. A cornerstone of the contest is cross-promotion. I give the winners free promotion by including them and their books in marketing for the contest.
Since 2013, I have given many authors, artists, and others free promotion in the form of interviews, Facebook and LinkedIn posts, articles, press releases, and tweets. I have created an uncountable number of ads that include book covers, artwork, quotes, and publicity photos. Recently, I created a promotional video for all the 2016 winners.
Many of the recipients of this free promotion do little or nothing with it. Some say they are just not savvy with marketing or social media. If you do nothing else, learn how to share posts and tweets.
A unique feature of The Gittle List book competition is the chance for entrants to get free promotion. So, entering earlier would increase their chances. Yet, at least half of the entries come in during the last two weeks of the nearly year-long submission period.
When the contest is over, I find that few of the authors share the many posts and articles that go out across several social media platforms. These same authors are frustrated at their low books sales.
There is no easy money in publishing. But, there is some easy marketing you can do. Take advantage of the work someone else did writing about you and your book by taking 15 seconds to share it. It’s so easy, even indie authors like us can do it.
Have a topic you’d like me to write about? Email me at GoToGittle@gmail.com or leave a comment here.
Aviva Gittle Publishing offers great stories for children in English and Spanish, including the Kitten and Friends / Gatito y amigos series. Aviva’s website, www.GoToGittle.com shares the stories of authors, illustrators and others who create books and creative media for children.
Aviva Gittle Publishing Kitten Love Contest rules:
- No purchase necessary.
- Void where prohibited.
- Purchasing an Aviva Gittle Publishing product does not increase your chances of winning.
- Must be age 18 or over to enter.
- How to enter: In a comment in the Facebook contest announcement post, fill in the blanks in this sentence: “I named my cat _____________ because ____________” The comment with the most likes by the end of the contest period wins. The comment must be in English.
- Must have a US address to win a print book signed by the author.
- A winner outside the US will be gifted an eBook through Amazon. A valid email and Amazon account is required.
- Contest begins December 19, 2016 at the time the Facebook contest post is made available to the public and ends midnight, Central Standard Time (CST) December 31, 2016.
- Winner will be posted in the comments of the contest Facebook post by midnight CST, January 1, 2016.
- One print book signed by the author or one eBook will be awarded. (Print book for winner with a mailing address in the US; eBook for outside the US-must provide a valid email address and be able to accept an Amazon gift eBook).
- Winner will be posted in a comment in the Facebook Kitten Love Contest post on January 1, 2016. The winner will have until midnight CST January 4, 2016 to email Contest@GittlePublishing.com with the Subject “Kitten Love” to claim their prize. If the winner does not claim their prize, the person with the second highest likes on their comment will be announced in the same way. They will have until midnight CST, January 7, 2016 to claim their prize by sending an email with the Subject line “Kitten Love” to Contest@GittlePublishing.com. If that person does not claim their prize, no prizes will be awarded.
- Winner can indicate which Kitten and Friends book they prefer: Kitten & Butterfly, Kitten & Koi, Kitten & Snake, Gatito y Mariposa, or Kitten and Squirrel. The print book may or may not be a “proof” (pre-production) copy of the book. If the winner does not specify in the email which book they want, or if for any reason their preferred book is not available, another Kitten and Friends book will be selected by Aviva Gittle Publishing at their discretion.
- Should their be a tie (comments receiving the same number of likes), the earliest entry will be awarded the prize.
- The Sponsor of the Campaign is Aviva Gittle Publishing, 330 Rayford Road, 177, Spring, TX 77386, USA.
- The Campaign hosted by Aviva Gittle Publishing is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook.
How did it feel to win a spot on The Gittle List Top 10? While I have won awards for my work as a medical illustrator, Amos Likes to Jump was my first published picture book. It was immensely gratifying to be recognized for the hard work that collectively went into this book. As a first-time author and illustrator team, we are thrilled to have placed on the Gittle List. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our second book in the Amos series.
What children’s book contains your favorite illustrations? I love the whimsy of Shel Silverstein’s work. The starkness of his illustrations in The Giving Tree lend themselves so beautifully to the emotions in the text.
What is your favorite children’s book? My favorite children’s book of all time is The Lorax. I love the illustrations of the candy-like other world filled with truffala trees and the way Dr. Suess plays with light and darkness to evoke the changing mood in the book. I read it so often to my cousin’s child a few summers ago that I almost know every word by heart, and yet I never tired of it. To me, that is the mark of a lasting book.
Which artists or writers most influenced or inspired your work? Currently, one of my favorite children’s book illustrators is Will Terry. The use of light and color in his work really inspires me. He uses light very purposefully in order to set the mood of his illustrations, and his attention to detail is truly respectable.
What is your favorite color or color combination? I like using varying shades of blue and turquoise in my work. It’s a very calming color and I use it in most all of my work, children’s book and otherwise.
Why did you decide to self-publish? Because the Amos books are about a real dog, [the author] Margaret Lowder really wanted to ensure that our books are true to the spirit of Amos himself. I did not anticipate the sometimes condescending attitude towards self-published books, but have been glad to see some recognition that authors are now choosing this route willingly over traditional methods.
Do you prefer to work digitally, by hand, or both? I prefer to combine traditional and digital methods in my work. I create my sketches in 2B pencil and apply color digitally. There is something about hand-wrought work that I think will always be appealing to readers.
Tell us about your latest project. I am currently working on final illustrations for the second book in the series of Amos Tales, entitled Amos Bounces Back: A Tale of Too Much TV. This book is due for release in the Summer of 2016. In order to reach an older audience, this book will be a large picture book (not a board book like Amos Likes to Jump).
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? I had a professor in graduate school for Medical Illustration who passed away as I was working on this children’s book. Professor Mascaro taught that you should draw, draw, draw, and draw some more. He [also] told me that besides drawing, the best thing I could do was to really understand color.
What do you do to market your books? Aside from setting up readings and signings in shops, libraries, and schools, we have an active social media presence on facebook and instagram. We have a blog on amosthedog.com where we share dog treat recipes on #TreatYourselfTuesdays, and we promote the book through blogs and magazines.
Ellen is a science lover turned artist who found her niche as a medical illustrator. With a BFA in Scientific Illustration and a master’s degree in Medical Illustration, Ellen is well versed in color and design. Whether painting Amos or anatomy, she brings dynamic color and energy to her work. Ellen’s specialties include children’s book illustration, medical illustration and animation, veterinary illustration, and pet portraiture. When not creating art, she can be found cooking and spending time with her chocolate lab, Nala.
Aviva Gittle writes and publishes children’s stories in English and Spanish. Each year, Aviva runs The Gittle List contest to support her fellow indie authors. Oh, she also loves children’s picture books and is always on the lookout for great ones. The 2016 Gittle List Contest is in full swing: submission guidelines. Follow @AvivaGittle and signup for Gittle News (look right) to be the first to know when they are posted! 😺