Monday, April 15, 2024

Ideas to Help Authors Spend Book Marketing Dollars Wisely

by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

It's a myth that authors all make lots of money and yet PR people and others who offer to help with ask for hundreds and even thousands of dollars against the little per book made.

Let's consider ways to save on money, swap services for money, sell articles to cover expenses, free promotion to do, and how to spend money wisely.

Start local
  • Contact or visit local media stations and newspapers for interviews. opportunities. Volunteer for telethons so they want to help you.
  • Get to know store owners who might carry your book.
  • Check local banks or other place where you do business to see if they'll give you a display or opportunity to sell your books.
  • Check with church friends who travel frequently. Share your ministry vision and ask if they will use mileage or hotel points to help you attend a conference.
  • Write for your church bulletin and other needed content in trade for funding you to attend a conference.
  • Speak at your church or other local outlets to build your resume and jumpstart sales. Put our postcards the audience can send friends to promote the book to enlist then audience to become influencers.
  • After an interview or talk, ask for a reference and a referral. 

Engage in the Power of Other Authors
  • Follow authors in your genre. See where they have media interviews and listen up. Then create a pitch based on similar topics with unique slants or what you wish they had talked on more. Look up the host and pitch, or if they are a supporter of your book, ask for an email introduction to the host.
  • Share posts of authors that will relate to your audience and add a few thoughts to the post.
  • Consider doing a joint podcast of blog.
  • Hold a zoom call to share promotional ideas.
  • Give shout outs for friend's books.
  • Swap off being the book launch leader with another author who has a book release a month or two off from your own. Be sure you and the other person have a passion for one another's books and are enthusiastic to motivate followers.

  • Write articles that pay and some that don't a good promotion in the bio or even a free ad instead of payment
  • Discover what magazines like your articles and pay fast to build up money to invest in promotion.

Social Media Motivators
  • Build your following (sometimes with a $1 ad a day for a few months).
  • Share book snippets, engage with readers with questions and comments that can elicit responses.
  • Use action steps in your posts and watch for which ones work best., Then create more of those types of posts.
  • Use video in ads and posts. They garner more attention. With Canva you can create short videos with a simple group of photos and text. Or use to extract short clips to post from longer videos you have.

Free marketing
  • Social posts and it's getting easier to do that with AI incorporated to software that helps you create posts. Whether Canva, adobe express, Picmonkey, or other, most have upped their game and help find the perfect photos and templates to use. 
  • Contacting media yourself with a great press release and pitch. 
  • Try a crowdfunding campaign if you can motivate followers that it will bless people who really need the book. It might be to cover the cost or enough copies for every mom in a shelter, for retailers at a trade show, or the moms coming to a luncheon. Be specific on what it will go towards and how much money is needed.

The Power of Referrals

Referrals mentioned above are important. It's a great way to harness the power of relationships and success.

  • If people liked your talk, get the referral to post on your website and social media. 
  • Ask for names and contact information of people they think might want you to come and speak or be a guest.
  • Ask if they will email you and the hot or meeting planner to introduce you with a word of how much they benefited from you.
  • Ask the host what they think people liked the most in your talk and create a short video sharing those same ideas.

Choosing where to spend bucks
It can be better to pay a coach who equips you to do things on your own instead of needing to pay again. See if there's a good marketing coach to hire (or trade for services you can provide).

Sometimes to get to the next step it's good to hire someone. That might mean hiring a PR person to get you on a few TV shows or radio to break in, and to have great links to show other media. Be specific on what you want and make a deal to get that. 

Choose wisely. It's important to get a book release a good start. If someone who runs a launch team has a great track record it might be beneficial to hire the person. But, it might be better to ask readers and friends to create one-minute videos of how the book impacted them and post those everywhere.

List goals that could help sales and check out how to invest money to reach the goals. That's how to best decide where to spend marketing dollars.


Karen Whiting (WWW.KARENWHITING.COM) is an international speaker, former television host of Puppets on Parade, certified writing and marketing coach, and award-winning author of twenty-seven books for women, children, and families. Her newest book, The Gift of Bread: Recipes for the Heart and the Table reflects her passion for bread and growing up helping at her grandparent’s restaurant. Check out her newest book Growing a Mother’s Heart: Devotions of Faith, Hope, and Love from Mothers Past, Present, and Future. It's full of heartwarming and teary-eyed stories of moms.

Karen has a heart to grow tomorrow’s wholesome families today. She has written more than eight hundred articles for more than sixty publications and loves to let creativity splash over the pages of what she writes. She writes for Crosswalk. Connect with Karen on Twitter @KarenHWhiting Pinterest KarenWhiting FB KarenHWhiting.


  1. Karen, you always inspire me. Thank you so much. :-)

    1. Thanks. I try to give practical

  2. Karen,

    This article is filled with strategy and experienced insights for every writer--whether a beginner or seasoned. Thank you,

    author of Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success (Revised Edition) [Follow the Link for a FREE copy]

    1. Thanks. I like to share ideas that work.

  3. Karen, this is the most comprehensive and helpful article on marketing I've seen yet--thank you SOOO much!!

    And thank you to Edie, too, for always providing great content.

    Kind regards,

    1. Thanks. We all try to find what works.

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks. You are a pro at marketing also.