Marketing Your New Book on a Budget

 Contributed by Karen Cioffi

Within one week, a couple of years ago, I self-published a nonfiction book on writing for children, How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book, and had a traditionally published picture book released, The Case of the Plastic Rings – The Adventures of Planetman.

Dealing with one book being published is tough enough; two is a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re ghostwriting another story, or two, or three at the same time.

The first purpose of this article is to emphasize how important it is to market your book. If you don’t, you won’t get any sales, and just as bad, no one will read the story you worked so hard on.

The other purpose is to explain the strategies I used, am using, and will use to promote my books.


1.    Your Website’s Book Page
As soon as my books were available for sale, I added them to my Books page on my website.

I also included links to the sales pages.

I linked to the Amazon sales page for How to Write a Children's Fiction Book . And I linked to the publisher’s sales page for the traditionally published book.

To find out why I rarely link my books to their Amazon sales pages, you might read this:
Amazon, Your Book, And Third-Party Sellers

It’s important to note that you can and should do pre-publication promotion.

Let people know you have a book coming out. Give tidbits about the book to whet the reader’s appetite. If you have an email list (which you should), send a promotional email about your upcoming new book.

I didn’t do this at the time, as everything happened too fast, and I had too much on my plate.

2.    Video / Book Trailer
I created a video for my nonfiction book and for Walking Through Walls.

I have a paid subscription with Powtoons – that’s how I make my videos. You can add music or a voice-over.

They also have a free plan that gives you up to 60 seconds for your video.

I also intend to create a video (book trailer) for each of my children’s picture books.

3.    Author Interview
My publisher for the picture book did an author interview with me.

You can check it out here:
Interview with Karen Cioffi – The Case of the Plastic Rings

I promoted the interview through my social networks.

You can also ask peers or others with a ‘relevant to your book genre’ website if they’d be willing to do an interview with you.

4.    Book Reviews
Reviews help sell books.

I asked around for peers and others who would review my books and post their reviews to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads (or at least one of them).

For this, you’ll need to send a PDF of the book or a print copy if the reviewer requests it.

You can also find people who review books online. It’s important to make sure they’re reputable.

It’s also a good idea to ask the reviewer if you can post the review on your website.

Again, reviews help sell books.

5.    A Press Release
I didn’t have the time to do this step, but writing a press release for each of your new books is important, and asking fellow authors if they’ll put it up on their sites.

You should also post it to a press release distribution service.

There are free press release sites where you can upload the release to.

6. A Book Website
I had thought about creating a separate website for The Case of the Plastic Rings and the other three books in the series once they’re revised and re-published. But I decided against it.

While I have separate sites for my other two children’s fiction books, Walking Through Walls and Day’s End Lullaby, adding individual and detailed pages for each of my books to my ‘writing for children’ website will work better.

Keeping everything in one spot (on one website) has its advantages. You can see what I mean with my Books Page.

7.    Social Media
As soon as the books were available for sale, I posted about them to my social media accounts.

Currently, I’m using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

And I regularly promote them through my social media networks.

8.    Encourage Affiliate Marketing
A writer friend has an affiliate account with Amazon and was happy to promote my books.

If a friend or peer has an affiliate account with Amazon, they have more incentive to help you by promoting your book on their site.

They get a small payment for every book sold from their Amazon affiliate link. It’s not much, but it can add up if you do volume.

9.    Using PayPal’s Buy Buttons
If you’re self-publishing your book on Amazon, in addition to selling through them, you can use PayPal Buy Buttons on your website.

That’s what I did.

You can see how it works here:

Why did I do this?

In case you didn’t read the article above about Amazon and 3rd-party sellers, the gist of it is that Amazon allows 3rd-party sellers to sell your book.

My nonfiction book had just come out and 3rd-party sellers were already selling it through Amazon. I set the paperback price at $14.95, but it was being sold for $14.95 to $25. It’s crazy.

These 3rd-party sellers do the same thing with traditionally published books which is why I usually link to the publisher’s selling page rather than Amazon’s.

There’s no way to know where those 3rd-party sellers are getting the books from – they may be bootlegged. This means the author and publisher don’t get the money they should from the sale.

Another reason to sell from your own website is that you’ll make more money. If you’ve distributed your book through IngramSpark, there are a lot of fees taken from your book sales for paperback and hardcover books.

I hope this gives you some ideas for your own book marketing journey.


Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author, ghostwriter, editor, and coach with clients worldwide.


FICTION WRITING FOR CHILDREN Self-Guided Course and Mentoring Program

WRITERS ON THE MOVE PRESS (self-publishing help for children’s authors).

You can check out Karen’s books at:



Terry Whalin said...


What a wise series of actions every author can take with their book! Thank you for writing this article and continuing to guide authors. I regularly see authors who publish a book and have no reviews yet they've proven 97% of the people who purchase online have read a review before they buy. If you want to sell books online, you need to get some reviews--and the more the better in my view.

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

Karen Cioffi said...

Terry, it's fundamental that reviews help sell books. I had no idea that 97% of people read reviews before buy a book! Thanks for sharing!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

You know that "budget" part would appeal to me, right? Really covers some aspects authors don't often see.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Terry, I tend to keep offering my books for review long after their release. I can't trace sales to my efforts, but it's great networking.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Karen Cioffi said...

Thank you, Carolyn. I knew the 'budget' part would get you! LOL

Linda Wilson said...

Thank you for your terrific article, Karen. I am going to work on your suggestions right away!

Karen Cioffi said...

Thanks, Linda. I'm glad you found the article helpful!

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