Best Books on Marketing for Indie Authors

Ann Venkataraman
Oct 1, 2020 · 4 min read

Boost Sales even with Self Publishing!

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Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Indie authors know that marketing self-published books take almost as much time as writing them! So any strategy that can boost sales is a God-send. Well, these books do exactly that…

Obviously the success of the techniques used with self-publishing change every time Amazon tweaks its algorithms, with passing book fads and sudden news items. However, these books do show some evergreen ideas. Consider them the baseline ideas and modify them accordingly.

And if you did have a “traditional” publisher, but sales never took off then consider reviving life into your book sales with the methods in these books.

Quick Book List

#1 How to Market a Book

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Screenshot from writer’s Kindle — Joanna Penn & Mark Coker

I love Joanna Penn because she had found success and bestseller status with both fiction and non-fiction books. So her strategies obviously work across genres! So this book “How to Market a Book” should be a must-have for every indie author.

Bonus, every couple of years she also updates her book to reflect the changing marketplace for indie authors. She also runs an excellent blog and podcast where guests talk about current techniques for improving book sales — Amazon ads, KDP rocket software, selling internationally, etc. So feel free to follow to stay abreast of the latest tricks and techniques.

#2 Smashwords Book Marketing Guide

This is partially a pitch to sell your book via the Smashwords platform and partially a guide on book marketing. I have not used Smashwords (yet) but I like the idea of having a central place where I can sell to libraries, international markets, and book retailers, all from one place. Yes, Amazon expanded distribution also does that but the analytics suck and it is difficult to know which retailers you are sending to!

If your books cater to an international market, then definitely look into this platform. (Not applicable if you are enrolled in KDP Select)

That said, the marketing techniques are solid and worth implementing!

#3 How I Sold 80k books

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Screenshot from writer’s Kindle — Alinka Rutkowska

Alinka is a bestselling children’s book writer and she shares her success recipes via these two non-fiction books on how to sell books. When I first started “How I sold 80k books” I was skeptical but figured anyone who made it to the WSJ bestseller lists and sold over 50,000 books in any genre would have some ideas worth noting.

The book does not disappoint at all and gives you ideas you would otherwise never consider. For example, how about reaching out to airport bookstores to sell your books? Yes, I can see the eye-rolls as people point out everyone has an iPad or Kindle — still, people do buy books even today. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Perhaps it is just for vanity but the idea of getting passersby at least registering my book (and cover) seems worth exploring.

The book also has a massive list of book contests where you can submit your book; “award-winning author” does have a nice ring to it and does boost sales. More importantly, the tag is fabulous to get speaking engagements where you can pitch your book.

Read the book for more direct and indirect tactics to turbocharge your sales numbers.

#4 Write and Grow Rich

This is a collection of methods from authors, publishers, bloggers, and book marketers. The book is about marketing, though not exclusive to indie authors. Still worth a read to open your mind to new ideas for promoting your book.

If you write under a pen name or do NOT have a website platform for your books, you should definitely pick up this book! The strategies listed will help you immensely.

#5 Write to Market

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Screenshot from writer’s Kindle — Chris Fox

The title might be a dealbreaker for writers who consider their art sacred. However, if financial freedom and making money are your main goals then this book is ideal for you. For the former group, read it anyway — if your genre is a popular one, you might still benefit from the ideas or at least realize you need to temper expectations about sales and profits.

Hope you find this post useful. Is there any other book missing from this list that you found beneficial for your indie marketing efforts? Respond in the comments on what you liked best, so I can include it in a future list.

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