Of course authors who are prepared to promote their own book are a publisher’s dream. We do what we can to help you here, by sharing contacts and activities. An author’s social media work can be started at any time in the process. But always be aware that when you are promoting your book, you are trying to get people interested in buying it. So timing is important. You want the book to be available for pre-order at least. Our advice is to start promoting the book 6 months ahead of publication and include buy links where possible.

The first step is to make the most of your publicist’s time.

There are things that you can do in preparation that don’t involve directly promoting your book. A lot of the activities in this section can be started immediately, upon signing a publishing contract. Most of it is about building an audience for your book. It takes time and effort. You may have already built up an online presence, if so, please check though our advice and see if you have been applying best practises. If you can add advice, or have an example of something you have found to work well in book promotion, please share your experiences with us via the Author Forum.

Doing it yourself

SEO – Search engine optimization. Sounds technical and complicated but put simply, think about the words associated with your book that will draw the attention of the most applicable reader for it. We are talking keywords and metadata. Words that easily portray what your book is about and who it will appeal to. See CHAPTER 3: THE MARKET – KEYWORDS for more information. We ask you to provide keywords here and we will edit these to ensure you have the most appropriate. We suggest that you use these in all communication about the book.

What kind of approaches to marketing do you intend to utilize? This is personal and depends on your skill set and what you are comfortable doing. We are not suggesting that you have to do any of these things, though it helps in the longer-term promotion of your writing.

In this section we offer information to help you develop a strong and influential online author platform.

There’s a useful post here: https://janefriedman.com/how-to-be-active-on-social-without-losing-your-mind/

A website – this is discussed more fully in Author Branding.

A blog – also discussed more fully in Author Branding.

Social media – this takes many forms and will continue to evolve. We have dedicated chapter on social media to the various sites currently being utilised by authors. If you are already using social media, link to us. We have specific genre offerings. Sites discussed are:

On a lot of these social media sites #hashtags are used in a similar way to keywords. How to use them is discussed here in Hashtags. Visual content is important on social media too and we discuss this in Memes. Video content is pretty easy to do yourself with a little bit of ‘kit’, see the YouTube section for information. The content used in one form of social media, can normally be used on the others, for a wide marketing reach.

EVENTS/SIGNINGS – This can be split into different types. Some non-fiction authors may be involved in workshops or talks in their genre field. Fiction authors may get involved in local book festivals. Non-fiction authors may have speaking engagements at international conferences. All authors may choose to do local book store signings or book store readings/talks.

This is profile building. Getting started can be daunting, but some of the smaller venues can be actively seeking speakers, as they too are building a profile as event organisers. Again, there can often be a correlation between your online audience and how you are perceived by others that may want to partner with you.

Do you have personal contacts that can provide an Endorsement for your book? These can be sought early on in the process if they are to be included in the book or in the publicity of the book.

Reviews are the lifeblood of your book promotion, so what do you need to do to get them?

Amazon (as a retailer) is a key player when it comes to driving your audience to your book. Amazon suggest that 25 good reviews on or very quickly around launch date is key. This article by publicity expert, Tim Grahl at Book Launch is very helpful indeed. We will use this as our template. Another industry expert, Jane Friedman advises authors to start local with their own publicity efforts. However, this activity is not just about Amazon, it is about word of mouth and social media too. Looking at your list of friends, family and colleagues, you can tell them you have written a book and invite them to buy and read it and leave a review in whatever way they feel comfortable with.

You can ask them to put their review on Amazon and Goodreads if they have accounts already. You can also suggest that they share their review on their own social media feeds.

Be aware that Amazon has a stringent policy about honest reviews, actively seeking out and deleting reviews it deems to be from known associates (family and friends). How they work this out, isn’t clear. Check their Customer Review Guidelines (UK here, US here), they change frequently. Online retailers may remove reviews they deem to be used as promotion.

This may sound contradictory with the advice given here, however, if you have a large list of friends/family and colleagues, then telling them that you have written a book and asking them to review is still a good idea. The risk of losing one Amazon review, can be offset by having an active blogger on your list of friends, or someone with a large social media following.

Here are some pointers:

Draw up a list of your personal contacts (family, friends, colleagues for example), as many as possible.

Create an excel spreadsheet to work from.

You have just written and will be publishing a book. This is a huge achievement, why wouldn’t you want to tell people about it?

You are going to offer your contacts a free early PDF of your book.

In return, you are going to request that they give an honest opinion of your book.

You will ask them to put this on Amazon and Goodreads (you need to have active accounts on these platforms), or share on their current social media feeds or blogs if they have them.

NB: This is not unethical or against the rules.

Multiple reviews aid sales of your book, which then increases the reviews, creating a virtuous circle.

Author and Publicist Daniela Norris was advised to do this for her novel and she noted this: “20-25% of the acquaintances who say they’ll read a book and review it do so, if you want 10 reviews after publication day, you should ask roughly 50 people…. you might get lucky and get more than 10 reviews”.

Start around 8 weeks prior to launch date.

Email your contacts.

SUBJECT: My New Book
I hope this finds you well! (other personalised niceties, keep it short, it’s not the point of your email)
Over the last (X MONTHS/YEARS), I’ve been working on a new book titled (TITLE OF YOUR BOOK).
I’m excited to announce it is being published in (X WEEKS); it’s going to be available on retail sites such as Amazon and is also available to the book trade.
You might also consider sharing a review on other social media sites that you have. I’d love your help with this.
May I send you a free copy of my book to read? All I ask is that you leave your honest feedback/thoughts as a customer review after (XX/XX/XX give pub date) the day my book comes out.
I’d be happy to send you a PDF copy of the book. Just reply to this email.
Let me know what you think, and if you have any questions.
Thanks so much!

You can encourage your contacts to be part of your support and launch team, if this feels comfortable with you. It is important to get across that this PDF is given for a review on Amazon/Goodreads, and that they mention this in their review.

Send each email individually.

Update the excel spreadsheet with the date 1st email request is sent.

Update excel spreadsheet with responses and when you send the PDF.

Be prompt to keep up momentum.

Using your spreadsheet for those that agreed to review, two weeks prior to launch date, send them another enthusiastic email.


SUBJECT: Just 2 Weeks!
Thanks again for agreeing to review my new book (TITLE OF THE BOOK)!
I’m so excited to be putting this book out into the world (xx/xx/xx – pub date).
I just wanted to follow up to see if you had any questions before you leave your review after launch day.
If you don’t know what to say in the review, just leave a couple sentences with your thoughts and feedback.
Also, be sure to mention that you received a free review copy of the book.
Have a great rest of the week!

Two weeks gives those that have not committed time to read the book enough notice to do so now.

Send another email two days prior to publication date. As a reminder that the book is due on xx/xx/xx – pub date and thanking them for their support.


SUBJECT: My New Book
It’s just two days away! My book (title) will be let loose into the world.
Thank you for being part of my support and launch team. Leaving your review on Amazon/Goodreads or your own social media feeds will make such a difference.
Also, be sure to mention that you received a free review copy of the book.
Thank you!

And finally, the publication-date email. Send it first thing in the morning, if you have contacts on both hemispheres, do two.


SUBJECT: Launch Day!
I just wanted to send you a quick reminder that today my new book (TITLE OF THE BOOK) is available! This means you’re now able to leave a review.
Click here to leave an Amazon customer review for my new book. (Link that sentence to the actual review page on Amazon.com). Any positive review you leave on social media is greatly appreciated.
Thanks so much for helping me with this launch! I truly appreciate it.
And please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you!

That Amazon link is important, make it easy for your contact.

As a final touch, email them all to thank them when they post their review.

You can also try local media, focus on regional rather than national publicity – which really needs some media training. Here are some general pointers on how to make contact:

Pitching articles to build your profile. These can be extracts from your book that standalone as an article, or write an article on any aspect of your book. For non-fiction, this seems more obvious, but it can be too for fiction, you just need to think more creatively. You can write articles for blog sites on online magazine sites as well as print. Many print magazines now have an online presence, so if you don’t make the print version, stay open to publishing the same piece online with them.

Pitching for interviews to talk about your book and or your work is another useful tool in building your building your profile. There are so many options out there now too. National and International exposure is at the very top of this, through to local radio, and with Blog Talk radio shows and Youtube channels thrown in for good measure. Interviews can be conducted in person (rare, but possible), by phone and via internet services like Skype.

If you are aware of specific awards that your book would be a good match for. Contact them yourself where you can, or ask us if it has to come from the publisher.

Author Files for publicity


Go to your books page for files.

Rules on sending emails

How not to get blocked for spamming

How to send an email to contacts on the database

Linking my book on the Crystal Peake website to my email

How to write a promotional email