Market The Book Self Publishing

How To Promote a Non-Fiction Self-Published Book

Yeah I know adding “non fiction” to my title probably cut down my potential search traffic by 9o% but what the heck – I really do think fiction is a whole other beast. Also I am only talking about eBooks – not dead-tree books (dtBooks) – though so a lot of  what I have to say is probably relevant for them too.

OK so you did some keyword research before you decided on your book’s title (you did, didn’t you?) – so if for example you don’t have a book titled “Packing Secrets of the Not So Famous” – rather you have one called “Vacation Packing List: How to save your back, time and money”. You also have a series of books planned so that you can get the most bang for your buck in terms of cross-promotion.

County Down, near Downpatrick, Northern Ireland

The Key To Promotion – Promote to Customers NOT Writers!

When I started getting into this writing a book gig I went searching I found a bunch of forums and an even bigger bunch of blogs about publishing your book – usually written by writers who had – yup self-published their book!

This all felt very, very familiar – yup its like Internet Marketing – complete with a Warrior Forum analogue! Gorgeous self-promotional signatures, heaps of experts, everyone selling to each other  – yeah been there done that got the T-shirt!  Of course times have moved on and there is an active Facebook group to (this one isn’t too bad) – but again its pretty much about selling to your peers.

You don’t want to sell to your peers – you want to find where people who are interested in your niche hang out. 

So where do my customers hang out. Stepping back – who are my customers:

  • they are holiday-makers/vacationers/travelers/tourists;
  • they are probably first-timers or first time overseas visitors or first time solo travelers;
  • they may be just looking for something to read about their favourite topic without actually doing anything about it – yes I do own guidebooks to places I’ve never been to or got around to going to!
  • they aren’t terrified of technology (they are going to buy an ebook) – but they may not be that confident online (haven’t found that any question will find an answer if asked on the popular travel forums).

Great so this is who I’m doing to promote – pretty much its a blend of sound SEO with a bit branding thrown in without getting into the dark, dark time-sink of social networking.

Yes I do have my book in my sig link on some forums – on TRAVEL forums – not writing ones – get it?

Direct Promotion 

Now this stuff I can’t do until the book is live and this is the bit which is going to be fun.  Amazon listing are loved by Google – you’ll see Amazon listings at the top of Google all the time.  My little book’s Amazon listing is going to be linked to from every website and hubpage that I own that have anything to do with travel or vacation. I will of course use my affiliate ID so I get the extra 4-8% commission when someone buys.  I am picking that this will be enough to get my Amazon listing #1 for my main keyword – watch this space!

My book will also be published at Smashwords.  This gives me access to other distribution channels (Apple, Barnes&Noble, Whitcoulls) – which I can’t get to otherwise so why not? And again it should be a listing that I can rank – though its not nearly as keyword rich -as

So with some, hmmm, luck links,  I aiming at controlling the first three listing for my favourite keywords – before it even gets hard…

Note you will get three Amazon listings:, and Really though I see no reason why I can’t just send some links to the dot com version – if you land on the uk Amazon site when you are supposed to buy from the dot com Amazon will send you on to the right place.

Oh and I have done a profit-sharing deal to get a German language version of my book to, I know Germans travel a lot – and it must get tedious reading about it in a foreign language!

Building Your Online Home(s) 

  1. Author you, or your pseudonym, needs an identified home – for many this would be your own dot com – or As MY online home is already occupied and not really associated with travel – I needed a new one – which was branded for the new niche – hence (made with my favourite theme Catalyst).
  2. Next your book needs a home – you may have noticed that many movies now use a domain like e.g. – well books are starting to do the same thing – so we get Vacation Packing List – Book – this isn’t a blog in the sense that it will ever get updated – its a static mini-site, developed in WordPress – which is basically an exercise in getting the person who arrives there to buy the book and linking them back to the overall “author home” site – this is a set and forget it website (all done with pages for the technically minded, and I again I use Catalyst theme because I’m too lazy to use anything else now).
  3. On your author website add the compulsory social media buttons – now one of the reasons I decided against yet another persona for the books is that I already have a (genuine) FB profile and an (entirely automated) twitter one . People who buy eBooks don’t necessarily read blogs – so for once I find a genuine reason to use social media.
  4. Decide what the aim of all this is for. My aim is to a) build a list (I can’t believe I just wrote that down LOL) and b) sell my books to my list.
  5. Link to your author home from both your Smashwords profile  and your Amazon author’s page (which will take an RSS feed) using either your brand or your name.

Well that’s a start! One thing I’d say about the author home – you need to keep it focused on the niche – not on how to write about your niche and publish a book about it!

My Lis’s Travel Tips site won’t be getting updated at all regularly – I threw some content up – note how you can’t tell which dates the updates were posted? But really this is more like a once a month event not once a week! After all I want most of my content on SALE not being given away on my blog!

16 replies on “How To Promote a Non-Fiction Self-Published Book”

Oh I like the idea of pushing the Amazon page down Google’s throat. I hadn’t really thought of putting my not inconsiderable network of niche satellite sites to use in sending links and trying to rank an Amazon book page for my hugely competitive KW. But you know, stranger things have happened and some big hitting sites might just get their noses put out of joint. The results could be very interesting indeed!

Will your new e-book be readable in Adobe PDF Reader? I can’t see myself buying a Kindle anytime soon.

Calvin you don’t need a Kindle to read a Kindle ebook -there are free apps from Amazon available for your PC, Mac, Android, iPad or iPhone – seriously! I have the ability to do a pdf via smashwords – whether I do or not – I’m undecided – I don’t want to make it too easy for the thieves.

Well, if the price is right, I’ll pick up a copy when you publish your book. I’ve no real interest in traveling, but I’m looking for a place to immigrate to (for my semi-retirement) once my online income reaches a comfortable level, so I’ll need to learn how to get around and explore different countries. If nothing goes wrong, *knock on wood*, I expect to get there in about 5 years, so I have that much time to find a place where I’m comfortable with the people, the climate and the laws.

Actually I’ve moved several times and have lived in Australia, Canada, UK, PNG, perhaps I should write that book too!

Yes, please do! I’d definitely like to know how you felt and coped with all those changes. Finding a new house, changing the location of your online business, all those work/business visa applications, the actual move as well as how you got all your stuff from one country to another. It’s good to learn from someone with prior experience.

I actually tried to move last year, and got as far as renting a new house across the border. Unfortunately, my attempt foundered on all the other details as well as some personal problems. Thank goodness the rent was cheap, so I didn’t lose too much money when I gave up.

Thanks for the tips. I have my next ebook coming out very “soon”. I don’t belong to any writer forums, so I am thankful for filtering some of the useful selfpublishing tips and sites that are worth reading like

Smashwords is definitely ranking better than Amazon for me too, it may just take Amazon a while but I am sure they will get there.

Definitely worth putting books on both.

I’m only on my second cup of coffee and already my day is complete, thank you, Lis.. It’s a wasted day unless I learn something, and I already have learned several things from your posts on self publishing real books, (rather than some scheme that’s only designed to build links). Guess I can go back to be now 😉

By far the most important thing I learned is in the comment above. I had no idea Amazon furnished “Kindle on PC or Mac applications.

Like Calvin, even though a Kindle is on my want list, it is nowhere near the top … and I have also been hesitant to promote some things to my readers, just for the sake of earning an Amazon commission on a Kindle sale.

Another case where Amazon has a big hole in their marketing … why would I have to “travel to New Zealand” to learn about the Kindle computer aps? They say travel broadens the mind and teaches you things … they are so right. travel on 😉

Yeah it was news to me as well – they don’t publicize it until you actually buy a book and then they offer for you to download the app – but why would you buy if you didn’t think you could read it LOL It also syncs between apps – so you can read on your phone, on your pc, on your mac and your Kindle – and the app will know where you are upto between them all – cool!

Wow, that’s so kewl I can turn off the aircon for a while and save some electricity 😉 One of the reasons I want a Kindle is for ease of collecting/reading/referring back to a number of worthwhile .pdf books I have accumulated over the years. That synching feature sounds very useful in order to move between on-computer reading/researching and on-Kindle work. Talk about hiding their light under a bushel.

One of the other Kindle things Amazon is poor at point out is, there are many countries where their proprietary Kindle downloading network is not available … so they will try to tell you that you can’t buy/use a Kindle there. But you can download in Kindle format to your computer and then upload via USB to your Kindle no matter where you live or travel.

Hey I never saved anyone’s ac before! That’s way coooool! Check out calibre too – free software for managing you ebook collect – but turn the ac off now!

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