4 Affordable Ways to Master Book Marketing

affordable ways to master book marketing on a budget

Today’s guest post is by Dave Chesson (@DaveChesson) of Kindlepreneur.

Learning the art of book marketing is a pursuit which can often feel like an unending demand on your limited resources. But it’s a craft we must improve over time, as well as keep up-to-date with using newest book tactics. Our book marketing landscape changes, and so we must too.

Keeping up with the latest book marketing trends and learning new tactics can be expensive. Couple this with the growing cost of self-publishing, and it’s important that we be economically shrewd in our endeavors.

Courses are a wonderful way to effectively and efficiently learn how to market our books, but it seems like the price of a course increases every year. Plus, new tactics also pop up, requiring another course to take, like Facebook messenger bots or Amazon ads.

So, how are cash-strapped but talented authors supposed to rise above?

Luckily, there are some effective ways, platforms, and methods for the cost conscientious and time-starved authors out there.

Since you’re here reading one of my personal favorite book marketing blogs, we won’t discuss top writer websites, but we will instead focus on some other methods to help you learn, grow, and improve your book marketing skills, without breaking the bank.

1. Free video content (YouTube channels)

Video is one of the most popular and fastest growing ways to share and acquire information online. Platforms such as YouTube are a great way to learn, and there are several advantages to choosing video as a medium for learning book marketing. These include:

  • The ability to learn anywhere with your smartphone
  • The chance to see book marketing actually done
  • The benefit of the personality and charisma of the teacher
  • The ability to rewind and listen again to key sections
  • The ability to increase the speed to 1.25x to learn faster – in case you’re not patient like me

There are a lot of great book marketing channels out there. However, here are some of the channels I constantly check out:

  • Dale Roberts – Focusing on great how-to and reviews for the book world, Dale consistently creates videos and increases his list of resources by the day.
  • Emeka Ossai – Like Dale, Emeka is centered on how-to in the self-publishing world and focuses on ways that authors can get more out of less.
  • Derek Murphy – Excellent at cover design and formatting, Derek also dives into new trends and self-publishing news with his vlog-style channel.
  • Jenna Moreci – The always funny and talented fiction writer who talks about the craft, writing better fiction books, and even the planning process.
  • Kristen Martin – Like Jenna, Kristen covers the art of writing, but with a different style. She’ll help you with your writing process and everyday road blocks.
  • The Creative Penn – One of the smartest and biggest names in self-publishing, Joanna uses some clips from her podcast and offers bite-sized bits of book marketing genius.

2. Book marketing podcasts

With podcasts, you can turn your morning commute or time on the treadmill into valuable book marketing education time. I’ve even listened to favorites of mine while waiting in line to see the doctor.

Podcasts are a great way to hear book marketing explained in the words and voice of the people who do it best. It’s an ideal way to hear in-depth conversations that explore the ins and outs of book marketing topics in more detail than a blog post.

A few ideas for book marketing podcasts you can learn the most useful information on include:

  • Mark Coker’s Smarter Author Podcast: A newer podcast where Mark Coker, the creator of Smashwords, covers one book marketing lesson with each episode.
  • The Creative Penn: Joanna Penn brings on top guests to talk about strategies, marketing and their successes. It was one of the first podcasts I ever listened to when I first started.
  • Sell More Books Show: Bryan Cohen and Jim Kukral are two of the top book marketers out there. Each week, you not only get to hear what’s going on in the publishing world, but also their thoughts on the latest news and recommendations for authors.
  • Backmatter from Leanpub: One of the best things about podcasts is the opportunity to hear top names in the publishing industry share their insider secrets about what really works.
  • Self-Publishing Formula: Mark Dawson is one of the biggest names in the world of self-publishing. In his Self-Publishing Formula podcast Mark shares top marketing tactics for authors.

[Note from Jane: Also check out Dave’s podcast, The Book Marketing Show.]

3. Book marketing audiobooks: 2 free downloads

Audiobooks offer many of the same advantages to podcasts. But, unlike podcasts, audiobooks explore topics in a lot more depth and allow you to drill deep in a way which is not possible with a podcast episode.

What many authors don’t know is that you if you sign up for a Audible account, you get two free downloads. Even better is that if you have an Amazon Associate account, you can get a link that if anyone clicks and signs up for a free Audible account, you get paid $5.

Like Jane’s link here — her coffee fund will thank you.

So, if you haven’t already, go ahead and signup for a free trial of Audible and download two book marketing books free, such as:

4. Discounted or free online courses

Online courses have exploded in popularity in recent years with sites like Udemy, which make online learning accessible to more people than ever before. You may have experienced courses as very expensive, premium options—often marketed via email with slick sales copy. While some premium courses may be worth the investment, there are more affordable options if you want to learn book marketing on a budget.

For example, Udemy runs a sales period where all of their courses are heavily discounted. No matter their original price, the new price is $15 and sometimes even $10. So wait for one of those deals and jump on board.

Even at their regular price, Udemy courses are a lot more affordable than premium options. You can take a course on everything on how to market and publish an ebook, including:

  • Building a mailing list
  • Setting up a search engine optimized blog
  • Social media marketing
  • Customer relationship management
  • Facebook advertising

Taking a course allows you to explore a topic in more depth than a typical YouTube video or podcast episode allows, and grants you the freedom to learn on your own schedule.

There are many free, legitimate and full courses out there. I myself created a free course to help authors with Amazon’s book advertisement system, AMS. It’s free and you can learn how to not only set up ads, but watch me create profitable ads for big-name authors, as well as first-time authors. You can check it out here.

Do you agree that these are the best affordable ways to master book marketing? Do you have any other methods that haven’t been included here? Let me and Jane know and we’ll chat in the comments!

Posted in Guest Post, Marketing & Promotion.

Hi, I’m Dave Chesson, and when I’m not chasing little Jedi around the house, I run Kindlepreneur.com, a website devoted to the technical side of book marketing. I love digging deep and analyzing the latest book writing tools and tactics of the trade. I’m also the creator of KDP Rocket, a software that helps to peel back the curtain on Amazon and see the wizard (or book data) behind it.

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Jane Steen

Read the BookBub blog, and go back through earlier posts. Read Kristine Kathyrn Rusch’s business blog. Take a look at the Alliance of Independent Authors’ Indie Fringe presentations on YouTube and pick out the videos most relevant to whatever stage you’re at in your career (you can also subscribe to their podcast without being an ALLi member). Network with other writers in your area and see if you can form a writer group to discuss marketing rather than writing (my friend and indie author Clare Flynn did this for a mixed group of newbies & experienced, indie and trad, and… Read more »

Natalie Aguirre

Thanks so much for the great tips, which I am hoping with help a traditionally published author too. One of the scariest part of writing for me is the marketing so hope some of your links helps me get a better grip on my fear.

Bryan Fagan

There are times when I feel the world has sped away while I’m still waiting to catch a ride.

terry gene

I always appreciate Jane kicking the sagebrushes for great insight for us still in the weeds. I see that I have some reading to do


Could somebody please define the term “bestseller” in terms of sales/dollars/euros/or?. If “x” sales or financial remuneration defines a “bestseller”, what percentage of that represents an “average” seller or “mediocre” seller or “depressingly bad” seller? In the music business, for example, there are sales metrics for gold and platinum album sales that are virtually impossible to game – you either sell enough copies to earn a gold album designation or you don’t. However, it seems as if anyone, with impunity, can define themselves or anyone else as a “bestselling” author without providing statistical attribution. So, to be a “bestselling” author… Read more »

Jane Friedman

Hi Jon: You’ve hit on a peculiarity of the book publishing business. There is no agreed-upon definition of a “bestselling book” as you find in the music business, and there is no way for the average person to verify how many copies sold. But the term still gets used, often with qualifiers, e.g., “New York Times bestseller,” “Amazon bestseller,” and so on. But how many copies it took to become a bestseller varies from week to week and category to category and outlet to outlet. And yes, it can be fairly meaningless.


Hi Jon –
For traditional publishers, in my study of the issue you raise, book sales determine when (or if) a new edition is likely to be successful. And that number is right around 30,000 copies – which turns out to be the same as the publisher’s definition of a best seller. I’ve had a book out for some years now and it’s into it’s fourth edition with a large publisher. Basic math will let you know that at least 90,000 copies have been sold, though benchmarks are rarely (if ever) equidistant. Hope this helps a bit.

Jay Lemming

Thanks for the great post, Dave. Not sure you remember I tweeted out one of your blog post the other day about keyword research. Great to see you’ve contributed, as well, to Jane Friedman’s blog. I just started listening to Mark Coker’s podcast a few weeks ago–nice recommendation on your part–and got a lot out of the one he did about pre-orders. Thanks again. Jay

John Feldman

This is amazing. Thank you. Now to find the time to absorb all the information from these resources… Better practice my over-the-phone cough in preparation for a call to my boss.