Effective Book Marketing for Any Author (Even If You’re Starting From Scratch)

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Learn to develop the right strategies and tactics for book marketing that fit your path to publication, your personality, and your resources

Whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, every author must give some thought to book marketing. But given how fast tools and techniques change, and how hard it is to attract attention, it can be challenging to figure out what’s worthwhile to focus on. Plus what worked for another author’s book launch won’t necessarily work for you.

This 90-minute live class on August 11, taught by Jane Friedman, helps authors first focus on the foundation of any book marketing campaign: your current strengths, assets, and abilities. Most book marketing isn’t about having a big bank roll, but having sufficient time and energy to capitalize on what you have in hand or what represents a good stretch goal. Few authors truly lack marketing opportunities; most lack sufficient focus and patience to pursue those opportunities, or feel overwhelmed by the task and end up doing nothing at all.

The other challenge: your strategy or approach can shift depending on who the publisher is. For example, self-published authors are often counseled to price low, do giveaways, and advertise on Amazon. But if you’re a literary author with an independent publisher, or a readership that shies away from Amazon, these strategies can be either impossible or ineffective. Or, an author published by a Big Five house could viably pursue reviews and publicity from mainstream outlets, but a first-time, self-published author would be wasting their time with such a strategy. This session addresses the differences in approach across the publishing community and how to prioritize your opportunities.

While this session will not delve much into social media marketing—it is highly variable and individual—we will discuss how to put whatever social media presence you do have to good use. When social media is discussed, we’ll focus on how to build awareness and relationships, and be visible over the long term—rather than using it as a short-term sales technique.

This workshop will cover:

  • How to put together a marketing plan from pre-publication to launch to post-publication (hint: most marketing is not at all time dependent; you can always try something new no matter how old your book is)
  • What elements of your book’s positioning and packaging must be rock solid before you invest in marketing
  • A few important tips for Amazon optimization if you’re self-publishing—some of which can be used by traditionally published authors
  • The importance of relationships and community, and improving your reach through collaborations, partnerships, and influencers
  • Lead generation: what strategies and tools you can use to reach new readers, such as giveaways
  • Securing customer reviews: how it’s done (spoiler alert: there is no magic bullet and you shouldn’t pay for customer reviews)
  • If and when it’s worthwhile to pay for professional reviews
  • The role of a publicist and who should consider hiring this type of help (warning: it’s expensive)

What this session will NOT cover:

  • The mechanics of how to advertise on Amazon, Facebook, BookBub, or similar sites. However, we will discuss use of such advertising, when and how to consider it, and how to succeed at it. (Most authors never learn how to advertise effectively, unfortunately. You’ll learn why.)
  • The mechanics of how to pitch the media or the specifics of how to put together a media kit. Rather, we will discuss who should consider mainstream publicity—and it’s usually those who already know how to pitch the media and don’t need to learn.
  • The mechanics of how to plan a book launch event. Instead, we will discuss the role of events (including online events), but only at a high level and not on a step-by-step level.
  • The mechanics of email marketing. However, we will discuss the role of email newsletters.
  • How to get on the New York Times bestseller list, although for fun (if time permits), we can discuss how this list gets put together. But there are no sure-fire ways to make this list.
  • Secrets that will ensure your success every time. Book marketing and promotion is largely about trying things, failing, and improving for next time.

Who should take this class

  • First-time and unpublished authors who want to be prepared for their first book launch
  • Traditionally published authors who are confused about what to do
  • Self-published and hybrid published authors who aren’t sure how to market their books
  • Authors writing and publishing books in any genre who want to better understand book marketing
  • Creative writing students and graduates of MFA programs who want to learn the principles of book marketing

Who should NOT take this class

  • Published authors who are strong and confident in their marketing approach
  • Authors who are primarily seeking social media guidance for book marketing
  • Authors who want cutting-edge trend information on book marketing (this session is about the stuff that doesn’t really change over time)
  • Any author seeking advanced or in-depth strategy for their particular path—e.g., a traditionally published author looking for in-depth and sophisticated guidance on working with their publisher, or a self-published author looking for Kindle Unlimited marketing secrets. This session is broad in scope and meant to help all authors regardless of publishing path or knowledge base.

How do I know if this webinar is worth the cost?

This is an important question, and it’s a tough one to answer—especially since so much online education is available free of charge. Furthermore, every student is different, and a valuable webinar for one person can end up being a disappointment to another. For this reason, we offer full refunds if you register, attend the entire class, and fail to get the information you were looking for.

Do I have to attend the live class?

No. Everyone who registers will get access to the recording. However, if you’d like to attend live, keep reading.

How do I attend the live class?

This class uses Zoom webinar technology. You will join through your Internet-connected computer or mobile device. When you register, you will receive information via email on how to join the class. If you don’t receive it within 10 minutes of registering, please contact us.

  • When: Wednesday, August 11, 2021
  • Time: 1 p.m.–2:30 p.m. Eastern Time / 10 a.m. Pacific Time
  • Fee: $25

The webinar is broadcasted via the internet with live audio delivered through your computer or mobile device speakers. The visual presentation is displayed directly from the presenter’s computer to your computer screen. The Q&A is managed through a chat-style submission system with questions read and answered by the presenter for the entire class to hear.

Closed captions are provided during the live class. We use Zoom’s built-in closed caption service, powered by Otter AI, which is about 80%+ accurate.

About the instructor

Jane Friedman has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in business strategy for authors and publishers. She has been a full-time freelancer and entrepreneur since 2014.

Jane’s newest book is The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press); Publishers Weekly said that it is “destined to become a staple reference book for writers and those interested in publishing careers.”

In addition to being a columnist with Publishers Weekly and a professor with The Great Courses, Jane maintains an award-winning blog for writers at JaneFriedman.com; her expertise has been featured by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, PBS, CBS, the National Press Club and many other outlets.

I was not disappointed. Or bored. And no, you won’t get the same stuff browsing the Internet. I won’t give away any of her secrets because you can go to her blog, website, and Twitter where she generously shares her knowledge of writing and publishing. But you won’t get a bag full of tools all packed up and ready to go like you will on her webinar. 

Rahma Krambo


Many thanks for putting on such great courses during the pandemic. I have yet to find classes elsewhere that offer as much comprehensive material (transcript, handout, video, audio, etc) as yours.

Lacey Yong


I learned more from Jane than any other class, webinar, or book. Not only does she explain everything and really drill down to what you need to do, she offers practical and time-saving tips as well as advice and resources to move the project forward. She is, in one word, amazing!

Susan Cingari


You’ll receive the following

  • Access to the 90-minute interactive class. After 75-90 minutes, Jane will take questions using in-class chat/text. The class will end after roughly 90 minutes.
  • A recording of the class—audio and video. This is especially helpful if you have a conflict with the class time or something comes up and you can’t make the session. Each registration comes with access to the archived version of the program and the materials for 30 days. You do not have to attend the live event to get a recording of the presentation.
  • Presentation slides. All participants receive a copy of the slide presentation in PDF form.
  • Additional answers to questions, if needed. If there isn’t time for Jane to answer all the questions during the live event, she will answer them in writing afterward. All participants will receive the answers with the follow-up recording.
  • Rough transcript. We use Otter to create an automated transcript of the entire webinar, which we’ll share with you in addition to the audio and video recording.

Event Attendance & Anti-Harassment Policy

We strive to provide an environment where all present—whether attendee, presenter, or staff—can feel supported. In order to ensure a welcoming event, here is what we expect from all who participate.

  • That the presenter and the presenter’s work be treated with respect by attendees and that all attendees treat each other with respect and a generosity of spirit.
  • That attendees will refrain from harassment of any sort including (but not limited to) comments or questions of a racist, homophobic, sexist/sexual, or threatening nature. This includes actions that disrupt or interfere with anyone’s ability to participate. Offenders will be disconnected from the live event.

System Requirements to Join the Webinar

We will be using Zoom webinar technology.

You’ll need:

  • An internet connection: broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE)
  • Speakers: built-in or USB plug-in or wireless Bluetooth

Recommended bandwidth:

  • 600kbps (down) for high-quality video and 1.2 Mbps (down) for HD video
  • If you connect through audio only: 60-80kbps (down)

Supported operating systems:

Supported tablet and mobile devices:

  • Surface PRO 2 or higher running Win 8.1 or later
  • iOS and Android devices
  • Blackberry devices

Supported browsers:

  • Windows: IE 11+,  Edge 12+, Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+
  • Mac: Safari 7+, Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+
  • Linux: Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+

For a detailed listing of system requirements, check Zoom’s site.