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Top 5 Ways Authors Can Promote Their Books
Written by
Allison Gilbert
April 2016
Written by
Allison Gilbert
April 2016

My latest and fourth book, Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive, publishes nationwide this week -- five years after Parentless Parents. In the time between book launches, the marketing landscape has shifted to such a degree that I’ve overhauled my entire PR and branding approach.

Unlike my previous books, I am now employing five exciting tactics that were completely new to me when I started, and they’re already making a big difference in how much attention Passed and Present is getting. Hello, People Magazine! Here are my top 5 tips authors can use to promote their books:

  1. Pre-order campaign: I launched a pre-order campaign. I created two simple, yet meaningful gifts tied to the book. If the reader pre-ordered the book, submitted their receipt, I sent them gifts. This campaign was promoted to my email list and on social media. It helped my book become an Amazon #1 Bestseller three days before pub day. You can see the gifts HERE.

  2. Giveaway contest: Several artists, companies, and non-profits are featured in my book. I reached out to them and requested a donation for a week-long giveaway contest I’m hosting on my Facebook author page during pub week. The giveaway contest is a win-win-win: I receive social media engagement and promotion of the book; the artists and organizations get free marketing of their work; and my followers have multiple opportunities to win great gifts. You can see the giveaway page HERE and follow along on my Facebook page.

  3. Thunderclap campaign: I set up a Thunderclap campaign. Thunderclap is an amazing social media tool that enables a message you’ve written to be posted to your friends’ Facebook and/or Twitter accounts at the same time, on the same day. The hope is that this massive simultaneous effort creates a social media “boom” on pub day. With all your friends, fans, and family posting at once, you’ll likely enjoy a much bigger social reach than you could have on your own. Check out my campaign HERE.

  4. Book trailers: Book trailers have long been a popular way to promote books. This time I not only produced a video describing my entire book, I created several mini-trailers, too.  These :30 second videos highlight individual Forget Me Nots (the term I use to describe the 85 creative ideas for remembering I reveal in Passed and Present), and showcase the bright, bold, and joyous artwork readers will find throughout the book. These short trailers are perfect for social media. You can see them on my You Tube channel.

  5. Initiating special events coast to coast:  My book tour is actually a series of parties I’m throwing for my readers. Each celebration is called a Memory Bash and I’m throwing Memory Bashes across the country. Stops include New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and many other locations.  These events are interactive and fun. They also provide opportunities for readers to come together and learn new ways to celebrate the family and friends they never want to forget.  The Passed and Present Memory Bash Book Tour is not about me, the author. It’s about my readers. The Memory Bash Tour has created its own kind of buzz…..and it’s really been quite thrilling.

Authors must be a savvy marketers. There really is no other choice. The upside is not only selling more books; it’s also creating wonderfully strong and meaningful relationships with readers.

Cheering you on,


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  • What a treasure trove of clear, specific and helpful information for promotion for a book. I'm not there yet but will make sure I keep this post for when the time comes. Thanks for sharing.

  • Allison, this is one of the smartest posts about marketing that I've read on SheWrites -- or anywhere!  Pre-sales are so important.  I'm curious:  How many books did you pre-sell?  I like your gift page -- smart, easy to load.  Although my book is not yet complete, I did a "pre-sell" campaign a couple of years ago when I raised money for a return trip to Iraq.  (My book is about my experiences in the Middle East with Iraqi and Palestinian refugees.)  Donors over a certain limit would receive a free copy of my book when it's published.  So, I've "pre-sold" 72 books!

    And your point #5 is so important:  The Tour is about the readers, not the book, not the author.  That's a brilliant perspective.  The Memory Bash Tour is a very creative way of honoring both your readers and your book.  …I'll have to mull over how to do that with my book.

    Well done!  I hope more of your marketing posts are featured on SheWrites.

    Kelly Hayes-Raitt

    Mosey on over to my web site and sign in for your free gift -- an mp3 of me reading my book's first chapter about a beggar in Iraq! ...And a pre-publication discount!