How much time should I spend promoting my book?

Clock at small rest stop just outside of Sante Fe - 2006

How much time should I spend promoting my book?

It depends on who you ask. Some indie advocates big in the ebook market will tell you to spend very little time promoting your book. Write more books. More titles equals more exposure resulting in more sold books.

Arobbinsiii at You Say Too provides a comprehensive list of promotional activities with associated amount of time recommendations that can be roughly summarized as follows:

1. Post at forums like Kindle Boards and Amazon Authors. Arobbinsiii lists five boards that he recommends you spend 10 to 15 minutes a day per board or 60 minutes total.

2. Search for, visit, and/or query review and interview websites and blogs, spending 25 minutes a day.

3. Post and comment on social sites, like Facebook and Twitter. He lists seven sites, for a total of 60 minutes a day.

4. Pursue links back to your book/site/blog in directories (seven listed), search engines (three listed), blogs, social sites, forums, and on any promotion or publicity you receive for 60 minutes  day.

5. Write a 400 – 500 word blog, devoting 25 minute a day.

6. Blog and post comments for 60 minutes a day.

This all adds up to 4 hours and 50 minutes a day.

I copied this post because I think Arobbinsiii has some good ideas that I might want to pursue, but there is no way I will ever be able (or willing) to devote nearly five hours a day on this activity.

Fortunately, in the Indie Author Guide, that has become my bible on all things indie, April L. Hamilton writes, “If you can spare just one hour a day, seven hours a week, you’ll be fine. If you can scrape together ten to fifteen hours a week, you’ll do great. And if you have twenty or more hours to devote to marketing, even if you have little money or confidence, you can be very successful.”

I still need to determine for myself exactly how much time in a day I can, or am willing to, budget for promotional activities.  I don’t have any idea how much time I am spending right now in this inefficient method I currently employ of randomly searching the web and occasionally commenting or sending out an email.

New Media Promotion

The next question becomes, what activities should I be spending my time on?  April L. Hamilton lists a healthy menu of  both “traditional tactics” as well as “new media tactics.” Her new media ideas focus on an author website, author blog, tagging with keywords on, tagging with keywords on the internet, podcasting, YouTube, book trailers, social media for authors, online communities, and  working Amazon. These are all computer online activities similar to what Arobbinsiii recommends. What I really like about the Indie Author Guide is that Hamilton provides detailed information to help even the most newbie, or computer illiterate, self-publisher to be able to complete the task at hand.

Traditional Tactics

In addition to the new media tactics, Hamilton provides some excellent ideas for good old-fashioned promotion like a press kit, a one-sheet, press releases, editorial reviews, articles, appearances, live readings, book signings, handouts, merchandise, word of mouth, and paid advertising. Here again, detailed instructions are included.

How do I score so far?

I am doing fairly well with the Indie Author Guide’s new media recommendations. I have a website and a blog. I’ve tagged my book with keywords everywhere I can. Yesterday I went to the Google Adwords keyword tool, checked the keywords I’m using to see if anyone searches for them, and made a few changes to my Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords sites. (For example: “hospice care” has medium competition with 135,000 global searches a month, while “hospice” has low competition and 823,000 global searches a month. Very few people search for “childhood memories.” ) I’m probably not going to be doing a lot of podcasting, YouTube videos, or book trailers with my memoir, but I have followed most of Hamilton’s recommendations for social media for authors, and have joined several important online communities.

For now, I’m still focusing on getting reviews.

I don’t score nearly as well if I compare myself to Arobbinsiii’s recommendations.

I could also do a lot more with the traditional tactics like one-sheet mailings and press releases. I hope to develop these with time.

I plan to break these ideas down into manageable pieces and let you know what and how I am doing. Stay posted.

16 thoughts on “How much time should I spend promoting my book?”

  1. Hi Christine .. I think it’s like our blogs – we do what we can .. we keep ourselves out there and time will tell – it does sound a very interesting read – and one I will get to anon … but set your sights high, do what you can (without exhausting yourself) … Have a good thanksgiving and enjoying the time with family and friends … cheers Hilary

  2. Word of mouth is very effective…but like other means of promotion, it takes time. I have a friend who just self-published a book. He had a book signing at the local grocery store…very effective.

  3. Yeah, write more books. But that is exhausting. Would try short story to win fiction contests. Get published in anthologies. Builds resume and contest folks tend to buy each other’s stuff.

  4. You should also mail out ad sheets to professional caretakers and to their associations for them to buy/publicize. Take out cheap ad in the professional publications. Gives max exposure to thousands and I would not exhaust yourself with other efforts so you have time to write.

    1. That’s a good idea. You know everything takes so much time. First you have to identify the associations. I hope after the holidays (including Christmas) I will be in better shape to do some of this work.

  5. Thanks again for all these wonderful insights into the whole self-publishing world, it truly is very informative. 🙂 I wonder if there is any way to get your book in front of folks who work for agencies that deal with special needs children. Your book would be VERY helpful and useful to parents with special needs children that are as profoundly affected as Annie was. If the folks at these agencies knew of your book and had read it, I’m sure they would reccomend it to all those parents. This would be true, not just in your area, but all over the country! 🙂

    1. That would be ideal, wouldn’t it? I’m thinking about it. I did send a copy to a friend of mine at Montgomery Co. MRDD, but I’m not sure that he will follow up in any way. Although he did pass the book on another coworker. I also sent an email to Hospice of Dayton, and they plan to put an excerpt up on their website once it’s revamped. So that’s good.

  6. I chuckled while I read your post because while using the the Google AdWords generator, I decided to take a break and read your current post. Now you’ve got me wanting to buy that Indie Author Guide. Have you started on your press kit yet? Keep blazing the way for the rest of us.

    1. That’s too funny. We really are on parallel paths.

      I haven’t started my press kit yet, and really am probably leaning too much on my daughter. I could get the information together in draft forms and have her make it look good. That’s probably what I need to do. I’m still reeling from all the possibilities of what I could be doing, and trying to figure out what I most need to be doing.

  7. Another great post on self-publishing. I’m glad you’re still posting on how it’s going and what you’re doing next. It’s been really informative.


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