Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Why Authors Need to Self Promote and How to Go About It ~ Guest Post By Joyana Peters

Self Promotion! Do I Have To?

Many writers shy away from self promotion. They don’t like the idea of tooting their own horn. But if we don’t promote ourselves as authors, no one else will. It’s all about believing in ourselves and our work.  

What Exactly is Self Promotion?

We constantly hear about marketing and how important it is. But what about self promotion? What exactly is self promotion and why is it important? Join me below to discuss the differences and learn how authors can incorporate some simple self promotion examples into their tool belts.

Differences between Self Promotion and Marketing

Let's start by defining marketing. Marketing is defined as the activity of promoting and selling products or services. Simple enough, right? You want to sell your book- you need to market it. But one of the biggest mistakes I see authors make is thinking their marketing should focus solely on their book. That's where self promotion comes in.

Technically, self promotion is presenting yourself as an accomplished, skilled, capable person. But in fact, it's more about building a connection with your readers and building a brand that supersedes one individual book.

Why You Need an Author Brand

I recently had an intake coaching session with an author. While doing a website audit for her, I discovered that her website name was not her own name, but her book's name. When I asked her what she'd do when she wrote a new book, she was stumped. "I hadn't thought about that," she admitted.

This is not uncommon for new authors. They're understandably excited about launching their first book and all their efforts are on selling and marketing that book for success. However, you need to think about the long game. Hopefully, you WILL write more than one book and you'll want readers to buy that book too. That's where brand identity comes in.

What’s Brand Identity?

Brand identity is necessary for a business. It helps build loyalty and a trust in the style and quality of a book with your name on it. If you want to make being an author your JOB and your BUSINESS, you must promote your brand—you have to commit to self promoting.

You can do this by first determining what is the common theme in your current stories and what you want to write about in the future. For instance, I write historical fiction. I can see myself writing about different time periods and different kinds of people. But one thing I know my books will all have in common is that they'll all be about women. And those women will be fighting for change. So, my brand identity? I write about women in history overcoming obstacles to fight for change. This is what I tell people when they ask about my books. It’s what I've built my website and social media platform messaging around. When readers find and follow me, they know exactly what to expect from my books.

More Self Promotion Examples

The other important part of self promotion is selling yourself. We need to build relationships with our readers and allow them to see us as people. I know some of you authors are shaking in your boots right now. The last thing most of us want to do is spotlight ourselves. That's why we hide behind our books, right? But if we're unwilling to open up and share, our books will languish and never get read. So, let's see if we can find a comfortable way to work some of these self promotion examples into our regular routines.

Work Your Livelihood into Conversations

I tell people I'm an author. I'm not saying I walk around introducing myself that way. But I do seize on natural opportunities to bring it into conversation. And with my books on Amazon, there's an immediate opportunity to make a sale once I do. I've sold books in the pediatrician's office, in the dentist chair, on an airplane, on the sidelines of a soccer game. When there's an opportunity to bring up what I do, I take it. But to make sure this feels natural and easy, I've made sure to perfect an elevator pitch synopsis of what my book is about.

Perfect Your Elevator Pitch

Have you ever been asked what your book is about and find yourself freezing or launching into a long-winded explanation where you can see the person's eyes glazing over? We've all been there. That's why it is crucial to master your elevator pitch synopsis. This is simply a two or three sentence description of your book. For me, I say- "I created a fictional character who escapes from Russia at the beginning of the revolution. She settles on the Lower East Side of New York and is involved in the 1909 Garment Worker's Uprising. She's then involved in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and its aftermath."

My elevator pitch immediately identifies my book's genre--historical fiction--and the time period I'm writing about- early 1900s. It also gives an overview of the main historical events and obstacles my character faces.

Using this elevator pitch and being nervy enough to bring my book up in conversation, I've not only gotten sales, I've landed speaking engagements, bookstore signings and invitations to and festivals other events. I'm constantly on the prowl. Both for selling opportunities and also chances to network and add to my Rolodex of contacts. You never know when they'll come in handy.

Promoting Ourselves on Social Media

Ah, social media: the dreaded word. I find that one reason people have such apprehension about using social media to market is they don't know what to post. For starters, you need to know that social media is not where you'll sell books. Social media does not translate to sales. So why waste your time? What's the purpose?

To network and build a community of followers. If nurtured with a targeted purpose that follows your brand identity, social media can translate to an engaged audience who WILL sign up for your newsletter, like your posts, be your beta readers and early reviewers--and yes, some will also buy your books. But more importantly, they'll be loyal because they feel like they know and care about YOU. That will go a lot further than one person who buys one of your books from Amazon or a shelf in a bookstore.

Think of it this way—you can market to sell one book once. This can be done with targeted ads, book promo newsletter features, virtual book tours, etc. All this can and should be done, too. But if you promote yourself—you'll be nurturing a loyal base of readers who will buy every book you ever write. You do the math.

Joyana Peters is the award-winning Indie author of the historical fiction novels The Girl From Saint Petersburg and The Girl in the Triangle. She is also an author business coach offering guidance and resources for authors at all stages of their publication journeys. You can follow her @JoyanaPetersAuthor on social media and check out more of her author business resources at You can also sign up for her free author newsletter with weekly tips and tools at

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  1. Hi Joyana, ty for the strong, clear advice! This post is a winner.

  2. Thanks Kathy, I'm so glad you found it helpful!

  3. Thank you, Joyana, for these clear explanations. I just followed you on IG.

  4. What an excellent and informative article. Great information and tips for any author. Thank you!

  5. These are encouraging, productive suggestions. Thank you !

  6. Thank you, Joyana, for these tips and explanations.

  7. Thank you, Joyana. This post is so helpful and relevant for authors today!

  8. Great tips here, thanks so much, Joyana!

  9. You have perfected your elevator pitch! I'm off to get it from the library! I think the most important thing of self-promotion/social media is to be yourself. The second...take a break from social media/newsletters once in a while! Fabulous post!

  10. Great tips! Promotion is something that I struggle with. I'm such an introvert.

  11. I'm so glad you all found it helpful! I hope you all take these tips to master self-promotion yourselves! Good luck!