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online-business-authors-business-1A subscriber wrote me, “Mostly I need to learn how to promote my books. I am good at writing but a novice at promoting.”

Is that you?

Authors tend to like being solitary. After all, writing is basically something you do by yourself.

Promotion is the process of connecting with others — and encouraging them to connect with you. It isn’t something you do by yourself.

Accept the fact that you need to connect with others to promote your books. It might feel scary, but you just need to set up a step-by-step system and follow it.

Find where likely readers hang out

Luckily, you don’t need to promote to people who are not likely to be interested in your books. This is a good thing, because you’ll get more support and fewer rejections when you stick to people who are already interested in the topic of your books.

I’m not sure how to do this with a fiction book, but for a non-fiction book, you just need to find existing groups, and blogs involved in the same or a related topic.

Look for:

  • Social media and industry groups
  • Blogs

Start hanging out in these locations and then start making connections. What does that mean?

  1. Join and contribute in social media and industry groups. Start developing connections with people who might either become readers or who might introduce you to readers.
  2. Read and comment on blog posts.

Spend 15 minutes a day doing this, Monday through Friday.

Find partners

In groups and in blogs, you’ll find other entrepreneurs who cover the same or similar topics. Connect with them on social media (friend them in Facebook, invite them to connect in LinkedIn, etc.)

Start developing a list of people you might want to partner with and contact them to set up a time to talk. Have a discussion about how you can help each other out.

Perhaps you can each recommend the other to your followers. Or write a guest blog post. Or even do a webinar together.

Are you afraid of speaking?online-business-authors-promote

Speaking is a powerful way to connect with potential readers of your books. I know that some writers are uncomfortable with speaking, but here are some tips to get started in a non-threatening way.

Start with online audio venues first. These are podcasts, Blog Talk Radio shows, etc. The advantage is that you don’t see your audience and they don’t see you–this makes speaking easier for people who are nervous about it.

Many hosts need guests every week and use an interview format. They’ll give you the questions in advance so you can prepare! And they try to make their guests look good, so they’re very supportive.

It’s pretty easy to get online guest speaking gigs. Here are some ideas:

Install iTunes and search for podcasts in your field. Listen to a few episodes and contact hosts that are relevant.

Go to and do the same.

Here are 3 more podcast directories:




Go to the  “Live Video Guest Exchange” and “Podcast Guest Exchange” Facebook groups, ask to join, and then offer to speak with a description of your topic, website, etc. You can also find people looking for speakers.

There are websites that try to match hosts and speakers and I haven’t tried these, but they may help you:

Interview Guests Directory

Perfect Podcast Guest

Radio Guest List


After you get comfortable with audio only, you can move on to live video format and webinars. Although I prefer to use the webcam when I do webinars so that people can see me, most people don’t do this so you can hide behind the slides if you want to.

Make it a habit

There are many other techniques — growing your own email list, creating your own events and placing Facebook ads, for example. But you can go far by joining online communities, partnering, and speaking.

Set up a schedule and do a little each week to find online groups, find potential partners, and find speaking opportunities. Soon, your fame will spread far and wide!

If you’d like to set up a 1-hour consultation with me to work out a plan to grow your business with online speaking, you can purchase it here. Once you pay, you’ll get a link to set up a convenient time for us to meet.

What are your challenges to promoting your books, products or services? What has worked for you? Leave a comment and please share this post with your friends using the Share buttons here.

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    7 replies to "Why authors may not be good marketers–and what to do about it"

    • BADOLO

      Ellen,your blog post is very valuable!
      I find it as a first step to begin online business,a start up!

      I’ll read it from now every day before going to bed! whooo! you’re extraordinary clear!

    • Karlo Vasquez

      Oooh! I have a friend who really writes wonderful short stories. I’ve been telling her to sell her stuff but she says she doesn’t know how. Maybe this post will help! Thanks for the valuable insights!

    • Laura Cassidy

      I think I write well and I’ve sold a couple of books to my own circle, but you’re right — I am afraid of speaking and being out there. This post is really helpful. It makes me think of going out of my comfort zone. Will digest it some more. Thank you for this!

    • Ellen Finkelstein

      Laura, glad to help. Let me know if you have any questions!

    • Philippe Gaunier

      I didn’t know there are many venues you can go to to start promoting my book. Thanks Ellen! Very helpful post!

    • Cassandra Eldritch

      Just like many authors, I’m a loner too. But of course I want to promote my book or at least hire someone to do this if my budget will allow it. For now, I’ll try your suggestions and see how it goes. Thanks for this post!

    • Henry Rodriguez

      I like your suggestion about finding readers and finding partners. I never thought of that before. I just used to think that if ever I get to publish a really good story (in my own opinion of course) then readers/people will just follow (which hasn’t happened yet). So I think you’re on to something there. Thanks!

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