What’s the Best Way for an Indie Author to Promote Their Book?

By Jennifer Hallmark

Maybe we should start with why authors want to sell their books.

Don’t give me that blank stare. I know it seems like a given but many writers go to all the trouble to put a book together then only do a little marketing. Either they are fearful of what people will think or they lack the skills to market, or maybe they wonder if they even should laud the praises of their own work.

Authors should not skimp on marketing.

If a person goes to the trouble of completing a book and then publishing it, whether traditional or Indie, it seems they should get it in front of readers. And at least that gives people a chance to decide whether they want to read it or not.  

Now that the why is settled, let’s look at what ways are best. Here are some positive steps to take in the promotion of your work:

  • Start by building a blog or website or having one built for you. You need a landing page for your readers to find you. Yes, it’s good to create an author page on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, and other places but make sure if a reader Googles your name, they can find you.
  • Email list. You need to have an email list of your readers and potential readers so you can reach them with news. Not spam them with constant bombardment. My favorite way to accomplish this is with my email newsletter. And people love presents so be sure to include a gift for the sign-up: a recipe, chapter of a book, short story, etc.  (You can subscribe to mine here for an example plus get a gift of ten of my favorite recipes. 😊Just look for the pop-up.)
  • Social media. There are all kinds of social media you can market your book through. I’d pick two or three and build a presence. Remember to build relationships with people and your books will sell. I use Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest as my main three. Experiement and find what works for you.
  • Speaking/book signings. You’ll want to have a few events to allow the people in your area or areas you’re visiting to meet with the author. You can arrange to speak at a church, social club, library, or school. Make sure to set up a book table and sign books. Also have something set up to show people how to order the e-book if they’d rather read on the Kindle or Nook. Book stores are great places to have a book signing since your potential readers are already there.

Here’s our own Betty Thomason Owens at a book signing.

I also have four tips to speed up marketing:

    1. Be reliable and ready. Set up a pattern in the beginning and keep your name out there. You want people to know that you’re serious.
    2. Book links. Make sure you have book links on your blog/website, all social media, your signature in emails, and any guest posting you may do. If someone is curious, you want them to have a link to click on.
    3. Everyone loves a sale. I once bought a mystery e-book for 99 cents and liked it so much that I paid regular price for the next five just to see what happened. It really works.
    4. And finally, the most important tip of all: The Golden Rule. “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 NLT) Be good to people. Sow seeds of kindness and I believe at some point you will reap a return. Build a network with other authors and promote them the way you would like to be promoted. It will bring a positive investment before it’s all over and you’re sure to make some lifelong friends.

Start today to put some of these principles in practice. Find what works best for you, then be consistent. The readers are out there and waiting for the next author to follow.

Show them where you are.


Writing Prompt: Jillian reached into the mail box and snatched the book-shaped package, clutching it tightly as she ran toward the house. She’d finally get to see…

Click to tweet: What’s the best way for an Indie author to promote their book? You might be surprised. #marketing #IndieAuthors

3 Questions Wednesday with Jennifer Hallmark

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday!

I’m really excited about this week’s post since the guest is … ME! I’m a blogger and author, thrilled that my debut novel will release in June, 2019.  I’ve been a stay-at-home mom, chicken farmer, and am currently a full-time writer. Now to take a stab at these questions.

First question—Can you describe yourself in three words?

Jennifer:  Organized:  Yes, that person that makes lists of her lists would be me. I prefer the term organized to obsessive. The key word here is prefer. 🙂

Loyal: If you’re my friend or family, I’ll go to bat for you. I might not agree with you and I could get mad but I’ll be in your corner if you need me.

Studious: That probably sounds better than geek. But if the term fits…

Now, the second question is a bit tougher.

Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?

Jennifer:  My debut novel, Jessie’s Hope, is actually set in the South where I live. My unsold fantasy novel has some similarities to England so I believe I’d go to the English countryside and find one of those picturesque villages to stay for a few weeks. Would a little cottage with a maid and a cook be asking too much?

I’m ready to go. That brings us to question number three—

If someone made a movie of your life, what would be the theme song?

Jennifer:  I love music so much and have thought about theme songs for my books already. 🙂 Right now, I really like the song by Matthew West called “All In.” I feel like that’s where I am at the moment.

Thanks so much for stopping by to visit with me! Talk to y’all real soon …

Click to Tweet: 3 Questions Wednesday’s guest is Jennifer Hallmark, blogger, author, and retired chicken farmer. Learn more about her and win a Walmart gift card via @InspiredPrompt. #WritersLife #amwriting

Readers,  if I could have described myself with one more word, it would have been practical. So I’d like to bless someone with a practical gift, a $10 Walmart card. Please leave a comment with your answer to one of the above questions to be entered…


Alabama Inspired Fiction is my website and within, you’ll find my blog, Small Acts of Kindness. I’ve just refurbished the site and it’s still somewhat under construction as I make ready for my debut release. Please check it out and subscribe if you’d like to read about Small Acts of Kindness each Monday and (back by popular demand) in September, Favorite Friday Fiction.

And if you want to really make me shout for joy, take a moment to sign up for my monthly newsletter. Starting in September, I’ll be sharing vignettes (or glimpses) of my novels secondary characters. It’ll be fun and I think you’ll like my southern friends. 🙂 And, as always, I also share a scrumptious recipe.


Jennifer Hallmark writes Southern fiction and fantasy, an interesting combination that keep the creative juices flowing. She’s published 200+ internet articles and interviews, short stories in several magazines, and has co-authored three book compilations.

When she isn’t babysitting grandkids or gardening, you can find her at her desk writing fiction or working on one of her two blogs. Or even watching American Ninja Warrior.

Can Blogging and Fun Go Together?

By Jennifer Hallmark

Blogging enjoyable? I see y’all shaking your head right now. No way, no how. I’m part of several online and in-person writing groups and when blogging is mentioned, eyes roll and people shiver.

“I can’t think of enough to write about.”

“I forget when I get busy.”

“I don’t think it makes a difference.”

“No one reads my blog except my mom and Aunt Suzie.”

After several years of mindless and inconsistent journaling, I stopped. I dreaded blogging and what I wrote was rambling at best and confusing at times. It was time to go to God. After all, He created the people who invented blogging so maybe He could help me out.

I quit blogging and told Him about all my shortcomings, failures, and irregularities in my blogging world. Then I listened. It took some time but what finally came to mind was this: my blogging pointed to me. All about me. Me. Me. Me.

Oh.

He whispered in my soul about how others had helped me get my start in the craft, especially writers. I went to two of my critique group friends, Betty Thomason Owens and Christina Rich and laid out my heart. I wanted to give back to writers. How could I do this and would they like to be a part? They graciously agreed. Christina did the tech work, Betty edited, and I thought up ideas. 🙂

We brainstormed and decided on a blog that would spark the imagination through writing prompts. We would blog on various subjects—flowers, animals, sports, the Olympics—A plethora of topics with a writing prompt that might help someone who needed a little help. Our first post introducing our blog, Writing Prompts, Thoughts, & Ideas: Oh My! went live on April 28th, 2012.

Cue the crickets. We had a tiny following. We had contests for writing stories using our prompts and grew a tad. I went back to God. What were we doing wrong?

Nothing in the fundamentals.  But we could help writers even more by promoting them. Their books. Or blogs. And we wouldn’t worry whether theirs was a self-published book they wrote for their family or a best-seller. Our only stipulation: fairly clean reads.

Everyone did reviews and interviews so we came up with 3 Questions Wednesday. 3 simple questions and we’d promote the writer and whatever they wanted to promote. Our first guest was Jordyn Redwood. From there, the blog grew stronger. We had all types of guests from all writing levels and walks of life.

I started really having fun. I enjoyed meeting all the new people. We started adding bloggers and I met more neat writers. Books I never heard of before became part of my library. Writers and even publishers were coming to me, asking to be a guest on our blog.

We added Saturday interviews. We grew and by 2017, five years from the start, we were garnering shares, comments, and attention. Our blog morphed once more by honing in our focus on specific writers: Indie published and new to the writing world.

Now, please understand blogging is still hard work. At times, I wrestle with tech issues and want to throw my desktop in the yard. I grow tired and don’t always want to write my posts. I forget to do things on occasions.

But I’m having fun. I believe we’re making a difference.

My advice? Follow the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Take your eyes off yourself and be a blessing to others. Invite others to come along for the ride. You’ll make new friends. You could start to smile when you blog.

You might even have fun.

Click to tweet: Can Blogging and Fun Go Together? One blogger’s thoughts. #blogging #amwriting

Is Twitter a Good Tool for Authors?

By Jennifer Hallmark

Twitter is a part of social media and that, in itself, can be a useful device for authors. With Facebook, you often have local community friends to share your latest writing news and fun or not-so-fun things happening in your life. Instagram is a good place to also gather community friends and family and post photos and memes sharing your books and love for writing and reading. And Pinterest is just plain entertaining. The biggest thing to remember about social media is the word “social.”

Twitter is a bit different. If you go to the “about” page on Twitter.com, you’ll find these words…

Twitter is what’s happening in the world and what people are talking about right now.

I  find that true in my own experience. If there is something new going on and I want to know about it, I don’t go to Facebook or Instagram or even Pinterest. Twitter is my first stop because it’s all about breaking news and information going viral.

Twitter is simple. You join, set up a profile, and start tweeting. What’s a tweet? Simply a message you share with the world. One important part of this way to communicate is the use of hashtags. Hashtags identify messages on a specific topic.

Go to Twitter, type #write in the search box and it pulls up an avalanche of writing-related tweets. You need to add one to three hashtags per tweet for optimal effect. As a writer, some of my favorites are:

  • #amwriting
  • #amreading
  • #fiction
  • #writing
  • #WriterWednesday
  • #Fridayreads
  • #ACFW

So now you have a super simple introduction to Twitter. How can authors use this happening place to their advantage?

According to a Jeff Goins article I read, Twitter is a “networking event.” I agree. For me, my aim is to find people with similar interests and share information that I think might be helpful to them.

Note I did not say try to sell them everything I can.

The quickest way to be blocked from my Twitter friends is to constantly try to sell something. Or to be a single guy with a “fake” military pic or something romantic for the avatar. I’m not buying.

The Golden Rule works on all social media, just like in real life. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

I keep my tweets very specific. I tweet about:

  • Writing
  • Reading/books
  • Acts of kindness
  • Faith-based topics
  • Sports/mainly football

If anyone follows me, this is what they are going to find. Not 10,000 totally unrelated subjects. I’m intentional in my use of social media, except Pinterest. I’m very ecletic on the boards I have but with Pinterest, it works.

Because of my intentional topics, I’ve found my messages often shared or myself added to lists. Both are positive and help spread word about yourself and subjects of interests you enjoy. People trust you and then and only then can you occasionally mention a book or products you have to offer and make a sale.

That part is the same on all social media.

I’ve barely scratched the surface here but if you want to know more about Twitter, go to Edie Melson’s blog and type in Twitter in the search box. She has a slew of interesting articles filled with helpful information.

Or better yet, follow Edie on Twitter. Tell her I sent you 😊

Click to tweet:  If there is something new going on and I want to know about it, I don’t go to Facebook or Instagram or even Pinterest. Twitter is my first stop because it’s all about breaking news and information going viral. #write #Twitter

Writing Prompt: Jill grabbed her phone and started to chunk it out the window. But it wouldn’t help. She wanted the book she’d written to go viral on Twitter but instead…

Motivated by Many: One Writers Perspective

By Cammi Woodall

This was a hard article for me. I am supposed to explain how an author inspired me. How do I pick just one? In Icebound, Dean Koontz wrote a scene of a man underwater struggling to break through the ice. I found myself holding my breath along with him! Stephen King’s imagery and turn of phrase has scared me, sickened me, enlightened me, and encouraged me. And who didn’t cry when Dobby died? How could you, J.K. Rowling?

I decided to fudge a little and write about three different ladies close to home who have inspired me.  Please forgive me, Jennifer and Betty (the blog administrators)!

In 2006, my sister and I took a class offered by our local Board of Education, called “As the Pen Spins”. It was a writing seminar taught by a great lady named Jane Carroll. To start the first class, we all had to stand up, introduce ourselves, and tell what we do.

I said, “Hi, my name is Cammi and I work in a bank.”

She challenged us to reintroduce ourselves and say, “My name is Cammi and I am a writer!”

I did not have the exclamation point in my voice when I stood up in class but much more of a question mark. Me, a writer? In my mind, that word conjured up the New York Times bestsellers list, contracts, agents, movie rights. I was a bank teller who scribbled ideas on scraps of paper and hid them away from the world. Who was I to call myself a writer?

Jane taught me that a writer is simply one who writes. Quantity doesn’t count, only the fact that you write and do not stop. Did you compose one line about the beauty of the morning sunrise? Did you write an article for your company’s newsletter? Did you pen a short funny story for your grandkids? Then, my friend, you are a writer. Stand up and say it out loud! Thank you, Jane!

Jennifer Hallmark, one of the moderators for this site, inspires me in several ways. She was in that first class with my sister and me. I can still remember her saying, “I’m really just interested in learning more about writing articles.” She has certainly done that in abundance, but Jennifer is also the proud owner of a book contract for a fictional novel. (I am not jealous, I am not jealous, I am not jealous!)

She has grown as a writer and gone down different paths to find her way. I never considered writing articles until she asked me last year to contribute to this blog. Now, thanks to her, I have a few articles posted here and am scheduled for more later in the year. This lady has definitely made me jump out of my comfort zone and find some new paths of my own! Thank you, Jennifer!

My sister Holly is a writer in a different situation. As a United Methodist preacher, she faces the challenges of caring for her congregation’s needs and helping them grow in the Lord’s way. Each week, she writes a sermon that is God-given and inspirational, and each week she teaches me something new. I face enough of a struggle writing an article occasionally for a blog so I admire the strength and courage she brings to her calling.

Holly also inspires me with encouragement and gave me my favorite compliment I’ve received about my writing. While looking over an article I’d done about Stephen King’s The Shawshank Redemption, she said, “You have such an easy style. It reminds me a lot of Stephen King. Not the horror, but like you are sitting here with me telling a story. I like reading your work.” Bring on the tingles of excitement, tears of joy, and the blush of embarrassment! A simple compliment but one I hold close to my heart. Thank you, dear sister!

Do you have an author who inspires you in your writing? I certainly hope so. But how about this? Go be that inspiration for someone. Give encouragement, offer to read, spread the word about their accomplishments. You never know what action you take will resonate with another and stay on their heart. Who knows? You could end up in an article!

Writing prompt “At least it is over now.”

She shook her head. “No, I am afraid it has just begun.”

Click to tweet: Go inspire someone, a writer. Give encouragement, offer to read, spread the word about their accomplishments. You never know what action you take will resonate with another and stay on their heart. #amwriting #motivation