Sell More Books


Best Books on Book Marketing

How to Write, Publish, Publicize, Market and Sell Books

To be a successful writer, we recommend reading widely and regularly in writing and book marketing. Even after you feel like you know way more than you're already applying, keep learning! Each new book we read offers new angles and helps us to rearrange our marketing priorities. 

This is more of an annotated booklist than a critique. While we certainly don't agree with everything in these books, we find value in each of them and will here highlight that value.
Click here to read some of my takeaways from each book. (Under Construction.)

1001 Ways to Market Your Books: For Authors and Publishers, by John Kremer. Get the latest edition, since he adds significant new material with each edition. At 700 pages, Kremer gives the specifics every author needs. Although I read it all the way through, most authors will prefer to use it as a reference to find the authoritative details for the specific methods they want to use. 

2. Sell More Books! Book Marketing and Publishing for Low Profile and Debut Authors, by Cherie K. Miller, J. Steve Miller, Brian Jud, John Kremer, et. al., (2011). We admit, it's our own book. With so many good books out there on the subject, why another one? We felt that someone needed to focus on not-yet-famous authors to show them how other low-profile authors are successfully publishing and selling their books. What works for this group is often very different from famous, well-established authors. It's up-to-date, candid (admits when we put a lot of time into campaigns that sold no books at all) and provides much information that's quite unique.

3. How to Make Real Money Selling Books, by Brian Jud (2009). Concentrating on special sales outside of traditional bookstores, Jud gives tons of invaluable details. Along with Kremer's book, consider it as another reference to keep on your desk.

4. Jump Start Your Book Sales: A Money-Making Guide for Authors, Independent Publishers and Small Presses, by Marilyn & Tom Ross (1999). I like the way this book reads - lots of practical detail without being encyclopedic. Very useful for traditional methods of book publicity.

5. Publish a Book! Compare over 50 Self-publishing Companies: Book Publishing with CreateSpace, Lulu, Lightning Source, iUniverse, Outskirts, Publish America, Xlibris, Xulon, etc., by J. Steve Miller. Confused by all the different publishing companies - what they offer and what they claim for themselves? This book attempts to sort fact from fable, what's important from what doesn't matter. Compares costs and links readers to complaint sites to get the latest reports.

6. Social Media Frenzy: Why Time Consuming Facebook, Twitter & Blogging Strategies May NOT Work for Your Business - Consider These Alternative Social Networking Initiatives, by J. Steve Miller. Literary agents and publishers typically urge their authors to build vast social media followings through blogging several times a week, tweeting several times a day, and interacting with large numbers of "friends" on Facebook. This book recommends social networking, but questions the feasibility of "building a large following" for the typical author. Since authors typically have very little negotiable time, they need methods that don't require long-term commitments of large amounts of time. 

7. The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published, by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry (2010). The earlier version was called Putting Your Passion into Print. I like their fun writing style and their practical details. Although they include a chapter on self publishing, their forte is helping authors navigate the traditional publishing industry, which they know intimately. Lots of great, practical advice.

8. Plug Your Book!, by Steve Weber (2007). Great information on harnessing the power of the internet. This arena moves so quickly that the book needs updating. Example: it needs to talk about Facebook (the current reigning social media platform) rather than MySpace (reigned a few years ago and still exists, but dethroned by Facebook and now pales in comparison).

Dan Poynter's Self Publishing Manual, by Dan Poynter (2007). A standard in its field. Poynter started by very successfully publishing and marketing his own books. Then he began to help others navigate the maze of self publishing. To find more about print on demand and digital options, get volume 2 of the same title as well. His website also has many valuable resources - both free and paid.

10.  The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't, by Carolyn Howard-Johnson (2004). Good tips on traditional book publicity methods.

11. Writing Conversations: Spend 365 Days with Your Favorite Authors, Learning the Craft of Writing, by Cherie K. Miller, 2010. Now we come to a few books on developing your craft. This book gives extended quotes from successful writers on various themes, including marketing and writing. Use it like a writer's devotional, meditating on a different suggestion each day of the month. Learn from Stephen King, Janet Evanovich, William Faulkner, Agatha Christie, and scores of other successful writers. 

12. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King. I love to read successful writers giving their practical tips! By including autobiographical details, you get a more full-orbed picture of King and his craft.

13. On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction, by William Zinsser. In submitting my first manuscript to publishers, I studied Writers Market to find potential presses. I believe it was Intervarsity Press that recommended: "If you want to write nonfiction for publication, read Zinsser's On Writing Well and do what he says." I read him and made a little checklist for self editing. Invaluable.

14. Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul, by Canfield, Hansen and Gardner (2000). Delivers encouragement, motivation and instruction by acquainting us with the real life dreams, heartaches and breakthroughs of 80 successful authors.

15. Social Media Marketing for Dummies, by Shiv Singh (2010). Currently leading social media for Pepsico, Singh backs up his suggestions with personal experience and research. Although it's geared more to large companies than entrepreneurial authors, you'll find some useful material here.

16. Publicize Your Book!, by Jacqueline Deval (2008).  Lots of useful specifics on traditional book marketing methods.

17. Confessions of Shameless Self Promoters: 68 Marketing Gurus Share Secrets, Strategies, and Unique Ideas that Will Take You to the Next Level of Success!, ed. by Debbie Allen (2002). While not specifically on book marketing, I got lots of useful tips. Don't let the title fool you - "shameless" doesn't imply "obnoxious." The contributors offer great hints for the shy and outgoing alike.

18. Grassroots Marketing for Authors and Publishers, by Shel Harowitz (2007). Sound, practical, frugal advice.

19. Aiming at Amazon, by Aaron Shepard (2007). We all need specifics on how to publish and sell on Amazon. Either Sampson or Shepard will give you the low down. But both will need to be updated, since Amazon keeps morphing at breakneck speed.

20. Sell Your Book on Amazon, by Brent Sampson (2007). See above.

21. The Well-Fed Self-Publisher, by Peter Bowerman (2007). I like Bowerman. He often gives specifics as he experienced them. He may tell who he hired for what, how much money he spent, and how much money he netted on the campaign.

22. Author 101 Bestselling Book Publicity, Frishman and Spizman (2006). Valuable information.

23. Damn! Why Didn't I Write That?, by Marc McCutcheon (2006). McCutcheon is a low-profile guy who's found some secrets to making a living publishing books. Hint: Research to find holes in the market.

24. The New Rules of Marketing & PR, by David Meerman Scott (2007). Some valuable insights on news releases, blogging and other online media. Although not targeting writers, there's some valuable material here.

25. The Social Media Marketing Book, by Dan Zarrella (2010).  Although it's 232 pp, the dimensions are small and every other page is a screen shot to help readers visualize his points. If you want a brief introduction to social media tools and platforms such as blogging, Twitter, social networking, media sharing, bookmarking and forums, this little book with get you started.

26. Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing, by Harry Beckwith (1997). Harvey Mackay calls it a modern classic. Not specifically about selling books, but Beckwith acquaints us with marketing principles we should all be aware of. It's broken down into brief one and two page segments that you can read each day and reflect upon. Motivational, informative, authoritative.

27. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcomb Gladwell (2000). This #1 national bestseller helps us to see how ideas and products can "tip" - spreading like wildfire. Motivational, thought-provoking and fun - pure Gladwell.

28.  John Kremer's Self-Publishing Hall of Fame, by John Kremer, (get the e-book from his site rather than the hard copy from Amazon) which is regularly updated and at recent count well over 500 pages). Kremer shares scores of stories of low profile authors who sold tons of books. Read a story a day as an antidote to the discouraging statistics of how few books, especially self-published books, sell many copies. It also helps to see what actually worked for these authors - often not the strategies most touted by book marketing gurus.

29. ProBlogger, by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett. In my opinion, most writers don't need to blog several times per week, trying to build a following, if your only motive is to sell your books. But if you have other reasons as well, this book will show you the way. It's honest, non-sensational, and gives you the tips you need to take your blog to the next level. 

30. LinkedIn Marketing: 8 Best Tactics to Build Book and Business Sales, by Judy Cullins. This is the most practical book I've seen on how authors can use LinkedIn. Judy's done it for her business and thus talks from experience.

31. Abundant Rain, by Marcia Lee Laycock. A Christian devotional for writers, by a writer. Well written and deals with many of the special fears, frustrations, temptations and joys faced by writers.

32. Smashwords Book Marketing Guide, (free) by Mark Coker. Although Coker is known for founding Smashwords, the e-book platform, his college degree was in marketing and he worked in public relations. Good tips. 

33. How to Launch a Christian Bestseller, by Lorilyn Roberts. I'm a member of her network and see the value of her approach - network with fellow authors and assist one another in promoting the books you believe in.

34. The Best Little Grammar Book Ever, by Arlene Miller. Very helpful to read through and then keep within arms reach for grammatical help. Clearer than Strunk and White's classic The Manual of Style.

35. 77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected: And How to Make Sure It Won't Happen Again!, by Mike Nappa. The best book I've seen on understanding the acquisitions process from a publisher's perspective. Sure, great writing is typically essential, but that's just one of 77 factors authors must consider. Over half of the book speaks of sales and marketing factors. Since self publishers are publishers, they'd be wise to study the characteristics that seasoned publishers look for in a marketable book. 

Practical Takeaway from Each Book

(I'll work on these as I have time in the future.)

"Steve and Cherie are authors who care about their fellow authors. Plus, they've done their homework to cut through the hype and discover what really works for regular authors who don't already lead huge followings."


Cherie Miller:

Steve Miller:

Books on Writing

Sell More Books Writing Conversations

Sell More Books

Writing Conversations