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Top 5 Book Marketing Tips by Indie Author Amy Lyle

Through trial and error, indie author Amy Lyle has distilled an infinite amount of marketing advice down to the five practices that have kept her humorous memoir, The Amy Binegar-Kimmes-Lyle Book of Failures, selling steadily alongside other category favorites like Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler, and David Sedaris. She wants to encourage authors to put their efforts into marketing practices that actually work. Here is a list of the five things you want to do to promote your book:

1. Speaking Engagements

“People fear public speaking more than death,” says Lyle, yet speaking engagements provide excellent opportunities to connect with potential readers. Where authors often go wrong is when they use engagements as an opportunity to hard-sell the audience on their novel. The irony of this approach is that the more an author says, “buy my book,” the more the audience will back away from it. 

Instead, authors should focus on providing a lively or enlightening experience for the crowd. That is when the audience typically opens up and wants to support the work of a charismatic speaker. For instance, a children’s book author could volunteer to read for Story Time at a local library. By putting on a lively performance, both the parents and their kids might take an interest in the author’s books. A romance writer could volunteer to emcee a date night for singles. A humorist could try stand up material at an open mic night, etc.

Introverts have great options as well. Podcasts are a great way to reach a target audience without having to be in front of a large crowd. Podcasters are always looking for subject matter experts and enthusiast to speak on their show. Paid websites like, match speakers to shows, but authors could just as easily (and for free) find suitable speaking engagements by conducting a Boolean search on Google. It’s as simple as opening a new browser tab and typing the target genre followed by the words be a guest inside quotation marks, i.e., Science fiction podcast “be a guest.” Say hello to a list of leads. 

2. Social Media

When it comes to social media, Lyle says it’s best to avoid continually talking about your book, your writing life, etc. To attract the readers who would take interest in your work, concentrate on sharing theme-related content. Do you write science fiction? Become a source for the latest news in science and tech. Write romance? Share amazing love stories from around the world. Write comedy? Share funny one-liners, and so on.

Remember to incorporate hashtags, or other types of social media tags, to help new readers discover your content.  

If finding free time for social media is a concern, Lyle recommends using Hootsuite, a free scheduler for social media posts. Authors can queue up more than a week’s worth of content and let Hootsuite deploy it over a set schedule.

3. Free Press

Contributing to well-read platforms creates opportunities for thousands of readers to learn about you through a byline placed at the end of your published article. There was a time when writers went on virtual blogging tours, promoting their work to an established audience, but again, the whole “buy my book” message doesn’t resonate too well after a while and the popularity of blogging tours fizzled over the years. “When you’re thinking about free press,” says Lyle, “think about what’s in it for them.” In other words, study the publication, blog, or magazine, you wish to write for, follow their guidelines, and write an amazing article that adds value to their platform. By providing quality work, readers are more likely to look you up in search engines and search for your work. 

To find online guest posting opportunities, go to Google, enter your preferred genre (or niche) followed by the words write for us in quotes, i.e., fantasy blog “write for us.”

4. A Book Launch

“Go big, go small, but do something,” insists Lyle. 
For a digital book launch, enlist the help of friends and family to create social media buzz and drive ebook sales. 

For in-person events, Lyle says it’s best to celebrate a theme—that’s right, themes again. People are just not that motivated to show up to launches centered on “buy my book” as the sole reason for attending.  If you wrote a mystery novel, host a whodunit party. If you wrote a funny memoir, consider hosting a comedy night, etc. 

5. Amazon Marketing Services

Lyle’s most important tip, hands down, is to invest in Amazon Marketing Services. “What I’ve found with authors,” she says, “is that they will drive for two hours to do a book signing and sell seven books, but will not invest in Amazon Marketing Services.” 

Taking into account that Amazon sells close to half of all print books and more than two-thirds of digital books worldwide, Lyle believes that no marketing strategy is complete without an Amazon ad budget. 

By crafting effective ads, writers increase the discoverability of a book,  get to a boost in organic traffic, and as a bonus, well-performing titles run the chance of being featured in site-wide promotions; which has happened twice for Lyle’s memoir. 

Putting It All Together

According to Lyle, the key to success isn’t to rely on one tactic but to practice them all. With that in mind, schedule multiple podcast appearances, write for local magazines and online platforms, make friends on social media—keep your fire burning. 

Katina Bertrand Ferguson

Katina Bertrand Ferguson (she/her) is a French Canadian freelance writer and translator. Her work has been published on,, and in Vinings Lifestyle Magazine, among other places. Find out what she’s up to on Instagram and Twitter @KatinaWrites or visit