How to publicise and sell your POD book

Alistair Humphreys' book Moods of Future Joys

Other pages in this feature

Main article
Putting POD to the test
How to publicise your POD book

Related internet links

Alastair Humphreys' Website
Leah Kelley's Website
Nick Warren's MySpace
Frank advice on book presentation

Above: The professional- looking cover art of Alastair Humphreys' POD book. 



"Since I discovered MySpace and hooked in to a network of friends, people have by and large been more interested."

So you’ve written that book and uploaded it to a POD site but no one, except your mother, has bought it. What do you do now? Here are five top tips from self-published POD authors.

Aim for perfection: One of the biggest complaints about print-on-demand books is the poor quality of spelling, punctuation, cover art or layout. If you want your book to sell like a commercially published book, you will have to make it look like one.
CASE STUDY: Alistair Humphreys turned his travel diaries into an incredibly professional-looking POD book entitled Moods of Future Joys. He says, "You really can judge a book by its cover. So I was determined to get a book that at least looked like a 'proper' book. I asked a nerd computer friend to help with artwork. As for spelling and grammar, that took a lot of hard work but is well worth getting right. I have enough hurdles to overcome with POD than to be plagued by a tacky cover and amateur errors."

Media Coverage: A review of your book in the press will reach hundreds or thousands of potential buyers, for free. Try the local paper where the book is set or a trade magazine in the relevant field to reach readers who will automatically be more interested.
CASE STUDY: Alistair Humphreys has had coverage of Moods of Future Joys in The Guardian, BBC Online and Radio 4. He says, "Press coverage is key because your book is not in normal bookshops, so you have to market yourself hard. I am lucky because I do a lot of talks which expose my book to lots of new people. I work hard at getting media coverage. A very good press release, a good story and a relevant name to contact are vital."

Get a web page or 'storefront': In a book shop, readers can pick up your book to get a feel for it. They will examine the cover and flick through the first few pages. Use a web page or online ‘storefront’ to give your potential buyers an opportunity to do this. It doesn’t matter if you have no web design skills, sites such as, let all their authors create a 'storefront' from an online form.
CASE STUDY: Leah Kelley, author of the Christian Domestic Discipline Spanking series uses a website to introduce potential readers to her work and inform them about all the books in her series. She says,"‘Because I have a website, I come up on Google searches for information about the theme of my fiction."

Networking: The internet and its 'social networking' opportunities are well-known for being able to unite groups of people with similar interests. Make the most of being able to track down and make friends with people who share the concerns of you and your book.
CASE STUDY: Nick Warren, author of Resurgence and Operation Astute, used to rely on word of mouth with friends and family, but says "Since I discovered MySpace and hooked in to a network of friends, people have by and large been more interested." Nick has also discovered the value of fansites and forums for publicising his book. "I post on the Internet Movie Database when a movie with a similar subject matter is being discussed in a lively way. When I joined in a few forum discussions on the film United 93 and mentioned I had written about anti-terror operations, I suddenly got loads of hits."

‘Guerrilla’ marketing: Be as inventive as you can in thinking up small, clever ways to spread the word about your book.
CASE STUDY: Nick Warren says "on holiday I pop notes about my work in the back of hotel paperbacks".



© Copyright Sarah Bromley 2006
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