Marketing, promoting, distributing and selling your book



  • Start early, plan a marketing strategy well before your print run
  • Prepare postcards, business cards, bookmarks, leaflets, and posters
  • Website set up website using a ‘do it yourself’ business e.g., Bounce Interactive™, or WordPress™ are low cost ways to get started. In your website, use colour pages, include pictures, relevant to your book. Linkages: cross link within your website and also provide linkages to other useful sites. Make your site have useful pages to encourage people to visit your site. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): obtain information from your website provider on how to set up SEO, which is basically to provide relevant keywords for search engines such as Goggle™ to find easily. Understand how Goggle™ revises its search algorithms. Getting your site to the top page found by an internet search may take a few months. You will find that there are literally thousands of businesses from all over the world who want to improve your SEO at a price – so expect a few emails. Regularly update your site – its surprising how quickly parts become dated. Link to Twitter™, Facebook™, and your blog site. Take out likely domain names and link them. Owning several domain names is not all that expensive.They should cover your name and the name of your book. This will help ensure that your site is found easily.
  • Blog site (widen your exposure by doing this separately from main website), use WordPress™ or similar – these are free; link each new blog you publish so that it gets notified on both Twitter™ and Facebook™; try to do a new 500 word blog every month
  • Twitter™ account
  • Facebook™ account, also set up open Facebook™ page
  • Prepare talks on your book and related matters to give to historical and genealogical societies, U3As, Rotary, Probus, CAE Groups and book clubs. Most clubs and societies are always on the lookout for new speakers and new topics. Most will expect you to present with a slide presentation (e.g., Powerpoint™, Keynote™). Most will encourage you to offer your book for sale at the talk. I have found this is a really good way to sell multiple copies of your book. An added bonus is that some organisations will offer a payment or gift voucher to a speaker.
  • Book Reviews – ask newspapers, radio stations (Local Community Radio, ABC Radio Stations), societies, bloggers
  • Awards and Competitions – enter all eligible, but be realistic. The major awards call for multiple copies of your book and have quite high entry fees – you may want to avoid these unless you feel you have a real winner.
  • Donations – donate books to key selected institutions and societies (ask them to do book reviews too)
  • Family Reunions – if you are lucky enough to have many relatives nearby, this can be a real way to sell books
  • Book Launch – find a prominent speaker, attach it to a local literary series/ festival. These are often organised by local libraries. Libraries can be really helpful in not only providing a ‘bookish’ atmosphere but also giving your launch widespread publicity.
  • Press Releases – ‘Leader’ newspaper, The Age newspaper, Seniors newspapers, CAE News, ABC RN and 774, local radio, SBS. Include photos of your book cover and yourself in your press releases.


  • Register for an Australian Business Number (ABN) its free (you need this in your book, but you do not need to register for GST as a hobbyist).
  • Pricing – more difficult than you think (allow for GST, commissions to bookstore; commission to distributor (if any); consignment conditions, postage)
  • Basis of pricing – try to cover the costs of out of pocket expenditures (printing, cover setup and design, overall setup fees, purchase of images, ISBNs and barcodes at the very least.
  • Selection of booksellers – specialist (Museum, Historical Society (RHSV), Mechanics Institutes) and local bookshops. It is hard to make money selling to the big outlets, but useful for getting high sales volumes. Your local suburban independent bookshops will usually take self-published books on consignment as they like to support local authors
  • Libraries – send details to all relevant libraries
  • Colleagues, family and friends – work out good family rate
  • Own Website – have your order form as a pdf file, sell by cheque /cash/ PayPal? (GST-free if you are under a certain volume – ask the tax office or an accountant)
    Printers Website Bookstore (e.g., BookPOD™) – small commission, but has credit card facilities
  • Postage and packing – this can be a real killer. Simplify by having three rates only e.g., Victoria $10, Interstate $13.40; UK (by sea) $22. Weight of book is critical. Try to keep below 500g packed weight. The above prices are for up to 1kg in 2013, My book was 640 g so I was stuck with the 1kg postal rates as above

    Print this on the rear side of your Book Release Sheet



(BOOK TITLE) is available to bookshops under consignment, but conditions apply and these are stated below.
Wholesale prices (EXAMPLE): $22.00 cash on delivery; $25.00 on consignment
A maximum of 6 copies at one store will be supplied on consignment at any one time.
Payment in full is due at three / twelve months [delete one] after supply date, or the return of unsold books in saleable condition. The Publisher retains ownership until books are sold, and they remain as Publisher’s property until paid for.
A purchase order must be supplied in order to receive books on consignment. (OPTIONAL)
The Publisher is not obliged to supply books on consignment.
Contact: YOUR NAME HERE to order books on consignment (tel: YOURS; email: YOURS or by post at the address overleaf.

I agree to the above conditions. (BOOKSHOP)

……………………………………………. signed

…………………………………………… date


Keep a copy for yourself as well as the bookseller.
In my next blog I will give an example of the details of setting up a typical A5 book on an historical subject. Until then, good wishes Martin

Selling Your Book

P1030230.jpgMarketing, Promotion, Distributing and Selling your Book – PART 1

Having gone through perhaps years of research, writing and re-writing, and finally setting your book in a format suitable for printing and release, you probably will have under estimated the amount of time and effort needed to let people know that the book is available. I certainly did.

Quality Control
The first thing you have to do when you excitedly receive cartons of your book from the printer is to check that all copies have been printed correctly. Occasionally, a printer may bind a book in reverse or upside down. You need to check and eliminate those possibilities. You definitely should let your printer know of a problem.

Legalities and Obligations
When you publish a book in Australia you are required by law to deposit a copy of your book with the National Library of Australia (NLA) and a copy with your State Library (in my case the State Library of Victoria). You also need to apply for ‘Cataloguing in Publication’ with the NLA and to obtain an ISBN unique identifier for your book (available from Thorpe – Bowker ). This registration enables your book to be included in the Trove listings of books in Australia and to be found by booksellers. All this apparent bureaucracy is very necessary if you want to sell your book to the public, and provides free publicity of your book. Its also wise to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) as you are the publisher. The ABN is required if you sell through bookshops.

International Book Listings and Catalogues
In addition to the Trove listing, it is advisable also to register your book with Books in Print. This listing is widely used internationally to search for a book by librarians and booksellers. Another listing worth pursuing is Nielsen Bookdata.

Date of Release
After the proofing process is completed with the printer to ensure any errors created in the printing process are eliminated, then you already to release your book. A word of caution: the year of publication is important. Entries for awards and prizes define the dates a book may be eligible for entry for a prize. Booksellers often don’t want to carry a book over two years old. Generally, releasing a book after September is not a good idea. Bookshops are already ordering from book distributors’ lists. they may reject your independent book for this reason – they are already fully-stocked for the Christmas market. Its probably best to release your book between April and July. Impatient as you might be to see your book released, do consider holding your stock for a few months before release if necessary.

Release Sheet / Book Description Sheets (with photo of front cover see my example)
You will need a succinct description of your book with a photo of your front cover to promote your book and to supply to booksellers.

Here is an example:

A new book on the social history of the Port Phillip District between 1839 and 1854, depicted by following in detail the lives of two early pioneers -Dr George Playne and Daniel Jennings. The book throws new light on medicine in the 1840s, and on the endeavours to improve squatters’ conditions and to form a new colony. This book is a culmination often years’ research in Australia and England. The book illustrates the historical value of examining, in detail, lives of individuals during those boisterous years of early settlement and the gold rush between 1839 and 1854, using genealogical research techniques. These two men took up occupancy of the large Campaspe Plains Station in central Victoria. One was a rich, but eccentric land agent, Daniel Jennings; the other, a serious, well-qualified surgeon from a poor Gloucestershire family, Dr George Playne. After five years, they went their separate ways. Jennings remained a squatter and land investor, while Playne moved to Melbourne to practise medicine. He became part of the colonial establishment, helping to establish a medical association, a hospital and to achieve the formation of the colony of Victoria. Their lives from birth to death and that of their families have been explored in depth. The book is lavishly illustrated with 85 maps, plans and images.

Dr Martin Playne has had a career as a research scientist in CSIRO. He graduated from the University of Queensland in agricultural science, majoring in biochemistry. He gained a PhD from the University of
Edinburgh. He has some 119 scientific publications. Ten years of detailed historical and genealogical research has led to this volume. Two Squatters is the
author’s first book on social history.

Two Squatters – The lives of George Playne and Daniel Jennings

ISBN: 978-0-9923341 -0-9

RRP: $35.85

Trim: 210mm x 148mm

Weight of book: 640 grams

Category: Non-Fiction : Australian Social History /Historical Biography

Quantity ordered: ___________

Email: Phone: +61 (0)3 9598 9818


In my next blog I will continue to discuss ideas for marketing and promotion, and on selling your book. Until next time.