How To Prolong Your Book’s Exposure

In the life of a book, the several months surrounding the release date are critically important. That’s when the largest percentage of sales takes place. We set off fireworks, generate a lot of interest, and try to draw new readers.

But we can't set off fireworks forever. Eventually the newness of our release fades . . .

The average author doesn’t have long—two, maybe three months—until other hot, new releases push ours out of the spotlight and out of the top twenty list. Usually after the initial hype has died down, sales will dip. And we’ll count ourselves fortunate if our book continues to have slow but steady sales after that point (as opposed to none at all).

My second book, The Doctor’s Lady, has been on shelves for approximately three months. So my book has likely hit its peak in terms of sales. If it follows the same pattern as my previous book, The Preacher’s Bride, I’ll continue to have sales and new readers, but the figures won’t come close to those initial release numbers.

As I’ve watched this pattern with both of my books, I’ve realized a couple of things:

1. We need to take advantage of the release time, capitalize on the spotlight, and do all we can to invest in marketing at that point.

2. We also need to look for ways to prolong the exposure of our books so that they don’t fade into oblivion so quickly.

After spending months writing a book, months editing, and then months preparing for the release (blog tours, book giveaways, contests, etc.), I think every author would like to see his or her books have a much longer exposure than 2 or 3 months. That amount seems so insignificant compared to all of the time and effort we put into the book.

So what can we do to fan the flame of love for our book, to keep it burning so that it doesn’t extinguish altogether? In other words, what are some practical ways that we can prolong the exposure of our books?

Here are a few things I’ve done or am planning to do:

Do a book giveaway on GoodReads. I like to save this giveaway until after plenty of reviews are posted—then the reviews have the potential to spark even more interest in the giveaway.

Offer to send signed bookplates to anyone buying your book as a gift for friends or family. This is something I’m doing for anyone purchasing one of my books as Christmas presents for loved ones (or for yourselves!). (Sidenote: a bookplate is a sticker the author has personally signed that you can affix inside a book. If you'd like one from me, please email me via my contact page with your mailing address and the name of the person you would like on the bookplate.)

Advertise your book on Facebook (which is something my publisher is doing for me). Again, we can wait to do this after we have a lot of great Amazon reviews. Then when people see our FB ad and investigate further, the reviews can help garner interest.

Occasionally share snippets of praise from reader emails or letters. Recently on Facebook, I shared a sentence from a letter I received from a 92 year old woman who’d read my book.

Offer to Skype or teleconference with book groups. Last month I Skyped with a couple of different groups about my first book, The Preacher’s Bride. I’ve found Skyping to be one of the enjoyable things I do as an author. (And make sure to get the group’s picture for your website.)

Schedule interviews, particularly around holidays/themes. Next month I’m doing a couple of radio interviews—one about Christmas traditions. Valentine’s Day is also a great time for romance writers to do giveaways and interviews.

Enter your book into contests for published authors. Yes, each contest has a fee (usually about $25 and requires several free books). A final can give your book extra exposure, but even if it doesn’t final, you are getting your books into the hands of more readers.

Offer to speak to local groups. Often such groups will allow you to bring books to sell. I’m giving the keynote speech at a one-day writer’s conference on Saturday. This winter, I’m also scheduled to speak at a library.

As I said, we need to capitalize on the initial hype that surrounds our book’s release. That’s the prime time to attract readers. But, if you’re like me, and you don’t want to see your book stall once you’re past the prime, then we’ll have to continue to look for creative ways to keep the book love going.

How about you? What are some other ways authors can prolong the exposure of their books? What have you seen work well? And does the small window of spotlight at release time disappoint you after all the work you've done?


  1. Wow, the ratio of time-spent-writing to time-of-exposure is depressing! But these are some excellent tips! Thanks for another informative post. If I ever get published, I'll have so much advice to review here. :) P.S. How awesome that a 92 year old woman read your book. (Not awesome in a patronizing way, but awesome that you wrote something that appeals to such a wide age range!)

  2. These are all fantastic tips, and so timely for me!

    I'm starting to fear OVERexposing my book. I don't want people to get sick of it, so once my blog tour stops I'm going to NOT talk about it or plug it for a while and hope that people simply reading my blog because they like to might have their attention drawn to it by simply being curious.

    But I am wondering, how long do I back off? It's kinda scary having all that buzz and then suddenly nothing. Scary scary scary ...

  3. Hi Jody, oops ... just lost my comment so if you get this twice, please ignore one! Thanks for some more good advice! I already do some of the things you suggest, but great to have a few more ideas. It all helps in the hard slog that is selling one's nove ;o)
    ps Is there a right time to 'stop' marketing one's book?

  4. Good morning, ladies!

    I agree, Barb. The ratio is rather discouraging. But thankfully, with the internet, we have the capability to do what we can to help increase our book's spotlight, even if just a little bit.

    Jessica, after my blog tour this fall and all of my hard work in promoting, I was ready for a mini-break. So I've taken some time to just breathe. But after several weeks now of rejuvenating, I'm starting to do a few things again (like the book plate offer).

  5. Marianne asked: Is there a right time to 'stop' marketing one's book?

    My thoughts: Marianne, I haven't stopped. I continue to promote both of my books, although I'm not setting off fireworks now. I think we would easily tire our followers and readers if we continued month after month to set off the fireworks. They would get tired of it. But I'm learning we can still promote in smaller, less grandiose ways! :-)

  6. This is one of the most difficult things for me - I'm not unique in this I know - but I have such a hard time "promoting" my books. Many times, I'll promote another author before I do my own.

    I know I keep hoping for that "word of mouth" phenom where people read my book and pass the word around about it.

    My publishers do marketing, but of course they have more than one author!

    I keep writing books, and have at least one a year come out and as well write for anthologies sometimes. Of course my mom says my hard work will pay off - *laughing!* - but I know there are realities in publishing and I need to sort through what I am comfortable with and what I am not and something in between!

  7. Hi Kathyrn, I can totally relate to the discomfort that comes from self-promotion. And I have been hoping "word of mouth" will help promote my book too. I think word of mouth and my publisher's promotion helps to a degree. But I also think in this new age, we all have to change (including publishers) and look for new ways to help get our books into the hands of readers. All of the marketing is definitely pushing me out of my normal comfort zone! :-)

  8. Oh my goodness - I want to know more about the speaking thing! Maybe a blog post?? How in the world do you know what to talk about?? That's amazing that you're giving the keynote speech!

    Love this post, Jody! Must book mark it!

  9. This exact topic has been on my mind with my first release now three months in the past. Thanks for these suggestions--some of which I had considered (nice confirmation) and some I hadn't (yea for new ideas)!

  10. Great tips, Jody, as usual. Since I'm in the early stages of planning for the release of my debut novel, I'm taking notes.

    One thing that's helped me is to realize that I won't really be engaging in self-promotion. It's not me I'm promoting but my book, which is a product, one readers will hopefully enjoy. What I'm really doing is advertising a product, just as any person in business does. Choosing to do so is expected of businesses--and it's expected of writers in today's market. Therefore, when I help my publisher by promoting/advertising my book, I'm simply doing my job. That mindset shift is helping me overcome some of my book release anxieties. (Don't ask me about potential reader reaction, though. That's another story. =)

  11. Jody, do book signings (or other live events like that) at local Christian bookstores still work? I know they've always been a good way to market your book. Or are they just done right when your book comes out?

    I think you're right to keep promoting your books after the initial release, and you've come up with some really creative ways to do so!

  12. Hi Jody,
    You've got lots of great ideas here. My second book comes out in May and my first book came out last May. For those of us writing series I'm wondering what we can do to keep the hype going about our first books along with the coming out of our second and third books. If I had the money I'd plaster my books on the city buses. :)

  13. Katie said: I want to know more about the speaking thing! Maybe a blog post?? How in the world do you know what to talk about??

    My thoughts: Hey Katie! You know, I've found that speaking engagements arise organically. Once we're involved in writing groups or blogging, we'll start to receive invitations to speak. This one that I'm doing on Saturday is for the Michigan ACFW chapter. And as I thought about what I could speak about, I really looked for what I thought could be most relevant. With all of the recent changes in the industry, my topic is How to Navigate the Road to Publication in Today's Changing Industry.

  14. Signed bookplates for gifts - that's brilliant! All along, I've been foxed by friends from afar who say, "But I want you to sign my book." Can't believe I didn't think of that. I'm about to do an announcement of the ebook of PANDORA'S BOTTLE, and I think I'll add that offer and maybe pick up a few new paperback sales as well. Now somebody just needs to figure out how to autograph an ebook!

  15. Lindsay asked: Jody, do book signings (or other live events like that) at local Christian bookstores still work? I know they've always been a good way to market your book. Or are they just done right when your book comes out?

    My thoughts: Lindsay, book signings don't attract people the way the used to, so no they aren't a huge way to keep momentum going. I'm doing another book signing at a local store a couple weeks before Christmas, primarily as a way to offer signed gift books. But beyond a launch signing or event signing, I don't really do book signings.

  16. Ooh, these are such great ideas! I'm not at that point yet, but I'll definitely be keeping these things in mind when I am.

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  17. These are great tips Jody! I don;t know what a book plate is but I'd like two please. I'm definitely buying 2 for Christmas presents. Thanks! You are awesome!

  18. School visits are great for those of us who write children's books.

  19. Catherine, thanks for your confusion! :-) I just went back and clarified what a bookplate is in my post! And I'd love to send you two! Just shoot me an email with the names you'd like me to use on the bookplates.

  20. These are all great tips! Thanks for sharing!

  21. Awesome tips, Jody! I'm storing them away for "someday". :)

  22. this is a great, helpful post! I'll be keeping it in my memory file, but I also had a writer-friend who was lamenting the post-launch slump just last week! I'll be sending her over for some lightbulbs. Best to you~ :o)

  23. Hi Jody,
    I write a series, one book a year, and each time a new book comes out, I see a resurgence in sale of the other books. So maybe a series will keep the books selling.

  24. Excellent advice. Although I'm not published yet, my ms is finished and now I'm compiling a plan for marketing. These tips are exactly what I needed! Thank you.

  25. Great tips! Two things, though:

    1) Be VERY careful of 'free bookplates if you email me' - I was doing that until a bunch of freebie sites found my page and advertised it and I got 300 requests in a few hours! (I DID fulfil them all but it literally took weeks.) I've seen authors do it as 'send me a stamped envelope and I'll send you the book plate', which is probably safer and certainly cheaper. :)

    2) You can sign ebooks now! lets readers request a signature which gets sent to their Kindle or can be downloaded as a PDF. It's really neat!

    I release a novel every 3-4 months so I'm essentially always in the release stage. That gets tiring but at the same time I think it keeps readers interested because there's always something new for them!

  26. Excellent advice Jody. I would also recommend keeping an ad campaign (Google or FB) running for at least 5-6mo to help keep interest. I would also re-activate the campaign a month or so before the release of the sequel too.

  27. Wonderful advice, Jody! I just stopped by my local library this morning and will be speaking there in the Spring and will be able to sell my books there, too. Bonus! Have checked into Facebook ads and the Goodreads giveaway, too, but as you suggested, I'll wait until more reviews come in. :-)

  28. Great tips! I've bookmarked them for whenever I get published. I can't believe the window is only 3 months; that is sad and pathetic. Good to have this list to extend that a bit. Thanks!

  29. Excellent job on a great topic! We just posted it on the Writing Platform Facebook page.

  30. Thanks for linking to my post, Michael! I appreciate it!

  31. Wow! So many amazing ideas! You are so generous with your time and creativity! Thanks so much for sharing. I hope to get the chance to use them someday, soon?

  32. I'm a "newby" to your blog, Jody--Terry Burns referred me to this post. Thank you so much for all the great suggestions. Book One of my series won't be out until next fall, but I'm anxious to learn as much as I can about this whole marketing thing! Blessings!

  33. Great tips! My book was published through a small publishing house, so they can't really help me promote. I have had to learn alot on my own! I am visiting schools for free just to get my name out there and see my target audience. The kids have been very receptive to my book AND my talks about the writing process.

    I have even been asked to come back again! So, small steps can make a BIG difference....


  34. Hi Jody,
    I live in South Africa and my MG adventure novel is published in the USA so I have to work extra hard to get anywhere. I enter as many contests as possible, although with the South African rand to dollar ratio, this is expensive, as well as buying and posting books. The very best value for money with best results is going on blog tours. I am about to embark upon my third one. A comment about over-exposure: with blog tours I have found that each set of readers/bloggers has a different circle. One is guranteed to get completely new people hearing about your book for the first time. You can get more tips from expert marketer Dana Lynn Smith in her book Virtual Book Tour Magic: The Secrets to Planning a Successful Book Promotion Tour, at
    She also has an excellent site with loads of free marketing ideas.

  35. Hi Fiona,
    Thank you for sharing your experience as well as the links! Appreciate it!

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