A couple of weeks ago, Jeff Cohen posted about his Chemo Promo Conundrum. The core situation he described—an author confronting the problem of having to promote their books—is a common problem, I think, made immeasurably harder for Jeff because he’s going through chemotherapy, which saps whatever excess strength one might have.

So what’s an author to do? When I read Jeff’s post, I started making a list…

Focus your Energy

Preorders help books. But we live in an immediate-gratification society, and even the most spectacular preorder promotions likely won’t generate a ton of sales. Or even a few pounds of sales. So I suggest saving most of your energy for after the book is released.

Spend on Social

A Facebook post and Tweet with some money behind it to boost visibility will help. And I’m not talking a lot of money. Even $50 can go a long way. The trick here is that the advertising platforms for both Facebook and Twitter are complex, and you might need help navigating them.

Ask for Reviews

Once your book has been out long enough for folks to read it (keeping in mind that many of us read slowly), ask people to post reviews on Amazon and/or Goodreads. There’s no need to convince them or offer one of those “10 ways to help an author” memes (I really hate those because they imply that a reader has an obligation to help authors). Just ask. Give them the links to make it as easy as possible.

Speaking of Goodreads…

Consider buying 5-10 copies of your book and giving them away on Goodreads. Goodreads giveaways are more powerful than many authors think and are easy to set up. Once your giveaway is live, be sure to post it on Facebook and Twitter and ask people to share it.

Consider Other Promotions (but reject most of them)

There are approximately eleventy billion websites and companies that do book promotions, ranging in price from free to expensive. This is a tricky area, because frankly, most of them don’t sell more than a handful of books, and a lot of them require a book to be on a special-offer price, which means you’ll need participation from your publisher. Also, investigating them takes a bunch of energy.

Update Your Pages

Amazon Author Page. Facebook Page. Website. Twitter Profile. Make sure they’re all updated. Wherever you can add links, do.

There’s a lot more that can be done to promote books, of course, but these are good places to start. And now that you’ve read this, you should go grab a copy of EDITED OUT by E.J. Copperman (aka Jeff) because it really is a fantastic read.