How to Promote Your Book: Actually Helpful Advice for Writers


Publishing a book is both the end, and the start, of a long process of bringing your writing into the world and getting your book into the hands of readers. Promoting your book starts long before publication day, or even before the manuscript is finished, and continues long after your book comes out. As a writer, marketer, and community builder, I know that promoting your book can feel intimidating, burdensome, overwhelming, nerve-wracking, and exhilarating all at once. The exercises in this workbook break down the process into manageable, understandable pieces and make it fun along the way. 

The fact of the matter is that whether your book is self-published, published by an independent press, or put out by a major publisher, you as the author are the one who needs to work the hardest to get it out into the world. Whether you are still in the process of writing your book or eagerly waiting for its publication day, working through these exercises will enable you to confidently create a sustainable promotion plan that makes sense for your book, audience, and life. 

No one is born knowing how to promote themselves or their work. Marketing and promotion are skills that are learned. As you practice, you will feel more comfortable putting yourself and your work out into the world and will learn what works for you, your writing, and your community of readers. The exercises in this workbook are ones I’ve used myself to promote my books and honed for over a decade through helping creative people develop the business side of their practice and build support for their projects. I’m excited to share them with you so that you can use them to take concrete steps to create a supportive environment for your book to thrive and succeed. 

How to use this workbook

This workbook is intended to complement my book Promote Your Book. For deeper context, insight, and advice from a wide variety of authors as well as literary, marketing, and community-building professionals, I suggest you read the book alongside this workbook and do the exercises in order. For those doing these exercises in conjunction with reading the book, I’ve noted the chapter that each exercise corresponds to. But whether you are using this workbook as a companion to the book or as a standalone, it is designed to take you step-by-step through the book promotion process so that you gain a holistic understanding of how to reach your readers. If possible, I recommend working through these exercises before your book comes out and using them to create a full book promotion plan, which is outlined in the last section of this workbook.

While there is no one pathway to success for a book and no proven formula to make your book a smash hit, there are concrete actions you can take to support your book and its trajectory in the world. Consider this workbook your starting place.

Chapter One: Building literary community 

While the act of writing is often an isolating one, publishing a book means connecting with the wider world. Being a writer of any kind, whether you are writing in a specific genre or about a specific subject, connects you with a community. The sooner you can start building and deepening connections with communities who can support you as a writer or who would be interested in the subject of your book, the broader the basis of support you will have during and after publication. Community is not a one-way street, but rather an exchange between people with shared interests and values. This is important to keep in mind as you complete the exercises in this section, which will enable you to make a plan to connect with and engage your community. 

These exercises correspond to Chapter One of Promote Your Book.

Identify your community

Reflect and brainstorm. Write down three communities you are already part of:




Now, write down three specific communities your book might speak to:




Reflect: Where is there overlap? If there isn’t overlap, why?

If there’s no overlap between the communities that you are a part of and the communities that your book speaks to, that indicates space to grow and a potential place to prioritize. You may find that you need to focus your energies on building community in places that are interested in what you are writing about. The next set of exercises can help you focus on how to engage, and as you do so, you may find more overlap.

Want to keep reading? Check out Promote Your Book Workbook, along with Eleanor C. Whitney‘s other titles!