A Checklist of Basic Promotion Materials for Indie Authors

book promotion checklist

So you finished your book. Congratulations! That’s a major accomplishment. Now it’s time to put together the book promotion elements you’ll need to help you sell your book once it’s published, including:

1. A short book description

There are a handful of reasons you’ll need a short, compelling book description (one or two sentences at most): as a soundbite in interviews, as a teaser on your website, as the hook in your press materials and communications with folks in the publishing industry, and maybe even as the tagline in your email signature!

2. A longer book description

Once you’ve hooked ’em with the soundbite, they’ll want to read more. Give them another paragraph or two to really sell the book. But don’t get long-winded or you risk losing their interest.

3. Your author bio

So, what’s your story? It’s time to tell the world — in the 3rd person. 2 – 4 paragraphs should be plenty if you tell your story well. If not… well, 2-4 paragraphs might be painful.

4. Web content>

Start putting together all the web content you’ll need well in advance of your release.

This includes some of the things mentioned above (bio and book descriptions), but also blog posts announcing the book launch, behind-the-scenes content that gives your readers a glimpse into your writing process for the book, any study-guides or accompanying material that you’ve envisioned for readers, your book trailer, links to retail sites where your book and eBook can be purchased, etc.

If you need help creating a professional author website, check out HostBaby for Authors — FREE for 30 days.

5. A good author photo

In fact, try to get a few good shots. A headshot, a casual shot, one with lots of space or landscape that you can use as a wide header image for Facebook and/or your website. Check out our article “How to Take Good Author Photos” for more info.

6. Hi-resolution .jpg of your book cover

Ask your designer for a hi-resolution .jpg file of your book cover. You’ll need to both display it and make it available to download on your website (for any bloggers, media folks, or book critics who write about your book).

7. Banners/ads

While you’re talking to your designer, and while your book design is fresh in their mind, ask them to put together any banners, headers, or print ads you think you’ll need in the first 3 months after your book is released. You’re going to be very busy at that point, and you don’t want to have to wait for your designer’s schedule to clear up when you’re in the thick of things.

8. Business cards

Yep, they’re old-fashioned. But if you attend writers conferences, they’ll come in handy. We’re talking about writers, after all. They’ve not all caught up to the 21st century yet.

9. Signage

If you plan on doing signings, readings, or getting a booth at a book fair, you’ll want to invest in some eye-catching, portable signage. It could be a pull-up banner (for big shows) or as simple as an 8×11 laminated sign, but make sure you’ve ordered it long before the event.

10. Press materials

Your press materials (press kit, press release, etc.) will be comprised of some of the things already mentioned: bio, description of the book, plus some of the story behind the book and author, contact info, any standout praise  you may’ve already garnered from the press, etc.

When you’re gathering all these elements together into a press kit or press release, keep asking yourself these questions: “Why should anyone care about my story and book, and have I clearly communicated that here?”

11. Book trailer

Book trailers are optional, but in a world where YouTube is becoming one of the most-used search engines, it certainly helps to have some video content available. Plus, book trailers are great content for your own website, for other bloggers, and to mention in your press release.

For more information on how to promote your latest release with a book trailer, click HERE.


After this article was initially published, lots of authors had more good advice to share in the comments section — so I pulled a few of those items up here to add to your checklist.

Bill Thompson says:
I like to accompany each interview I post with a brief sample of material from the author’s website or blog, and it’s almost scary how few authors have much content to share. And professional-looking media kits are, sadly, almost non-existent among the indie authors I interview. It’s a shame, too, because the authors and their books are always terrific.

James Dillehay says:
I’ve been assembling a similar checklist and authors also need: at least two categories on Amazon (spend some time choosing the best ones for your book); around 15 (but at least 7) tags or keywords that will help searchers find your book;…. and at least 3 but as many as you can muster: testimonials, endorsements, and advance review quotes.

Amandah Blackwell says:
I would add videos of you speaking about your book, a CD of music (if you wrote a fiction book, or you could create a CD of meditation music if you wrote a self-help book), a supplement eBook to accompany your book (this could be something written from the viewpoint of your main character), update your social media networks, and gather endorsements from authors, business owners, etc.

Well, that should be more than enough items  to put on your to-do list for now. Did I forget anything important? Let me know in the comments section below.


Hybrid Author Game 


Read More
Six Essential Book Descriptions
Why Publishing Is A Lot Like Growing Bamboo
Book Cover Design Tips For Independent Authors
5 Ways To Get Publicity For Your Book (That Aren’t Related To Your Book Launch Or Book Tour)
Nine Things Authors Should Be Doing On Twitter Right Now


Chris Robley is an award-winning poet, songwriter, performer, and music producer who now lives in Portland, Maine after more than a decade in Portland, Oregon. His music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, and others. Skyscraper Magazine said he is “one of the best short-story musicians to come along in quite some time.” Robley’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma Poetry, and more. He is the 2013 winner of Boulevard's Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers and the 2014 recipient of a Maine Literary Award in the category of "Short Works Poetry."


  1. I made a trailer for my short story which I thought was a huge success. My daughter did the editing but she used music that she did not have permission for, therefore fb will not show it. Be warned!


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