5 easy ways to turn your book into an article marketing machine

Article marketing allows authors to do more of what they love -- writing -- and less of what many don't -- talking. Is it a fit for you?

Are you looking for a free way to reach more readers with information about your book? One that lets you do more of what you’re good at — writing? And that lets you leverage what you’ve already written?

One of the most efficient ways to promote your book online is through “article marketing.” With this tactic, you write and share short, informative, bylined articles related to your book’s topic.

“Share” means publishing the articles on:

  • Your website
  • Article directory sites that others use to find content for their newsletters, websites, and blogs
  • LinkedIn
  • Blogging sites such as Medium
  • Other websites as guest blog posts or site content
One of the most efficient ways to promote your book online is through “article marketing.” You write and share short, informative, bylined articles related to your book’s topic.Click to tweet

Why article marketing works

The articles you write for this purpose aren’t about you or your book. They aren’t overtly promotional. This is editorial content, not advertising. Think newspaper article, not advertisement.

Instead, you’re providing a preview of sorts of what people need to know from your book, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction.

As an example, here’s one of my evergreen articles published on the article directory site, Ezinearticles.com: “6 Surefire Ways to Promote Your Novel.”

Here’s what’s in it for you:

  • Each article includes an author resource box — “about the author” — at the end. I recommend that authors include a one-to-two-sentence bio, website URL, book title, and a call to action. That might be “Learn more about the book on [retail site of your choice URL]” or “Sign up for my free and helpful weekly newsletter at [newsletter sign up (opt-in) page on your site].” When others use your article, they’re required to include that resource box.
  • Links back to your site in the article or reource box help with SEO — search engine optimization — which relates to search engines finding your site.
  • You’re helping your target audience see what they might get from your book, which could make them more inclined to buy it.
  • The helpful information you provide in the article helps position you as an expert, which boosts credibility and makes readers more likely to buy your book.

Rather write than talk?

I’m a big fan of article marketing for a couple of reasons.

First, it’s a good fit for authors who would rather write a helpful article about a topic they know well than talk about it on a podcast or to a reporter. And it’s a solitary act that you can do on your own schedule, at your convenience.

via GIPHY

But I also love how it lets authors re-purpose existing content. Not only do you use your book’s content for inspiration and text (see below), but you can also alter an article several different ways and post it in different directories or offer it to multiple blogs or websites.

Don’t publish the same article in multiple places, though, because Google doesn’t like that. It won’t help your SEO. Instead, rewrite each article slightly:

  • Change the headline
  • Write a new first paragraph
  • Reorder any bullet points
  • Tweak the last paragraph so your conclusion has the same message but said differently

What to write about

Not sure what to write about? Let these five suggestions for identifying article topics inspire you. (WARNING: Once you get started, you might have trouble stopping).

1. Study the chapter subheads in your table of contents. 

How many of them would make good mini-articles? Most, probably.

For example, I can turn the subhead “Identifying what’s newsworthy” in Chapter 2 of my book Publicity for Nonprofits into a how-to article.

2. Review your sample author Q&A from your online press kit. 

Review your online press kit sample questions and answers. Which stand out as good instructional topics?

You won’t want to write an article answering, “Why did you write this book?”

But your answer to “Your novel’s characters have such interesting names. How did you decide what to name them?” could easily be expanded into an interesting piece on the significance of character names in fiction and how authors select them.

3. Think about the questions you get asked most when doing media, podcast, or blog interviews, or when speaking to groups.

Answer those questions in informative articles that will showcase your expertise and generate interest in your book.

If you’ve written a memoir, for example, people probably ask how you handle references to others in your book, especially if they’re depicted in an unflattering way. Turn your answer to that question into an informative and interesting article that also offers insights into your personal story and might intrigue readers enough to buy your book.

4. Find the nonfiction nuggets in your fiction and use them as idea springboards. 

What are the nonfiction gems in your fiction? Did you shadow a police officer while researching your mystery? Write about the essential steps law enforcement officers use to stay safe in dangerous situations and how the rest of us can incorporate them to stay safe, too.

Is your protagonist a black belt in karate? Write an article or essay about the advantages of studying martial arts.

The possibilities are almost endless if you’re open to seeing how your fictional elements can be helpful in the “real” world.

5. Convert your blog posts – especially those that generated lots of comments – into articles. 

It won’t take much more work, will it? Some of them might require little effort to become freestanding articles while others might need to be expanded.

I do this on Medium.com (and need to do more of it). Here’s one example: “The definitive guide to handling negative book reviews.

Article marketing resources

If you’re not familiar with these types of articles, read through several at a syndication site such as Ezinearticles.com. You’ll see quickly what content is useful and what isn’t. (Type my name into the search box to see how I used this directory in the past.)

Not an article writer? I’ve included a template that guides you through the bylined article-writing process in my workbook for authors, Build Book Buzz Publicity Forms & Templates. It will help you get up and running with this process as quickly as possible.

Once you’ve got a few articles written, start the online submission process with a handful of the sites on this submission site list.

Don’t expect to see a sudden surge in book sales, though. Building reader awareness takes time and requires using multiple tactics consistently.

Article marketing, if it’s a good fit for you and your book, should be one of several tactics in your book marketing plan.

Are you using article marketing to promote your book? Has it helped? Please share your experiences by commenting below!


(Editor’s note: This article was first published in May 2012. It has been updated and expanded.)

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28 Comments

  1. Interesting information and approach, but I am not sure that it would work for my new spy novel “Death on the Silk Road.” Even though it is published by Beach House Books, and available on Amazon I dont think spy novels provide an acceptable platform for your approach. What do you think?

    1. Russell, you could write articles about the writing process as it relates specifically to your book. Topics could include:
      — How you researched the “spy” world — what did you do to make sure your details are authentic?
      — The importance of location/geography in spy/espionage novels and the significance of the settings in your book (why you chose them over others, etc.)
      — The role your own experiences play in your novel and how others can tap into their lives to give their books life, accuracy, etc.

      By writing articles related to your genre, you will attract the attention of people who like to read spy novels and are using Google to find them. If you write thoughtful, intelligent articles, you’ll give the impression that your novel is also well-written, engaging, and so on.

      Something to think about, right?

      Sandy

    2. Russell,

      People are fascinated by spies – me included. How did you research this famously secretive world? How do you even find ex-spies to interview or to fact-check your work?

      Did you ever wish you were a spy yourself? After dipping for so long into that world, did that change your appreciation for the world of spies, and so on?

      What are your favorite spy novels, and why?

      What is the role of technology and tradecraft in the era of your novel? Any changes in that?

      What did you learn by studying famous spies in history?

      Etc.

      So many opportunities to mine there.

  2. Sandra,
    Thank you for an informative article. I always share these same tips with my clients who want to do article marketing to increase their business revenue. Something they forget, unfortunately, is that consistency will get you noticed if you post enough quality articles.

    1. Thanks, Bea! You are so right. There’s nothing more impressive than searching for information on a topic and having the same source pop up time after time. It says a lot about the source’s expertise, don’t you think?

      Sandy

  3. My book, Leopoldville: A Tragedy Too Long Secret, was originally published in July 1997 (different title) & republished in December 2008 with much additional info & photos. It tells the story of the torpedoing & sinking of the troopship Leopoldville on Christmas Eve 1944 in the English Channel with a loss of 763 American soldiers lives. Since I began my research into the catastrophe back in 1994, I have written articles about soldiers killed or who survived & contacted the newspapers & radio/TV stations in towns/cities where I knew they lived. As a result, over 150 different articles appeared since 1994 in newspapers & magazines in states from Maine to Florida & New York to California. I have been interviewed on TV news segments such as CNN & was the American historical consultant for a TV documentary about the disaster that aired on the National Geographic Channel in February 2009. (Deep Wreck Mysteries…Sunk on Christmas Eve). The program reairs periodically.
    Writing articles works, opens doors (so to speak), & certainly helps book sales.

    Allan Andrade
    Leopoldville disaster author/historian

    1. Ohmygosh, Allan, what a wonderful story! Thank you so much for sharing. Congratulations on your success. I know there was a lot of hard work behind all of it, though. You’re an inspiration!

      Sandy

    2. This is a great testimonial to the power of articles to sell books. I, too, have had some success with this tactic. My book, “Devastation on the Delaware: Stories and Images of the Deadly Flood of 1955” is the only comprehensive documentary of this regional weather disaster. To tease the book’s launch, I wrote a series of five articles about the flood, based on the research I had done, for our local weekly newspaper. The last of the series was published a week before the 50th anniversary of the event, which was also the launch date for the book (planned, of course). That series got a lot of attention for the title, so that even when the print date got delayed and the books didn’t actually come out on time, I garnered plenty of pre-orders for when it did. And that series led to an invitation to write a lengthy (10-page) article for our county’s glossy lifestyle magazine, which only added to the momentum.

      Of course, this was in 2005, long before there were such things as article marketing sites or even popular, effective social media (I don’t count MySpace, unless you’re a YA book author), so I never wrote any to submit there. I’m curious, Allan, if the articles you’ve written were commissioned for specific publications or you submitted them to these article sites.

      This also proves that even writing blog comments helps sell books, because yours interests me and I think I’ll have to get a copy — Thanks!

      And Sandy, as always, thank YOU for a thoughtful exploration of this potentially very effective marketing tool for authors. You are rapidly becoming my “go-to gal” for all things book marketing. I so appreciate all the great information you make available free or very inexpensively for authors who may not have deep pockets.

      1. Thanks, Mary! This is an effective tactic for authors, but not enough of them are using it. I hope that this post encouraged a few more to give it a try.

        Sandy

  4. HI Sandy, lots of useful information here. However I have one comment – when I clicked on the link to the above mentioned article dashboard website it did take me there – however when I selected an article to read (a perfectly legit article about writing) there were flashing images of women soliciting whatever…

    I don’t think it is the kind of advertising most of us want appearing prominently alongside our articles.

    I have lots of writing help and tips on my website http://www.practical-creative-writing.com – with no flashing images 🙂

    Thanks

    Grace

    1. Gee, Grace, that’s a bit unsettling, isn’t it? I just clicked on a couple of article titles and had no problem. Do you think it was a pop-up ad? Regardless, thanks for taking the time to stop by, read this, and comment! I’m looking forward to reding the articles on your site — I’m sure I’ll learn a lot!

      Sandy

  5. Hi Sandy I tried again – this time I looked at different articles. Adverts came up again- but they were okay and relevant but it is probably something to be careful about – when we submit to these sites in return for traffic to our sites- they get to advertise on our articles – we just have to keep an eye out on our articles!

    No such thing as a free lunch.

    All the best to you and yours Sandy

    Grace

    1. Ya know, Grace, I think I’ll just change that link to another site. Thanks so much for the help!

      Sandy

  6. I have my children’s picture book almost ready to hit Amazon, but have yet to set up a web site. I am getting ready to do advertising as a local author in area newspapers. You have given me new ideas for selling my book. Thank you very much. E-books won’t need the local angle, but the substance of the story.

      1. So far things are going well. I sent my friends announcements as soon as it was available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble and people are buying. A friend is going to do an article for local publications about me and my picture book. I just have to give her the information.

  7. Thank you for your reply to Russell because it also helped me. When I wrote Missing Evidence which is a mystery/ thriller, I had to do a lot of research into police work, the system and the functions of gadgets; but the intense research came when I had to find out how to use the facets of precious stones for not so legal uses. So I thank you.

    1. Thanks for letting me know the information was helpful, Maytia. I appreciate it. It sounds like you learned a lot that you can share with others in a helpful way.

      Sandy

  8. Hi again Sandy,
    I wonder if you can help me with my little problem.
    I uploaded a book to Kindle last night. I have noticed a missing word and want to add it it. I couldn’t download html again as suggested by KDP – on their Modify Converted Content page.
    https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A1KIW2CNWB4717
    ( I wonder do they need to update this process as they options they describe weren’t there.)

    So I unpublished it. The book remains now at draft status. Do you know how I can just add that one word in and republish?

    Many thanks
    Grace

    1. Grace, I’m sorry I can’t help you with this. Maybe a Google search will help if you haven’t tried that. Good luck! I know it’s frustrating.

      Sandy

  9. Thanks Sandy, I have tried a lot of different sites and advisors and got nowhere. I am trying to upload the newer version and see what happens – hopefully the older one will disappear.

    I checked on the Kindle forums and there are a lot of people having the same problem.

    Maybe someone visiting here might be able to shed a little light.

    Enjoy your weekend, Sandy.

    Grace

  10. Let me add to Sandy’s advice that the article publishing strategy also works to snag a literary agent. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve read about who found representation and eventually a major publisher by publishing articles or essays tangentially related to their book.

    The same goes for appearing on podcasts or writing guest posts for prominent blogs.

  11. This is gold, Sandy! Thanks you! Content marketing is definitely a strategy I’d like to practice more consistently. All of my books can be turned into many articles without spilling my secret sauce. I’ve tried it with limited success but, as you indicate in your post, you need to do it more steadily to see success.

    I’m especially grateful for your list of article sites. Besides Ezine, have any of these been particularly beneficial to you?

    1. My articles on Medium and LinkedIn generate traffic back to my site, which is my goal. This is a great strategy for you!

      Sandy

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