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Book marketing in the time of quarantine

Many authors are wondering about the protocol for book marketing and promotion right now.

Should you do what you’ve always been doing?

Should you do things differently?

Or should you just put a hold on all of it?

Here’s what some are recommending

I’ve researched what colleagues are recommending and authors are doing. What follows is the first few paragraphs of their content with a link to the original piece. 

Click on each article title to read more.

“Help people stuck at home discover books”

Earlier this month, I recommended here that you encourage your audience to read more while social distancing. My blog post includes downloadable social media images you can share. It’s never too late to follow that advice. (more)

“How to Market a Self-Published Book While You’re Living the Quarantined Life”

In this article on the Author Marketing Experts site, Penny Sansevieri writes:

Now is the time to focus on how to market a self-published book while so many of us are home and looking for something to keep us busy. Entertainment needs are at an all-time high.

Also consider this: most (if not all) TV shows and movies have had to stop production – so new content will be in high demand.

If you’ve been holding off figuring out how to market a self-published book because you feel there’s too much going on, I would encourage you to reconsider that. Smart authors are out there promoting their book – even if their in-person events have been canceled, they’re opting to do other things instead. (more)

“Book Promotion in the Time of Coronavirus”

I love that book publicist Fauzia Burke and I were in sync with our article titles. She writes:

If you’re an author with a recently published or upcoming book, it’s time to regroup and assess the impact Coronavirus will have on your book promotional plans. Even if you’ve had to cancel scheduled events or planned media or promotions, there is still plenty you can do to help your book succeed.

Most book tours at this time seem ill-advised. Even if you are willing to travel, you likely will not get much of an audience. TV, radio, and print media will be focusing on the news of the day, which is changing by the hour. By all accounts, the Coronavirus spread will get worse before it gets better, so you can expect this to dominate the news cycle for weeks and weeks.

So what can you do as an author? Plenty. (more).

“Without Places to Gather, Debut Novelists Reimagine Book Promotion”

In this New York Times article, debut novelists talk about how their plans have changed. The article begins with:

For many first-time novelists, years of hard work (and often solitary time) culminate in seeing their book come into the world: going to festivals and bookstores to read sections aloud and connecting with readers face to face, inhabiting with others the worlds they built. But with social distancing guidelines discouraging gatherings of more than 10 people, publishing a debut has changed in ways that authors couldn’t have foreseen just a few weeks ago. We spoke to several debut novelists about their books, their plans to promote their work and their days during this unusual time. (more)

“Book marketing during corona virus, covid 19 (don’t do it)”

In this 10-minute YouTube video, Derek Murphy advises against using the outbreak as a clever marketing ploy to sell books. He says:

I’m nervous about this video but thought I should share a few big things:

1. Amazon is giving away 2 months KU

2. Amazon’s warehouses have stopped imports; print on demand books won’t ship as fast.

3. Don’t try to use the outbreak as a clever marketing ploy to sell books (you’d have to be REALLY clever, and you could get a LOT of free visibility if done well… I might make a list of “best YA fantasy books to read during your social distancing quarantine” or something… but this could just as easily backfire and destroy your career so… be sensitive and careful. (more)

What speaks to you?

Does any of this resonate with you? Do you have a better sense of what you might or could do in the coming weeks?

I’ll leave you with an example of what I did over the weekend to support books and authors in general.

My family is usually watching college basketball and crowing (or complaining) about our March Madness bracket status at this time of the year. I decided to use that as a jumping off point for a Medium.com round-up article on the best basketball books — as recommended by the experts.

Perhaps you can do something similar with a topic related to your book. I hope that “Coronavirus: Best basketball books to read while you’re missing March Madness because of COVID-19” gives you a few ideas.

(For more on authors and Medium.com, read, “How authors can use Medium.”)

Are you doing any book marketing right now? Why or why not? Please tell us in a comment. 

Like what you’re reading? Get it delivered to your inbox every week by subscribing to the free Build Book Buzz newsletter. You’ll also get my free “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources” cheat sheet immediately!


  1. I’m not actively marketing my books on World War II, but I am keeping my writing in front of friends in the form of devotions on subjects of fear and anxiety.
    I don’t feel now is the time to promote my books, but to offer ways to counteract the current atmosphere of fear.

    These are devotions about trusting God through this situation and encouraging people to look to the Bible for answers and inspiration. I believe there will be a better time to promote my books. Right now I’m wanting to help people. My pastor took the one devo and sent it to our congregation.

    A pastor who read my devo on Facebook asked if she could use it in an upcoming message to her church. I said of course.

    Meanwhile, I’m posting at my blog about veterans I’ve interviewed so if people want to divert by reading about them, it’s available. I may put some longer stories there with photos.

    Stay safe to everyone reading this.

  2. Earlier this week, I completed and posted my latest ebook: “10,000 Writing Ideas: Essential Strategies for Every Writer” (https://amzn.to/3bJ1LuJ). I know that many people are spending considerably more time on their computers, laptops, and cell phones than ever before. Consequently, I see this as a unique opportunity to initiate some promotional efforts to get the book in front of potential readers.

    I included a hyperlink to the book in the “signature” that appears at the bottom of all my emails (since I’m spending more time “socially isolated,” I’m also spending more time corresponding with friends and colleagues). I’m asking dear friends to post reviews of the book, share it on their own social media lists, and mention it on the blogs and online newsletters they write. I have a mass mailing (via Smore) going out at the end of the week and have some plans to get the word out to some LinkedIn groups next week.

    Bottom line: Social distancing, stay-at-home orders, and self quarantines mean people are spending more time on-line – looking for entertainment, information, or communication opportunities. This is a chance to reach out to a very receptive and eager audience looking for a good read…say, your latest book!

    1. Gabi, how do you define “repost?” If it’s using the first 1-2 paragraphs and linking back to the original here, it’s fine. Please don’t copy and paste the entire article, though.


  3. My latest book in the “Death in the Parks’ series, Death in Rocky Mountain National Park, was released on April 1. My 35 years in public relations tell me that this is not the time to promote a book about death, and that trying to find some clever way to do it will backfire. So I am stepping back for now. I don’t want to be “that author who tried to capitalize on death and dying in the middle of the pandemic.” However, I am collecting ideas for a re-launch sometime this summer, when people are not facing down their own mortality every time they step outside their own homes. Be well, everyone.

    1. Very wise, Randi. However…I can see you using this for a social media post that says something like “You’re less likely to die in the park or anywhere else if you STAY AT HOME” and include the book cover and a link to the CDC guidelines. I wouldn’t say “my new book,” but I can see how just the cover with the title gives you a springboard for a public service message. (And Lord knows, people seem to need these reminders!)


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