“When people get desperate, they get very creative.” —Jeff Smoller

Get those creative juices flowing because marketing during the pandemic is going to take moxi! While marketing books has always been a challenging task for authors, the publishing industry is in turmoil now. Book sales took a battering under the lock-down: The Guardian April 2020. Due to COVID 19, shipping and handling are a big problem. Average book shipments are taking 22 – 30 days. This is having a major impact on the availability of some books through retailers like Amazon. To make matters worse, Amazon is prioritizing shipping medical supplies (see The Verge article from March 2020.) But that only impacts print books. EBooks ought to be doing great, but are they?

EBook sales are up, right?

With everybody stuck at home with nothing to do, they’ve got to be reading a lot of eBooks, and you might expect eBook sales to be up. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, eBooks are selling at ‘about the level we would see during the holidays,’ Michael Tamblyn, CEO of eBook and audiobook seller Rakuten Kobo, told Publishers Weekly… [However], it will be well into the latter half of this year before we know whether or not gains in ebook sales will mitigate lost print revenue.” (19 May 2020 Publishers Weekly.)

A continuous decline in ebook sales has been occurring for the past four years. Ebook sales take a smaller share now due to audiobook sales zooming past. In the first three months of 2019 audio book sales increased by 35% and brought in $133 million dollars. Audio is King!

According to 19 May 2020 Publishers Weekly article, E-book sales did not show any signs of increasing in March 2020. Sales from reporting publishers were down 7.1% in March. The increase in ebook sales that were reported in May 2020 have to be considered in context, as there was a significant drop in eBook sales in November 2019, so they more accurately regained ground lost earlier, but didn’t really increase much. (See “EBooks Experienced a 4.3% Decline in November 2019.”)

What I glean from the news on book sales available so far, is that audio books are premier. Oh, sorry! We were talking about eBooks. EBooks still outsell print books, and aren’t going away. Because they cost less to produce and are more accessible to readers, eBooks should be the main focus of any author’s marketing plan.

What can an intrepid author do to market their eBook in 2020? Here are some far-fetched ideas:

Fantastical ideas to market your ebook

Authors are challenged now to try to get the word out about their book amidst all of the noise of our current social climate. The four P’s: politics, pandemic, poverty, passion (about something not your book.) Publishing during an election year is always bad (unless your topic is politics.) The pandemic is impacting the availability of books (and the topics people are reading about.) The murder of George Floyd and the resulting protests and graphic scenes of police brutality and larceny and looting might make us want to hide away reading fiction or poetry, but instead these scenes are painfully distracting for most of us.

Use your mighty pen to help. Know your writing may benefit another, even if just to pass the time without thinking of impending disaster.

But don’t give up! The last year for Locusts in the Midwest was 2015, so we have 12 more years before we are invaded by a swarm of locusts! Instead, Use your mighty pen to help. Know your writing may benefit another, even if just to pass the time without thinking of impending disaster.

Here are some outside-the box ideas to market your book:

  • Create a mind-map with your book in the center and 12 circles surrounding. Fill in the circles with creatives ideas – snippets – from your book or related to your book’s topic. Make each of the 12 snippets into a tweet, an instagram post, a facebook/Linked In post, and a website post (you can do this all at once with Mailchimp!) Arrange the 12 snippets chronologically so that you introduce your book on social media over 12 weeks. At that time, after four months, you should release your book, or offer a discount on an already released book, while asking for feedback (reviews) and continuing to post and interact with readers.
  • Get comfortable with Zoom, or another similar platform (Crowdcast or Instagram Live.) Pay attention to lighting, placement of camera, quality microphone, etc., and have someone help you check your appearance – where you are relative to the camera, etc. Create a list of interview questions and get one (or more) people to interview you and record the interview. Edit the recording and add pictures to create several short videos. Place the videos on YouTube. YouTube is a great place to advertise your book.
  • Blog and Tweet about your area of expertise. Pick your topic wisely, then stick with it. Interview others on this topic, too. Contact your favorite authors who write on this topic, ask to interview them. Follow them on social media. Comment on and share their posts. Always review other authors before asking them to review or buy your book. How many blogs have you contacted asking for interviews or guest articles? They are looking for content! (Don’t expect them to create it! Make their job easy by creating the content first.)
  • Join a Business Networking Group. You may already belong to a writers’ group, now join a networking group for businesspeople. You’re in the business of selling your book. This will give you access to new people who might buy your book, as well as a new perspective on marketing your book.
  • Cause a stink! Danny Caine, owner of The Raven bookstore in Lawrence, Kansas, raised quite a ruckus online when he dared to publically criticize monolithic Amazon: (see Vox online.) Bringing attention to himself in this way certainly couldn’t have hurt his Zine sales!

An author’s ebook marketing plan needs to be very creative and needs to be implemented with discipline. Develop a weekly task list. You don’t have to do everything all at once. Instead, create a plan that includes specific things to do each week—then stick to it!

Since eBooks are the best format in which to market your book, the changes caused by COVID 19 can be a compelling reason to get away from print book thinking and focus on your electronic book – the one that offers readers the most flexibility. A RECIPE TO MARKET YOUR BOOK: 21 STEPS! presents an ebook-first strategy. Please review it for more ideas!

Take good care of yourself, and keep scratchin’!


Anamcara Press is accepting unpublished poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction on the topic of Words are Contagious through September 29, 2020 for publication spring 2021. Please visit our submissions page at:

Scroll to Top