Book Review: How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn

Note: I periodically will review business and writing books that I believe authors will find useful. The following review of How to Market A Book by Joanna Penn was purchased with my own money and the review below is my honest, unsolicited opinion.

This book has the distinction of being the very first book getting added to my Goodreads list…but even better,  it will get a 5 star review.

I don’t hand out stars easily, so let’s get right down to why I reviewed that way.

What I liked about the book

How to Market a Book
This book teaches marketing concepts for selling your book.  It doesn’t mince words or pretend that it’s going to be easy, but gets authors in the right mindset to market their books.  It starts with fundamentals – write a good book 🙂  get a good edit 🙂  get an awesome book cover.  This is the foundation.  If you don’t do at least these things, then the rest of the book won’t matter. Then it digs into real world advice on marketing a book, backed up by the author’s own experience.  This book applies to both fiction and non-fiction marketing and she even calls out techniques that work better for one or the other.

What I liked even more about the book

For fiction authors, I’m an advocate of the longer term strategy of building a platform – a deliberate process of connecting with and growing a fan base over weeks / months / years.  However, what if your book is already out or coming out soon and you don’t have time to build a platform?   The book details some short term approaches to effectively get some momentum with your book.  I like that you get real life experience like the author’s experience with bookbub (money spent on the service and direct attribution to sales).  Some of these tactics won’t work for everyone (if you’re traditionally published, you can’t control the sale price of your book – so you can’t advertise on discount sites), but there is still a lot of advice like using author marketing club that applies to everyone.

What earned the 5th star in my review

It’s more than just a marketing book.  It teaches authors to be professionals and act like professionals.  Whether you are a first time self published author or a have many books from traditional publishers, the book has practical advice on getting a good author photo, dealing with negative reviews, and acting like a professional.

It’s clear that the book was written with the intention of really helping authors.  Yes, it will teach you to market your book.  I believe it deserves the 5th star because it shows how to do things the right way – ethically and professionally.

 Joanna Penn interview

I reached out to Joanna Penn and she agreed to do an interview with me to discuss the book.  Here’s a the video:

Here is a direct link to Youtube if you are viewing this on a mobile device:

After the interview, I started to really think about why I bought the book.  I think this is actually the biggest testimonial about the advice Penn offers:

Why Did I Buy This Book in the First Place?

There are hundreds of marketing books out there.  Think about why you’ve purchased books in the past.  Make no mistake, my purchase of this book was due to several marketing techniques (and yes, these are described in the book).

  • Months ago, I found the website: and found it to have tons of useful information for authors writing and marketing their books.  I agree with much of the advice on the site. (author platform)
  • Joanna Penn (the author of how to Market a Book) manages the site. Her bio and other parts of the site discuss her work writing fiction (as JF Penn) is shared. (author platform)

I should say that the two items above established Joanna Penn as a credible resource – The above alone made me believe there would be some great tips all in one place.  Here are some other factors that went into my buying decision:

  • I signed up for the newsletter and receive good marketing tips periodically from her site (author platform)
  • I got Goodreads alerts that reviews of the book were coming in.  They were 5 star reviews. (social networking/ author platform and short term marketing)
  • One of her newsletters described the book release and let me know that it would be at a lower price ($2.99) for a limited time.  Since I already had it in mind for the reasons above, it went from my “to read” list to my “purchased” list since I knew the price would go up soon. (book launch)

I’m sure there are other marketing techniques behind the launch of this book, but the items above directly influenced my purchase of How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn.  The books well done and is a great read for authors learning how to market and sell more books.

If you’re looking for more information about Joanna Penn, check out her site: and follow her on Twitter:


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