sly : marketing

How to get my novel published


If you’ve been following what I have been doing during the past months, you probably already know that I’m writing a novel. I have been writing for close to six months now, and I’m very excited. The writing process is awesome.

I might be too much involved in marketing, because I’ve been thinking a lot about how to get my novel published lately (probably too much, because the novel is not finished). Not a day goes by without me thinking about how to get people to buy my book, and how to get a publisher and an agent.

By the way, the book I’m writing is about a serial killer, and I’m writing it in Norwegian. I’ll give you more details later on.

What I won’t be doing

I won’t be sending my manuscript to a publisher or an agent as plain text, and sit back and relax and wait for their response. That’s just not me.

I believe that the process is about marketing. And not just about writing an excellent book, that’s just the first step.

What I am going to do

I believe that I’ll be using at least six different methods to get publishers, agents and potential readers.

Video Trailer

I’m going to create a video trailer for the book. Like what Tim Ferriss did:

And I’m going to distribute it all across the Internet.

Book design

I’m going to hire a person I know to create an awesome design for the book. I want it to look close to perfect before I send it to someone. You probably know the famous quote, “don’t judge a book by its cover”. It’s true, on the other hand, I don’t believe it’s not true when it comes to marketing a novel.

Look at all the amazing book covers at The Book Cover Archive.

I’ve also been thinking about creating my own book cover by using the free online book cover maker by Canva.


A book needs a website, maybe even a blog. I believe that it’s more important for a book that’s not quite finished. It’s all about expectations. It’s about giving people hope, that some day they’ll be able to read a remarkable book.

Look at A Long Way Gone, that’s how a website for a book should look like.

Social media

I will create a Facebook Page, and share content from the book and interesting stories about the creative process and tips regarding how I have been writing the book. I will also be using Twitter to communicate with potential readers.

Paid advertising

I will start a marketing campaign that will include paid advertising. It will include Google AdWords and Facebook Ads, but it might also include banner advertising on blogs and discussion forums.

Press release

I will write several press releases, and distribute them to newspapers all across the country. I might even send them to various magazines.

But first…

I’m going to finish the writing process. I’ll only be using all the methods above if I’m proud of what I have accomplished. I have seen people who have started the marketing many months before the book is finished, but I don’t think I am going to (because this is my first book).

What would you do?

Are you an author? If you are, or not, it doesn’t really matter, but what would you do if you had just finished writing a book and you want it to be published?

I appreciate any tips.

Image: Flickr

Jens P. Berget

40 responses to “How to get my novel published”

  1. Sean M Kelly says:

    I’d also self publish the book and sell some – after all this is what I publisher will want – a book that can sell. If you can prove it can thats great.

    You will also have physical copies to show people and get feedback. And make improvements if necessary.

    Good luck with the book Jens.

    • I have thought that maybe I shouldn’t try to sell anything myself, since I’m trying to get it accepted by a publisher… but I don’t know how the publishing industry works. So, it’s actually a good thing if you’ve already sold copies of the book (by self publishing it)?

      That’s exactly what I’m going to do. Thanks a lot 🙂

  2. Edward says:

    Good luck to you and the novel!

  3. I do not sell what I write, as those are my knowledge and only mine, I would always like to publish it just for knowledge sharing purpose and not for money. Thanks for your publishing tips and help.

  4. I understand what you’re saying. I’m not doing it for the money, and it’s a novel, so I’m not really sharing much knowledge other than hopefully an awesome story 🙂

    Thanks a lot for your comment.

    • Actually Jens, I understood your post. Actually through my comment I just needed to spread a word to all publishers who just target for money and not on knowledge. Hope you understand my point.

      Also, I appreciate one person everyday, today I would like to appreciate you, as you are the only blogger, who responds to all the comments he receives. This is really great. Keep it up and I would like to see your feedback on all comments, as this website has become merely a discussion board…

    • Aha, my fault. I thought you meant that you didn’t write and sell your knowledge, like writing an ebook about how to create a theme etc.. Now I understand, and we’re on the same page.

      I’m not looking for a lot of money either, but I want a lot of people to read the story. So, I could probably be giving it away, that’s the easiest way to do it and to get a lot of readers. But then, I would have to pay for everything myself (and I don’t have the money to do that). In the end, I’m not sure how this publisher thing is going to be (maybe I’ll end up self publishing the book, then I can decide the costs).

      I always appreciate your comment. Thanks a lot.

  5. Melvin says:

    Man I’ve been reading this blog but I didn’t know you were writing a novel until I read this post. I think you’re awesome, writing a novel is just plain so hard especially with all the process that it undergoes.

    Best of luck!

  6. Hi Melvin,

    I haven’t really been telling people about the novel. I have been writing for close to six months, but it’s only now that I’ll be letting my readers know about the writing process, the content, and the marketing of the novel.

    I’ll let you know more soon 🙂

  7. Bridget Pilloud says:

    I would let it sit in a drawer for a month and let your characters grow and change beyond the story (in your head) . This will give you a chance to tweak and form your novel into something beyond the first writings. Maybe you’ve already done this step.
    I would also find 50 friends and ask for an hour of their time, and put your novel and your purpose in front of them. Every good novel needs advocates.
    And finally, remember, the great books of history had a steep climb. Tim Ferris’ first book was rejected like 27 times or something.

    • I haven’t had the time to leave the book in a drawer yet, but that’s something I should definitively try. If I don’t write for a day or so, I think about my characters and the story and it evolves every single day (it’s kind of scary, since I don’t know when to stop).

      I am going to get some of my friends to read the manuscript as soon as it’s finished. I don’t know if I can find 50, but I will try to find as many as possible 🙂

      I didn’t know that Tim Ferriss’ first book got rejected, wow, and it ended up as a best seller.

      Thanks a lot for your comment, and the awesome advice Bridget.

  8. Great work Jens and I think you’re on the right track. Tim Ferris did a great job with his promo plus Slideshare packages. I like what Amber and Jay are doing with the Now Revolution and getting bloggers to blog about it in return for 2 free books plus a big speaking tour.

    I just contacted to writing agents today who help people get their book written, designed and a contract from a publisher. I too am on your path so looking forward to sharing your journey. If you want any help or contacts just let me know. Also Jonathan Fields has been running a free teleseminar about this too

    • I haven’t thought about Slideshare, that’s a really good idea. My problem is, well, I’m not sure if it’s a problem, but I’m writing the book in Norwegian, so I guess the marketing will be in Norwegian (or maybe not, I’m not sure, maybe I should do it in both Norwegian and English, that would be an interesting test).

      I am looking forward to reading more about your book. We’ll need to keep in touch. Thanks a lot for the advice Natalie.

  9. Katrineronne says:

    Hi jens I’m from Australia and read a few books but I am spoilt my mother is a librarian and growing up I relied on her to bring me home all the good novels. No out of home I have to choose my own which usually means buying them as opposed to hiring from the library and I only want to read a book which I know is going to be good ie that means the ones best marketed I will not spend hours looking for one that might sound interesting so I agree a great marking strategy from the get go is a must and it must be something that gets attention in ur chosen genre. And of course most importantly choose ur audience wisely!
    I say do a sequel series they are all the rage ATM! Sorry this probably wasn’t the most helpful

    • Yes, that’s exactly what I’m thinking. A marketing strategy is important, especially when it comes to reaching out to the publishers and the agents. For an unknown person like myself, the probably needs to be fantastic in order to get a publisher to get interested, if I don’t show them the potential first.

      Thanks a lot for your comment.

  10. Catherine says:

    Congratulations on your book, it sounds fascinating! I like your marketing plans too. I’ve been following you for a while now since I published my book, ‘ Born To Return The Gift’ July 2009. It’s true when people say once the book is written it’s up to you to sell it. I’ve done all the above and gained many valuable lessons along the way through trial and error. Unfortunately my biggest limitation was due to lack of finances. I’m working on my second and I’m confident my outcome will be better than the first thus far. (Besides having another’s eyes for editing purposes.) I will create media kits and invite the local media to a release party where I’ll also re-introduce my first novel. You might consider having a release party when you’re ready. Good Luck!

    • Thanks a lot Catherine. A release party sounds like a great idea. The only problem is that I am actually very shy and I don’t like all the attention (I’d like the attention on the book, but not on me, if you know what I mean) 🙂

      Good luck with your second book as well, and thanks a lot for your valuable comment.

  11. Got to tell ya Jens—I’m pumped for you man. These are exciting times for you, and I’m glad you’re sharing the journey with all of us. 🙂


    • Hi Marcus.

      Thanks a lot. I really enjoy it, and I’m very excited that you’re pumped for me 🙂

      I’m going to share everything, because I get so many valuable comments and so much help. It’s awesome. Thanks a lot for keep coming back and adding value, I really appreciate it.

  12. Adrienne says:

    Hey Jens, congratulations on the novel. That’s just awesome.

    I would love to undertake that some day because I do enjoy writing.

    I think all of your suggestions above are actually pretty darn good. That will definitely get the word out about your novel. Back when I was on MySpace I met a guy that actually self publishes all his work and helps others learn. If you ever decide to go that route, let me know and I’ll give you his information.

    Best of luck and can’t wait until it’s out! I love those types of books.


    • Hi Adrienne. Thanks a lot. I also enjoy writing, and I decided to go for it. I have a leave without pay from my work and I “only” work three days a week (60%) in order to finish the novel.

      I might end up with self publishing, but it’s not going to happen for a few more months. It all depends. I’ll try not to think too much about the marketing right now, since I have about one more month left of writing 🙂

      Thanks a lot for your comment.

  13. Shelley says:

    Yes, I think you are on the right track. I’ve been speaking with lots of writers lately (I’m a writer too and have written 2 books this year – one narrative non-fiction/memoir, one about how positive thinking doesn’t work and 1 screenplay) and they all say it is difficult or impossible to get advances these days. And those who do grumble that the publishers don’t really do enough marketing anyway. So it is really the day of the self publishers. I’m about to start a film production company to produce my own feature film for the same reason. So, yes I believe that you have to finish what you’re writing (if you need coaching, I do coach a lot of writers so let me know) and feel good about it. If anyone can do it you can!

    Things that I would add to your list are less concrete, but more about building personal brand as a writer/creative. Some of the ways I would suggest is that you start now by creating another site for yourself and writing some short stories, commenting on other stuff you read or find – comment on arts and culture in online newspapers, magazines and blogs. Build your base in this new area. But I think you are on the right track – publishing has completely disintermediated… and there are great opportunities for the few creative people who know how to market!


    • Wow, that’s awesome. I can’t wait until I finish my first book. I have thought a lot about advances, but I decided not to try it. To me, the story is what’s most important, and I didn’t want to send anything to publishers or agents before I was satisfied with the content (and the structure of the story). I’m not sure how advances are in Norway, but my guess is that if it’s close to impossible in the US, it’s impossible in Norway 🙂

      I could start writing short stories at a website. That’s a great advice. Since I’m writing the novel in Norwegian, I probably should write the short stories in Norwegian as well? I don’t think I’m going to write a novel in English, but who knows, I might give it a try someday 🙂

      Thanks a lot for your advice. I’ll do my best as soon as I finish my novel.

      • Shelley says:

        I think you should start writing short stories, or just anything fictional in English if you can. It will be good practice AND it is a bigger market for when your novel is done, published and goes into translation. I always believe in starting international… no reason not to! My friends just did this novel release, self published (in a discrete kind of way): and they are doing really well and the book hasn’t even come out yet, or just barely. It is the new business model. I love that the author gets to keep all of the money!

    • Michael in Cannes says:

      From having talked to many scriptwriters, I have often heard that an easier way into scriptwriting is to first write your novel and then try and shoehorn your way into taking a shot at writing the script. It ain’t easy, of course. But it is apparently easier than writing “on spec” for movies. if your book gets any attention, it’s a question that will arise.

      Good luck

  14. Christina Crowe says:

    Hi Jens,

    Wow, about a serial killer eh? Sounds interesting! And a video trailer is actually a pretty good idea! Mind if I steal it from you (well, er, Tim Ferriss) for when I write my first novel? 😉

    Can’t wait to see your book come out! Best of luck in the process. 🙂


    • Hi Christina,

      The reason I am writing about a serial killer is that I love reading and watching suspense and thrillers. And I thought that as my first book, it would be easier to write about something I really enjoy reading and watching (movies) other than things I am not as thrilled about.

      Thanks a lot for the awesome comment. Next week I will reveal the plot in one of my blog posts 😉

  15. Mayio says:

    I suggest to promote that online.You have to drive traffic to your site to gain more visitors.

  16. Shine says:

    You can promote it offline too. Distribute flyers in schools, anywhere and don’t forget to put the book’s website address too in your flyers.

  17. Mikaru says:

    Hi Jens,what site are you currently using in generating those content?

  18. Nicole says:

    I hope you publish your book soon. Good luck! 🙂

  19. Carla says:

    Nice Trailer 😀 I do enjoy watching that session 😀

  20. Josh Sosono says:

    Hi Jens,and all of you bloggers.I’m so happy i found out that there are other people on the same boat with me.let me first introduce myself: Im from Zimbabwe,and im also writin my book.its about a serial family controversies.And the writing process is awesome.and the scenes keep comin up even when im sleepin! Its so damn good,but the problem is: here in Zimbabwe we have economic problems and I think that will,to a greater extent,affect the publishing of the book.Do I need to worry?? Please help

    • Hey Josh,

      Thank you so much for visting my site and leaving a comment. It’s awesome that you’re writing a novel.

      I don’t know much about Zimbabwe, but I have decided to self publish the book, and I believe that if you do that you won’t have any problems at all no matter where you live. But, I don’t know much about the process, at least not yet 🙂

  21. Josh Sosono says:

    Thanks Jens i’ve found out everything I needed to know.I REALLY appreciate your support. Someone rightly said “The pessimist sees danger in every opportunity and the optimistic sees an opportunity in every danger.” and im so gonna risk it to who it.Even if our books get rejected at least we will have tried,wont we?and those who laugh at someone’s work are most likely to be doing nothing themselves except laughing and there’s no reward for audible laughter according to Lord Chesterfield.But so far its thumbs up to me from my friends and a few people i’ve shown my book,at least i’ve got the back up i need,whats under your nose,update me

  22. Donald Quixote says:

    I don’t know a lot about self publishing a book but your ideas seem like really good ones. I would use the internet as much as possible. The ability to get your work out all over the world in an instant would be pretty effective.

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