A lot of these wonderful people offer free webinars now and then, some more than others. I have personally used/watched/participated in each of these in some form or another so you can know they’re legit. I know not everyone has money to spend on marketing or learning marketing. I definitely didn’t. Still don’t. But it can feel pretty chaotic to research blog post after blog post and feel like you’re not really getting anywhere. So here are some of the resources I’ve found helpful in the last few years and hope you will too!
Dave Chesson with Kindlepreneur
Blog, Programs, Courses, Podcast | Mostly Free
Famous for his Publisher Rocket Program which helps us find keywords and categories for Amazon books, as well as showing competitors and ranking them. I purchased a copy of this program and use it often to find books related to mine, look for keywords I can use in my advertising campaigns on Amazon’s site, and to see how my book ranks compared to others in terms of monthly and daily profit.
Dave has tons of helpful blog posts on everything from working with other authors to understanding Amazon ads and how to pick the best categories for your books. But my favorite feature is his book description generator.
If you publish on Amazon (and his tips are primarily for Amazon but now include other publishing platforms), Kobo, or Barnes and Noble, You can use this handy tool to format your book description text with bold, italics, stars paired with reviews, copyright symbols, bulleted lists and more. Then you click a button and it generates the html code you need to drop in your description box.
Why do you need this? Because when you just type in plain text in, say, Amazon’s KDP platform, returns will disappear, and you have zero formatting options. It looks like, pardon my language, $4!t. Trust me. I first published back in 2017 and until I started revamping my descriptions with this lovely program (and you can do Editorial Reviews too) I really didn’t sell much unless I was running major ads. Your sales page has to kick a$$, or it won’t convince people to buy.
He also offers two free courses on email and Amazon ads. There’s a podcast you can listen to. I’ve learned so much with so little spent it’s imperative I share this site with you.
Joanna Penn with The Creative Penn
Books, Blog, Courses, Podcast, Resources
Seriously, what can’t this woman do? She writes non-fiction help books for authors, workbooks, thrillers, fantasy, contemporary romance, and still has time to make courses? If there was someone I’d want to be like in this world, it’d be Joanna Penn.
Every book I’ve read and webinar I’ve watched with her is full of helpful content (too much to list in fact) but it ranges from legal help to health tips to finding other ways to profit from your writing skills. Then there’s the business side of authorship, working with other authors, and methods for marketing books. I mean, there’s a lot of content to pick from.
If you’re not sure where to start in getting help with your author journey, Joanna has got you covered. She shares a lot of links to other resources and courses outside of her own, which proves she’s trying to provide the best information to the public and not keep readers to herself. I respect her for that.
She even has some books published in other languages, so if you’re an author who might not always prefer English, you can check out her author help books in German and French too.
The Creative Penn
Tim Grahl with Book Launch
Articles, Training, Courses, Podcast, Personal Coaching | Some Free, Some Paid
If you are looking for a professional, hardcore, customized system for improving your marketing, this is the place for you. I’ve watched several free webinars from Tim, including one with Joanna Penn. That was the one that got me to sign up for his program. And you know what the best part was? His course customizes to your situation. (Write fiction and have under 500 followers? Here’s what you need to do…)
I couldn’t afford one-on-one training, and it took me a long time to pay off this course. The worthwhile part though, is it’s a lifetime membership, and as your reader base grows in numbers, he has new course options for your growing audience. Now have 1,000 followers? He’ll tell you what to do next.
His instruction style is calm and straightforward. It is methodical and rational. He’ll walk you through exactly how to reach out to individuals in a way that is beneficial to both you and, say, the scifi blogger so that you don’t burn a bridge. All too often, people try to self-promote with pushy tactics like “I write (genre). You blog (genre). You should post about me!” When in reality, Tim’s going to teach you how to do it so both of you benefit. The same goes for finding Amazon reviewers, gaining newsletter subscribers, and selling books to customers.
Tim Grahl walks you through everything.
I have a couple of his books, and definitely recommend signing up for his newsletters so you can hear about any upcoming webinars or other content he might share.
Mark Dawson with Self Publishing Formula
Blog, Courses, Podcasts, Webinars, Videos | Mostly Free
At the writing of this blog post, Mark offers 11 books for free on topics ranging from going exclusive on Amazon to writing a book that sucks people in and Pinterest help. I have several of his books and have found them helpful.
He offers several courses, paid, but they are highly revered and often hard to get into. He’s had over 13,000 students and more than 2 million listens on his podcast. I’ve listened in to a few of his free webinars and have gleaned a lot of critical insight that’s helped me make profitable changes..
Mark often has guest authors teach in their areas of expertise. Want to write a realistic crime scene or get started with Instagram? How about some book cover design help? There are over 250 episodes to pick from.
While you do have to pay for courses, and they aren’t cheap, there is a reason. Self Publishing Foundation helps aspiring, underprivileged authors achieve their goals. So if you pay for a course, you can at least know some of that is going to help others like yourself.
Self Publishing Formula
David Gaughran with Starting from Zero
Course, Blog, Books | Free Course and Books, Some Paid Books
If this guy’s accent and humor doesn’t get you hooked, his amazing content will. He’s very upfront about everything and you can tell his goal is to help authors. He doesn’t turn everything into a salesy pitch half-way through which makes me respect him so much more. I’ve watched his course more than once because it had so much great information in it. I have a couple of his books and recommend them.
David will explain the why and what-to-look-for of a lot of things from snagging reader attention and getting them to sign up to ad stacking and sites he recommends. He talks a lot about how to find and engage your audience and the importance of newsletters and mailing lists. I’ve included a link to Newsletter Ninja, a book he references a lot and wrote the forward to.
You can get a free book on his website: Following. I know a lot of the time subscribing to get free content isn’t something we want to do because… Gah! I have so many emails, don’t you? But David is funny, helpful, and always polite. I’ve enjoyed the content I get from him, including the Friday marketing tips that are sent out in his newsletters. There aren’t a lot of messages I open, but his are on the list of necessary reads.
Starting from Zero
Derek Murphy with Creative Indie
Author, Artist, Teacher, PhD in Literature
Books, Courses, YouTube, Resources | Mostly Free
Derek has multiple free books you can get covering topics from plotting your books to launching them. I’ve watched a webinar of him showing us how he edits his books. That was pretty cool and really helped me see what to hunt down and change while working on my own.
What I loved most was his book cover design help video. He offers this service professionally too if you’d rather not have to do the work yourself. Just check out CreativeIndieCovers for more information. You will also find marketing and editing services available on that page in the menu.
His resources page includes links to Masterclasses and Book Design as well as keyword research, among others.
Bryan Cohen with Best Page Forward & 5 Day Amazon Ad Profit Challenge
Podcasts, Courses, Services | BPF Paid, 5 Day Challenge Free
Best Page Forward
This is a paid service, BUT if you HATE WRITING BLURBS and want a professional to make your sales page kick some booty, this is the service for you. They actually use a five-stage process of assessing various options for your description content. I’m sort of using blurb and description interchangeably here. A blurb tends to be shorter I think in most people’s minds. They will work with you on a sort of headline blurb and the following description which all fits into the description box of your (KDP) platform. You can use it anywhere though.
If you’re really struggling with advertising yourself and need help with your sales page… and I know a lot of us hate blurb writing or struggle with it more than writing our books… Bryan and his team are great at what they do and will make your “sales speech” on your product page engage more customers.
5 Day Amazon Ad Profit Challenge
This is a Facebook group that Bryan has put together where he will share a video challenge every day for beginning and novice Amazon Advertisers in the author community. He will teach you how to set up ads, what to pay attention to, how to look at your data and decide if you want to make new ads or rework the ones you have. Or trash them.
He is a patient person who talks slow enough you can listen and think at the same time while simultaneously pushing you to learn how to make better, more targeted and successful ads. I’ve taken his free challenge twice, and watched a few videos a third time. It’s definitely worth a try if you’ve never run ads with Amazon or you have and aren’t having any luck (like I was).
Other free webinars:
I can’t say if these are on a schedule, but I have now listened to a webinar on setting up Facebook Ads and a webinar on how to clean up and rework your sales page descriptions. Both have been immensely helpful in guiding what I should be focused on and how various components of the platforms index the data and use it to draw in customers. I heard about them via email. So if you’re not ready to commit to either of Bryan’s services, at least subscribe so you can hear about what he’s got to offer.
Best Page Forward &
5 Day Amazon Ad Profit Challenge
Matt Holmes with Jumpstart Author Ads
Books, Resources, Case Studies | Free (as of this post)
Matt has tips for Facebook, Amazon and BookBub ads. He has given me some great tips on handling Facebook ads, helped me understand the dashboard and what in the heck I’m looking at when I open up the tab to create an ad. I didn’t even know he had a website! He never tried to sell me on anything or send me to his links.
He’s explained the various steps of how to utilize a Dynamic Creative setup versus the standard/manual ad test arrangement and the importance of trying different versions of my ads. He provided (without me asking for it) critical information in understanding how videos are viewed and impressions are registered with what’s typically worked for him. He had a positive attitude and is patient beyond my understanding and so kind.
I found him in the Authors Optimizing Amazon and Facebook Ads – Support Group which is also a fantastic place to find ideas and helpful tips … and other authors who are struggling and succeeding and know that emotional journey.
Matt offers three books for free as well as the chance to take a look at his case studies. He has a helpful page of website resources from advertising sites to ARC sites and keyword search plug-ins for Chrome.
It you’re intimidated by a lot of the other services above and want a friendly person to chat with, definitely check out Matt Holmes. When everyone else makes you feel like plankton in a sea of prehistoric fish, Matt will cheer you on and make you think you just might make it through this insanity.