BlogThe Writing ProcessThe Smart Way to Spend Your Shoestring Budget

The Smart Way to Spend Your Shoestring Budget

Hayley Milliman
Content Lead
Published Oct 13, 2019


Say you’ve only got a small amount of money (for example, $250) to spend on marketing your book. What should you spend it on? How can you use those resources most effectively?

Here are our recommendations for what to purchase.

  1. #1: A Website
  2. #2: An Email Tool
  3. #3: Business Cards
  4. #4: A Social Media Scheduling Tool
  5. #5: An Easy Video Creation Tool
  6. Building Hype on a Budget

#1: A Website


First and foremost you need a website. A website is your home on the internet – the place you’ll direct people to learn more about you and sign up to receive more information about your book.

Depending on which website provider you use and how fancy you want to get, a personal site with email collection capabilities will run anywhere from $9 to $29 per month. The good news is that all modern website platforms (Squarespace, Wordpress, Wix, etc.) come with pre-made templates, so you don’t have to enlist the help of a designer to make your site look professional.

#2: An Email Tool

(Free to hundreds of dollars per month)

An email tool is necessary for you to be able to email your mailing list (which you collected on your website) about your book, appearances, press features, and any other news or events.

Email tools help you quickly and easily design and send beautiful emails. Depending on how large your list is, you could pay nothing at all (MailChimp is free for under 2,000 subscribers) or you could pay hundreds per month if your list is in the tens of thousands. For most writers starting off, MailChimp’s Forever Free plan is a huge boon. Take advantage of it!

As an added bonus, most of these email tools integrate directly with Squarespace, Wix, and Wordpress, so you won’t have to know any fancy coding to get set up.

A grammar guru, style editor, and writing mentor in one package.
Try it for free!

#3: Business Cards

($14.99 for 500)

Business cards may seem old-fashioned but they’re super handy to whip out when you meet someone you want to connect with. Your business card should include your name, contact information, and website URL. You can also throw in the title of your book if you want to get fancy.

Office stores like Staples have great deals on custom business cards, including 500 for $14.99. They also have online templates you can use to design your own. Premium services like Moo have higher-quality cards at a steeper price.

#4: A Social Media Scheduling Tool


A social media scheduling tool like Buffer can help you plan out your social media posts months in advance. These tools are helpful for making it look like you’re really active on social media while you’re actually out promoting your book in person (or hiding in your basement for fear of what people will think now that it’s published).

The great news is that a tool like Buffer is free if you only have one of each account (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc). So as long as you don’t have multiple handles that you want to manage (a personal Instagram and an author-specific Instagram, for instance), you can use it for free!

#5: An Easy Video Creation Tool


Video continues to be highly important in the social media world. Video posts have higher engagement, meaning they’re more likely to be commented on, liked, or shared.

As an author, having a book trailer up your sleeve is a great way to drum up interest for your book. You can also create videos that share about your experience as an author or teach helpful tips related to your topic (especially useful if you’re in a non-fiction genre). A tool like Animoto is only $5 per month and makes video creation easy. No special editing or tech skills required!

Building Hype on a Budget

There you have it! You don’t need to spend a fortune to promote your book. In fact, if you use all the ideas recommended in this chapter at their lowest price points, you can get away with spending only $28.99 a month!

Shop around for good deals. Keep your eyes peeled for coupons and special offers. Promoting a book doesn’t have to leave you bankrupt! If you’re smart and targeted with the tools you use, it can be done on a shoestring.

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Hayley Milliman
Content Lead

Hayley is thrilled to be ProWritingAid's Content Lead, as it gives her an excuse to think deeply about words every single day. Prior to joining ProWritingAid, Hayley spent a number of years as an elementary school teacher, which was a crash course in learning how to entertain an indifferent audience. These days, she puts her storytelling skills to use writing blog articles and working on her first novel.

When Hayley isn't hunched over her keyboard, you can find her figure skating at the ice rink or hiking with her dog.

She is the co-author of the book Museum Hack's Guide to History's Fiercest Females (which was an Amazon bestseller) and How to Build Your Author Platform on a Shoestring.

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