Book Marketing from Prison: How to Sell Books While Incarcerated

By Christopher Zoukis / 

Book marketing in the world outside of prison is fairly straightforward. The author writes a book, ideally has the foresight to build an author platform in the process, and then uses the platform and other tools to market their book once it is published.

These other tools often consist of a snazzy website, writing commitments at relevant and visible publications, outreach to book reviewers, optimizing Amazon sales page copy, and targeted advertisements. Many, many books profile this straightforward, yet work-intensive and challenging process.

But what if the author is in prison? What if they don’t have access to a computer, the internet, email, or even a regular landline or cell phone? Now things start to get interesting. This article focuses on my experiences as an incarcerated book author and my efforts to promote my books, even from within the Federal Bureau of Prisons, where I currently reside. It is presented with the hope of helping those inside prison in marketing their books, and to enlighten regular book authors of how good they really have it.

Find A Dedicated Outside Assistant

Authors outside of prison have it easy. Their first question is, “Where do I start?” This is often several steps down the road for incarcerated authors. For the incarcerated author, the first question is, “Who can help me do what needs to be done?” And this can often be a crippling issue.

Incarcerated authors understand early on that they cannot possibly market a book from prison without the expert assistance of someone outside of prison, someone who has access to a computer and the internet. Often this position can be filled by a dedicated family member or friend, or, if absolutely necessary — and if funds are available — then by paying an assistant or helper. Due to the hustle and bustle of regular life outside of prison, this latter option is often the best by far. While it is challenging, effective assistants can be found on websites like Craig’s List. It is this outside assistant that will help with most of the following tasks. Finding a good one is perhaps the most essential task in the book marketing process.

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