Once the publication date for your book is nearing, it’s time to think carefully about how you can help with promotion. Academic publishers do all they can to make sure your work will reach its intended readers, but they have limited resources. The increasing role of the researcher in book promotion is one of the many changes in academic publishing over the past decades. Christine Tulley says, “Promotion of research and related publications is now a team effort. Yet many authors are unaware they must take increasingly active roles” (2019).

You, as the author, are wonderfully placed to promote your book, as you know the competing literature, the leading voices in the field, and how your book fits into the scholarly conversation around your topic. Your promotion work can be a key factor in the success of the book.

Think (again!) about audience

Remember back when you wrote your proposal and we asked you to think about your audience? Hopefully, audience has been at the front of your mind throughout the entire book process, but now is an especially important moment to think again about who would really benefit from reading your book. Your promotion strategies could be very different depending on who your audience is. Some books on engaged learning may be targeted for faculty in particular disciplines, students at particular types of institutions, administrators in certain parts of the world, or any combination of all of these variables.

Once you’ve determined your audience, you can investigate: Where do these people get their news? What social media platforms and listservs are they on? Who do you know who’s influential with these people?

Leverage your personal professional network

Your colleagues, your friends, your old college roommate—you have a lifetime of acquaintances who you now need to (strategically) notify about your book. Not only should you notify them, but you should also encourage them to help you promote your book by sharing it widely. This kind of self-promotion can feel awkward, but think of it instead as sharing useful work with people who may really appreciate hearing about it.

“I try to think of promoting my work as offering what I have learned in order to support others’ efforts and showing how both my own work and theirs are part of an ongoing conversation. So actually I think of it less as promoting and more as connecting—showing continuity of ongoing explorations, inviting new directions that build on those and also that take off from them.”

Alison Cook-Sather, Writing about Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, 315

Share, share, share

There are many ways you can share info about the book: email your professional contacts, send announcements to listservs, add the book to your e-signature, add the book to your personal and institutional websites. Many more details about these activities are listed in chapter 29 of Writing about Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, which focuses on promoting your scholarly work.

E-signature that author Kelly Matthews uses at the bottom of your emails, which includes your title and institution, a list of her latest book and articles, and contact information
Kelly Matthews’ e-signature highlighting her publications

If you are active on social media, it’s great to share your work there. However, social media is really only impactful if you already have a decent following. If you’re creating social media accounts to share your newly published book, it’s unlikely to help much. If you don’t use social media, find a colleague who is active on social media and ask if they could share on their accounts.

Screenshot of a Tweet from Cassandra Volpe Horii and Martin Springborg, announcing that they are writing a book for the CEL Open Access Book Series

Presenting at conferences on topics related to your book can be good for you professionally as well as good for getting people to read your book. Most publishers (including CEL) will ask you at the proposal stage to create a plan for presenting on your book topic. At CEL, we also encourage authors to write posts for our blog that highlight their books; we have found these posts (on our blog and others) to be an effective way to drive readers to the book websites.

Screenshot of a Tweet from CEL, which promotes a blog post written by the authors of Promoting Equity and Justice through Pedagogical Partnership

Coordinate with your publisher

At CEL, we work hard to promote our authors’ work. We create book websites for each title, solicit review quotes, promote the book on our social media, take flyers to conferences, create book trailers and related videos, organize webinars, and promote to libraries, among other activities. It’s important that you know what your publisher will be doing, and that they know what you’ll be doing—this way you won’t duplicate efforts and both parties’ activities can complement the other’s.

Screenshot of the book website of Pedagogical Partnerships
CEL’s book website for Pedagogical Partnerships, by Cook-Sather, Bahti, and Ntem

It can be tempting at the end of a long book project to want to move on to the next project, but taking the time to work with your publisher on promotion can really improve the book’s reach. You’ve worked hard on that manuscript! Make sure that your engaged learning scholarship is read and used, so that your ideas can inform teaching practices and improve the student experience.

Book trailer for The Power of Partnership, edited by Lucy Mercer-Mapstone and Sophia Abbot.

This post is an installment of our series on academic book publishing.


Healey, Mick, Kelly E. Matthews, and Alison Cook-Sather. 2019. Writing about Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: Creating and Contributing to Scholarly Conversations across a Range of Genres. Elon, NC: Center for Engaged Learning. https://doi.org/10.36284/celelon.oa3.

Tulley, Christine. 2019. “Making the Most of Your Research Promotion Team.” Inside Higher Ed, June 28, 2019. https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2019/06/28/how-work-publishers-universities-and-libraries-promote-your-research-and-related.

Jennie Goforth is the Center for Engaged Learning’s Managing Editor. She works with authors to shepherd their work from proposal through production in the Center’s Open Access Book Series. She also manages production of book websites and supplemental materials for the Stylus Publishing/Center for Engaged Learning Series on Engaged Learning and Teaching.

How to cite this post

Goforth, Jennie. 2021, September 16. “Academic Publishing: Promoting Your Book” [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://www.centerforengagedlearning.org/academic-publishing-promoting-your-book.