I already wrote a bit about email marketing and why it’s important but that is only one piece of your branding and marketing platform. Arguably the most important part. If you choose to ignore everything else I talk about please please set up your list and start connecting directly with fans.
Anyway, here are the other key things you should be doing by the time you hit publish on your first novel or short story collection. Of course, if you’ve already published pieces and haven’t done these you can start now.
I’m going to mention more than a few social media sites, you don’t have to do all of them if you don’t want. Some would even argue its best to choose one or two to focus on. Remember your goal with social media should be to communicate with fans and influencers not to sell books.
Amazon Author Page: If you publish on Amazon, you need an Author Page. It’s the page that shows up when you click on an author’s name on the book page. The reason this is key is you can link your blog to it, it has all your available books in one place, and your bio. All of those things help you sell books. You’re selling non-fiction for instance and it says in your bio you have a degree or experience in the field you wrote your book in, sale. Someone loved your perma-free or 99c first in series and now has instant access to your entire collection, SALES! They are on the fence about trying out a new author but read a blog post and enjoy your writing, sale!
OK, now you know why let’s mention the how, authorcentral.com. They will walk you through the process and you can claim your books so they show up. You can also track your author rank and see all your reviews in one place under the author central dashboard. I’m sure there are even more nifty tidbits you can find on there but I haven’t even begun to delve into it. I’ll update this post if I find anything especially awesome.
Website: This should be a no brainer. If you’re concerned about cost there are a few ways around that. Most hosts offer a free website option. The URL would look something like this www.YOURNAME.wordpress.com. I chose wordpress because a lot of authors, and I mean a lot, use wordpress to build their sites. Other options include Weebly and Wix. wix is pretty pricey once you decide to go for the paid option so make sure you check out the pricing tiers before you make your free site. (PS: Weebly is a bit tricky. They promise one price and then add things on as you go. Other than that, I’ve had a great time with them. This is a weebly site)
The reason for a website? Your website should be your main online hub. When a potential reader googles your name, a crisp, clear website should pop up. On it you should have a page with your series and/or books listed and where they can be purchased (or a buy direct link, the only thing better then a 70% royalty is 100%, amiright?). It should also be linked to your blog via and RSS feed and have a bio and place for them to sign up to your list. Cause email is where it’s at, don’t forget.
When you start self hosting, I recommend SitGround. I use them for my cameronquinnbooks.com site and I've enjoyed it. If you want to help support us, use this affiliate link. We will receive a small amount of money for the referral. (This is one of the ways we're helping pay for this site and other free resources we provide, like the podcast and YouTube Channel). Another good source for hosting is BlueHost (Not an affiliate link). With the number of sites I have and my current budget, I just couldn't make it work but I've only heard good things from them and they are recommended by Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn and Tim Grahl of BookLaunch.com.
GoodReads Author Page: This comes in handy for a few reasons. One, you can keep an eye on how your book is doing and garner more review, and two, you can run ads and giveaways through GoodReads. I haven’t done a whole lot with GoodReads ads but their Listopia, is a great resource and give aways are generally successful.
Facebook Page: Facebook seems to be an author’s best friend or their worst nightmare. Regardless of if you love it or hate it, you can’t run Facebook ads without a page. Why would you want to run Facebook ads? Two reasons, grow your email list, and boost sales. The fact of the matter is, when it comes to ads, nobody can target an audience like Facebook. If you’re looking to grow your list and find your die hard fans, Facebook ads are the way to go about it.
Twitter: Twitter is a great way to communicate with fans. I’m not a huge twitter user but here’s a post about how to go about it from V.S. Holmes. She’s the Twitter guru in these parts. **Update** I recently delved into the world of Twitter because fo changes to Facebook which SEVERELY impacted this blogs views. Here's what I've found, posting multiple times a day (the whole 24hr period) helps build your audience in other parts of the world as well as at home. When someone follows you, if you decide to follow them back, retweet their pinned tweet. They'll usually retweet your pinned tweet. You should have a pinned tweet. I followed other authors lead and created a tweet thread, the first telling what I write and then each new tweet in the thread was about a specific book. I put them in order of publication so it's easy to add new releases.
Instagram: Not gonna lie, I love Instagram. I’m not as obsessed with making sure the photos are perfect as some people are but it’s still a lot of fun. Also, you can distribute your Facebook ads to Instagram users, making it an extension of your existing platform.
Blog/Vlogs: Blogs are huge for non-fiction writers. Yes, fiction writers can ave blogs too. I have one but I have a hard time finding things to write about. I mean, I’m a mom who spends her time feeding kids, tallying up all the chores I need to do but never seem to have enough time for, Homework (cause college is a thing), and working. Working on books, working for Amphibian Press LLC and learning how to be more successful as a marketer. So blogging isn’t huge for me. Accept on here. Where my focus is non-fiction. Yeah we’re gonna write a book and are working on courses! Yay! So, non-fiction authors, blogs are amazing at helping you build your lists and showing people you know what you’re talking about. Fiction authors, please share your blogs if you have one, I’d love to see it. Or if you follow a fiction author’s blog that you think is amazing or made you buy their fiction book. Seriously, I want to see it!
Alright, so those are the things you should be doing! Do you do something that isn’t on the list? Let me know in the comments!
As with most things Indie, you need to make sure that these things help you. If you’re spending too much time on social media and not enough writing, what’s the point? These are meant to help you not overwhelm you. The most important thing is your website. After that, the rest is preference.
Marissa Frosch is the head of marketing at Amphibian Press and all writes under the pseudonym Cameron J Quinn. She is the author of The Starsboro Chronicles. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, blog and her website.
Are you looking for help with your platform and book marketing? Marissa will be opening up for consultations and book marketing plans in May! Click here to learn more.