The easiest and cheapest way to promote your self-publishing book (or anything else, for that matter) is to blog about it.
Blogging is easy. You can get one for free. You can spend hours adding widgets and extras. You can write a pithy bio for yourself. Posting only takes a few minutes and you can do it as often or as little as you like and, every time you do, you send a little chunk of YOU-branded HTML out into the webbed world. (Otherwise known as a Google search result.) But the fact that blogging is easy, free and pandemic is kind of the problem: if everyone’s doing it, how do you stand out?
Focus Your Blogging Beam
The majority of blogs I come across seem to be a mish-mash of everything. This is fine if you’re just out to blog, but if you’re trying to drum up interest in you and/or your book, you’ll need to be a bit more focused. This doesn’t mean stroking your own ego in the form of self-obsessed posts entitled ‘Buy My Book OR ELSE’, but making your blog stand out – a least a little bit – from the rest. Ask yourself, what can only YOU blog about? I know I always enjoy reading writers’ blogs where they chronicle the ups and downs of their journey to publication – everyone may be doing it, but each individual’s story is completely different. I decided to blog about my self-printing adventures. It was just an opportunity to moan about crazy people to begin with, but then it kind of took on a life of its own. And when my book was finally published, I know some people bought it just to see how it turned out. Bonus!
Why WordPress Wins
I love WordPress, as you can probably tell. (Hint: you’re on a free WordPress.com blog right now.) WordPress.com has its limitations – you can’t install Paypal buttons, for example, because your ad-free WordPress blog prohibits commerce – but for me, Blogger can’t even compare. WordPress has more themes, they look so much more professional and you can buy your own personalized domain name from them for just $15 or so a year. It’s easier to build pages, sections and extras; it’s easier to make your blog look like a site. Compare, for instance, this WordPress.com site with my earlier Blogger efforts. See what I mean?
Make a Book Site
WordPress has another benefit: you can use it to make a (free!) dedicated website for your book. Using WP’s ‘Pages’ you can add sections to your site like About the Author, About the Book, Where to Buy, etc. and publish just one blog post as a kind of Welcome/What is this place? explanatory note. Insert images in your sidebar with links to your Amazon listings and point people in the direction of your blog and Twitter account. Most important of all: print the URL in your book somewhere. Not only is this a great way of promoting your book and perhaps swaying potential readers into a purchase, but it also serves as a place for people who’ve already read your book to learn more. Mousetrappedbook.com has photos and videos; readers can see what the places and people I wrote about actually look like.
Next up: Twitter and Facebook or, how to get people to visit your blog (Friday).