The book production process is like a series of finish lines, driving writers to keep writing, keep revising, keep editing, keep honing until that ultimate goal of publication becomes more and more perceivable. After months of back and forth between editors, design reviews, and proofreading minutia, the idea of having to promote the book may cause authors to wonder if this so-called finish line even exits.
When it comes to marketing, the truth is that it doesn’t. Once your book is published, you can hold your tightly bound masterpiece with confidence that you’ll never have to touch it again. But marketing is an ongoing process that should continue as long as you want people to read your book. As with most elements of self-publishing, you can choose to go at this alone (and many do, with great effect!) or hire a firm to help you. Regardless, it’s a good idea to start establishing your platform early. Here are some of our favorite free resources to get you started.
Grammarly: As a writer, you know the importance of proofreading your work before publishing it. Social media should be treated the same. With the informal nature of social media, it’s easy to slip up when replying to a reader on Twitter or Instagramming your book on a bookstore shelf. Grammarly is a plugin that can be installed to Microsoft Word or web browsers such as Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. The proofreading app underlines mistakes and provides a detailed explanation on how to fix them.
Hootsuite: One of the most challenging parts of social media for writers is feeling the need to be “always on”—and it’s true that social media can easily become a time suck. You have better things to do—like write your next book!—than spend time each morning thinking of something compelling to post on Twitter and Facebook that day. Hootsuite’s free social media management tool helps you become way more efficient by scheduling batches of posts in advance. So, you can take a day or so to write out several weeks’ worth of content, then sit back while your posts are automatically released by Hootsuite according to the schedule you’ve created.
Free stock photography: When you want to illustrate a blog post about the writing life . . . but dirty dishes and unfolded laundry are decorating your living room . . . stock photography is a fantastic source. Not only will your post look amazing, but its performance will likely almost double. And with sites like Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay, you can download gorgeous images for social media use for free.
Pro tip: aim for photos that don’t look too fabricated. We’ve all seen the infamous man on a mountain with his laptop or the disturbingly fake handshake. The key is to use stock photography that looks authentic.
Canva: The stream of information on social media moves incredibly fast, so it’s crucial to catch your audience’s attention at first glance. The quality of your visual content is vital to the success of your online marketing. Research shows that visual content is up to forty times more likely to be shared on social media. Services like Canva make it easy and affordable for non-graphic-designers to create stunning, sharable social media banners, posts, ads, blog graphics, and more. With simple drag-and-drop templates created by talented designers, Canva is a great tool for authors who want to look polished online without having to hire a designer to create customized social assets for them. ￼
Google Analytics: At first glance, Google Analytics may look intimidating with its lines graphs, endless reports, and terms like “Cohort Analysis” and “Ad Words.” But it’s free, and the wealth of information captured by this powerful tool allows you to track your website traffic, learn who your viewers are and how they are finding you, and so much more. Fortunately, you don’t need to be an expert on the entire catalog of offerings to reap the benefits of Google Analytics. If you’re a beginner, we recommend paying attention to these ten things.