Publishing Your First Book? Follow These Steps

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How to Market Your First Book by Frances CaballoDid you just publish your first book? Exciting, isn’t it?

When I published my first book, I did some things wrong.

I was already active on several social media networks, but my website was all wrong. So was my blog.

Initially, I imagined providing social media services for all demographics: businesses, nonprofits, and authors. So my website was a general website for a social media business.

I share this information as an example that as new authors, you don’t always get everything right the first time. So let me make it easier for you by making these suggestions.

Step One – Website

As you’re writing your book, you need to build an author website. You can try to build it yourself, or you can hire someone.

Make sure that you build a WordPress website. I prefer the StudioPress templates.

Do you write fiction or nonfiction? There are a variety of opinions as to whether fiction authors need a blog. If you have one, make sure you self-host it on your website instead of using Blogger or

Include on your website:

  • Home page
  • Blog (if you decide to host one)
  • Landing pages for your books
  • About page
  • Media Kit
  • Contact page

You’ll need an excellent hosting company and I recommend A2. Their customer service is excellent.

Step Two – Newsletter List

Start growing your email list. Decide whether you want to use AWeber or MailChimp. I use MailChimp and my webmaster recently switch from AWeber to MailChimp recently. These are the top newsletter software programs so review the costs, the ease of use, and decide for yourself.

Step Three – The Ethical Bribe

Make sure every page on your website has a call to action that offers a freebie provided your readers turn over their email addresses. This is what Joel Friedlander refers to as an “ethical bribe.”

The process isn’t as sardonic as it sounds. If you offer a quality freebie, such as the first two chapters of your newest book or an entire book, your readers will gladly provide their emails so they can receive a PDF or eBook they’d love to have.

Step Four – Use Visuals

Use stunning visuals on your website and blog. Sign up for Canva, a free app, or PicMonkey, a low-cost app, and start creating images for your website and blog.

Then, sign up for Pinterest and pin those images to one of your pinboards and start enjoying traffic from new visitors.

Step Five – Social Media

I hope you started using social media while you were writing your book. If not, start using social media now. Which networks you use will depend on your audience. Check out my recent post Authors: Use New Pew Center Results to Better Reach Your Readers.

Step Six – Apps for Your Social Media

There are some basic applications you need to use for your social media:

  • Sign up for a scheduling application, such as Hootsuite, Buffer, Tweetdeck, or SocialOomph.
  • Sign up for a Twitter app to identify and delete unfollowers and spam accounts, such as ManageFlitter or Tweepi.

Step Seven – Posting Schedule

Follow this editorial calendar at a minimum:

  • Post on Twitter three times/day.
  • Post on Facebook once to twice daily.
  • Post on LinkedIn twice weekly.
  • Post on Google+ whenever you publish a new post. Join a community, too.
  • Pin Images on Pinterest when you write a new post or are building pinboards to match your book’s content or when you’re building an idea for a new book. Invite readers to community boards you create.
  • Add a book review to Goodreads whenever you finish reading a new book.

Note: Depending on your audience, you may not need to use all of the networks noted here and you may have to use Instagram, Snapchat, and Tumblr instead.

Step Eight – Blog Tour

Either hire a company to handle your blog tour or contact your colleagues and leaders in the publishing industry and ask if you can write guest posts during your book launch.

Step Nine – Kindle Select Program

When you upload your book to Kindle Direct Publishing, select the Kindle Select Program for the first three to twelve months and be sure to offer your book for free at least once.

Consider joining Book Marketing Tools and use the website’s Ebook Submission Tool to send information about your free book promotion to the websites listed.

Step 10 – Go Wide

Once you have three books published, don’t publish exclusively on Amazon. Instead, sign up for Smashwords, Kobo, and iBooks. You can just use Draft2Digital to convert your book to an Ebook and Draft2Digital will take care of the distribution for you.

For more information about marketing your books, check out these posts:

Social Media Just for Writers 2nd Edition

Well written, well researched – well thought out. This book is a must have!

Ryshia Kennie 

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a contributing writer at Frances wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web

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