A. F. Stewart is a writer of fantasy stories and poetry. Stewart has been writing for several years, periodically interrupted by those pesky events called life. Stewart has three published books: one volume of poetry, a short story collection and a non-fiction booklet about action movies. All are currently available at Lulu.com
Here are Stewart’s free or cheap marketing wisdoms for marketing a book online:
1. Get a Website: An essential selling tool. You can sell your books directly from the site via links, or you can set up a store of your own. (It can be done, there are helpful sites that show you how).
There are plenty of free, or inexpensive hosting sites that you can use for your site. I went with Bravenet.com; you get some nice free website add-ons, such as hit counter, guestbook, email forms, etc. If you would like a look at my site here it is: Afallon Website
2. Get an Online Press Kit: You need to sell yourself and your book. This is an excellent way to do it. Create a bio, book list, post your reviews, press releases and any other promotional stuff.
3. Join the online social networking: Get your presence as an author out on the World Wide Web. Join Squidoo, MySpace, Facebook, Gather.com, AuthorsDen, or any other writing form that suits your needs.
4. Promotional freebies: It is not to difficult to create your own brochures or flyers, (using a program such as Powerpoint), that you can make available for a free download. And a definite must is a downloadable Media Kit for your book.
5. Book Trailer: You can get a professionally done book trailer, (if you look there are inexpensive options) or do your own. Windows Movie Maker can be use to make an interesting promo with some imagination.
6. Write Articles: Excellent way to spread your name as a writer. There are plenty of places to post them for free.
7. Get a Blog: Write your opinions, your experiences, post excerpts from your books, write online stories, whatever.
Trying to market your books, and make a name for yourself as an author can be tough, especially if you self-publish. And it can be expensive, if you listen to all the big marketing companies. They are loads of sites that try to sell you on their new and improved, breakthrough system, guaranteed to get you sales or bring traffic to your website. Maybe they can, but they usually cost hundreds of dollars.
So, I went looking for free advertising. And, yes you can find it, but you get what you pay for. I tried some of the free classifieds, the ads where you put code in your website, places where you can add banners, the advertising forums; basically a waste of time. Skip the freebie advertising.
Now for the free stuff that does seem to work.
Advertising your Website:
1. Put the URL in as many places as you can: on your blog, social networking sites, press releases, emails, media kits, website guestbooks, generally anything that goes public. And don’t forget to put it in your books.
2. Get in the search engines. Submit to Google, Yahoo, DMOZ, etc. Submit manually or use free search engine submission. Just keep in mind the free search engine submission sites also have pay versions and will try to sell you on those. Free bulk submission is easier, but I have found free manual submissions work better.
3. Get indexed by Google and Yahoo. You have to be indexed to use their helpful website monitoring tools.
4. Get Links. One useful way is link exchange. Link Market is an excellent free link exchange site, and you can pick and choose who goes on your site. And do not put just any link on your website, make sure they relate to your site in some way.
5. Submit your URL to free directories. You will have to this manually, but get it out there. Do a Search, and find those directories. There are several niche directories to which you can add your website.
6. Advertise your website with a free press release. Tell the world that you exist, and what you are all about. If you would like to see an example, my press release can be viewed here: Press Release
7. Hold a contest. I’ve created several contests and posted all on Grandma Jam’s Sweepstakes Guide to advertise. I got interest, and website traffic.
My Contest Page
8. Join webrings. Find rings that pertain to your website and join. It gets you on Google.
9. Join one of those online bookmark sites, and add your own website. I’ve joined del.icio.us and Stumble.
And if you have a special site, or preview page, for your book, make certain to list it in the directories and search engines as well. Also add to your online bookmarks.