How to Create and Market your Author Platform FREE
Last year around this time I was starting up my new author assistant business. I dove headfirst into purchasing a brand logo, a new website, opting for paid versions of various sites that, to me, were a *must have*. I set up Facebook Ads and ran giveaways right off the bat in hopes of getting my new business name out into the social media world. Unfortunately, while my business was doing well, my finances were not. I was doing a lot of work and having not much to show for it.
The whole process was frustrating. And yet, this was the first time I truly understood what my clients were going through. There are tons of options to spend money when it comes to marketing, but they (like me) had small to limited budgets and putting out all of that money each month was resulting in no profit and lots of frustration.
I ultimately ended up taking an extended break from my work to figure out if this particular path was the best option for me. I spent time re-evaluating what worked and what didn’t. What I discovered was quite simple: You don’t need all the bells and whistles from the start. What I mean is not that you don’t have to put in the effort of getting your brand out there and creating a social media platform, rather you don’t need to break the bank before you have the funds to do it.
There are plenty of free options to get you started creating and marketing your brand. Here are a few tips I’ve learned:
Social Media is FREE
Creating social media accounts are 100% free and that’s the first place you need to start. Don’t get overwhelmed, begin with the basics: Facebook page, Twitter profile, Google+, perhaps add Instagram if you’re already familiar with the format. Each of these platforms is free to set up and you can begin to build your brand immediately.
Take Advantage of Free Social Media Scheduling Apps
I personally use both Hootsuite and Buffer for scheduling my posts throughout the day. Both have free options that you can add up to three social media accounts. I suggest trying them both out and deciding which is best for you. Personally, I use Hootsuite for scheduling specific posts for Tweet Chats or for #MondayBlogs. I use Buffer for the rest of my content scheduling and personal blog posts because I adore the re-buffer feature.
You can also check out ManageFlitter’s free limited option to find your ideal Twitter readers and grow your account. Of course, you can always use Twitter’s free search tool with words such as #bookblogger #bookreviewer #bookclub.. etc
Both offer additional features with paid plans which you can compare and decide which is best for your scheduling needs.
There are so many great sites out there to find relatable content – Flipboard, Buzzfeed, Upworthy, Mashable. Seriously there are so many great ones out there. Search your keywords within the site, find articles relatable to your brand, and schedule them into your newsfeed. Easy peasy!
It honestly doesn’t cost a dime to set up a blog and if you’re totally clueless on how to do so, Google it. Head over to WordPress and follow their tutorial on how to set up a basic blog. Obviously, if you want certain options you’ll have to decide whether to pay or not, but the bare bones are free and will help you to build your foundation. If you’re looking for someone to create a personalized website and help to manage it, I highly recommend Bakerview Consulting – Barb Drozdowich is AMAZING!
If you are strapped for funds, WordPress is perfectly fine to start with. You can upgrade your site to .com or .org later when you have the funds available.
Guest Blogging is also an option. You can search out other blogger sites that relate to your brand or you can submit posts to bigger sites such as Huffington Post. Use the free Alexa Traffic Rank tool to help you find the best possible sites for your guest post.
One of the most important rules to remember is that you are marketing the brand/the author, not the book. One of the best ways to do this is by promoting your blog posts. Write relevant content, optimize it for SEO, and share it – EVERYWHERE.
A great place to start is sharing your blog post with #MondayBlogs. (no book promo, no porn, just good content). But don’t stop there – post to all social media platforms. Search out hashtags to include, especially daily sharing hashtags. #ThursdayWrites is another good option as well.
TwitterChats / Facebook Events (also Free)
Whether you’re up for joining a Twitter Chat or starting your own – they are totally free. Check out my post: Twitter Chats for Writers: How to Get Started for tips on finding chats and how to join them.
Joining a Facebook Event or creating one are also free options. Donating some giveaway items or prizes are usually expected, it’s not a required task (unless specified by the event host). Simply hosting a “Meet and Greet” event to help new readers get to know you is good enough. If you’re a published author, you can give away digital copies of your book or even excerpts to offer something without hurting the wallet.
Creating Visuals (Free)
Even if you haven’t published a book yet, you can still take advantage of using free design apps such as Canva (my personal favorite!) or Pablo (Buffer) to create promotional visuals. You can create promo visuals to announce your upcoming release, upcoming tours/ events, book quotes, author quotes…etc. Canva does have a paid option as well, which I currently use. But I found the free option offers plenty to create quality visuals.
Book Blog Tours
Okay, this one can be totally free if you are willing to put the work into it. This does take some organizational skill and patience. Search out sites such as BookBloggerList.com, create a list of bloggers who fit your genre/brand, research each site to make sure they are accepting reviews and their policy, email them and await their response.
You’ll want to schedule at least 1-2 stops each day for a minimum of one week. Create visuals and posts to promote it, stop by every blog on their scheduled day and share it.
Check out Social Media Groups (Free)
We recently discussed Social Media Groups during #BookMarketingChat (read my post here). To recap what a social media group is:
“Social media groups are general interest or niche-specific forums within social media platforms. Indie writers, paranormal romance book lovers, and author Street Teams are all examples of the different types of groups you might find on social media. These groups can be open or closed/secret, based on the owner’s (aka, moderator’s) preferences.
- An open group allows any users to join,
- Closed groups require an invitation to join.
- Secret groups are not searchable and invitation only.
- All groups are moderated by one or more people who help to keep the group within their set guidelines.”
Social Media Groups are great for finding your demographic, building relationships with your readers and other authors.
Take advantage of these free options to begin building your brand and creating a solid foundation without spending a dime!
For a more detailed plan on developing your book marketing, purchase Rachel’s new book,
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