I have just set up a web site for my latest novel, ‘Never Be Unsaid‘. It was simple, quick and totally free. every book should have its own web page as it is a key part of any marketing strategy. There is no need to spend big money having one designed and built for you, although of course the result may not be anywhere near as attractive as one you pay someone to build for you.
The main benefit of the book site is that there is a fixed point from which other activity can occur. You have a place to send people for more info on you and your book, as well as other work you have produced and ultimately, a place for them to buy it from. Here is a quick Hot-To guide that should cover the basics and help you get started. Keep in mind there are dozens of sites that offer free web hosting, I just find this one ticks all my major boxes and is very easy to use.
2. Use the title of your book as the sub-domain name of the site. You can buy a domain name from Yola.com and they will seamlessly upload it and have it working. They charge less $150 a year for their Silver Package which should do the job, but do it via the ‘Shopping Cart’ option (see next paragraph). You can pay monthly if you prefer and keep the initial outlay down to under $20. My URL is http://neverbeunsaid.yolasite.com I will be upgrading it to a full domain (http://neverbeunsaid.com) later in the schedule of publication but for now, why pay for something that won’t be fully functional for a few more months?
3. If you don’t have a PayPal account, get one. They are free and I have never had any serious problems with them over the 12 years I have had an account. Get a business account set up, link it to your bank account and then put the link on the website. People can now buy your book but of course, they can’t download it. That requires ‘shopping cart’ software which is available from Yola and includes the Silver Package of extras. It is a simple matter to set it up to deliver your book as a download in .pdf or whatever format you choose.
4. Publish your eBook through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Go to their website, sign up for an account and watch the video tutorials. They will automatically offer your eBook through Amazon.com. Put a link to Amzon.com on your web site, usually as code hidden behind a photo of the book cover with the direction to click here to purchase via Amazon.com. You can get all sorts of links and code from KDP.
5. Then go to Smashwords and sign up for an account, then publish after reading their free guide to publishing on Smashwords. Don’t ignore this step! Read the guide, then follow it and you will not only be able to publish with little hassle but learn a lot about Word, formatting and all sorts of stuff you need to know as a self-published eBook author. Your eBook is now distributed through all the other distributors such as Apple iBooks, Sony, Kobo, B&N and many more. Again, set up a link to your eBook on Smashwords and let people know they can buy it there. Smashwords accept PayPal, Amazon doesn’t so it can mean the difference between making the sale or not.
6. You are now up and running and all you have to do is promote your book and booksite. After a decade plus of writing and publishing eBooks and making modest amounts of income, I am setting 2014 up as the year I focus on the marketing of my book list. I also publish other writer’s books and have a simple 50/50 royalty agreement with them. 50% of sales income is a lot more than most publisher’s offer but so far I haven’t done a great deal of marketing and promotion. I know the more effort I put in to promoting and selling my eBooks, the more income I will earn and so will those authors who publish through me.
I haven’t written anything about what to put in your booksite. You need the cover art. The ‘elevator pitch’ that usually goes on the back cover of a tree book and you need your author bio-blurb. There are lots of sites that cover all those items in far greater detail, so do your research and learn as you go. Your first book will never be anything like your latest one so don’t sweat it too much. I still have on my To Do list the need to go and edit, maybe rewrite, my first novel and some other early non-fiction titles. I know they will be better reading for having done this but for now they will have to wait. Like most things of art and beauty, an eBook is always a work in progress.
Grab your free website for your book and get it happening. You can go back and tweak it as much as you like, but only if it is there in the first place. Remember, 95% of success in anything is simply turning up, getting started, taking action.