5 Free Tools Every Author Can Use

Limited budgets. Most of us live on them. We have limited dollars to spend on publishing and marketing a book.

The good news is that publishing a book is now very affordable, and promoting a book does not need to cost you a fortune. Here are five free tools to help you be a more successful author without having to spend a dime.

1. Get a Free Website

Every author needs a website. I am still surprised at how many independently published authors don’t have a website. In today’s world, you don’t exist if you don’t have a website. A website is one of your most important marketing tools. If you don’t have a website, you can create one easily and for free at Carrd. Now you don’t have any excuses. Go get a website.

2. Create Free Visuals

Every author needs to engage in marketing—promoting your book. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to do this is on the Internet through your own website and through social media sites (think Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.). To grab people’s attention, you want to create interesting visuals for your website and social media posts. One website that lets you create all sort of visuals for free including blog graphics, social media pictures, infographics, and web banners is Canva.

3. Host a Free eBook Giveaway

Any author with a book on Amazon Kindle can host a free ebook giveaway through Amazon. However, doing so only gets your ebook into the hands of readers. It does not allow you to capture emails of interested readers so that you can continue to communicate with them. Instead, host your ebook giveaway right from your website using Instafreebie.

4. Track Your Business Income and Expenses

When you publish your own book, you can now call yourself a sole-proprietor and begin using this to your advantage come tax time. If you choose this route, you will need to carefully track your business income and expenses. You can do this easily using the free online program provided by Wave.

5. Never Forget a Password

If you are using the Internet to publish and promote a book, then the number of websites where you have to remember a password increases. These include the sites where your book is published, the sites where your book is sold, your own website and social media accounts, as well as the resources listed here. Now you can use this free resource to never lose a password. Generate strong passwords and store your login credentials, securely, and locally at LastPass.

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Photo courtesy of LUM3N on Unsplash.

Are You Convincing Enough People?

As an author, your most important online presence is your website. Yes, your website—not social media, not Amazon, not Goodreads.

In fact, the purpose of social media is to get people to your website. The purpose of your website is to turn visitors into customers (people who buy your books).

According to research, 48% of people who enter a physical store buy something. However, on average, only 2 to 3 percent of people who visit a website purchase something. In fact, 96% of people who visit your website are not ready to buy. You have to convince them to purchase your books.

This is the purpose of your author website—to convince people to buy your books.

Experts report that when a visitor comes to your website, you have, on average, less than one minute to convince them to stay on your website. The longer visitors stay on your website, the greater chance you have of convincing them to either buy your book or sign up to receive your emails so you can continue to work on convincing them to buy your book.

The best way to keep people on your website is:

1.  Make sure your website loads quickly.
For every second delay in loading, you lose 7% of your potential visitors. Google analytics allows you to view your site load speed time.

2.  Have a compelling headline.
Your headline needs to be clear and draw your audience in.

3.  Give your visitors something to do.
Tell them what you want them to do. Make it clear. Large buttons that state things like:

  • Buy the Book
  • Download 10 Tips for…
  • Read the First Chapter

4.  Include a video.
Research shows that websites with a video of the product they are selling can increase their purchase rate by 144%. If you need an easy free video for your website, check out Bitable or Powtoon for creating a short video about your book.

Your website is your strongest tool for convincing readers to buy your book. Don’t overlook this important marketing mechanism. Use it wisely to convince your visitors that your book is worth their time and money!

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Photo courtesy of Vitaly

Can I Trust You?

The other day, I received a phone call from a reader looking to purchase a book that is listed on Christian Small Publishers Association’s (CSPA) website. CSPA members can list their books on CSPA’s website as a marketing tool.

CSPA provides this service for a couple reasons:

man on phone

1. To increase the online visibility for our members’ books.
The more places a book is listed on the Internet, the more search engine results will appear for that book when someone searches the title. You want someone searching your book’s title to be able to find it easily. The more places your book is listed, the easier it is to find.

2. To increase the number of backlinks to our members’ websites.
The more backlinks you have to your website, the higher your site will rank in search engine results. In other words, when other websites host a link back to your website, search engines count this. The more links to your site exist on the Internet, the higher you rank in search engine results for your keywords. You can find out how many websites link to your website by using the free link tool at Free Backlink Check.

3. To broaden our member’s exposure for their books.
By listing a book on CSPA’s website, CSPA members gain additional exposure for their books. Visitors to CSPA’s website can browse the listed books, helping get more eyeballs on our members’ books.

Generally, when someone calls CSPA about a book listed on our website, it is because the member selling the book does not have their phone number listed on their website. So, in pursuit of actually talking to a person and getting an answer, the customer calls CSPA, thinking that we sell these books also since they are listed on our website.

I usually simply direct the person back to the CSPA member who is actually selling the book. Often, I provide the phone number since the member did not do so on their website. After all, I don’t want to see authors miss out on sales.

If you sell books from your website, don’t neglect this important piece of information in your contact information. Be sure to provide a phone number where someone can at least leave a message. If you want people to buy a book from your website, you must provide them the information they need to trust you. Consumers need to know that if something goes wrong with their order they will be able to get a hold of a human being to resolve the issue with.

In the recent phone call I received, the reader was trying to find out if she could have a copy of the book expedited to her as she needed it by a certain date. By not providing a phone number, this author risked losing a sale.

One of the important questions that your website must answer for consumers is: Can I trust you? Before someone will make a purchase, they must have trust that you will fulfill your promise. Providing a phone number in your contact information is one way you can let consumers know that you are trustworthy.

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