7 Easy (and Free) Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Author Website

So your author web site is launched. Congratulations! But the work is just beginning. Because what good is a website if no one is visiting it?

Here are some simple ways to ensure that your website gets looked at…

  1. Amass a list of contacts. It should include as many people as possible — anyone you may have worked with, talked to about your book, etc… Send a mass email to your all of them letting them know about your new website and encouraging them to visit it.
  2. Use social networks to promote your website. Tweet about it. Include it on your Facebook profile and tout in in Facebook posts as much as possible. Include it on your LinkedIn page.
  3. Add your URL to your email signature. Make sure that every email you send not only includes your name in the signature, but also a link to your website.
  4. Always mention your site at appearances. Are you doing book signings? Or speaking engagements? Make sure to mention your website and let people know what they can find there.
  5. Become involved in blogs. Find other blogs in the same genre as your website. Then start posting comments and getting involved in the conversations. Link back to your site whenever appropriate.
  6. Create your own video. Videos can go viral! So grab a little camera and make a brief (3 minutes or less) video about your book. Make sure to mention your website in the video. Then upload it to YouTube and send it around to friends.
  7. Add your URL to all bylines. If you write any articles on the web, make sure to include your site address in the byline.

Have any other ideas that have worked for you? Please share them here!

Building an Amazon Author Central Profile

For several years now, Amazon has had a feature called “Author Central Profile.” You may or may not have heard of it. That doesn’t say much about it, does it?

But there are two big reasons why you should build a profile: First, it’s free (can’t beat that). Second, Amazon will create a profile for you — whether you cooperate or not — and so it’s certainly in your best interest to provide as much information as possible on your profile and to make sure that what Amazon feeds in there is correct. With minimal work to get it set up, it’s simply another tool on the web to help promote yourself and sell books.

First, let’s discuss how readers find an Author Central Profile, because someone who shows interest in one of your books now can learn more about you and/or see your other books relatively easily. On every Amazon.com book page, about halfway down the page, there will be a photo of the author (if it’s been submitted) and a link to learn more about the author. Visit the Amazon page dedicated to one of my client’s books as an example. Then scroll down to his picture and you’ll see the link to be taken to Mark Hamel’s profile. (Thanks, Mark!)

Next, let’s talk about how to get this profile set up properly. Anyone who has a book for sale on Amazon can set up their profile by going here. To get started, all you need to do is provide Amazon with a photo of yourself and a short bio. That will at least provide the basics so that your profile doesn’t look completely bare.

The next step is making sure that your bibliography is correct. Amazon will automatically feed in the book titles associated with your name. But that list of titles isn’t always correct. If a book of yours is missing from that list, you can simply click on the “Add Title” button and submit the book that should be added to your bibliography. It can take a few days for your new book to show up, but it should get done. However, if you see a title that’s not yours that’s showing up on your profile, you will need to contact Amazon to request that it be taken off. Some people say that Amazon isn’t great at responding to those types of requests, but others have had no problem.

Now on to the fun stuff … the “extras” you can do with your profile. One great feature that Amazon offers is the ability to blog on your profile page. Or even better, if you already blog, to have your blog entries automatically fed into your profile page. So it’s one step to set it up, but you’ll have endless new content on the profile page. Some authors also include upcoming events on their profile page, which again is a great way to make it look new and updated.

Lastly, while there’s technically nowhere to plug your author website on your Amazon profile, there are some ways around that. For instance, by putting links to your website in your blog entries or in the bio you give to Amazon, you are letting fans of your writing know where they can learn even more about you and follow what you’re doing.

If you have a book currently for sale on Amazon, go to that book page now. Find your author profile page. Then do something with it!

Free Ways to Use Social Media for Book Promotion

Thanks to a blog entry from a graduate assistant at the Masters in Fine Arts – Literary Fiction & Nonfiction program at Southern New Hampshire University (Writing in the SNHU-MFA), I came across the website of an author who really is using social networking to her advantage … even before her book is published!

Maria Finn is a dancer and her upcoming book is a memoir of her life experiences. The book title is Hold Me Tight and Tango Me Home and her website is at http://tangomehome.com/.

Here are just a few of the things she’s doing with her website (at little to no cost) to really get the buzz out there prior to her pub date.

  • She’s got a  YouTube video that sends people to her website
  • She’s running a Heartbreak Competition (she was drawn to dance after her own heartbreak)
  • She has a Facebook Fan Page and she links to it from her author website

And do you know how the blogger found her?

“I bumped into her on Facebook when a tango dancer I know posted the YouTube video in her status. That’s how this stuff works — viral marketing.”

That’s viral marketing indeed! Someone who is interested in tango dancing came across her YouTube video thanks to a link from a friend. That video sent them to her website, where they could learn about her book, her upcoming events, her contest, etc…

And now all of us know about her and her book as well. Now that’s good work!

A Common Author Sin

Most authors know that they need to build a writer website in order to properly promote themselves and their books. But too many authors build a website and then don’t bother to tell people about it. Big mistake!

Get your domain name out there. Get people to link to your site. Here are some really simple ways to spread the word about your book website.

  • Put the URL on the book jacket
  • Print out business cards that mention your site
  • Tell people at speaking engagements/book signings to visit your site
  • Put your URL in the signature line on all your emails
  • Mention your site whenever possible on message boards and blogs
  • Always make sure that any articles that include your byline also include a link to your site
  • Mention your site in any interviews, media, etc..
  • Reach out to other relevant author sites and propose linking to one another

See how simple (and affordable) this is? Not only will this reach the people who are looking at your blogs, articles, etc… but these links are also a large part of Google’s ranking system. The  more links to your site that you have, the higher you rank in SEO.