By Atlin Merrick
Got a book?
Then you want to be online to help promote it, whether that's Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or a website.
While you can stick to social media-only for promotion, if you decide to create a website – a good long-term investment in your writing self – here are a few ideas on how to do it for free or for cheap.
Tumblr For the Win – Maybe
The cheapest and easiest way to create a website is to start with Tumblr – if you're already using it.
Something you already know will make the process easier, and a benefit to Tumblr is, once people start saying nice things about your book? You can reblog those things, easy peasy.
If you choose Tumblr, instead of going for their default look, pick one of their lovely themes to give your site a professional feel. Tumblr themes range from free, to about $49 and that's a flat fee, you pay it only once.
Don't like Tumblr? You can also create a site for free with WordPress.com, Wix, Squarespace, Blogger (Blogspot), Medium, Weebly.
Domain Names: Creating Your Own URL
We'll stick with Tumblr as our example, but the following applies to any of the other sites above, too.
So, say you sign up with Tumblr as Luke Skywalker. Your URL will look like this:
But what if you want a "real" URL, for example:
Well, you buy that URL from a domain name registrar.
Quick Book Promotion Don'ts: What Not to Do After You're Published
11 Ways to Promote Your Book (Even When You're Shy)
Independent Publisher? Subsidy? What's the Diff?
There are big and little registrars all over the world, but these six end up on 'best of' lists regularly: Domain.com, Bluehost, Network Solutions, HostGator, GoDaddy, Namecheap.
Go to any of them, enter the URL you want, and the registrar will tell you if it's available. If it is, buy it!
Registering a URL shouldn't cost more than $11-15 a year, and if it does, you're probably being sold features you don't need. Stick with a registrar that charges low double digits. Then decide if you want to pay for that domain name for 1, 2 or more years. Whatever you pick, the registrar will email you when it's time to renew.
Once you've bought your URL/domain name, you can go to Tumblr and change the settings so that instead of your Tumblr being lukeskywalker.tumblr.com, it'll be lukeskywalker.com.
Boom, you're done.
So, Free or Cheap?
Should you take the free route and sign up with Tumblr or Medium or any of the sites above, use their basic theme, and have a URL that looks like lukeskywalker.tumblr.com or lukeskywalker.medium.com?
Yes. In the short term. Because doing that is uber easy, it costs nothing, and it gets you started fast.
In the long run though, I suggest buying your own domain name so you have a long-term home on the internet.
Websites like Tumblr can go down, disappear, whatever, but that URL? So long as you keep paying for it, it's yours. You can move across platforms or across the world and that domain name stays with you.
What if your preferred URL is already taken? Well here are some suggestions, but you can also go for something like lukeskywalkerauthor.com, as I've seen many writers do.
You're the Heart of Your Book's Success
Get a website or sign up for social media, because you can't leave promoting your book to your publisher alone.
1) Because whether they're a large house or a tiny independent press, your publisher always has other books they're busy working on – they can't do everything.
2) And ultimately you will forever be the person most passionate about your book. If you don't want to promote it, why did you write it?
Pick the Social Media You Prefer
Being part of your book's success is not that hard if you just think of promotion as a long-term conversation you're having on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or your blog.
And speaking of all of those – don't try to be on all of those. You absolutely can't be on all social media platforms, it's too time-consuming, frustrating, and it keeps you from writing.
So think about where you like to post regularly, then do it regularly. Whether that's chatting about writing on Twitter (and frequently sharing a link to your book) or posting to IG, do whatever it is you find enjoyable, and do it often enough to stay in people's minds.
Have questions? Talk to your publisher. Meantime, have a look at 11 Ways to Promote Your Book (Even When You're Shy) for more ideas on how to get you and your lovely work out there.
You wrote the words, now help them find their place on bookshelves. So much of this is up to you!
Thank you So Much for writing these!! I knew I was clueless but, I had No Idea just how much!!🤣🤣