indie [in-dee] noun 1. an independently owned business: to work for an indie.
a. Indie literature, a book published outside of mainstream publishing
b. Small press, a book or magazine publisher whose publications appeal to small, niche audiences, and are typically not distributed widely
2. a book that has been published by a small independent company, other than the “Big Six” publishing companies in New York.
If you’re an Indie author, you know book marketing and promoting is largely or solely up to you. That can be a daunting task, but there are a lot of free online marketing tools, other than Twitter and Facebook, to help you promote your work. While every author should have a Facebook and Twitter account, there are plenty of other avenues to explore. And did I mention the F word? Yes, they are FREE.
Blog interviews are free and are great exposure for you and your book. Search Alexa or blogrank for top book blogs. The catch? Most of the time the interviewer has to accept your request to be interviewed. A lot of the time their schedule is packed, and in some instances it may be months before your interview goes live, assuming they even answer your request. I’m not saying interviews are bad, because they’re not. They’re great. But there are other tools out there just waiting for you.
So what’s an author to do? Try these sites that offer free book promotion. I’ve compiled sites I’ve come across. Let me know if you have any to add to the list.
II. Indie Sites
Indie Book Lounge lists your book for free with sales links, cover art, a book blurb, reviews, and author contact links. IBL offers interviews, articles, reviews, recommendations, and books listed by genre. Authors need to register at: http://www.indiebooklounge.com/Register.aspx and then submit their information to list their book.
What they say:
This is a website designed by authors to help readers find new and talented writers. Take a look around, all the author's pages have links to their sites and where the novels can be purchased.
4. Ask DavidNo longer free, this site has a book promotion service, twitter promo service, free promotion for free eBooks, and free ebooks newsletter. Membership is $15 for 6 months which will get authors a book promotion page.
5. AuthorsDenAuthorsDen invites authors to maintain their own free profile page on the site with an author picture, bio, and links to their website and/or blog. On the sidebar of that page, authors can post their cover art. When someone clicks on the book, they’re redirected to the book’s page, where authors can share their bio, books, articles, stories, blogs, poems, news, events, photos, attachments, videos, excerpts, keywords, link to bookstores, receive reviews, see stats and sales. Readers can also review or comment, add books to their library, and become a fan of an author.
8. Awesome Gang"Where awesome readers meet awesome writers." This site offers free author interview features and paid book promotions.
11. Indies UnlimitedFeatures Thrifty Thursdays, Print Book Paradise, Kindle Unlimited Hump Days, and weekly flash fiction challenges. Check out the resource pages and list of review and promo sites. Named in Publisher's Weekly as one of the top six blogs for authors.
12. AUTHORSdBGet listed for free on this site. Create your own author reading. Features include author listings, new book listings, breaking news, cover contest entries, and weekly TOP charts.
13. BookGoodiesPromotes free and bargain books. Author interviews are free. For a fee, submit your book for other advertising opportunities that either are featured on the site or go to an email list and social media channels.
16. Pretty-Hot.comHas a free author interview feature. Authors can also list their books for inclusion on the site. For a $25 fee, you'll be guaranteed a spot on the homepage and promoted in their newsletter and social media channels.
18. My Book PlaceHas a free author interview opportunity. You can also submit your book for free or pay a $25 fee to be featured on the site.
19. Read Write ClubPromotes book submissions and author interviews for free. There is also a featured option for a fee, which gets your book featured on the homepage for 7 days, and your book will go out in their newsletter and sent out in social media channels.
20. JustKindleBooksJustKindle Books has partnered with eReader Nation. Now all promotions submitted through JustKindleBooks will also be featured on eReaderNation.com and in its newsletter. This site is not free but will feature your book with Premium promotions ($30), Premium Plus promotions ($35), and Budget promotions ($15).
23. FreebooksyPromotes permafree books or books on KDP Select Promotions on this site for free. Pay a fee for a guaranteed feature on their site with an audience of over 230k readers. As the name suggests, this site promotes FREE books only.
24. BargainbooksyPaid opportunities to promote your bargain books through their daily email and features on their site. Promotes bargain books only.
25. Good eBooksFree and low-cost advertising opportunities to promote your books. Their motto: GOOD EBOOKS™, bringing readers and authors together!
III. Virtual Bookshelves
Tips: It’s a good idea to set up your seller account with a name different from your author name. Even if you provide excellent service, there is always a possibility for negative feedback, which you don’t want associated with your book or you as an author. Set your price just below Amazon’s—you’ll draw readers looking for a deal. Offer autographed copies. Readers love autographed copies.
IV. Virtual Bookshelves
There are several virtual bookshelf sites where you can spotlight your book. Belonging to all of them can get to be tedious and repetitive, but my philosophy is the more places you are, the more opportunities there are for people to find you.
1. GoodreadsGoodreads is an online book community for authors and readers. Members maintain profile pages where they can share books in categories (read, are reading, or are planning to read) on their virtual bookshelves. You can follow friends to get recommendations of what to read. (Just like with Facebook, you friend-request to build your friend list.)
Goodreads allows authors to set up their own page to promote themselves and their book. In addition to the bookshelves, your page can include:
• basic information about you (i.e. a bio, a blog feed, your book trailer)
• reviews—both ones written by you (for other books) and ones written for your book
• a list of groups you belong to on the site
• your favorite authors
• favorite quotes
• your book(s)
Motto: Meet your next favorite book.
What they say:
Goodreads is the largest site for readers and book recommendations in the world. We have more than 12,000,000 members who have added more than 400,000,000 books to their shelves. A home for casual readers and bona-fide bookworms alike, Goodreads users recommend books, compare what they are reading, keep track of what they've read and would like to read, find their next favorite book, form book clubs and much more. Goodreads was launched in January 2007.
Are you an author or publisher? Gain access to a massive audience of more than 11 million book lovers. Goodreads is a great place to promote your books.
• Giveaways: they recommend you host giveaways two weeks to a month long and do an author Q & A at the same time.
• Quizzes: create a quiz about your book.
• Join groups, make friends, talk about favorite authors, create bookshelves
• Link your blog feed to your author page.
• Reviews: rate and review books you’ve read, see reviews from other members.
• Forums and groups: Join groups, post comments. There are a lot of groups specifically for promoting your book. You can also advertise for reviewers in some of the threads.
• List your events: You never know who’s local.
• Share your writing or a sample chapter from your book
• Post your video
• Recommend books to your friends: Go ahead, recommend your own book!
• Add a Goodreads author widget to your website
• Goodreads also offers paid promotion opportunities
2. LibraryThingLibraryThing is another social cataloging site for cataloging and sharing books. Like Goodreads, every user has a profile page that contains an overview of you and your library. You list your books and add books to your shelves. Authors can have a page with pictures and links to their website and social media sites. You can also design a page for your book with cover art, book details, reviews, descriptions, tags, and more.
• author chats
• member giveaways program
• book trivia
What they say:
LibraryThing is an online service to help people catalog their books easily. You can access your catalog from anywhere—even on your mobile phone. Because everyone catalogs together, LibraryThing also connects people with the same books, comes up with suggestions for what to read next, and so forth. A free account allows you to catalog up to 200 books. A paid account allows you to catalog any number of books. Paid personal accounts cost $10 for a year or $25 for a lifetime.
V. Social Networking
Online social book sites are popping up everywhere. They’re there. Why not have a page?
1. Google+Google+ is Google’s social network. Your home page is similar to your profile page on Facebook. Every time you post something new and +1 it, it will appear in your feed. You can also see what people in your circles have posted. The more you +1, the more your name and thumbnail appear in the feed, and the more they appear in the feed, the more people see you, and that may lead to book sales. Google+ isn’t just for authors, but it will give authors more exposure and chances to promote their books.
Google+ motto: Real-life sharing, rethought for the web.
• Profile page: design your own.
• Blog posts: lists your blog posts when you hit “share.”
• Photos: Picasa.com is owned by Google, so any picture you upload to your albums on Picasa automatically show on your Google+ profile.
• Videos: you can upload your book trailer or other videos.
• +1’s: you know all those places you see the +1 buttons? Every time you click one, it shows up here.
• Circles: add people to your circles: friends, family, acquaintances, or following (people you don’t know personally but find interesting.)
• Hangout: invite friends to free video chat, anytime, anywhere.
• Other: make pages, play games, find local places—rate & review your favorites, list or find events.
2. About.meAbout.me is a personal web hosting service that lets you build your own page that will attract visitors, tell them about you, and direct them to your content around the web. You can be creative and make your page your own. It can be as splashy or as plain as you want it to be.
What they say:
About.me is a free service that lets you create a beautiful one-page website that’s all about you.
Upload a photo, write a short bio and connect your favorite websites to show the world the big picture of you. We've focused on enabling you to: Create your own personal page. Quickly build a personal and dynamic page that points visitors to your content from around the web. Have fun with the numbers. Understand how many people see your page, where they're coming from, and what they do on your page.
Why get an about.me page when you already have your own website? Why not? It’s free, and it gives your followers one more way to find you. Cool perk: You can get free business cards and connect your online page to your offline business cards. You pay shipping ($5.50) and you get a business card with a QR code that links to your about.me page. People can scan the code and immediately find your about.me page on their phone. You can download your own images to design your card and personalize it.
3. TumblrDepending on who you are, Tumbler can mean different things. For authors, it means you can post and read book reviews. Just another way to get you and your book out there.
Motto: Follow the world’s creators
What they say:
Tumblr lets you effortlessly share anything. Post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos from your browser, phone, desktop, email or wherever you happen to be. You can customize everything, from colors to your theme's HTML.
4. FacebookEverybody knows about Facebook, but a list about promoting your book wouldn’t be complete without it. Community pages and groups for authors are another good way to connect with readers and other authors. Below are just a few of the many community pages that you can join to promote your work and get to know readers and other authors:
Read My Book! Facebook page
The Write Stuff Facebook page
Book Promotion Facebook page
Authors To Watch Facebook page
Just Released Books To Talk About Facebook page
Ready To Read Facebook page
Websites that offer free book promo pages are especially helpful for Indie authors, and many set themselves apart by having Indie in their title.
5. TwitterAnother site everyone knows about, but do authors take advantage of it? You don’t have to tweet a lot, but if the name of the game is getting your name out there, the more you tweet the more they know you. Follow readers. Find out who readers are by searching on hashtags such as (duh) #readers or #books. Use your imagination. I once saw a tweet where someone was actually asking what book they should read next. Hello! Follow authors and writers, too. They’ll have their own followers, who might retweet something and give you more exposure. They’ll tell their followers, who will tell their followers, who will...and authors are readers too. Plus, you can peruse their follower list for people you might want to follow. Tweet about links, helpful tips, articles you saw that were good . . . the sky’s the limit. You’re a writer—use your imagination.
6. StumbleuponShare websites, photos, videos, articles. Get recommendations based on your interests.
What they say:
StumbleUpon is the easiest way to find cool new websites, videos, photos and images from across the Web. We make the best recommendations just for you.
7. PinterestPin photos on theme-based boards. Authors can create boards for their books and pin pictures to illustrate and promote their work. The Pinterest button can also be embedded into a website so people can pin the content and spread the word to their followers.
What they say:
Pinterest is an online pinboard. Organize and share things you love.
VI. Book Trailer Sites
If you have a book trailer there are a lot of sites that will post it for free:
3. Book Trailer Central Community
5. A Blue Million Books Trailer Park
VII. Helpful sites
1. Google analytics Website tracking
2. StatCounter Website tracking.
3. Tweetreach How far did your tweet travel?
4. Free Instagram Analytics A free Instagram analytics checkup from Union Metrics. Get
insight into your Instagram account and how to maximize your performance; analyze
activity of fan engagement and best time to post.
5. 2EPUB Free online ePub converter allows you to convert
pdf, doc and other types of documents & ebooks to
ePub format, mobi, and more.
6. Hootsuite Enhanced social media management.
7. Social Mention Real time social media search and
8. Row Feeder Social media monitoring and analysis.
9. bitly.com Shorten urls, tracks clicks and referring
10. TweetChat Helps put your blinders on to the
Twitter-sphere while you monitor and chat about one
topic. Choosing a hashtag directs you to a TweetChat
11. Klout Discover and be recognized for how you influence the world.
12. Writing A Synopsis For A Novel: Excellent How to article.
13. StoryToolz "Resources for authors." Word count meters, story idea generator,
readability, cliche buster. Thanks for the tip, Tricia Drammeh!
14. Bestseller Labs, by Jonathan Gunson. Practical advice on how to get published and
grow your readership.
15. A Newbie's Guide to Publishing by Joe Konrath. Interesting points about the self-
publishing world and how to sell books.
16. Make a URL for your book cover. This one isn't a site but just a tip. (One site I
recently signed up on required this.) Find the 10-digit ISBN for your book and
insert it like this: http://images.amazon.com/images/P/insert_your_ISBN_here.
VIII. Book Review sites and lists
Below are some sites to look at to find possible reviewers.
BLOG TIPSTip #1: Personalize your email. Sending mass "help me promote my book" emails are not cool! When asking for a review or interview, unless it’s stated differently on the blog, include the following in your request:
• Book Title
• Author’s name
• Author's website
• A short description of the book
• Length of book
• Release date
• Book format
• A short author’s bio
• Book trailer link, if available
Tip #2: Make sure you label your jpgs with your name (for author photos) and your book title (for book cover photos) when you send them to a blogger.
Tip #3: Give as much information as you can to the blogger and provide it in one doc that's been saved in your name. Most bloggers do the service for free and providing pertinent information to help you promote your book saves them time and is just plain polite. Give the blogger what they request, even if you think your publicist is supposed to provide the information. (Publicists often don't or if they do, it's in another doc that is time consuming for the blogger.) Bloggers are providing you a service for free. Treat them with respect!
I'll add to this list whenever I find another great source to pass along. Please leave comments and let me know which sites you recommend. In the meantime, get out there and market those books! Good luck.