I have been asked by writers on more than one occasion when they should start promoting their unpublished book.

My answer?

Straight away, especially if unpublished.

Let’s break it down and give you three actionable steps to take today. Ready?

Why Straight Away?

The more people who know your story exists, the more readers there are that might pick up (or download) a copy, tell their friends, and become a member of your fanbase; with people following your journey from writer to published author, you will gain a following that are excited to see your story’s development unfolding. They are most likely to support you.

You’ll also be able to stay excited even during the difficult bits, as they’ll be excited with you.

If you plan to be traditionally published, this is just as handy – agents and publishers like knowing you have a following already in place that may support your book.

Actionable Step One: Setup Your Headquarters

If you don’t have your website setup yet, today’s the day to get it done. It doesn’t take long, and it doesn’t have to cost you very much. Ideally, you’d self-host your website with a hosting provider, but the free option of WordPress is great for pre-published or published authors on a tiny budget. Your website doesn’t have to be complicated or pretty. It just has to have the most important pages: a page about you, a page about your book, and a preview sample of that book. Make sure your menu has obvious links so readers don’t have to guess which to click, and make sure the menu is easy to find (usually near the header).

Get it done zero budget writers:

  1. Head to wordpress.com and register a new site with your author name in the url (eg: yourname.wordpress.com).
  2. Create your about page.
  3. Create a page that displays the basic information for your book.
  4. Post a sample preview and link to it from the book’s page.

 

Get it done small budget writers:

  1. Check out hosting providers such as Bigwetfish (I recommend these guys). Sign up with one of them.
  2. Purchase your domain with it being your author name (eg: draebox.com).
  3. Install WordPress (usually there is an easy click-to-install option).
  4. Create your about page.
  5. Create a page that displays the basic information for your book.
  6. Post a sample preview and link to it from the book’s page.

 

Actionable Step Two: Become a Presence Online

Most of your future sales will come from online purchases. Being an author that isn’t locatable online can impact those sales. It also never hurts to make new friends. Becoming visible online requires a little bit of your time (thirty minutes a day), but also strategy – if you’re visible where your future readers aren’t, then you’re wasting your time.

That means you need to know your reader avatar, or be able to answer this question: where are my future readers hanging out online? Hashtag popularity is a good way to judge this on most social medias. Try out a few social medias (or guest blog) where you feel your future readers will be, figure out how YOU want to use them, and get comfy there. Imagine it as a road you and your readers are travelling, with the destination that of your online headquarters.

Get it done:

  1. Figure out where your readers might be based on age and social media preference.
  2. Signup to 1 – 3 of those social media options.
  3. Start having conversations there!

 

Actionable Step Three: Build Your Email List

If you’re a fan of StoryForge Productions, you’re probably subscribed to their email list, and get their updates and promotions delivered straight to your inbox. I have two such lists – one for writers serious about their success and one for the fans of my fiction writing. Sales have come from these email lists, along with cross-promotion with other authors, word of mouth sales and friendships.

Get it done zero budget authors:

  1. Sign up for free Mailchimp (Mailchimp is who I started out with and recommend to beginners).
  2. Set up your email list.
  3. Have an option to subscribe on your website.
  4. Tell your friends and family individually about the email list, and let them signup if they want to (don’t add them without their permission).
  5. Tell your friends individually on social media you’ve started an email list, and ask if they would like to join it. Then give them a link to the signup form (don’t add them without their permission).

 

Get it done small budget authors:

  1. Sign up for Aweber (these guys are who I use nowadays).
  2. Set up your email list.
  3. Have an option to subscribe on your website.
  4. Tell your friends and family individually about the email list, and let them signup if they want to (don’t add them without their permission).
  5. Tell your friends individually on social media you’ve started an email list, and ask if they would like to join it. Then give them a link to the signup form (don’t add them without their permission).

 

Connect with Drae

Need more help? You can find me over on Twitter, Instagram, Skype and Snapchat as @draebox. You’re welcome to ask me any questions you have that you feel I may be able to help you with, or to have a chat.

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