Category Archives: Marketing And Promotion

10 Places To Advertise Your Book—And Should You? | Web Design Relief

Writers who self-publish—and even those who contract with traditional publishing houses—often dream of a big ROI (return on investment) for paid book advertising. So first, Web Design Relief presents the options available for advertising your book in hopes of reaching more readers and increasing book sales.

And then we’ll let you in on one of the publishing industry’s biggest secrets.

10 Places To Advertise Your Book To Reach Book Readers

Goodreads advertisements. Goodreads is a social media site just for book lovers, and it offers writers the opportunity to bid for ads placed next to books in their genre. For example, a casual reader searching for the newest big hit thriller novel might also see a small ad for your thriller.

Social media ads. Facebook and Twitter have their own specific ways of reaching audiences through targeted, paid ads. To make the most of these opportunities, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of the nuances of each particular platform.

Amazon sponsored links. If your book meets Amazon’s criteria, you may be eligible to advertise your book so that it appears when users search for other people’s books or books in a specific genre.

Reader and reviewer blogs. For an example of a vibrant reader/reviewer blog that offers paid ads, check out Fresh Fiction.This blog connects readers and writers to the benefit of all.

Google Ad words. Google is able to target certain products to certain customers based on browsing history; writers pay by the click (PPC ads).

Reader email lists. BookBub, Shelf Awareness, Author Buzz, Buzzing About Books, and other lists reach millions of voracious readers every day. But do your research—some require that books meet certain criteria before they are eligible for promotion.

Local newspapers. Old-fashioned advertising can be effective, especially if the book that’s being advertised has regional connections.

Writing group conference SWAG (Stuff We All Get). Writers can often sponsor conference tote bags, notepads, luncheons, etc.

Trade organization publications. Writing associations like AWP and RWA create nationally distributed periodicals that offer ad space. But you might have to be a member to advertise your book.

Paid mass mailings. Some book publicists cultivate large mailing lists (email and snail mail) in order to promote their clients. Some people regard the success rate of well-targeted snail mail to be higher than an equal number of sent emails—but the costs are much higher.

Does It Work? The Truth About Paying For Book Advertising

Ever wonder why cars, mops, and cosmetics are regularly advertised, but it’s rare to encounter a book advertisement? One of the most notorious secrets of marketing in the publishing world is this: Many book publicists believe that advertising can raise awareness—but will not necessarily lead to book sales.

To put it more bluntly: Advertising can make people aware that your book is available, but it won’t necessarily make people want to buy.

Some major publishers will back a title with a big awareness campaign, usually involving a huge print run of advance reader copies (ARCs) to reviewers, in hopes of generating some buzz. But most traditional publishers listen for word-of-mouth sales before they make a major investment in awareness-building ads.

So what does this mean to authors? Generally, the most powerful way to build books sales is to garner great reviews online and to nab coveted person-to-person book recommendations among groups of readers.

Click to learn more about how to increase your odds of drumming up organic word-of-mouth book sales.


Question: Do you think advertising helps book sales?


What Is A Call To Action? And How Does It Work For Writers? | Web Design Relief

When you research ways to market yourself as a writer, you’ll run across experts who talk about creating a strong call to action. But what is a call to action? And what does it mean for creative writers who want to build their reputations and sell books? Let’s take a look.

Web Design Relief Explains How Writers Can Use A Call To Action

A call to action (or CTA) is anything that gives your target audience the opportunity to take an action: sign up for a mailing list, download a digital freebie, follow you on social media, or buy a book (making a sale is also sometimes referred to as “converting,” as in converting a browser to a buyer).

Often a call to action is a clear directive or instruction: Click to buy. Sign up now. Read this today.

Anything you use for marketing should offer a call to action, from author websites, to rack cards, to business cards (click here to learn how to create a call to action on your writer business card). Whenever you offer your website visitor the opportunity to take an action, you’ve created a call to action.

Examples Of Calls To Action That Writers Can Use:

  • Sign up for an email subscriber list
  • Follow me on social media
  • Like/share a page
  • Buy a book
  • Leave a review
  • Tell/forward to a friend
  • Click through to read something else

How To Create A Call To Action That Actually Works

Even though you create a call to action, there’s no guarantee that your website visitor will actually do it. Since Web Design Relief creates websites specifically for writers, let’s look at how a call to action can boost the effectiveness of an author website.

Concentrate on one—and only one—call to action. If you ask too many things of your author website visitors, you’ll overload them with choices—and they’ll leave without taking any action at all. Your website’s job is to make it easy for visitors to take the action you want, so focus on that one action.

Use a pop-up. Visitors claim to hate pop-ups. And yet—pop-ups work. Here are some statistics and examples of pop-ups that create strong calls to action. Pop-ups force your visitors to give attention to the most important action that you want them to take, which makes them more likely to take it.

Incentivize. Giving away a free goodie can help maximize the effectiveness of your call to action. For example, we give away free marketing tips to writers who sign up for our email list. Writers can give away free chapters, the opportunity to win prizes, and other digital freebies.

Strike the right tone. Visitors won’t respond to your call to action if they feel bullied. Use a light touch when creating a call to action, and keep your website copywriting friendly and transparent. No hard sells!


Question: As a writer, what’s the primary call to action of your author website? Leave us a link!


How To Create A Drip Email Campaign To Promote Your Writing | Web Design Relief

Social media is a vital marketing tool for authors, but it has one big drawback: Somebody else owns the platform! That means there’s no guarantee that your hard-won social media fans will always receive the messages you’re posting or that access will always be available. At Web Design Relief, we know the only surefire way to control the flow of news is to gather your own mailing list.

A healthy mailing list gives the writer absolute control over the message as well as the time of delivery. And savvy authors maximize this benefit by setting up drip email campaigns.

What’s A Drip Email Campaign?

A drip email campaign is a series of tandem emails. The emails drip into your fans’ inboxes in preordained intervals. Just about every email service provider (like MailChimp, VerticalResponse, and Constant Contact) offers this kind of automation. Starting a campaign is as easy as crafting emails, choosing intervals, and putting them in logical sequence.

One of the biggest benefits of a drip email campaign is that it is often set-it-and-forget-it email marketing. Once you’ve written the emails and determined the release intervals, you can arrange for every new subscriber, every one of your current subscribers, or even a subset of your current subscriber list to be put automatically in the queue to receive your news.

But I Have No Idea What To Say!

Authors set up drip email campaigns for any number of reasons, but two smart promotional purposes are 1) to welcome new subscribers, and 2) to promote book launches.

To welcome new subscribers: A writer could craft a series of biweekly emails that might include:

  • A welcome letter. Welcome your new subscriber to the mailing list with an idea of what to expect—whether it’s a quarterly newsletter, special announcements, weekly recipes, free short stories, or photos of your dog.
  • Deliver a bonus of some sort. One great way to make subscribers consistently open your emails is to offer value. Value can be many things: A dossier on your super-spy character, a novella available free only to subscribers, or a fascinating, humorous, personal, or surprising story about the origins of your latest release.
  • Encourage interaction. To draw readers deeper into your world, ask them questions. Did they like the bonus content? What are they reading now? Which character would they like you to write about next? Do they prefer eBooks or print books?
  • Pitch your latest project. Once your new subscribers have been welcomed into your world, received a bonus, and encouraged to interact—it’s time to introduce them to your latest book.

To promote a book launch: A writer might craft a series of weekly emails that may include:

  • Coming soon! Let your readers know that there’s a new book coming, and tease them with an exciting blurb.
  • Exclusive Cover Reveal. Surprise them with a first look at the cover of your new book.
  • Chapter Reveal. Let your subscribers get a special sneak-peek.
  • Release Day! Thank them for their support and include buy buttons for your new book.

While drip email campaigns work wonders for keeping dedicated readers engaged, it’s always a challenge to coax fans into signing up for your mailing list in the first place. Many smart authors use “reader magnets,” that is, a free book or novella, to get them to submit their email address. However you choose to attract subscribers, be sure to take advantage of a drip email campaign to keep those fans engaged.

Question: What do you expect when you sign up for an author’s mailings? Free books? Discounts? Information about the author and/or books? Notice of new releases? Or something else?


Are People Visiting Your Website And Clicking Like You Want? | Web Design Relief

You just launched your brand-new author website and you’re posting on your blog frequently. Now the question is: How can you know for sure that people are visiting your website—and how can you get more to do so? At Web Design Relief, our designers know all the online tools that will track whether people are… Continue Reading

The First Thing To Do Every Morning To Build Your Writing Reputation

As a writer, there are a few things you should do every morning: Have a good breakfast and a cuppa joe (or tea) and jot down a few lines, for starters. But one of the most effective ways to build your reputation as a writer should also be happening right after you rise and shine—generating… Continue Reading

8 Twitter Mistakes Writers Must Avoid

Twitter has quickly become one of the most effective social media networks for writers. Even literary giants such as Stephen King and Margaret Atwood use Twitter to interact with fellow writers, fans, and publishing industry insiders. But as easy as it is to positively connect with all your Twitter followers, it’s just as easy to… Continue Reading

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