Building your author platform: Top 10 Free Book Promotion Sites
This post on author platform building looks at some of the most useful websites for helping new readers discover your work. I won’t recommend anything I’ve not used personally, so I am sure there are plenty more around – but there are some things to consider before extending your author platform more widely on other people’s websites.
First and most important is the debate about paid for and free sites. All the websites in my top ten are free to use – but that doesn’t mean paid for sites aren’t worth considering. Some offer a lot for quite a small initial outlay. I’ve considered joining the AuthorMarketing Club, for example, as it’s recommended by Joanna Penn and helps save time by extending your author platform to a wealth of other sites. They advertise ‘Free book marketing resources and tools’ but to really benefit you need to consider their premium service.
Another site I’ve looked at is the Independent Author Network, which is very affordable and claims that “over 10,000 readers visit IAN each day to find great books by their “talented authors.”
Next you may want to ask about the traffic ‘ranking’ of different websites, as this gives you some idea of how busy they are. There are many ways to find this out, such as WebRank Stats or the Alexa Ranking site where you simply enter the link and see what comes up.
There are also issues of site integrity, ease of use and level of support. You need to think about how much precious writing time you have to forgo uploading book covers and inputting details of your work. Finally a note of caution – in the search for the best sites I have found some that pose as author support sites but are actually selling variations on the ‘become a #1 best seller the easy way’ theme. (In case you are wondering, there is no easy way.)
Here then are my top ten websites for extending your author platform:
Top of the list and one of the newer sites around, iAuthor is also one of my favourites. Very easy to use, iAuthor manages to fit everything neatly on one screen, including the promo video if you have one. I like the way you can add your book to ‘themes’ ranging from ‘indie books looking for reviewers’ to ‘stories from ‘adventures in far off lands’.
Much more focused on encouraging creative writing than book promotion, the best way to use Wattpad to build your author platform is to upload the first chapter of your books and encourage readers to take a look and comment. There is a really wide ranging user base catering for every taste.
E-Novelist is a free platform for writers to connect, share their work and contribute to forums, blogs and groups to share ideas on the writing process, from promotion, to blogging and publishing. It is a simple process to upload book covers and excerpts and the support is excellent.
Ganxy is a really well thought out campaign-based website where you do all the work for 90% of sales. It only takes a few minutes to set up pages to sell from any website, blog, or even Facebook pages. Ganxy collects payments and can deliver your book in any format to any device, so it looks very future-proof.
Smashwords is a great way to reach a wider readership, as people can easily download samples of your work in any format. Smashwords is important to me as the route for my books to reach all the non-Amazon outlets, such as Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. From an author platform point of view, your Smashwords profile can act as another free webpage for new readers to ‘discover’. I also recommend the SmashwordsBlog and founder Mark Coker’s excellent free marketing guide eBook.
Bublish is one of the newest sites I’ve joined and also one of the most innovative, with the idea of ‘book bubbles’ where authors can say something interesting to accompany an excerpt. It’s still in ‘beta’ so they are interested in ideas on how it can be developed but Bublish is easy to use as an author, as you just follow the prompts on each screen to complete your profile, add a book or create and share ‘book bubbles’. You can create and share unlimited book bubbles and they even add ‘buy’ links for you.
Another innovative site, AUTORSdB has a weekly list of randomly selected authors and a special Author Spotlight which offer authors useful exposure to new readers.
8. The Writers Room
I like the professional look and feel of The Writers Room. If you take a look at the listed authors you’ll see there are some very well-known writers here, so you’ll be in good company. The Writers Room has a nice feature where readers can learn more about their favourite authors and ask them questions, as well as comment on their books.
LibraryThing is an online service to help people catalogue up to 200 books. At the time of writing there were 11,193 LibraryThing Authors and a community of 1,700,000 ‘book lovers’. It costs nothing to make sure you a listed properly (see mine on the link above). It you have the time you can also post reviews (although I prefer the Goodreads community when I can find the time to write reviews).
Shelfari is owned by Amazon and is a site where users build ‘virtual bookshelves’ of books they read and they can rate, review, tag and discuss their books. Users can also create groups where other members can join and talk about books, or other topics. I’ve not invested much time in Shelfari other than to put my books on there and join the group Shelfari Authors.