What should be in your digital toolkit for the business of being an author?

  1. Google Suite for your email. Do you wonder why your emails don’t get a reply? It may be they were never delivered. If your account is with AOL, Hotmail, or Yahoo, there is a strong likelihood if you send someone you don’t already have a connection with they will never receive it. And while it is neat to have an email address tied to your website domain, if your webhosting company is one of the bigger ones, it’s likely they also host spammers and scammers which means your address may be blacklisted without you knowing it. In this era when email security is the order of the day, the account of your recipient may filter your email straight to the spam folder. Even with a free Gmail account there is a good chance it won’t be delivered. For professional and business email, I recommend the Google Suite which is $5/month.
  2. WordPress for your website and blog. I strongly recommend WordPress.org because it is open source code, can be installed easily with one click on most webhosting platforms, and works best for blogging if you want your work to get found. It is not to be confused with WordPress.com, a site that gives you free webhosting, but you’re renting and don’t own your real estate on the internet and they can place their ads on your site. WordPress is used by professional website designers for its versatility and the millions different ways it can be customized, but it’s easy enough for you to do-it-yourself. The software is free. Yes, free. And because it is open source code, you’ll find answers easily to any questions you have about using it.
  3. MailChimp for your email subscription to your blog and to build an email list of those who want to be notified when your book is coming out. MailChimp and WordPress play nice together which means you can automate all your email marketing and personalize your messages. It’s a great way to deliver your blog to those who subscribe on your WordPress site and you can import email lists for customized communications. The best part? It’s free for those who have email lists under 2,000.
  4. lessannoyingcrm.com is a contact relations management system. It’s simple and will keep you organized. It’s affordable at $10/month and an enormous timesaver. You can synch up your Google calendar to keep track of submission deadlines, import contacts from MailChimp and Google, log your email correspondence so you can figure out when you sent a query and which version of a document you sent, and it lets you email a contact from inside its dashboard. Make it your desktop for the business of being an author.
  5. Goodreads. Don’t wait until you’re published to join this social media site dedicated to readers. Begin now to build your bookshelf and write reviews of your favorite books. Find your friends and see what books they liked to read. Learn more about the readers who will be interested in a book like yours. See what they like and don’t like. Sign-up to win free copies of new releases in Goodreads Giveaways. And when your book is published then convert your account from reader to author. Take advantage of the marketing opportunities there. This is the one social media platform where everyone is interested in books.
  6. LinkedIn. You may already belong to this social networking site designed for the business community. If not, I recommend it for fostering business relationships. And becoming an author and publishing a book is a business venture. It is as much a research tool as a marketing tool. Before you query an agent or publisher, have you read their profile and learned you are alumni from the same university or have friends in common?
  7. Twitter. It’s not a platform to sell books, but it’s a great way to make connections you otherwise would not discover anywhere else. Remember when you would walk into a library and browse? It’s the digital equivalent. I like it especially for doing marketing research.
  8. Bitly. This is a handy tool for shortening the URL of any link so you don’t use all 140 characters on what you want to share. It keeps metrics on which links get clicks. And like so many other powerful tools I recommend, it’s free!
  9. Facebook. You don’t need a Facebook Page until your book is published, and even then you may not find it worthwhile as only 3-5% of those who like your page will see any single status update unless you pay to promote it. Your personal profile is free and it is a good place to be social and expand your circles of acquaintances. Explore Facebook Groups and know when to use it and when to walk away.
  10. Instagram. Increasingly the world of publishing is adopting this social media platform as one of the best for marketing.

 

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Other Publications by author-clients of Swenson Book Development LLC

Linda J. Spielman
Countryman Press, July 2017

Carolyn Porter
Skyhorse Publishing, June 2017

Laurel Guy
Schiffer Publications, December 2016

Ira Rabois
Rowman & Littlefield, November 2016

Rob Lloyd and Mauro Marinelli
Kehrer Verlag, October 2016

Elizabeth Rynecki
NAL/Berkley (Penguin Random House), September 2016

Elaine Mansfield
Larson Publications, Fall 2014