Before You Hit Publish…
I got some very good advice on what to do before I published my first book, and I am passing it along to you.
We’re already assuming that you’ve got a publishable book with a well designed cover (which can be had for anywhere from $50 to a few hundred bucks).
The hope is that people like your books and want to come back for more. To encourage this, you should:
1.) Get a website. You can get a website for free at www.blogspot.com and www.wordpress.org. You can also hire someone to design a website for you, of course.
On this website, create pages that say “about me”, “contact me” with your author email address, and a page with a list of your books, with links to them (as soon as you have published books to link to, of course>)
Put a few blog posts up, even if you literally have no visitors yet. Talk about the progress of your book, about your favorite writers, about how you came to write this particular book, etc.
2.) Start a mailing list. I use www.madmimi.com because they’re very simple, and it’s free until you have a certain number of subscribers.
A mailing list is critical! When you release a new book, you are going to announce it to your mailing list, with a link to the new book in your email. This gives your book a huge boost of visibility on the first couple of days of sales, which exposes your book to more people, which hopefully drives more sales.
Create a welcome letter for your mailing list. I offer a free novelette as incentive to joining my mailig list.
Put the mailing list form up on your website. Put a link to it in your book.
The reason that you do all of this up front is that if your book is a success, this will help you build your audience and establish yourself as an author much faster. When people like an author, they want to know who the author is, what they’re working on, and when the next books are coming out. If they go searching for you and find nothing, you’ve just lost an opportunity to keep in touch with someone who would likely be a loyal reader who’d come back and buy your books again and again.