The other day I was asked by a fellow author what programs/websites/etc. I used in my promotional efforts (not including paid advertising), and realized that it might be a good post for the blog. I think that as indie authors, we just assume that other indies use the same stuff and know all about the latest and greatest.
So, in the hope that there might be something useful to you writers out there, here are 5 promotional tools I’ve been using:
BookFunnel: First off, I want to give a huge shout out to BookFunnel for making life soooo much easier. Bookfunnel is the website to use if you give out free books like ARCs (Advance Review Copies), or lead magnets for your email list. For a small annual fee, they will host your EPUBs, MOBIs, and PDFs, and—best of all—give readers download instructions. They take over when a reader has trouble getting the book onto their Kindle, Nook, other e-reader, or tablet. I’ve heard nothing but good things from folks who use the help function, and it’s freed up a lot of writing time for me. You can create as many expiring links as you need for your books, and they’re working on all sorts of cool stuff for the future. They have also been incredibly responsive when I had questions. Highly recommended.
Calibre: There are a few places online that you can use to create different e-book formats for giving out to reviewers or if you have a contest with an e-book as a prize–not the least of which is your KDP dashboard to download a MOBI, or your Nook, Smashwords, or D2D dashboard for EPUB files. But if you want to be able to tweak the end matter and links and have a way to keep track of your files, I would recommend using Calibre. Calibre is free, downloadable software that allows you to convert your source book file from a .docx, HTML, EPUB, or MOBI into whichever format you need. Pretty darned handy.
Bigstock/Pixabay: I’ve used BigStock for royalty free (but not free) images for years. There are scads of others, but for some reason I usually find what I’m looking for on BigStock. For free images, I use Pixabay. (Be aware that the top line of photos on Pixabay are sponsored images that aren’t free.) You can easily find something to use, as they have an extensive, searchable database of free photos.
DesignFeed: I’ve used Canva before, but I didn’t like having to cough up $1 for every image I wanted to use—and not just because I’m cheap frugal, although there’s that. Mainly because I don’t like giving my credit card number out to every Tom, Dick, and Harriet. But that’s just me. Luckily, I stumbled onto a cool new site called DesignFeed. Although still in beta, it’s pretty easy to use. All you need are some quotes from your book, an idea of what you want the background to be, and DesignFeed will create your chosen promo card in the correct dimensions for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest. They even give suggestions, in case you’re stuck. I don’t know about you, but for me that’s a huge time saver. And best of all, for the time being it’s free 🙂 Here are a couple I did for A Killing Truth:
Free Advertising: Although free and bargain books don’t garner the number of downloads/sales like they used to, when you’re having a sale it’s always a good idea to list with as many free promo sites as you can. Here’s one list to get you started. It’s been compiled by fellow author Martin Crosbie, who writes for Indies Unlimited. Not all of the sites he mentions have free options, but if you do your homework you should be able to submit to a large number of them for low or no cost.
And there you have it. Five tools to help you when promoting your books. Do you have any favorites? Share them in the comments below!