Want to start creating your author branding and selling more books? Here are the three essential services you need to start building an author platform.
Did you know that the average book in the US sells fewer than 200 copies annually? And that the average book sells fewer than 1,000 copies over its lifetime?
These are rather alarming statistics for any author who plans to make living selling books. The most successful and famous authors beat this trend by building an author brand and a community of rabid fans who will buy any book they release.
And the most important step of author branding is building an author platform where you can capture subscribers, build an email list, and sell more books to them.
In this article, you’ll learn about the three essential services you need to start creating your indie author website and building an author platform.
How To Build An Author Platform & Sell More Books
There are three services you need to start building your author platform and your author brand so you can sell more books. They are:
- A domain name registrar
- A web hosting service
- A newsletter service
#1. A domain name registrar
The first service you will need – and you cannot own a writer’s website without – is a domain name. This is the link that people type into the browser bar when they want to visit your website.
As an author, the ideal domain name to have is your own name – or if that is not available, you can try including your middle name, or use the word “author” before or after your name, as in http://www.yournameAUTHOR.com.
Avoid domain names with hyphens or names that are too long or hard to spell. If your actual birth name is hard to spell, you may want to try writing under a pen name instead.
You absolutely need a domain name because your author brand needs recognition and traffic. Instead of building your author brand on free blogs or other websites and promoting them, it’s best to promote your own domain, don’t you think?
Now there are several service providers that will give you a domain name for free, but this is not recommended. If the free domain registrar goes out of business and closes down for some reason, then all your hard work and your book sales are going to crash.
This can definitely happen and I know people who have gone through this harrowing experience only to have to start building their personal brand platform from scratch.
Instead, I recommend going with a top company, like Google, that is unlikely to ever go out of business. Yes, Google is now a domain registrar, too!
The next step is to choose a domain name extension. While there are many extensions available, the dot com is still the best one to choose because it’s the one that readers are most likely to type into the browser bar.
In the free How to Build an Indie Author Website course, you’ll learn how to choose a domain for your website, install WordPress, and construct everything using an author-focused theme and beginner-friendly templates.
#2. Web hosting service
The next step is to choose a web hosting service. At the risk of repeating myself, I feel the need to say this – never go for a free web hosting service for the same reasons stated above.
You need to build your author brand in a professional and credible way. Free hosting service providers could display advertisements on your site that are not in sync with your author brand, and this will not make you look good to your website visitors.
Second, if you want to grow your website traffic, you will need a paid hosting service, as your free service provider will not provide extra space and bandwidth causing you to lose out on traffic and sales.
Hence, a good web hosting service is very important. But what does web hosting really mean? Your website files and all related information and data are stored on your web host’s server or computers.
This is because your indie author website should be available 24/7 and should be able to accommodate any amount of traffic. When choosing your web hosting service, you need to ensure they have everything you need.
Aside from all the bells and whistles, I’ve discovered that the most important aspect of a great web hosting service is excellent customer service. This is one reason why I would choose a web hosting service again and again, even if it’s more expensive than other hosting providers.
Also, make sure your web hosting service has a one-click WordPress install so you can set up your website and blog quickly and efficiently.
There are many benefits of using WordPress to build your author platform, including the fact that it makes it easy to set up an eCommerce store and sell your books from your own website.
In the free How to Build an Indie Author Website video workshop, you’ll discover how to create an eye-catching and conversion-focused website for an independent author or writer-preneur.
If you’re building a website from scratch, go through this website checklist before launching a website so you can learn the steps to build a website the right way.
The third essential service you need to start building your indie author platform is an email marketing service or newsletter service that allows you to send out an update every time you post an article on your blog.
This is because the majority of the visitors to your website will not buy from you on their first visit. According to the Rule of 7, one of the oldest principles in marketing, most people do not buy a product online until they have seen it or heard about it at least 7 times!
If you’re promoting your books online and don’t have an effective way to capture and follow up with your website visitors to remind them about your latest releases or any promotions you’re running, you will lose a lot of sales.
In the free Reader Magnets eBook, you’ll learn the exact system that bestselling author Nick Stephenson used to add tens of thousands of engaged readers to his mailing list.
In his free video training for authors on “How to Find Your First 10,000 Readers,” Nick Stephenson will show you a proven step-by-step email marketing system that he used to sell more books.
You’ll learn how to grow your audience on autopilot, launch your new book titles to raving fans, and promote your existing work to new people so you can sell more books.
The easiest way to set up a newsletter service and send out blog updates to your subscribers is to use WordPress’ in-built blog subscription features.
You can do this using a free plugin, like Jetpack, that will allow you to add a subscription box in the sidebar like I do on this blog. It will help you capture email subscribers.
But if you want to build trust, and ultimately boost your book sales, you may want to use an email autoresponder that allows you to send out an email without posting a blog update. In this case, you can opt for a professional email list management tool.
This will allow you to offer a freebie, so you can capture more subscribers and build an email list much faster. It will also let you set up an autoresponder follow-up sequence to send out messages every few days reminding your subscribers to purchase your books.
As mentioned before, most consumers buy only after repeated exposure to a product. Having an autoresponder system is a hassle-free, automated way to put your books in front of interested buyers enough times to move them from interest to consideration to purchase.
The largest percentage of your subscribers will usually buy after receiving three to six messages about your books. To build an effective autoresponder campaign, you should write eight to ten compelling email messages to load into your program.
Each message should build on the previous one, and make your books or offer more enticing to buyers. Here’s a breakdown of what your email messages should contain:
- A compelling subject line to keep them from deleting the message unread.
- A compelling opening sentence that keeps them engaged.
- An introductory paragraph explaining exactly why they need to buy your book right away.
- A Call-To-Action after a few short paragraphs of information.
- Short disclaimer reminding people they’re receiving your message because they asked to be on your list.
- An Unsubscribe link is a must to give subscribers the option to discontinue receiving messages from you, or you will be labeled as spam.
The free How to Build an Indie Author Website course is entirely focused on helping you quickly transition from a blank page to a professional-quality author website.
You can quickly create an attractive, conversion-focused WordPress website for your independent publishing business by following the instructions in this free training on how to design an indie-author website.
© 2022 – 2023, Priya Florence Shah. All rights reserved.
Priya Florence Shah is a bestselling author, an award-winning online publisher, and an online branding consultant. Download her free personal branding eBooks and check out Devi2Diva, her book on emotional self-care for women. In her spare time, Priya writes science-fiction novels and poetry and chills with her two-legged and four-legged kids.