How to Effectively Market Your Book in An Online World- Part 1: Your Author/Book Website

copyright©2015 Joan Holman

Many authors come to me who have been published by major publishing houses. The authors had believed these publishing houses would actually market their books. Unfortunately, they find out that this is not true, and so they either have to do the marketing themselves or hire someone to help them with the marketing. Without marketing, nothing usually happens for any business, including the book business.

TODAY BOOK MARKETING IS PRIMARILY ONLINE MARKETING–I do tell the authors who hire me that book marketing today is primarily online marketing, so they need to have an online presence for their book in the form of a website. This can be an author website or a website just for the book, or both.

YOUR AUTHOR AND/OR BOOK WEBSITE IS A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR ONLINE MARKETING–Having a central location online to promote your book(s) and yourself as an author is very important. With the right kind of development, you can create an interest in your books, solicit reviews, and encourage people to share info about your books with their network.

PROVIDE A “LOOK INSIDE YOUR BOOK FEATURE”–Your website should include a sample of content from your book(s), and if your book is on Amazon, you can just provide a link to the Look Inside the Book feature for your listed book on Amazon, where 20% of your book content will be viewable. Make sure that you have this feature activated on Amazon, since it is very important for online marketing.

ENCOURAGE WORD-OF-MOUTH MARKETING FOR YOUR BOOK THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA SHARING– On your website, you should have reviews and endorsements and sharable content for social media. Word of mouth is what drives book sales, so make sure that every page on your website has social media sharing buttons, and don’t be afraid to ask people to share your web pages and content on your website on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and other places.

CREATE AND SHARE INTERESTING CONTENT THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA–With the immense popularity of social media, you should be creative and develop and share interesting content about your book on your website. A great time to come up with this content is actually when you are writing the book. You can develop and feature such things as Top Ten lists, quizzes, quotes, statistics, unusual and entertaining tidbits of information, a tie into events or news and so on.

BE CREATIVE ON YOUR WEBSITE WITH YOUR STRATEGY FOR GENERATING INTEREST AND ENGAGEMENT WITH YOUR BOOK–A lot of creative marketing can be done using your website. For example, I developed a website for the book Blame It on Bovary which is an elegantly-written literary thriller that includes the drama and action of The Bourne Identity and the other Jason Bourne novels, and the language and sensibility and historic backdrop of The Age of Innocence.  The novel could easily be envisioned as a movie, so I created a webpage titled “The Movie” which includes a poll where people can vote for their choice of actress to play the part of the protagonist in a movie version of the novel.

Blame It On Bovary begs to be a big-budget Hollywood film with international location shooting in America and Europe and Greece. We have some ideas about who should play the lead roles and want the readers of the book to share their ideas about the best choices for actors in the film. Our favorites for the heroine Sidonie are Anne Hathaway and Keira Knightley and Jennifer Lawrence. What do you think? We’d be tickled to hear how you would cast the characters, so let us know your picks, and we’ll post your thoughts. THANKS!

IMAGES INCREASE SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT–Since images increase engagement on social media, use a resource like to create visual sharable content about your book. You can post these images on your website and ask people to share them. You can post them on social media yourself as well. You can even create a special page on your website with social media images for sharing.

MAKE YOUR WEBSITE USABLE ON ALL DEVICES, HOWEVER, IN MOST CASES, IT IS NOT PREFERABLE TO CREATE A “MOBILE FIRST” DESIGN–Your website should be usable on tablets as well as desktop and laptop computers. It is also good to have a website that can be viewed on a smartphone, however, in most cases, it is not necessary or even preferable to have a website that is primarily designed for mobile viewing. Today there is a trend in web design called responsive web design (RWD). A site designed with RWD adapts the layout to the viewing environment. This can be important if you have a website that is going to be primarily viewed on a smartphone. But, generally speaking, this does not include author and book websites. In fact, websites designed with RWD can be boringly homogeneous and uninteresting.

ONLY A VERY SMALL PERCENTAGE ARE VIEWING AUTHOR/BOOK WEBSITES ON SMARTPHONES–Using RWD can be very limiting to the creation of an interesting website. And it is just not necessary to dumb down your website just to make it usable on mobile devices. The traffic reports of all the author and book websites I have developed indicate users are still primarily viewing these sites on desktop, laptop, and tablet computers and not smartphones, so it is not necessary to limit the design of a website by focusing on creating a website for mobile use. The author and book websites I have developed are usable and viewable on all devices, including smartphones, and are not mobile first designs.

A few examples of websites I have developed include:

About Joan Holman

Joan Holman is an author, ghostwriter, book coach and a nationally acclaimed Internet marketing and publishing expert. She is a Book Marketing Diva and the Founder of the Self Publishing Zone website (, which is a hub for information and resources related to the new paradigm in publishing. Joan’s international clientele includes authors, business owners, entrepreneurs, business professionals and leaders. Joan has worked with both self-published and traditionally-published authors in the areas of book development, developmental editing, writing, book cover design, book titles, book project management, self-publishing, book marketing and author and book websites.