Kimber St. Lawrence
6 Low- and No-Cost Marketing Tools to Propel Your Writing Career
Updated: Jul 14, 2019
One marketing professional's must-have list of applications to improve productivity and creativity for authors.
Write it and they will come…
LOL. JK. We all know there are least a few more steps involved when it comes to publishing success. And while it’s normal to entertain fantasies of writing that slush pile gem that rockets to the top of the New York Time’s Best Seller List on a rainbow of organic praise, it’s advisable to have a back-up plan. And that back-up plan should involve a solid marketing strategy to promote your brand and, ultimately, your book.
As a corporate marketing director, I’ve tested out a lot of promotional tools. And with my company footing the bill, it’s a fairly low-risk experiment in efficacy. But as a writer on a shoestring budget, I need to be certain that I’m choosing the right tools and seeing ROI when it comes to plugging my professional work.
And there are a LOT of tools to consider. Website builders. Social media management dashboards. Graphic creators. Project software. Email marketing platforms. (I agree… that rainbow sounded a lot easier.) But before you get overwhelmed, or start dropping cash on big-promise-low-performance resources, take a look at these five economical tools that I’ve found successful for streamlining and strengthening marketing efforts.
Cost: Free – $12.95/month
What it will help you with: Creating business cards, social graphics, blog and email headers, flyers, etc.
Why it’s important: Because we’re writers, not graphic designers. But this tool will make them wonder who you hired.
Why I like it: My company has a rock star in-house Creative team and I STILL use Canva daily to support my marketing efforts. This online tool can’t replace the refinement and creativity of a real graphic designer, but it will allow you to access beautiful templates for a variety of promotional assets and customize with your own copy, font, colors, and imagery. As a writer, I also love using Canva to create inspirational book covers and business cards for professional events. Upload your own images or use the huge library of free images that the platform offers—and even more if you upgrade. (Just be sure to adhere to any copyright policies noted in the platform if you’re using these images on anything you plan to sell.)
Cost: Free – $132/year (if you want to use a custom domain)
What it will help you with: Building your public-facing author platform.
Why it’s important: Maintaining a professional website is one of the cleanest ways to showcase yourself and your work to potential agents and publishers—unless you’d prefer them Googling you and engaging in a fun game of reputation roulette.
Why I like it: Site-building software is a busy marketplace. From WordPress to Weebly, there are a lot of strong contenders out there, but Wix gets my top pick for its usability. If you don’t have experience with coding or web design, Wix offers oodles of beautiful canned templates (oodles = 510) and a simple drag-and-drop backend interface with a ton of flexibility. Plus, it has a manageable e-commerce integration for writers who also sell freelance services. And while WordPress is the big man on campus when it comes to search engine optimization (your online visibility in organic search results), the Wix SEO Wiz will help you make your site crawler-friendly. Did I mention all the free apps??