If you are self publishing a book it doesn’t have to cost tens of thousands of dollars to finish. Once finished you’ll need to invest in things like book reviews, paid media, and marketing organically. Before you launch you need a few things to get started including a website, marketing materials, social media content, blog. You might think that a marketing brochure will cost thousands to have designed, but what if there was a way to get it for $10? Good news, there is.
The inspiration for this post came from a previous conversation with a colleague that started a business. He had done the best he could with his website (based on the level of knowledge he had), but it still wasn’t that good. For just a few hundred dollars more, he could have had something that looked like he'd been writing for 20 years. He just had no idea how to improve his personal brand or book cost effectively.
One of the main tools out there is CreativeMarket.com.
This service offers templates, mockups and other branded materials that designers have created. The designers create stores where they list all their offerings within Creative Market. When you find what you like and need you can license the use rather than contracting a designer to do it for you. Materials include book covers, website templates, business cards, brochures, proposals, logos, flyers, magazines, fonts, stationary or anything else that you can imagine, including t-shirt mockups. Go to CreativeMarket.com and type what you’re looking for in the search bar. I guarantee they have many options. “Social media templates'' has thousands of options. No more worrying about how to cost effectively create a thematically consistent social media profile.
A great book to read about brand clarity is Building a Storybrand. In that book you’ll learn how to trim down your customer communication so ‘what you do’ is very clear.
Remember all the offers in Creative Market are customizable, so you can reach out to the designer and make any changes you might need. Including color, positioning, etc. They will charge you hourly most likely, but you’re still WAY ahead compared to hiring a branding agency or something. More on this later.
This direct communication allows you the opportunity to work directly with an artist on a larger scale custom project as well. It’s a great solution.
As an author, your website is a big deal. If you’re not planning on selling your book direct to consumers use Squarespace because it is easier and cleaner than Wordpress. If you’re planning on selling direct to consumers on your website, use Shopify because it is the best. If you buy a theme from CreativeMarket then you’ll have saved tens of thousands of dollars on development costs. Squarespace and Shopify offer their own themes but there are additional options on CreativeMarket.
If you buy social media post templates from creative market to use on something like Canva, marketing brochures, or email marketing templates we definitely do not recommend using the designers on Creative Market. To furnish these materials with copy and creative you’ll want to go over to Fiverr or Upwork for that. These sites are built to connect business owners with freelancers who can perform various services, including copywriting, social media post creation/management, branding, etc.
For an amazing print on demand solution with a Shopify site consider Luluexpress. You list your book onsite and every time it sells, Lulu will print it and ship it! Bye bye inventory.
When it comes time to add book mockups to your author site and social media, Creative Market has what's called mockups where you have a blank book cover and you just add your design on the blank book image. Go look at our book reviews. We did this. You’ll probably want to buy more premium versions of mockups than we did as you are writing a book and not a blog post though ;)
You will have to be proficient in Adobe Illustrator to place the design on the book, but if you’re not, just hire someone to do this for you on Fiverr for like $3. In any event you’ll be a lot less concerned about what it's going to take for your book to look good on your website when it only costs you $20 to license the mockup instead of hundreds to produce an original.
Freepik.com is another tool that you can use to get stock photos for your site, brochure, emails, or whatever. If you need header images for your LinkedIn. Pricing starts at $10 a month, so it’s also very affordable.
An important benefit of using the tools of a reliable service is that you won’t have to worry about a lawsuit because you've unintentionally used licensed content that you weren't supposed to use. The fee you pay ensures you have a right to use the options offered, whether backgrounds, scenes, photos, objects, mockups, etc.
You need a blog. Every author should have a blog. The website template you buy from Creative Market will have one for you. But what are you going to write about? The book They Ask, You Answer talks all about the importance of the right content. It asks you to: answer the questions your customers ask. A great idea for sure. But who is going to write it? You don’t have time for that.
Freelance writing services like Textbroker, Verblio, Problogger, etc. are an excellent choice. If you have copy needs or ideas of things you want to say to build an audience, generate useful information online or off for customers and prospects, add descriptive content to the products you're selling, write sales copy or more. Try hiring one of these services and expect to pay $.04 per word.
Typically an author has ideas and knowledge that he or she is trying to apply to their business, but needs help getting it in writing. You can use a company like Sonix.ai (low cost lower quality) or Rev.com (higher cost higher quality) to transcribe your dictations. Simply say what you know on a specific topic (5-10 minutes), have it transcribed through Rev.com, then send the transcription to a work order in Textbroker. For $.04 cents a word, a writer will rewrite the whole thing. They will produce something that sounds amazing and the quality of the information will be very high because it has come from you, the expert.
Imagine getting a blog post for fifty dollars that would have taken you three days to complete. Instead, you just sat down for five or ten minutes, shared the knowledge that you have and let somebody make it much more organized and coherent. You talk three times faster than you write, so it's about efficiency and quality, but it's also about building the content in a cost effective way.
You can also hire an editor for $20/$25 per hour on Fiverr. Or be the editor yourself and save a few bucks :)
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