Being an independent author or writer is like running a small business. You have books to sell, a website to run, and collaborations to gain. Book marketing for independent or mainstream authors is not an easy task, but there are certainly some powerful tools that can help you build your author brand. We’ve put together some of our favorite book marketing tools that are free to use, and that will truly help you grow your author or writing business.
1) Mailchimp for Mailing Lists and Email Templates
Mailchimp is a great starter option for small author or writer businesses that need to manage their email lists at no cost. With Mailchimp, you’ll gain free access to email subscriber forms and can create professional email templates with ease. While some features aren’t available on the free version of Mailchimp such as email automation and advanced audience segmentation, most of what you’ll need to get started with effective email book marketing as an author is already available to you.
With the free version of Mailchimp, you get access to the following features:
- Up to 2,000 contacts
- Up to 10,000 email sends per month
- Lead capture forms
- Email template builder
- Landing page builder
- Audience data and insights
It doesn’t get much better than what you can get for free with Mailchimp. It’s honestly an author’s email marketing dream! Who can argue with such awesome features, ease of use, and the whopping monthly investment of free?
To sign up for Mailchimp, just go to their official website.
2) Canva for Image Editing and Graphic Design
Canva is one of our favorite tools for editing images and graphics because the software is packed with tons of free tools. With Canva, you have access to thousands of templates for social media posts, YouTube thumbnails, presentations, book cover art, and so much more. Even if you decide to go with a premium plan at $12.99 per month, what you get doesn’t even seem comparable to such a small monthly investment.
With the free version of Canva, you’ll gain access to the following features:
- 250,000+ free templates
- 100+ design types (social media posts, presentations, letters, and more)
- Hundreds of thousands of royalty-free stock photos and graphics
- Invite members to your team
- Leave comments in real-time
- 5GB of cloud storage
I’ve personally been using Canva for the last 4 years, and I can’t tell you enough how much it simplifies the marketing process. Take your book marketing to a whole new level by using Canva for image editing, resizing, and more. Canva also has a lot of new video editing features that make it a great option for simple book trailers!
Sign up for Canva by going to their website here.
3) Placeit for Book Cover Mockups
There’s nothing more important for a book marketing strategy than professional book cover mockups to use on social media, digital advertising, and on your author website. Placeit is one of the largest mockup websites around, and you have access to a lot of free mockup options with a free account. If you’re looking to use the best mockup options with unlimited downloads, their monthly subscription is only $7.47 a month with anytime cancellation.
With Placeit, you’ll have the ability to create book cover mockups with a .png or .jpg file by dragging and dropping. You can choose between a traditional book cover mockup, a digital mockup on a simulated tablet or phone, and there are also mockups available that depict people holding your book! There are a lot of mockup generators out there, but the options on Placeit are truly outstanding for the price of either free or less than $10 a month with no commitment. Placeit is also a great solution for creating some elements of your book trailer!
To sign up for Placeit, visit their official website here.
4) Asana for Planning and Deadlines Tracking
The busier you become as an author or writer, the more important it is that you keep track of your writing projects, deadlines, and book marketing goals. Asana is the best, most user-friendly project management software I’ve ever used. It includes many different templates, custom fields, and reporting, and you can separate task boards to separate projects for extra organization. If you’re working with a small team like an assistant, an editor, and a marketing person, you can assign people to different tasks within a project, as well as add due dates to tasks.
Features that come free with Asana include:
- Activity log
- Due dates
- Three project views (board, list, calendar views)
- Free integrations with 100+ apps, including Slack, Outlook, GSuite, and time tracking apps
- Basic reporting with status updates and export projects PDF or CSV
Asana will certainly take your book planning, book marketing, and any other business project management to the next level. You can sign up for Asana by going to their official website here.
5) Ubersuggest for Author SEO
Search engine optimization can be a complex beast, especially for authors who already struggle with digital marketing best practices. Ubersuggest is a powerful SEO tool that provides many of its features completely free. The software is extremely easy to use and provides SEO audits, keyword ideas, backlink ideas, content ideas, and competitive analysis all in one place. With the free version, you’ll be limited to seeing only some of the results, but it’s still enough to be dangerous with your book marketing and SEO.
Unlike other SEO tools on the market that cost hundreds of dollars a month and thousands per year, Ubersuggest gives you the essential competitive advantage and SEO insights you need to make your book marketing strategy successful. You can learn more about building your author SEO by checking out The Ultimate Guide to Author SEO.
To sign up for Ubersuggest, visit their official website.
6) HARO (Help a Reporter Out) for Public Relations and Press
HARO connects journalists seeking expertise to include in their content with sources who have that expertise. This platform is a great way to build your website’s domain authority and overall SEO. When it comes to ranking high in searches, the more times your website is mentioned on other websites, the greater your chances of moving up in the ranks.
When you create your free account on HARO, you can select the topics you’d like to contribute to. Check your inbox three times a day (5:35 a.m., 12:35 p.m., and 5:35 p.m. ET), Monday through Friday. Look out for source requests relevant to you or your client’s industry, expertise, or personal experience.
To sign up for HARO as a source, visit their official website.
7) Answer the Public for Article or Blog Content Ideas
An essential part of building your online presence and overall SEO as an author is by creating relevant content. Unfortunately, if you’re already writing content for a book, it might be hard to have enough creative energy to generate more ideas. Introducing Answer the Public! This website takes your topic and cultivates a list of questions people are asking about that topic across the internet.
After you type in a topic, Answer the Public presents you with a wheel of questions that you can use to help generate blog or article ideas within your genre. Unlike other online tools that automatically generate article or blog title ideas, the questions presented on Answer the Public come from actual searched questions from people across the internet. Imagine if your next blog or article is the best piece of content online that answers one of these questions? How would ranking number one for that piece of content help increase your book sales?
When it comes to leveraging content for SEO and book marketing, you should think strategically about how that content is propelling your author brand forward. Everything you do for author marketing should have a purpose and be based on research. Answer the Public is a great way to create content that people actually care about.
To start using Answer the Public, visit their website here.
8) Mail Signatures for Professional Email Signatures
If you’re in the middle of a book marketing campaign, then you’re probably emailing a lot. From journalists to reviewers to bloggers to friends and family, there’s nothing worse than sending out emails with an unprofessional and disorganized email signature. Mail Signatures is a completely free email signature creation tool that doesn’t require you to create an account or subscribe. All you have to do is pick a template, update the colors and images, and then select the email provider you use. Finally, copy the email signature template and paste it right into your email signature settings.
Having a professional email signature that includes your headshot, website link, or link to buy your book is a great way to set yourself apart. Having a professional signature especially comes in handy when you’re trying to land collaborations or interviews after a new book launch. A professional signature is easy to accomplish and it goes a long way, so don’t overlook this when marketing your new book.
To create your free professional email signature, visit the Mail Signatures website.
9) Meta Ad Library on Facebook for Spying on Competitor Ads
Ever wondered what kind of ads your competitors are running on social media? Well, you can easily find out using the Meta Ad Library search portal on Facebook. This tool is absolutely free to use and was created by Meta to provide all users with transparency about the digital ads running across the platform.
There’s a lot you can do to enhance your digital book marketing strategy when you know exactly what kind of ads your competitors are running for their books. To access the Meta Ad Library on Facebook, just type it into Google. Once you get to the Ad Library Search Portal, you’re able to search ads by location, page type, and page name. Keep in mind that if your competitor has an agency or third-party running ads for them, it could be challenging to find them through this tool.
Just a quick search using the Meta Ad Library on Facebook, and I was able to find a bunch of ads being run by an author.
This tool will show you the ads, when they started running, which platforms they are running on, and the copy and images being used for the ads. Keep in mind that you won’t gain any insights into the targeting or demographics being used on the ads, and you also won’t know for sure how well the ads are performing with this tool. However, hopefully, this tool will help you get some insights into what kind of digital ads you should run for your book or author marketing strategy.
To view the Meta Ad Library tool, visit this page.
10) Upwork for Hiring Professionals
Let’s face it. You can’t be an expert at everything. As an author, you probably already have your hands full with writing your next book, editing, and perhaps even doing interviews and collaborations. You don’t have time to be your own digital marketing expert, SEO expert, book cover artist, and web developer. When the going gets busy or gets tough, it’s a good idea to outsource the things you don’t have time to handle on your own.
Upwork is the largest and best freelancing platform in existence with approximately 14 million users working and hiring from it to date. Not only is Upwork a great place to find freelance work as a writer, but it’s also one of the best places to connect with and hire industry experts for your book marketing. On Upwork, you don’t have to pay to use it, only to hire. You can search through thousands and thousands of editors, book designers, and digital marketing experts.
What are some great features for hiring on Upwork?
- The platform has millions of industry experts for hire
- You can review profiles to see experience and reviews
- You can text chat or schedule video chats within the platform
- Upwork handles the contracts between clients and freelancers
- Flexible payment schedules are provided from hourly to milestone-based payments
- Your privacy is protected as you don’t have to use your full name, nor do you have to share any personal payment information.
Check out Upwork for clients by going here.
To learn how you can start freelancing on Upwork, visit our article on How to Get Freelance Writing Gigs on Upwork.
As an independent author or freelance writer, it’s not always easy to market your book or services. Hopefully, these free book marketing or writer marketing tools will help make marketing just a little bit easier. Let us know if you have any other free marketing tools that we should add to this list!
Mel Beasley has a bachelor’s in creative writing and journalism from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He brings 9+ years of digital marketing and writing experience to the table by writing for publications such as Lumina News and Encore Magazine. He spent 2 years as a college-level writing tutor, and is a certified writing tutor through the CRLA, which is a prestigious cert recognized by the Association for the Coaching & Tutoring Profession. He is a professional SEO blogger with experience writing for brands such as Boardworks Education and The Greater Wilmington Business Journal. One of his latest website and marketing projects has been building the website for the now New York Times Bestselling author, Nina de Gramont.