Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Pointers to Publishing | Paid versus free website for authors

Published:Sunday | May 28, 2017 | 5:00 AMCorine La Font
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The reality is that many authors do not have the funds to market their books. This may be a deterrent to many who wish to write and generate sales, but it shouldn't be.

Authors should ideally have their own website for the following three main reasons:

- You own it and so you have control over its visibility and reach, plus you own the domain, which cannot be taken away from you unless you discontinue your annual payment from the vendor and it's put up for sale.

- You can make changes to the look and feel to keep up with modern times.

- You can rebrand and customise to add your own products, speaking and develop the site into a sustainable business.

Whether you are just starting out as a budding or established writer or author, it would be best to always take advantage of the free marketing tools for authors by Amazon. It is called Author Central.

Author Central is very easy to set up on your own. When you publish with Amazon, they send you a congratulatory email and included in that email is the advice to set up Author Central. It is advisable that authors read through those suggestions as they are very handy and free tools that can be used.

Through Author Central, you can:

- promote all your books (all formats) in one place.

- promote events around your books

- write blogs and RSS feeds.

- communicate with your readers and customers.

- link Author Central to your paid website.

- make some extra money on sales of Amazon products and similar books that complement yours from other authors once you sign up as an Amazon affiliate. You get 10 per cent on each sale made by visitors to your site.

- add a biography.

- manage photos and videos.

- manage reviews.

- link to your social networks.

The flip side is that you don't have control of the policies that govern the website. Amazon might decide to modify the terms or discontinue the website altogether, but that should not deter you.

My suggestion is that you with Author Central for as far and as long as it goes, but have your own paid website and link them. That way, you get the best of both worlds and you are protected. It will mean managing both sites, but, at least, you don't have to worry about writing blogs twice since Author Central will do an RSS feed off your website.

Go here to get started: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/

Look at the bigger picture and the lower cost. I am sure it is well worth it.

- Corine La Font is a speaker, coach, winning author and self -publishing consultant. Check out her website at http://www.helpdeskja.com or email corinelaf@gmail.com