Congratulations, author! You’ve come up with a killer idea, written and edited your book, and now you are ready to start looking for publishers.
While there are plenty of steps between now and publication, one you simply cannot afford to miss is setting up a website.
This post will introduce you to some authors who have created a website as part of their plan to land a book deal, provide insight into why you need a book deal, and show you how simple it is to get a website up and running with the help of HostGator.
3 Writers Who Have Paved the Way
Whether you are a novice writer or all set to publish your book, learning from others who have been successful is an invaluable tool. Here are three stories from authors that use HostGator that will teach and inspire you.
1. Michael Matteo of Play Great Poker
Michael Matteo is a self-published author that has successfully used his website, Play Great Poker, to promote his book and blog. Michael says:
“Six years ago they legalized online poker in New Jersey. I started playing online on nights and weekends. As I got into playing and getting better, I realized there were no good books for players new to online poker. I started writing a book for online poker on nights and weekends. Three years later I finished the book.”
He continues by explaining how he finalized and promoted his book:
“I leveraged social media, co-workers, friends and family to edit the book. I used tools such as Grammarly and text-to-speech to ensure the book was professionally written. Then, I self-published on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle. For Kindle, I used a free app from Amazon called Kindle Create to create the Kindle version. The total cost out of my pocket was $150—$50 for a cover designer and $100 for an ISBN. The book ‘Fundamentals of Online Texas Hold’em Poker’ is live and selling on Amazon right now.”
But the story does not stop there. To further his success and promote his book, he launched a website with HostGator. Matteo says:
“I decided to launch a website to promote my book and continue writing about poker. Enter HostGator and PlayGreatPoker.com. I have now launched a very professionally written website doing all the work myself. Currently the visitors increasing every month. This is all in my spare time. I have a 40+ hour a week job as well.”
Key Takeaway: It’s a lot of work to self-publish a book, but with the help of friends and family, and a HostGator website, you can finish, self-publish, and promote your book successfully.
2. Michelle Visser of Souly Rested
Visser explains how she got the idea for her blog and book:
“We moved to a 219-year-old farmhouse in rural New England and realized we had a ton of sugar maples. We decided to tap a few trees. The next year? A few dozen. By the third year, when we were tapping a few hundred, I had written a book about how to make maple syrup and how to bake with it, simply because my few blog posts about it were very popular and I needed a side income. Publishing a book via self-publishing, I figured, might bring in a little money.”
Not only does her website bring in a little extra money, but the book rights were eventually bought by a publisher. Visser explains:
“My book rights were bought by a publisher and the professionally printed version became available in bookstores across the country on Oct. 1. I feel it’s proving to be very successful. I’ve established myself as a maple expert, sell related e-products, sold $28k worth of related merchandise via my Amazon Affiliates account, via my blog, and am hoping I sell tens of thousands of printed books.”
Key Takeaway: If you don’t find a publisher right away, self-publish your book, and put up a website. It’s possible to draw the attention of a professional book publisher via the success of your website.
3. Val Muller, Author and Editor
If you know writing books is your calling, you’re probably a lot like Val Muller. Val Muller explains how she got started:
“I am a freelance author, editor, and teacher. Since before kindergarten, I wanted to write stories for others. Before I could write, I recorded stories using a cassette recorder. My elementary school teachers all told me I would write books and magazines, so in some ways my side hustle was me stepping in to fill (not to sound too much like George McFly) my destiny.”
Muller continues, “In 2011, I realized that if I ever wanted my writing to take off, I had to get more serious about it. I began by blogging: flash fiction, book reviews, and writing advice.”
After a lot of hard work with writing and receiving rejection letters, Muller started to experience success. She says, “Soon, rejection letters turned into acceptances, and my first novel was published.”
Muller has published several books, and uses her website as a way to promote her books.
Key Takeaway: If you know writing is your calling, go for it. Start by writing a blog, and then use your blog as a tool to promote your ideas to book publishers.
How a Website Can Help You Get Your Book Deal
Just like the book authors listed above, a website will help you land a book deal. Here’s how a website will help you:
- Tells publishers all the critical information about you and your book. A website provides publishers with all of the information they need to know about your book, your writing style, your topic, previous successes with writing, and more. Just like Michelle Visser, your website can work as a tool to attract professional publishers, and launch your book writing career.
- Provides online marketing. Publishers like to interact with authors who already have plans for marketing. Guess what a website is? It’s a critical piece to the online marketing puzzle. If you already have a popular blog or website up and running, publishers know it will be a tool that makes it easier to sell your book.
- Helps you sell self-published books. As you probably already noticed, some of the authors above self-published their book instead of publishing through traditional measures. If you already have a massive online following, or want to grow one, it will be easier to sell your self-published book online.
As you go through the process of writing and working to publish your book, make sure building a website is part of your process.
How to Set Up a Website with HostGator to Land Your Book Deal
With the help of HostGator’s website builder, setting up your website can be one of the easier parts of the process of landing a book deal.
You may be worried that you don’t know how to code or don’t know a thing about design. This worry could prompt you to spend big bucks and hire someone to design your website for you. The good news is, with HostGator, you don’t need to know how to code or design websites, and you certainly don’t need to hire anyone for help.
All you need to do to get your website up and running is follow six easy steps. Let’s break them down.
Step 1: Pick a hosting plan for your website.
HostGator has three website builder hosting plans you can choose from. You can pick your plan depending on your needs and how much functionality you need for your book website.
The starter plan includes a free domain, 200+ templates that will work well for someone looking to promote a book, cloud hosting, a drag-and-drop editor, and website analytics.
Since your main purpose of starting a website will be to promote your book, as opposed to selling merchandise, the Starter package is the perfect pick. If you need extra help, you can opt for the Premium package, and priority support will be at your fingertips throughout the whole process.
In the event that you already self-published your book and want to sell it online, you can opt for the eCommerce package. This package will allow you to sell your book, and any other merchandise, online.
Once you’ve picked a plan, click “buy now” and you can set up your account.
Step 2: Pick a domain name for your website.
Here’s some excellent news. Each Gator Website Builder package includes a free domain, so there is no need to purchase a domain from a separate domain hosting company. To pick your domain, all you have to do is type something in the “get domain” box.
If you are promoting your book to land a deal, consider using your own name, your pen name, or the name of your book as your domain name.
Read this for more tips on choosing the perfect domain name.
If you already have a domain name you’ve been saving for when you launch your book, then you can connect it to your HostGator account by clicking “connect it here.”
Step 3: Create your account.
Once you have a domain name, it’s simple to connect your HostGator account. All you need is an email address or Facebook account to connect. Then, enter your payment information for the package you selected, and you’re ready to roll.
Step 4: Pick a template for your website.
You’re a writer, not a designer, right? That doesn’t mean you can’t get your website up and running all by yourself. The Gator Website Builder comes with templates, and all you have to do is pick the one that you like best.
Once you create your account, HostGator will direct you to the “choose a template” page. You can scroll through more than 200 professionally-designed website templates, select the template that works for you, and customize it as you please with the drag and drop builder.
Step 5: Add content to your website.
After you have selected a template, it’s time to start customizing your book website with content. Click “start editing.” This step will send you to your dashboard where you can add, edit, and delete pages.
With the drag and drop builder, you can design your website by pointing, clicking, dragging, and dropping the elements you want to include in your website. It’s an intuitive process, but if you have any questions, Gator Website Builder provides a free and easy step-by-step guide for reference that you can access at any time.
To access this helpful guide, click the “menu” icon next to the Gator by HostGator logo and select the “getting started tour.”
Step 6: Review your content and launch your website.
The last step is to review your website, make any desired changes, and then go live. By clicking “preview,” you can see your website in full.
If everything looks perfect, then click the “finish preview” button at the top and then “publish website” at the top of the dashboard. Gator Website Builder will present a series of quick steps to help you go live.
Promote Your New Book with a Website Now
Writing a book is a massive accomplishment, and getting a book deal, or selling your self-published book online, is the next step. Of course you will spend time writing a book proposal, meeting with prospective agents, and editing your book, but don’t forget one of the most important steps—marketing your idea with the help of your website.
A website will be one of your most effective tools for marketing your book and providing details to publishers about you and your book ideas.
To get started, visit HostGator today. It only takes the six easy steps outlined above to get your website up and running in less than a day.
Ashley R. Cummings is a professional freelance writer specializing in SaaS, tech, and advertising/marketing. In a previous life, she was a Russian teacher at Brigham Young University, a corporate trainer, and a grad student—all at the same time. When she’s not writing, you can find her traveling the world with her 2 kids and husband, reading poetry or taking a deep dive into the fabulous world of comedy. Connect with her on Twitter at @ashleyrcummings.