Digital Marketing Ideas for Writers

I originally wrote this post for Emtiaz Zourob, but others may find it useful.

One of the things writers and other artists often need to do is promote their work, so learning some basic marketing skills can be helpful.

One of the simplest things an artist can do is to purchase the rights to a website address (or domain name).  After this is done, consider signing up for this username on a variety of social networking sites, even if you don’t plan on using the social media site immediately.

  1. Get your own domain name.
    • A domain name is a permanent internet address that you can own the rights to
    • Examples:
      1. (my domain name)
      2.,  or
    • I found Emtiaz’s site on blogspot:
      2. Blogspot is good, but it would be better if the Emtiaz owned her own address, independent of
    • Having your own domain name is sort of like owning your own home rather than renting.  The owner of a domain name can customize the site, add additional features, and switch to a different hosting provider without having to change the site’s address.
    • You can purchase your own domain name for about $10-15/year.
    • There are many different companies through which you can purchase  a domain.
      1. I use
      2. I would recommend if your site might be controversial because I think gandi will be more likely to stand up for you if others are trying to censor you.
  2. Optional: Switch Your Blog to Your Own Domain Name.
    • After you have purchase your own domain name, you no longer need to rely upon a company like blogspot or for hosting and you have the future flexibility to switch providers.  For example, you can switch from to (or whatever name you choose).
    • I can help you with the hosting and transfer if you like.  Talk to me more if you’re interested in this.  This would likely also mean a switch in software from blogspot to the free version of wordpress.
  3. Register for Twitter.
    1. If you don’t already own your username on twitter (@timlangeman in my case), I would sign up, if for no other reason than to reserve your name.  (It’s free to sign up)
    2. Unlike Facebook, Twitter is public by default.  If you want to get a message out to the public, Twitter can be more effective than Facebook, but Facebook is good for restricting shared material to friends.
  4. Get Business Cards to hand out at readings.
    • On your business card, list the domain name that you purchased in step 1, your twitter username, your email address, and any other info you want, such as phone number
    • Your physical address may change if you move to a different apartment, but your gmail address and domain name can always stay the same.
    • There are many places to get business cards.  I don’t have experience ordering my own cards.
      1. I’ve heard advertisements for and but I don’t know how good they are.
  5. Get your own Email Lists
    • You can collect email addresses from people at readings and put a signup form on your website.   As you collect email addresses you can categorize them based on language or interest.  You can send some emails to the whole group and others to a subgroup (like English speakers).
    • The advantage of email lists is that you can target different types of people when you have a book to sell, or an event to publicize, even if those people don’t necessarily follow you on Facebook or Twitter.
    • There are many sites that offer group email functionality.
      1. Constant Contact is a popular site for non-profits
      2. I recommend MailChip if you’re starting with a small list because MailChip is free for lists smaller than 2000 people.