You've made it.  You've written and edited your book, designed the cover and had it printed into beautiful volumes that smell wonderful and are just waiting to be sold.  Then you realize that writing and publishing the book is only half the battle.  If you want people other than your friends and family to take pity on you and buy your labor of love, then you must be willing to spend time and money on marketing.

In this series of articles, we'll share ideas that other authors have used to market their books and capture sales.

Marketing Must #1: Build a website for your book

A website is one of the first things we recommend that authors create to promote their books.  Here are some tips for a good promotional website:

Make your site media-friendly.  When you make contact with the media, all of the information they need should be easy to find on one page.  This media-exclusive page should include your bio, photos of you and your book, a brief synopsis, testimonials and links to all of your social media profiles. This way, you can send the link to this particular page, and your contacts won't have to hunt on different pages of the site to get all of the information they need.

Have a blog on your site.  What better place to showcase your writing skills than a regular post about topics related to your book, or your musings about life? Here's a great example of a site that promotes a book and includes a blog:

Post your reviews and testimonials. As you gain reviews on Amazon or wherever, add them to your website.

Devote a page to you, the author.  There's a reason you chose to write this book.  Include your photo and talk about the impetus behind your decision to become an author.  If your website's visitors can relate to you, they may be more inclined to buy your book.

Include a way for your readers to share comments and leave feedback.  You could add this feature on your Contact page or on your Reviews page.  You can make this feature moderated so that you only approve the comments and reviews that you want.

If you will be doing any book readings and/or signings, add an Events page so people can find out where you will be next.  You can also include any networking events that you will be attending as well as any speaking engagements.  The events don't have to be directly tied to your book.

Place buttons to your social media profiles on the top right of your site.  This is a natural place for people to look.

Include a way to purchase your book.  It's fine to include a link to Amazon or any other site that will be selling your book.  However, consider adding a PayPal purchase link on your site so customers can buy directly from you.  You may not want to handle fulfillment at all, but many authors do like this option because they can keep a bit more of the sale price.

Since you will be busy with other marketing activities, we recommend that you find someone to build your site for you.  Your site can be simple and low-cost, but you do want it to look professional and current.