Online Resources Every Author Should Have
Not very long ago the process that a published author went through to market their album was pretty straight forward: they write the book, hand it over to the publisher, and from there the marketing team gets the word out. Well, those days are over.
For both published and self-published authors it is more important than ever to establish a platform to build your writing career on. What this platform will do is help you to a) be visible online so fans and potential fans can find you, b) you can personally interact with those fans and create a connection with them, c) establish a solid fan base of people who not only love your books but who want to help spread the word to their friends, and d) take your career as a writer to a new level.
I understand that most authors “just want to write” and I get that. But to survive in this industry which is bigger and more competitive than ever, it is imperative that you create a strong online presence. The thing is, it’s not as hard or time consuming as you might think.
Products are discovered, discussed and purchased online. And that means that as an author you need to be firmly established online. Here are the key resources that every author should have:
1) A WEBSITE:
Your website is your home on the internet. This is your main information hub. If you think about your social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook (which we will get to in a minute) as relationship building tools and your website as informational it will help you to wrap your head around the purpose of a website. The key features on your website should include:
- An About Section: This is where your bio should go to inform visitors more about you, your writing experience, awards you have won, etc. This is to give visitors more information about you.
- Bookography or Writing Section: This is where you will feature other books you have written or additional writing that you have done for various publications. If you are able include links.
- Blog: Your blog is the main reason why people will revisit your website. You don’t want just one time visitors. You want to keep their attention, keep them coming back for more and your blog is the main reason people will do just that. Your blog is another way to stay in touch and interact with your fan base. It is an essential and vital aspect to your online presence.
- Your Twitter or Facebook Feed: We will get into Twitter and Facebook in a minute but having either feed (you don’t necessarily need both) on your website is a great way to grab their “like” or “follow” directly from your website. We prefer the Twitter interface for websites but it’s your call.
- Contact: Give fans a way to either contact you or someone from your team. If you don’t want to have an email address featured on the website you can have fans fill out a form that will be delivered directly to your inbox.
- Store: Giving fans a way to purchase your book or other products is incredibly important. Even if it directs them to another online store, showing them WHERE they can purchase your book is key.
- Newsletter Sign-Up: Doing a monthly newsletter is another way to stay in touch with your fan base. Having a sign-up form on your website is a great way to build your database.
- Sample Chapters: Giving fans a taste of your writing or what your book is about is another important aspect to feature on your website. Get them hooked!
If you are new to social media and need to ease into the social media world, I would strongly suggest you creating a Twitter account. It is easy set-up and a great way to start interacting with your audience. There are some excellent blogs that you can follow to find out more about Twitter but we will also offer “How to set up Twitter” in another blog post.
If you are feeling comfortable with Twitter I would suggest you add a Facebook Author page to your social media. The great thing is that you can connect your Twitter feed to your Facebook page so it updates it directly. The key is that it isn’t just enough to have these pages online. You need to be an active participant. It’s like tending to a garden. Your plants won’t grow if you just plop the seeds into the ground and let them fend for themselves. You have to water it, weed it, feed it, and manage it in order to get a beautiful crop. Same goes with social media.
GoodReads is where readers go to discover new books, interact with the authors, and oh so much more. It’s an awesome resource that EVERY author should be a part of. It’s an outlet FOR readers! What could be more perfect than that?!? A captive audience of over 5 million book lovers...excellent!
I know I mentioned this in the website section, but it needs to be said again: blogging is KEY to your online presence. But even more important than that is being consistent with your blogs, creating quality content, and sticking to your core message. This isn’t just another way for you to talk about yourself. Share information, how-tos, links to other blogs, etc., to keep your readers engaged.
I know this might feel a bit overwhelming but I promise you that you will get used to it (hey, you might even enjoy it!) and you will see results. You just need to make it a habit, which means it will come naturally before you know it.
QUESTION: What has been holding you back from jumping into the social media world?
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