TechnoMarketing for Writers

Today, I want to talk about technology and marketing, but first, it’s time to announce the results from last week’s book giveaway. And the WINNER is…Esther Bradley-deTally! Thank you everyone for your comments and your help spreading the word about Penny Blubaugh’s new book and congratulations Esther!

Now back to a word or two (or six hundred) from L.B….

As soon as LEAGUE OF STRAYS sold, I launched into the frightening and overwhelming world of marketing. To me, this meant a website. I thought I’d get a head start, but when I looked around, I was shocked to see how many other debut authors already had websites. How could I be behind already? (Note: Try not to waste time comparing yourself to others. It’s a no-win situation.)

It didn’t take me long to learn that creating a website, even from a template, was too much for my techno-challenged brain. After much searching, I found a web designer and paid him with an advance from my advance. After all, I’d always heard that you should put some of the money you earn from a career right back into it to grow the business.

Having a website has been an amazing experience, but it’s also sparked an onslaught of new questions (and to-do lists.) Growing website traffic is an art unto itself.  I’m still new to this… (if my website was a baby, it wouldn’t even be old enough to smile yet, I keep reminding myself)…but I thought I’d share some interesting, albeit random, facts I’ve learned about website promotion to help you out when you take the leap.

  • Websites have to be more than just an advertisement for an upcoming book. It should offer value for the reader beyond learning about her favorite author as a child.
  • According to Inbound Internet Marketing, businesses that blog claim a 55 percent higher readership than those that don’t.
  • Here’s a few great ways to build web traffic: Figure out how to use an RSS feed to update subscribed readers when new content is added to your website. Most of us are too busy to remember to go back and check out a website we liked, much less even remember the URL. Also, add Twitter or Facebook buttons on your blog so readers can easily re-tweet, for example, if they like what they’ve read. (Both of these are, gulp, on my to-do list.)
  • Create a number of articles or blogs that are at least 600 words long. Offering substantive information is the best way to earn loyal readership.
  • Once you have a decent site with some good content, visit other blogs and leave meaningful comments. This not only helps those bloggers, but it also allows you to include your website link, which will hopefully encourage new readers to visit your site.
  • While it’s been shown that author websites, by themselves, are not very effective in selling books, it’s your calling card to do additional marketing such as asking other bloggers to review your books or announcing when your next book will be coming out or generating buzz by reminding readers who you are every time you add awesome new content to your site.

There’s still an unbelievable amount for me to learn. I mean, what exactly is a blog tour? Should I branch out to vlogs? And what exactly is vlog, anyway? (I think it’s an in-person blog on youtube, but when I get to it on my to-do list, I’ll let you know.)

The reality is that publishers’ marketing budgets have been slashed. It’s up to authors to take up the slack, even though we may need to learn the nebulous rules of Self-Censorship as J. Anderson Coats discussed, followed by more thoughts on the subject from Mike Jung.

I believe that self-promotion is part of the journey that debut authors, and those working toward becoming a debut writer, must travel if they intend to take their career seriously. Oh, yeah, and you know what else I’ve found out? It’s actually a lot of fun.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “TechnoMarketing for Writers

  1. J. Anderson Coats

    If you plan to vlog, you’re braver than I am! I plan to film scenes from my WIP using a Playmobil castle. That should count, right?

    Like

    • Lynda Mullaly Hunt

      HA! This is hilarious, J.! I think you *should* do it!

      I don’t see myself signing up for vlog any time soon. But, then again, I remember a time when I wasn’t into blogging either. 😉

      Like

  2. Lynda Mullaly Hunt

    Hey, Lisa!

    Thanks for this excellent post on social media. I learned some things, I have to say. What the heck can I say in addition to all of your wonderful info? Perhaps my Wednesday follow-up will be about gardening…

    Lynda

    Like

  3. L.B. Schulman

    Gardening and writing work well together, Lynda. For one thing, unlike all this technobabble, gardening actually relaxes the writer, which lets the muse in. I could use a little time away from social media right now actually!

    Like

  4. Lots of great info here. I have a blog but no website. I keep thinking I’ll wait until I have a book contract for that, but now I’m not so sure…

    Like

    • It will be fine if you decide to wait, but it’s worth thinking about, Julie. There are solid reasons to consider doing it now. On one hand, I remember a time long ago when I had another website but I couldn’t figure out how to update it. For awhile, I put my link in my query letters to agents, and the one thing I remember is how they would write back that they looked at the site. I think that some publishers and agents may be impressed by a web presence because it tells them that you are willing to self-promote. And the other thing, there is so much you can do with a writing website besides promote your book so it’s not like that’s the only purpose. On mine, most of the content is links out to cool writing sites or interviews I’ve done with authors, and you don’t have to be published to do that. Plus, traffic takes a long time to increase so it would be nice for you to have a “fan” base even before you sell something. I’d sure like to have agents or publishers weigh in on this, so if you guys are out there, can you throw a few opinions on the table?

      Like

  5. Natalie Dias Lorenzi

    L.B., you diva, you! I LOVE the vlog photo shoot. 🙂 You should totally do it. Then you could come back here and tell us how it’s done, like you’ve done with this website info. Please?
    🙂

    Like

    • L.B. Schulman

      Ah, Natalie, I want to save that cool blog for YOU. You are much more photographic, anyway. Didn’t you see my hair in the top photo? I might scare away people.

      Like

  6. Great post, L.B.

    I spent the time between the “we’re going to make an offer” and the “here’s the offer” moments working on my online presence. Like you, I didn’t have an online presence, because I felt like having a website and blog without a book didn’t really make sense. On the other hand, I do know plenty of people who have used their online platforms to make contacts and become well grounded in the online community long before the book sells, so I think you can be successful either way.

    I think choices about what social media to use definitely have to be fitted to the individual. While I love some of the vlogs out there, like John Green’s for example, I really don’t think I could be successful at it. Let’s just say the camera and I do not love each other.

    A big part of my choice to do this group blog rather than an individual one is that I wasn’t sure I wanted to make a weekly commitment to posting on a blog. This was a way to step into blogging and to be able to offer weekly content without having so much individual commitment.

    Like

  7. Pingback: Why Did the Monkey Cross the Road? Because the Other Side Had Paperback and Foreign Rights | EMU's Debuts

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