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.