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Writers Tip #48: Have a Web Presence

writers tips

Why writers need a web presence

When you read your story, does it sound off, maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know you’ve done something wrong? Sometimes–maybe even lots of times–there are simple fixes. These writer’s tips will come at you once a week, giving you plenty of time to go through your story and make the adjustments.

Today’s tip: Writers must have a web presence.

A web presence is your reach beyond the realtime world into cybersphere. Why is a web presence so important for today’s writers? Here are three reasons:

  • If you have a contract with a publisher, s/he is too busy marketing books for popular, well-known authors to worry about you. That means sales and marketing is up to you. The worst situation I can imagine is after you give away the rights to your baby (maybe you sold them–no matter the price, it doesn’t compensate for the hours or years of labor that went into writing your book), the guy who bought them (the publisher) allows your story to languish–selling a couple of books a month. That’s not uncommon. The only way to fix that is you marketing your books.
  • If you’re self-published, you are the go-to guy/gal for marketing your novel. You can attend conferences, give speeches, have book signings, but another tried-and-true method that can reach exponentially more potential buyers is the internet. More on that later.
  • If you’re in between–sending queries out seeking an agent, trying to attract the attention of the person who will love your writing as you do–what better way than for them to see how well you write and how many people follow you. Today’s agents want to see your web presence as a precursor to giving you a chance. It helps them decide how serious you are as a writer.

There are many ways to make your presence known on the internet:

  • A blog showcases your writing skills and allows you to interact with readers and potential readers. It gets them excited about your writing so they spread the word and you go viral (I’m still waiting on that step).
  • A website on your book (or a page on your publisher’s website) tells readers everything you want them to know about your book, including the location of your blog, twitter account, Facebook. The downside is it’s static. Readers can’t  ask questions and you can’t respond to a trend or personalize it to the uniqueness of individual readers.
  • A Twitter account gets you out there in real time, chatting with readers as well as other writers, spreading your good word in a personal, down-to-earth way that appeals to many. Each tweet is a quick insight to your readers, having a mandatory limit of 140 characters.
  • A Facebook account is similar, but has more depth. You can post pictures, blogs, other reader comments.

There are a few books to help you through the steps required to get live on the internet:

In my case, here’s what I do on the web:

  • I host several blogs, WordDreams on writing and one on my field of interest and a few more
  • I contribute weekly columns to several ezines, online newspapers, blogs, to reach people my blogs don’t
  • I have a Twitter account, a Facebook account, a LinkedIn account (a discussion for a later post) and a few more aggregators and social media personalized to my interests
  • I have seven marketing outlets for my books, most with their own ‘about the author’ page
  • I have a Goodreads account, highlighting my writing expertise

I’ve gone on a bit too long, but I want to motivate you to set up a web presence. Now get going!

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7 thoughts on “Writers Tip #48: Have a Web Presence

  1. Pingback: New Column: Tech Tips for Writers « Jacqui Murray's WordDreams…

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  4. If you are forcing me to pick, I’d say take those three that inspire you to socialize on the web. For me, that’s blogging, Twitter and LinkedIn. The communities I participate in via those three are worth hundreds of visitors to my website or lurkers on my blog. That old adage–people do business with friends–is true.

    Don’t get me wrong–I realize these casual relationships aren’t like my realtime friends who have lunch with me at work and drop by on weekends. But, my online friends–like you–bring me a closeness that is important in my writer’s life be it business or personal. I am a bit of a recluse due to the nature of my avocation. Writing is a solitary profession more so than others.

    For you, the top three might be something else, but I’d suggest you pick the three that allow you to interact.


  5. Hi, Jacqui: Great tips. Just a point to show how they are all connected: I posted a blog entry about writer’s etiquette online, then tweeted my post. Within an hour, a bestselling author contacted me about the post, thanked me for addressing something he needed to learn, and ended up sending me a copy of his latest book. People DO read your posts, your tweets, and your status updates. They may not always respond or leave a comment, but they’re reading. We need to write every post like it is going to be shared among the masses…


    • Well isn’t that the dream response. How wonderful for you. And you’ve made a great point that can’t be emphasized enough. We must always polish our writing, always proof read before pushing ‘publish’, never post something in draft form because we don’t know who’s reading it. That is one factor I’ve noticed that differentiates successful online writing from other (says she who called you ‘jason’ not sixty minutes ago).

      Thanks for dropping by. Looking forward to writing with you.


  6. Hi Jacqui,

    Great advice as usual. But I’m a bit time challenged these days, what would be your top three MUST Do tactics? I figure if I pick these off one at a time I won’t feel so overwhelmed. Thanks…CG

    Now I must go and sell some color in Jakarta 🙂


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