A web presence is your reach beyond the realtime world into cybersphere. Why is a web presence so important for today’s writers?
- 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, 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 marketing your own 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 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.
- 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:
- Red Hot Internet Publicity: An Insider’s Guide to Promoting Your Book on the Internet!
- The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won’t
- We Are Not Alone: Writer’s Guide to Social Media, by Kristen Lamb (review coming soon–so far it’s great)
In my case, here’s what I do on the web:
- I host several blogs, this one on writing; one on my field of interest and a few more
- I contribute weekly columns to ezines, e-newspapers, PLNs, Nings, 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 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!