The process of writing and publishing a book is no romantic snowy walk in the park. It takes tenacity, dedication, persistence and yes, some planning; even by those who claim to write by the seat of their pants.
Publishing a book for the first time, while eliciting a euphoric feeling of accomplishment, isn’t the end destination. In order to impress readers, book reviewers, podcasters, and other media personnel (aka your potential author platform) you need to make the best use of these 5 online tools. (This is where that planning comes in.)
1. You need a website
A website is like a home base. Your home base. Where you, the author, can display all your published works, awards and accomplishments, your blog—any and all information necessary so readers from everywhere can find out more about you. And you really, really want readers to find out more about you. In this social-media driven era, readers want to know who they’re reading. Reviewers want to know who is behind the books they’re being asked to review. Also, if you have won awards, you need to tell people. Use that to your advantage. Do not make it difficult for online media personnel to find you. You are liable to miss out on great opportunities if no one can find you online.
You don’t even need to pay for one right away, although you should think about investing in your own domain if you plan to be a long-term published author. Domains are typically charged at an annual, 2 year or 3 year rate. But if you want to create a free WordPress site, it’s actually pretty easy. You won’t have your own domain name, but at least you’ll have a home base to call your own.
2. You need an Amazon author central profile.
This is not the same as a personal website, but when the author has no website, this is the next thing I look for at least, when I’m trying to find out more about an author. The most useful thing about an Amazon author central profile: when someone clicks on your ‘author’ name, they’ll be immediately taken to a list of all of your published works available Amazon. No more need to search for the next book in a series, or the previous book, etc. Now I can peruse all their books. And maybe, perchance buy one.
That is what you want.
When an author does not claim their Amazon author profile, clicking on the author name brings up some of the author’s books, along with multiple other recommended titles in the same categories. That’s not exactly what you want.
If you’ve not claimed your book on Amazon yet, here’s how.
3. Claim your Goodreads Author Profile
The same goes for Goodreads. Once your book is live on Amazon (pre-order) it’s automatically linked to Goodreads. All you have to do is claim it. Be sure to keep your author profile updated with your bio, author photo and whatever else you see fit. Readers love Goodreads. They stalk Goodreads. Lists upon lists upon lists are created. You as an author need to use Goodreads to your advantage. One such advantage includes: no ‘spending’ limit for reviewers to post reviews. And reviews aren’t removed frivolously as they seem to be sometimes on ‘cough’ other review sites. You can follow readers and authors; they can follow you. All this is very handy if you want to get to know your audience.
If you’ve not become a Goodreads author and claimed your book, here’s how.
4. You should consider sending out Newsletters.
I mention this because in all the research I’ve done over the last 4 years, this particular necessity for authors pops up over and over and over again. There are Webinars all over the internet dedicated to this aspect of building a platform. Social media followers aren’t guaranteed. Social media algorithms are ever-changing. While I wish I could see every post by my favorite authors, I don’t and sometimes I miss great sales, or giveaways.
Newsletters are a stable means of communication between you and your audience. Is it hard to build a following? Yes. Can followers unsubscribe? Of course. But while you have them, you can talk to them as much as you want about book news. Sales, giveaways, new releases. Without an algorithm getting in the way of your valuable important information.
It does not need to be monthly. Many authors send out newsletters quarterly.
You can always google Best Newsletter platforms, but the one I use is Sendinblue because, for free, you get the most bang for your ($0) buck.
5. Social media presence
If you’re reading this, possibly you already have social media presence. I mention this because there are those authors who don’t. New authors need to have some kind of social media presence. A Facebook page, a Facebook group. Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest are nice too, but Facebook is easiest to navigate and use to your advantage. That is a post for another day.
My recommendations: don’t create every account and attempt to run them all at the same time if you’re not familiar with them. When I began writing, I joined Twitter, and gave myself a year and a half before I jumped on Instagram. They’re fun places to learn more about the authors or readers you love, but they’re also tools you can use to show people who you are and what you’re about. Readers love to connect with authors who are personable and who reveal something to them—without being pushy—that they’re interested in, be it a service or a book.
Lastly, look for a good social media manager. They can be helpful if you’re extremely busy and don’t surf your phone/tablet/computer constantly.
Do you need to use every social media platforms available? Nope, there are those who are only on one or two. Nevertheless, I encourage you to think outside the box. Open yourself up to the readers—your audience—around you.
There you have it. 5 tools you can use to help build your audience. Utilizing these strategies will increase you—and your book(s)—visibility online, which is most important.
Can you think of any other online tools you might use to help reach out and get to know your audience?
About Sara Beth Williams
Sara Beth Williams is a wife, mother of two daughters, and temporary caretaker of a lovable old lady pit and a spunky Pomeranian-Shih Tzu mix. She lives in Northern California. When she’s not held hostage by the keyboard, she enjoys music, teaching, reading and spending time with her family. She is all about connecting with readers! Her first two books are available on Amazon.
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