Tuesday, May 03, 2011
COLUMN: Are You On The Net
Online Promotion Part III
#2 Do you own a site or blog?
You have your email address, and your signature. Now you need a website or blog.
I highly recommend if you can fit it into your budget, to get your own site, with your name as the domain name. This makes it so easy for readers to type in your name.com to find you, the easier for them to remember, the easier for them to return.
The website is the best way to start your online promotion. This is a place you can showcase your writing articles, short stories and excerpts of your books.
A lot of writers are using blogs as their homebase because they are more interactive. I suggest you choose which one works for you and fits into your schedule. If you’re not going to make time to update a blog, weekly or monthly, then the website is best for you, because you can update monthly or once a year, depends on how your books are released.
Your website/blog is a perfect place for introducing you and your books to potential readers. The object of your website is to keep the readers coming back. By offering different features, you're sure to bring the readers back.
CONTACT ME is one of the most important features on the site. You won't believe how many authors don't have a contact me link. Not having a contact page is a sure way to miss out on a new fan or someone interested in inviting you to speak or attend an event.
You always want a link to how to get in touch with you, snail mail and email.
I recommend you have a separate email just for this link. When you check it, you know it's from someone who visited your site.
An introduction of you, and why you write is a must for any site. You might want to add a picture, so your fans can see what you look like.
Articles are a good way to show readers you can write. It also can be used as a tool to teach others from your experiences.
You can offer a different article each month (bring the reader back) or feature three or four that stay on your site.
Another way to keep your fans updated on what's happening with your writing career is through a newsletter. In the newsletter you want to feature all the current events that's happening in your career.
Many authors feature online press kits. It's a quick way for the media and fans to get information about the author and their books.
Forums are another great way to communicate with your readers. They can post message and to their surprise you can answer them. This is an excellent tool to get feedback on your books.
Have a place for your site visitors to make comments about the site. Ask them to sign your guestbook. This is another good way to get feedback and to meet your readers.
EMAIL MAILING LIST
Have a link on your site for those visitors who want to keep up with what's happening with their favorite author. This is an opt-in option. Readers sign themselves up.
Chat rooms are another way to communicate with your readers. You can host monthly chats and see your readership build.
You can use your site or the chat room to host workshops. On the site, they can be articles you post weekly or monthly (remember you're trying to bring the readers back).
Always have a page that features your books and a way for readers to purchase them, either from you (autographed of course) or through an online store. Visitors always want to buy the book after reading an excerpt. You want them to buy your book, so don't forget to offer them a chance to.
You might want to add a counter to see how many hits your site is getting.
The resource page is a page that features links to other sites.
WEB SITE/BLOG PROMOTION
Now you have your website/blog and you're wondering how do I let people know about it?
There are different ways to do this:
Signature - add your link to your signature.
Business cards - add your web site address to your business cards.
Email/database - inform your friends, and family members about your new site. Invite them to visit.
Search Engines - list your site in the top search engines.
Link your site to other sites
Link your site to online directories.
Write articles and include your website link in your bio.
In my learning about promotion, I was introduced to a writer who created a course on web page promotion. It is such a good course that I decided it was best to give you the link to her site than try to duplicate what she's said.
You have your website/blog, now you want to know what to do next?
You can wait and see how many people find you on their own, or you can invite them to your site.
How do you invite them you're wondering?
By hosting a few activities: chats, workshops and contests.
You can host a chat and talk about - u
pcoming releases, writing techniques, favorite characters, great
pcoming releases, writing techniques, favorite characters, great
loves scenes etc.
Maybe your book's theme is about something you think you're readers would be interested in discussing. The chat room could be used for this discussion.
You can use your site or the chat room to host workshops. You can host live workshops on topics you think your readers would be interested in. Or you can host a workshop using articles. You can post a different article daily or weekly that discusses a specific topic. This can be very interactive if you're using a blog.
Let's start with contests. Contests are a great way to bring people to your site. Everybody loves to win something.
Feature a contest each month and you'll have visitors every month.
Before you host a contest decide what you want from your visitor. This will determine what you do and how often you do it.
1. Are you trying to build up your data base?
2. Are you trying to introduce new people to your book?
3. Are you just trying to have people visit and know you exist?
BUILDING UP YOUR DATA BASE
For this contest you want a prize to bring the people to the site, and a form for them to fill out for the contest. (Make sure you let them know what they are signing up for)
Set up a time frame for how long your contest will run.
Always include a disclaimer note, that you're not collecting addresses to sell.
If you don't have a form system on your site, do a search and find a few free sites that offer easy to use forms.
INTRODUCING YOUR BOOK
Give everyone who signs up for the contest an excerpt of the new book.
What you give as a prize will depend on your budget.
• An autograph book
• A theme goody filled basket
• A trip
• Gift certificates
Freebies are another way to draw readers to your site. You can give away:
• Book excerpts
Remember promotion is what you make of it. If you don’t tell anyone about your site don’t expect to have many visitors. Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they will come. Tell people about your site and they’ll tell people and they’ll tell people.
Leave your website or blog address in the comments section, so we can visit you.
Next month we will break down more of these questions to help you continue to build your plan.
Can’t wait to next month, contact me –firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m available for private online promotion coaching.
I’ll see you on the net.
LaShaunda C. Hoffman
LaShaunda is the creator of SORMAG – Shades Of Romance Magazine. She has 11 years of experience on online promotion, most she learned from trial and error. She has taught workshops on online promotion and is available for private online promotion coaching.
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I'm also a happily married mother of three who's trying to break into the Christian writing field. The writing road can be rocky.
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