A blog is a great way to include a lot of in-depth information about both yourself and your book. Readers and potential readers will visit your blog looking for excerpts of your book, or more of your personal writings.
- Wordpress is very industry-standard, and widely used. It is user-friendly and offers great stats as to counts on visitors, location of visitors, and when your page has been shared and by whom.
- Blogpress is more customizable, especially if you’re looking to create more dynamic layouts, and includes the stats.
- Tumblr is incredibly user-friendly, and very little to no HTML knowledge required. Tumblr offers stats, which only cover followers instead of hits from general visitors. Tumblr also offers “notes,” which show how many times a post has been liked or shared, and posts can be re-blogged by your followers. Visiting each page and taking a virtual tour can give you a better idea of which platform is right for you.
Creating a Website
Do I Need a Website?
Yes! While you may already have (or will soon have) a presence on social media platforms, we recommend that you invest in creating and maintaining a dedicated website. This will serve as your central destination to host all your social media links in addition to sharing news about you and your book. You can also use your website to gather e-mail addresses of people who might be interested in your book to build a virtual mailing list for promotions, events, and updates.
Registering a URL
The first thing you should do is check to see if your desired URL is available. Your URL should be relatively short in length and easy to remember. If it’s available, a variation of your name is ideal. You can also use your book title, but you want to make sure it’s an evergreen destination that makes sense if you continue to write more books. There are several services that, for a minimal fee, can help you register your URL—GoDaddy (http://www.godaddy.com) is a popular resource to do this.
A basic layout for an author website might include a homepage; a page dedicated to your book that would include the book cover, description, testimonials, pre-order and buying information, a schedule of events; a bio page featuring your author photo and biography, links to past articles, stories, or features; and a contact page with your e-mail and links to your social media pages. Makes sure it’s a clean design and easy to navigate.
Website and Blog Design Resources
A more customized website can help present a creative and professional “online calling card” to readers. If you are interested in building a website for yourself or you would like your blog to feature custom graphics or a more intense design beyond the templates these platform offers, we are happy to recommend freelance designers whom we or our clients have worked with in the past. Rates will vary depending on the scope of the project.
- Book Section: Include an image of the book, a brief synopsis, and order buttons linking to the major online retailers (Amazon, B&N, BAM).
- Author Bio
- Testimonials/Endorsements: Highlight advance praise for the book.
- Media/Press: Includes contact info for press inquiries and links to recent coverage (previous coverage can be categorized by media type as the list grows - TV, radio/podcasts, articles, etc.).
- Contact: You can use a single contact form or provide separate emails for media inquiries, speaking opportunities and general questions.
- Social Media Links: LinkedIn, Twitter, FB, etc. Where no personal account exists, we suggest linking to your corporate accounts.
- Blog: A blog can help portray an author as a thought leader/influencer.
- Speaking/Appearances: This section often includes a brief pitch, video examples, endorsements from previous engagements, potential topics, and contact info.
- Video Intro: Video content can be a powerful way to introduce a book website.
- Book Excerpts: Excerpts can be implemented in several ways. They can be posted on a blog, included within the book section, or sent via email to incentivize users to subscribe to a mailing list.
- Email Sign Up Form: MailChimp provides an easy solution for adding a signup form to your website
- Google Analytics
- Amazon Affiliate Program: When linking users from the website to your Amazon book page we recommend using Amazon Affiliate links to track purchases and earn Amazon advertising fees.
Personal Page vs. Fan Page: If you don’t already have a personal Facebook account you will need to set one up to create and manage your Facebook Fan Page at http://www.facebook.com. You can elect to maximize the privacy settings on your personal accounts and use it only to manage your Fan Page, or you can run both pages in tandem. Once you have a Fan Page, you can make your page a true personal page and only accept Friend requests from people you know and use your Fan Page as your public-facing Facebook presence.
Author Page vs. Book Page: Before you create your Fan Page you’ll need to decide whether it should be named after you, your book, or both. Once you have over 100 fans you cannot change the name of your Fan Page, so it’s important to decide in advance. Generally, we recommend that you name the page after yourself—this way, you won’t need to reinvent your Facebook presence with your next project, or manage multiple pages. If you do want to name your page after the book, we recommend you also use your name, i.e. Author Name – “Title of Book” Having both your name and title will help users find your page whether they search for you or the book.
Creating Your Fan Page: If you’d like to keep your personal page and create a Fan Page, go to http://www.facebook.com/pages and follow the steps. You’ll want the category of your page to be Author or Book depending on the situation. If you’d like to replace your personal page with a Fan Page, Facebook now allows you to transfer your current friends and automatically make them fans. Learn more at http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php?migrate, but be sure to review how the changeover will affect your personal page.
Custom URL: Once you have a minimum of 25 followers, you can create a custom URL for your page. i.e. www.facebook.com/authorname. Go to http://www.facebook.com/username to see if the name you’d like is available. Note that you cannot change this once you’ve set it up. Having a custom URL for your page is helpful in easily directing to people to your page via e-mail.
Fan Page Basics: You’ll have various Information fields available to you based on the categorization of your page (Author vs. Book). Fill these out as desired. In addition to Information, the basics of your page will be your Wall, where you will post updates and track comments, and Photos, where you will create albums to catalog photo uploads. One of the key advantages of having a Fan Page is the ability to use iFrames on your page to host customized graphics. There are free apps available on Facebook to help you utilize this feature, including Static HTML: iFrame Tabs (http://apps.facebook.com/static_html_plus/). We often customize Fan Pages to include a tab devoted to your book and include information such as where to pre-order or purchase your book, advance quotes, book description, and more. Mastering iFrames can be a little daunting if you’re not familiar with the application, but we can help you get your page up and running.
Updating Your Fan Page: You should be active on your page at least a few times a week. Updates on your Fan Page should be a balance of book-related news rounded out with as much personal information as your comfortable sharing. Updates can include links to videos, stories, or posts that you find interesting or that are related to you or your books. One of the most popular features of Facebook is the ability to share photos. You can create photo albums to catalog book research trips, pictures of your home library, or even your cat. An important part of the Facebook experience involves interacting with your readers, so we encourage you to respond to readers’ comments or questions.
Promoting Your Page: Now that you have this fantastic new Fan Page, you need to get the word out. You can “share” your new page via Facebook Wall posts on your personal page and using the “Build Audience” button via your new Fan Page to invite friends and contacts to like your page. If you already have a blog or website, you’ll also want to link to your Facebook pages—using the official and easily recognizable icons of each platform is suggested.
Privacy: Who can view your account, how much information you share, how much of your information is shared with others--is a hot topic with Facebook. You can customize your Privacy Settings on your personal account, but if you’re using a Fan Page, you’ll want to make it easy to find and interact with.
- Tweet regularly, openly and accurately.
- Follow people
- Find your following: Retweet, Reply and React.
- Consider mentioning other users by their Twitter username (preceded by the @ sign -- @MEDIACONNECT) in your Tweets. This can help you think of what to write, will draw more eyes to your message, and can even start a new conversation.
- Use Hashtags
- Tweet photos too!
- Keep track of Twitter talk.
- Post great content:
- Be an Informer. Aim for information sharing posts over self-promotion. Informers (users who share useful information) have 2x the followers of users who post updates relating mostly to themselves). On Twitter aim for 60% to 80% of your overall posts to contain links to generate the highest percent of Retweets.
- Use images. Tweets using pic.twitter.com are 99% more likely to be retweeted.
- Give things away. 52% of users follow a brand for special offers or promotions. Create special offers, promotions, freebies, and exclusive content.
- Post milestones. Posting words like “congratulations” that signal a milestone event in life or business increases engagement and post ranking. This includes awards, landmark trips, weddings, etc.
- Write a professional bio:
- Identify as an authority. Users who identify as an authority have above average follower counts. Proven authoritative titles include: Official, Founder, Speaker, Expert, Guru, and Author.
- Use hashtags:
- Cash in on daily trends: Tweets with between 1-2 hashtags have 2x the engagement of those without. Tweets that use more than 2 hashtags show a drop in engagement.
- Follow new users everyday
- Engage with others on the social platforms:
- Respond Quickly. 52% of people who Tweet your brand expect a response within one hour. If you don’t respond quickly, users are more likely to employ negative word-of-mouth or unfollow you. If you do respond in a timely manner users are more likely to buy, open your ads, and share your content.
- Reach out to influencers:
- Reach out to other thought leaders and feature 10 people on your blog. They will be happy to share your content with their readers.
- Stay active:
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