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Do you have a publisher or are you trying to get published? Are you struggling to gain awareness for your work? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need to grow your online presence and learn about author branding.
Authors need to grow their online presence because followers equal fans, which equal potential sales.
Having worked in the publishing industry, I know that publishers won’t consider your work if you don’t have the following available online:
- Notoriety – You need fans/followers to market to.
- Presence – Your profile needs to be available online.
- Skill – This may seem obvious, but you need to be a GOOD writer.
Why do you need these things?
Whether you have a small publisher or you’re an indie author, YOU will most likely be expected to help promote your own books.
Larger publishing houses may have more wiggle room with your online presence. But, it is hard enough to get a publisher’s attention in the first place, soooo…….
Writers Need Fans to Be Authors
It sounds backwards, but it’s just the way it works. Writers need to prove that they have readers who will buy their work if a publishing house will consider publishing your novel.
A publisher doesn’t want to waste time or money investing in an author who won’t be selling books.
As a previous editor and promoter for indie authors, I’ve learned quite a few things about the publishing industry. I’ve worked for an independent publisher, spoken to various authors, and worked with many indie authors.
Obviously, you need to be a good writer to gain fans. But, good writers still need the fans/followers to prove to agents and publishers that their work will sell. You need to commit to author branding.
What Makes An Online Presence
There are different means to use to establish an online presence, but any that you choose will involve conversing with people online and writing (that’s the easy part for writers).
- Social Media
- Small Publications (literary journals, magazines, etc.)
Social media platforms are free and simple ways to grow fans by simply talking about what you guys have in common: books, your genre, writing, inspirations, etc.
Neil Gaiman is a great example of an author who converses with his fans. He’s a big fan of Twitter and Instagram. However, you should find your own social media platform that you’re comfortable using.
Publishing with literary journals, magazines, or newspapers is a great way to Start gaining fans. Those publications also look good on your submission resume, and worth sharing with potential agents and publishers.
Literary journals, magazines, newspapers, etc. don’t usually care about a writer’s notoriety. They already have their own audience, so they just want your writing to be good enough for their publication.
Blogging is another way to communicate with potential fans. As a writer, you can easily share your musings on writing, maybe some short stories or poems, and definitely keep your readers informed with any updates on your books.
If your goal is to earn more sales for your books, you need fans. You can earn followers with dedication and consistency.
Build a Website Or Blog
I know, I know. You’re probably wondering why everyone and their mother (including my own) has to have their own website. Well, not everyone HAS to have a website, but you do if you’re an author trying to grow your profile and notoriety.
I caught on quickly from there and found that WordPress isn’t that much different from any other publisher. Now I’m a WordPress guru!
WordPress is meant to be a tame animal – little did I know… Self-hosting is a whole different beast to tackle.
Your own website doesn’t have to cost much, and some options are even free (though more limited). But, for SEO purposes, you NEED to own/self-host your own website if you want to get found.
When to Self-Host and Why
Are you in complete control of your website? Do you want your content to be FOUND on search engines?
Then you need to self-host your website.
Self-hosting provides complete freedom. If you’re a writer who wants to sell your books on your website, this is how you can.
I required a lot of help when it came to setting up my website, and that’s what the Help section is for.
WordPress recommends Bluehost, and is the most used host with the highest rating. Based on that, I made my choice.
It’s a highly satisfying feeling when you have ownership of your own material and own a live site that the world can see.
Be sure to check back often as I will continue updating this post with more helpful tips.
If you have any questions or need help expanding your online profile, let me know! I’m here to help you out.
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