bridge with sunflowersSome professional writers have a Facebook Page. Others use Twitter or Tumblr. Many non-fiction authors have a profile on LinkedIn. But every author needs a website under their own domain name.

“Why, oh why, must I also build a website and blog, too?” I often get this question from clients who seek publication of their book manuscripts. Here’s why.

You don’t own your own real estate on any of these other social media platforms. When Facebook changes its policy or practices you have no control over how that affects your electronic presence. Likewise with Twitter and Tumblr. LinkedIn and Facebook now have stockholders who eagerly await new measures to monetize these platforms so they’ll get a return on their investments. The real reason to use these other means for connecting and engaging with others is to drive traffic to your site by pulling them with your writing.

The nice thing about internet marketing of content is that you can pull readers instead of pushing your book. Many authors shy away from self-promotion because they fear becoming the used car salesman hawking HUGE deals with a megaphone.megaphone-clip-art-14

This broadcasting approach does not work in the blogosphere. Instead a writer needs to be true and authentic in their cyber-persona. And it is a lot easier to do that while you’re standing on solid ground. The website is an author’s homebase and provides the foundation for your book’s success. If you have accounts in social media, link them to your website and blog. You want to feed your blog to your LinkedIn account. And provide a link to your site in your Tweets, Tumblr posts and Facebook status updates. It is more important to drive traffic from Twitter or Facebook to your website than it is to feed your Tweets and Facebook updates to your website. Leverage one piece of writing grounded to a unique URL on your site across multiple social media sharing applications. This maximizes your exposure to new readers and wider distribution to those who connect with your words. Your publisher will want you to eventually work these social neural pathways to convert readers into customers of your book. Before you get a contract, a publisher wants to see your social media metrics. It’s one of the most frequent reasons a proposal is turned down: not a big enough platform to guarantee the costs of publishing the book will be covered by the sales revenues. Such rejections hurt literary souls, but such business decisions are made independent of the literary quality of an author’s manuscript.

People buy books because they like the author. The goal of your website is to create your author persona so that readers like you and will want to buy your book. So as you think strategically about your website, consider two very important questions.

1. What do you want your website to tell people?

2. What do you want it to say about you?

Your website will include a blog and this keeps your website fresh and easy to find in search engines. It’s also important to regularly update and review the other pages to your website. About the Author has your biographical profile and a good headshot, at the least. About the Book is your synopsis which you prepared for your book proposal. You may have a page that is a photo gallery, or media coverage, news and events or others specific to your book project. Perhaps you plan to include a short excerpt. If you are writing non-fiction and memoir, it is not recommended that you blog your book manuscript. Doing so is like giving your content away free. This makes it tough for a publisher to print for profit that which is available for free online.

Keep tabs on the author sites of books you list in your comparative title analysis. This will help you position and package your own book project in the online community of readers and writers. You’ll also observe your competitors’ social media marketing behaviors and learn what works and what doesn’t. And give yourself time to build a national platform; a year to 18 months before your publication date.

Your social media strategy should be specific and suitable to you, your book, and your audience. Swenson Book Development llc can help you find the right mix of traditional and digital marketing methods and practices to work for you.

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