Growing A Web Presence
Much is made over developing “a platform” these days. By “platform,” marketers mean a body of people who are interested enough in an author’s work to run out and buy the book on the day of release, thus securing a good launch and a likelihood that more books will be forthcoming from that author.
Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?
But how does an author accomplish this? The standard answer is to “brand” ourselves and have a vibrant “web presence.” This used to mean a website, but now it’s expanded to include blogging and social media. However, since an author’s main job is to make things up and craft engaging stories, I have to wonder how much time on the web is too much.
And how does the reading public perceive the way authors reach out to them on the internet? Do we come across as needy? (“Friend me!” “Like me!” “Read my blog!”) Or are we simply making ourselves available to readers who are interested in the type of books we write and want more background info? Are we offering help to other writers in our reaching out or are we so self-focused people will stay away in droves?
Another marketing catch-phrase is “point of difference.” If we do what everyone else is doing, how do we stand out? No one seems to know what causes a website, blog or book trailer to “go viral,” but when they do, it’s like marketing magic.
Unfortunately, I seem to have misplaced my wand.
So I fall back on the one thing I can control: my writing. I have to believe if I write an engaging tale that moves a reader, they’ll tell their friends about it.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not open to suggestions on how to develop a more effective “web presence.” I have a placeholder website now. It’s functional, as far as I can tell, but I’ve engaged WaxCreative to design a beautiful one for me. We’re still in the preliminary stages, so if you have suggestions about what you like to see on an author’s website, I’m all ears.
So, I’m working on the web presence. I’m doing less well on the “branding” part. My books are a commodity, but I am not. I’m a person who writes, not a brand. When I’m online, I want readers to realize there’s a person on the other end of all the ones and zeroes, not a box of cornflakes. One of the the things I truly love about blogging is that unlike my books, this is a chance for a two sided conversation.
I know there are some savvy marketers out there. I welcome your suggestions. And I’d also love to hear what readers think about how authors come across online.
Ok, it’s your turn to talk. ;-)