Even kitty’s head is spinning…
Since deciding I wanted to self-publish my novel, I have:
- Bought a domain name and started blogging on my website
- Created a Twitter and added many writers/agents/editors in the publishing industry.
- Grown a list of blogs and websites that I frequently comment on. This is a great way to bring traffic to your site.
- Began submitting guest posts to popular blogs for consideration, another great way to bring traffic to your site.
- Started an Instagram account that is linked to my Twitter and Facebook pages (when I post on there it automatically posts on the other two as well).
- Made a “business page” on Facebook as an author.
- Created a Google+ account.
And that isn’t even everything you can do! I know it’s overwhelming, and I’ll share some tips about which ones I’ve heard are the best to focus most of your energy on. If you don’t love social media, that’s fine. Just select one or two of these mediums to make some friends and promote yourself as an author, and more importantly, as a person. Nowadays, readers want to know the author. What did you eat for breakfast? Where are you visiting for vacation? What book are you currently reading? What interesting things are you doing?
Since making your website is the most important facet to building an author platform, I have focused the entirety of this post on it. Also, the post grew insanely long so I had to split them up.
1) Buy a domain name and start blogging.
Some may argue that you don’t need to purchase a name for your site, and many don’t. I’ve come across dozens of blogs that say .wordpress and .blogspot at the end. That is fine. However, from what I have read in books like the 2014 Guide to Self-Publishing by Writer’s Digest, having an exclusive web address seems more legitimate. It seems professional, like you are serious about being an author. I blog and host my website through Weebly.com. It cost me $20 for the address name per year, and $3 a month to host with them. This varies for some websites, but it’s in that ballpark. A worthwhile investment, if you ask me.
Once you’ve made your blog, then you need to start blogging. This can be difficult for people, and it still is for me. What is there to talk about that someone else hasn’t already discussed?
Well, the answer is this: Nothing.
Yep. Every time I write a blog post I inevitably find a similar/same one written by another author on their blog, usually the next day. Some people are more creative than others, with a real knack for thinking about unique topics, or delving into their “tips for writing,” but it can take a lot of time—time that should be spent writing your next book.
The thing you do have that sets you apart from any other writer out there is your life. Your experiences, your home, your animals, your hobbies, your writing area, your writing style, your writing tips.
“Well, who’s going to care that my dog Jellybean likes to curl up on my feet while I write, Ashley?”
Good question. Maybe if that post has to do with something meaningful, like “When Jellybean sits on my feet, it warms them, and the warmth goes up to my brain and makes me reaaaaallly creative. I find that being warm always makes it easier for me to write, you should try it!”
Make the post meaningful; something useful to other writers or readers in general, and something that has your personal voice and mark on it.
Also, create a posting schedule and stick to it. Whether you want to post once or twice a week, twice a month, every day—actually, don’t do that, those who subscribe to your blog will hate you for bogging up their email—it’s important that your readers can count on your posts. Not only does it keep you diligent in writing them (because trust me, there will be days the last thing you want to do is write a blog post), but readers build a trust in you. They trust you as a writer, and as a person, which will translate in them trusting you as an author and what you are creating for them. Being a shoddy, unreliable blogger can translate into seeming like a shoddy, unreliable author; someone who might not actually publish the book by the projected release date, or not thoroughly edit the material. Which leads me to my next point:
Everything you do, write, and say is a reflection of your work and who you are as an author.
That means that your blog posts should be well-written. You don’t have to hire an editor for them, but re-read them. I have posted some blogs and glanced at them later to find glaring grammatical errors. This isn’t a good look for you, because anyone could be reading those posts. A potential literary agent could be looking at those posts, which may be important if you decide to pursue traditional publishing. Don’t stress about it, but make it look good.
Same thing goes for your Tweets, Facebook updates, etc. Show your personality through your comments, and make sure they’re spelled correctly.
Next post I’ll discuss the other mediums of social media to explore.
Until then, keep writing and keep dreaming!
For more information on Ashley R. Carlson, see “About the Author” below and find her dilly-dallying at her:
Midnight Publishing offers skilled and affordable media architects for manuscript editing, self-publishing consultation and guidance, and author marketing. The ultimate role of the editor is to help the author connect with the reader. A good editor enhances that connection, providing another eye and view for the author. Our editors are artists of language, grammar, and the mechanics that help a manuscript take the journey from ordinary to great. Midnight Publishing also offers self-publishing consultation, query letter editing, graphic and web site design, business copy writing and editing, and more.
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