Self-publishing from Scratch: Article 4

In Article 3 for Self-publishing from Scratch, I wrote about platforms. If you missed it, it’s here. All posts are organised under the drop-down menu above: Self-publishing / Self-publishing from Scratch.

Article 4 will focus on one particular platform: a professional website. Professional as, this is a business website, not a rant and rave page where I alienate readers on petty topics and post pictures of my weekend out with the boys, getting drunk and stuck in the mud.

Why Build a Website?

I’ve been asked this many times in the past ten years. It’s often followed by, “I already have an author Facebook page (or another social media presence); I don’t need a website.”

Yes, you do.

Remember, I’m giving this advice to my younger self, the one who wanted to self-publish her book back around 2006. Due to writing friends discouraging her from taking that step, saying it would “ruin” her career, she put off self-publishing until 2010 and by the time she had enough experience to do it well, she had missed the easy boat. By 2015, it was more difficult to get books noticed, and she swam in a sea with millions of other hopeful writers.

Let me throw this out there: she didn’t have a fiction writing career to ruin, and her friends’ advice was based on nothing more than their opinion, which they had gotten from traditionally-published writers, who looked down on those who took the reins and drove their own wagon. Perhaps they were fearful of doing it themselves.

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Which way do we direct traffic for the best long-term results?

the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes Diane McGyverWhile I’ve generally thought about this over the years, in the past two months, I’ve thought about it a lot.

  • In which direction do I direct traffic?
  • How many directions do I want that traffic to go?

We all have 24 hours in the day, and with busy lives – such as writing that next book – we want our time spent marketing our books to be efficient and effective. We get bonus points if we do one action for a book and it has a ripple effect for other times during the book’s life cycle and for our other books already published and books we will publish.

When it comes to book sales, when books are reduced to entice readers to buy, obviously, we want to direct traffic to the sale page, be that Amazon or another vender, so a click or two later, the book is sold.

But what about other times, when we want to do a simple share of the book and/or its information with the hope of someone buying it? And what about times we want potential readers to learn more about what we do and what we write in general with the hope they will one day buy a book?

This has me thinking long and hard about the many websites appearing in my radar these days.

For example, when I placed a promotional ad for Northern Survival with Awesome Gang (See warning about this site on my Promotional Sites page), the operators of this site suggested I complete an interview and share it with my readers to help promote the book.

After I submitted the interview, I asked myself: Why would I spend my time and my space on my social media platforms to send traffic to Awesome Gang to read my thoughts? Why wouldn’t I send them to my website, where they will not only read my thoughts today but see my past thoughts and my books and, if they like my material, follow me where long into the future, they’ll see what I’m doing? Better to do that instead of sending them to Awesome Gang where they’ll see that one interview frozen in time and nothing more…except what Awesome Gang has to offer.

This is exactly what Awesome Guy wants – for others to share news about them. It’s why they offer the free interview space.

Also, I ‘hired’ them to promote my book, not for me to promote them. My money should go towards them directing readers at my books and my site.

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Marketing “Northern Survival” Sunday Update #6

Northern SurvivalWhile this was supposed to be a wrap-up post, I’m pushing that to next Sunday because of the activity with Northern Survival this week. I didn’t want to make this post extremely long.

While no paid or free ads were placed, I’ve been busy answering messages about the book and completing guest posts.

I received word mid-week that a review was coming shortly and that the reviewer requested an interview. That review appeared on Thursday. More about that below.

Speaking of reviews, the heightened activity of my book has generated many offers from pay-per-review people. For a dastardly price of usually more than $60 USD (I won’t calculate the Canadian price; it’s a week’s worth of groceries), they will write a professional review and post it on Amazon and Goodreads. I get one or two requests a day. I assume this is normal for just-released books that have generated a lot of exposure. I’ve received them before, but never on this scale. Like any writer, I want reviews, but I don’t want to get them this way.

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