Lola’s Advice is a monthly feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews, which will be posted on the first monday of the month. Lola’s Advice posts are usually how-to or tips type of posts. They are mainly aimed at authors, but I also try and show the blogger/ reader side of the topic I address. I share my knowledge or personal opinion on mostly book, authors, marketing and promotion related topics. I hope it’s helpful for authors and bloggers alike. Also even though it’s advice please understand that even if you follow all my advice it still won’t guarantee your book will be a success, but it hopefully will be helpful. I also believe that not everything works for each author, every author and book is different and different strategies work for different people. So please use whatever you want to or fits with your style. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.
This post will be a bit of an overview post where I list what’s involved in building your online presence and some general tips. I will go more in depth in many of these topics in a later posts during this feature.
- Website. I think having a website is basically a must nowadays, although it is possible to do without if you really want to. Make sure you have an organized website where it’s easy for readers to find what they’re searching for. I would recommend to have at least a page with your books and an about me page where you post your author bio and links to your social media sites. I have encountered some author websites that were so confusing I couldn’t find what I was looking for, so make sure it’s easy to navigate is a must. For a good example of a great author website check out SJ Pajonas her website. Pajonas her website has a neat design and a clear menu on the top to easy navigate to what you want to know. The slide show shows you her books and below that you can find the latest posts on her blog. Links to her social media sites, buy links for her books and sign-up for her newsletter are all easy to locate.
- Social Media Sites. Next step is to set up some social media accounts. As a reader and tour organizer the first way I look to connect with authors is on social media or has a newsletter. If an author isn’t on social media I will be less likely to stay in touch, not intentionally, but I spend time on social media and it’s a good way to stay in touch. If it’s an author I really want to stay up to date about I probably subscribe to their newsletter or follow on amazon so I know when they have a new book out. I would recommend to make at least one or two social media accounts. Pick those social media site that you like best or work best for you and focus on those, you don’t have to be everywhere and you can also focus on one social media site and only post the most important things on other sites. Figure out what social media sites work for you and make an account there.
- Goodreads. Even if you don’t make an account on Goodreads your books will show up, but if you make an account there and/or claim your author page you have a more direct way of controlling what shows up there. Goodreads is a way for readers to find your books ad add them to their to-read list, but you can also use it as a social media site if you want to and use it as a way to interact with readers there. Or at the very least add your author bio, picture and links there, so you look like a real person and readers can find out more about you if they want.
- Book Selling Sites. This one is pretty obvious if you want to sell your books, but I also think that having your books on book selling sites is a part of your online presence. If your books can be bought, they can be found through those sites as well and many sites like Amazon have logarithms in place to determine if your book is shows on other books pages as recommended reads or in top lists of your genre. And if your book lands in one of their top 100 lists that means more people hear about you and your book.
- Newsletter or follow site option. It’s important to have a way for readers to keep up to date with new releases, giveaways etc. Either make a newsletter, which is what I recommend, or a way to follow your site, so they hear about new posts. I think the good thing about a newsletter is that you have more options to customize the information to send to your readers. If you have a blog it can be nice to offer both a newsletter that focuses on important stuff like new releases, giveaways and such and a follow your blog option so readers hear about everything you do post. Don’t send out too many newsletters and never add people to your newsletter who didn’t sign-up themselves.
Once you have set up the basis for your online presence it’s time to make sure people know you’re online and to use that basis to establish your online presence.
- Complete your profiles. I think this one is very important, after you have set up your accounts make sure your profiles are complete. If I see no picture, bio or any other information on a profile I probably will assume the author isn’t active there or only make an account for the sake of it. Set a custom picture, fill out the bio or about you section, add links where necessary and make sure your profiles seem alive and like there is a real person behind them by customizing your profile and making sure it’s complete.
- Link to your other profiles when possible. Many social media sites offer an option to link to another sites. For example twitter has a place to link to your website, goodreads has a way to link to your website and twitter etc. Make use of these options and post your links there, who knows who will check out your account and finds another way to stay in touch thanks to those links? On your website make sure to link to all your social media profiles so readers know where to find you and connect with you.
- Post. Make sure to post on your social media accounts and website. Post about what’s going in your life, what you’re working on, new releases, new reviews, anything else related to being an author or your books. Make sure to not have every post be about your books as that way you will seem as only trying to promote your own books, also post about other topics. Post regularly enough, so people know you are active and they can keep up to date about what’s happening.
- Share/ retweet. Sharing and retweeting is a good way to connect with others online, let them see you appreciate or like their post and give your followers some new content to see too. If you see a funny picture, a saying you agree with, a well written post etc go hit that share or retweet button. Another good things about this can be that others return the favour and share and/or retweet your content.
- Follow. Following others is an easy way to let them know you exist and are online. With some social media sites there is a limit to how many people you can follow or there’s a limit based on how many followers you have. So don’t follow anyone you see online, but follow those people who’s content you ant to see, authors who write in the same genre as you, reviewers who reviewed your book(s) etc.
- Interact. Interact with other authors and readers. Reply when you see a topic you know something about. Join into a conversation when you can. Through interactions other people can get to know your. Do make sure not to be the pushy author who only jumps into conversation to promote their book, there is a time and place for that, but not every interacting has to be about that. And never comment on negative reviews of your books. Just don’t. If a reviewer who got a review copy of your book, you can thanks them politely for their time, but on social media and goodreads it’s best not to comment on negative reviews. Most bloggers and reviewers do appreciate retweets/ shares/ likes when they leave positive reviews of your book.
- Giveaways. Giveaways are a great way to gather some new social media followers, let people know about you and spread the word about your newest book or upcoming release while you’re at it. Do make sure to follow the rules of the social media site(s) you use for your giveaway, rafflecopter has a great post that explains the facebook promotion guidelines. Giveaways are also a good way to reward your followers, gain new ones and have other help spread the word about your book(s).
Bloggers establishing online presence
For bloggers most of the same tips apply, although the only thing that’s different is that bloggers focus to promote their blog instead of their books. Also with blogs there are some additional ways to establish your online presence: commenting on other blogs, replying to comments, participating in memes, participating in reading challenges, doing guest posts on other blogs. So there are differences. With Lola’s Reviews I mainly focus on driving traffic to my blog through the following ways. I participate in some memes and reading challenges, now and then do guest posts on other blogs. I reply to comments on my own blog and comment back. I also try to be active on social media, but while I am good at sharing links to my posts I am less good at the interacting part, when I am busy that’s the first thing to go. I have individual twitter accounts and facebook pages for Lola’s Reviews and Lola’s Blog Tours, but I use my pinterest and google+ account for both. For Lola’s Blog Tours I mostly focus on building my tour host list and making sure authors know that I exist, this is more a passive instead of active way of promoting usually. I am mainly active on facebook and twitter where I promote my business, tours that are open for sign-up and tour stops and reviews when tours are running.