May 13, 2013

Writers Tip #48: Have a Web Presence

When you read your story, does it sound off, maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know you’ve done something wrong? Sometimes–maybe even lots of times–there are simple fixes. These writer’s tips will come at you once a week, giving you plenty of time to go through your story and make the adjustments.

Today’s tip: Writers must have a web presence.

A web presence is your reach beyond the realtime world into cybersphere. Why is a web presence so important for today’s writers? Here are three reasons:

  • If you have a contract with a publisher, s/he is too busy marketing books for popular, well-known authors to worry about you. That means sales and marketing is up to you. The worst situation I can imagine is after you give away the rights to your baby (maybe you sold them–no matter the price, it doesn’t compensate for the hours or years of labor that went into writing your book), the guy who bought them (the publisher) allows your story to languish–selling a couple of books a month. That’s not uncommon. The only way to fix that is you marketing your books.
  • If you’re self-published, you are the go-to guy/gal for marketing your novel. You can attend conferences, give speeches, have book signings, but another tried-and-true method that can reach exponentially more potential buyers is the internet. More on that later.
  • If you’re in between–sending queries out seeking an agent, trying to attract the attention of the person who will love your writing as you do–what better way than for them to see how well you write and how many people follow you. Today’s agents want to see your web presence as a precursor to giving you a chance. It helps them decide how serious you are as a writer.

There are many ways to make your presence known on the internet:

  • A blog showcases your writing skills and allows you to interact with readers and potential readers. It gets them excited about your writing so they spread the word and you go viral (I’m still waiting on that step).
  • A website on your book (or a page on your publisher’s website) tells readers everything you want them to know about your book, including the location of your blog, twitter account, Facebook. The downside is it’s static. Readers can’t ask questions and you can’t respond to a trend or personalize it to the uniqueness of individual readers.
  • A Twitter account gets you out there in real time, chatting with readers as well as other writers, spreading your good word in a personal, down-to-earth way that appeals to many. Each tweet is a quick insight to your readers, having a mandatory limit of 140 characters.
  • A Facebook account is similar, but has more depth. You can post pictures, blogs, other reader comments.

There are a few books to help you through the steps required to get live on the internet:

In my case, here’s what I do on the web:

  • I host several blogs, WordDreams on writing and one on my field of interest and a few more
  • I contribute weekly columns to several ezines, online newspapers, blogs, to reach people my blogs don’t
  • I have a Twitter account, a Facebook account, a LinkedIn account (a discussion for a later post) and a few more aggregators and social media personalized to my interests
  • I have seven marketing outlets for my books, most with their own ‘about the author’ page
  • I have a Goodreads account, highlighting my writing expertise

I’ve gone on a bit too long, but I want to motivate you to set up a web presence. Now get going!

–Click to have Writer’s Tips delivered to your email.

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blog,Technology in Education featured blogger, IMS tech expert, and a bi-monthly contributor to Today’s Author. In her free time, she is editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

Follow me.