This post is reblogged from the Chapterhouse Publishing website.
Hello, it’s me again. Last week, I promised a post about being an e-book author in the Brave New World of the interwebs, so here it is.
Let me also begin by saying I’m no expert. A few years ago I would have described myself as a technophobe, and while this is no longer true, certainly I am not great computer expert. But the internet itself is a magical genie that can often answer any of your troubles with a quick google, and the more I have learned to trust the internet, the better things have become!
When I began my venture into the e-book world just last year (my first book came out in February 2014), I knew that I would have to build up more of an online presence. (That is to say, an online presence at all). The literary world has changed, and there’s a lot more emphasis now on the author as a person, on interaction with readers, and on online community. At first, the thought of this terrified me, but now I love it.
If you’re an e-book indie author, you’re going to need to build up an online presence. And it’s not as difficult as you might think!
1. Start a blog!
Notice that I do not say ‘author page’. My blog certainly has the words ‘author page’ written on there somewhere, but there’s more of a focus on events within the writing community, politics and my own personal interest than on selling the books. That’s Amazon’s job. I mean, make sure to link to your book, but my point is that your blog is to connect with your readers, to share your milestones and to share your opinions so that they can get to know you, not to plug your book. And the more you write, the more you’ll realise that you’re engaging with a community of like-minded readers and writers. My top posts this year were on two contemporary political issues that intersected with issues within the indie author community; Gender bias and nudity on book covers and the idea that “smart” women shouldn’t be reading or enjoying romance novels. Both of these garnered lots of support and comments from the community of romance writers I had met through my blog, and really helped in feeling part of a community of writers all supporting one another.
2. Get tweeting!
Twitter is a wonderful tool for getting yourself out there these days, and there is a huge community of indie authors out there just waiting to connect and to support one another. Over this first year I’m glad to say I have made quite a few twitter friends from among the community, and come to know about some wonderful books and some inspirational people. Look out for the hashtags; #MondayBlogs lets you share on Mondays, #WWWblogs is women writer wednesdays, and #ArchiveDay is saturday, and for sharing old post. The #IARTG (Indie Author Retweet Group) are also usually an active and very helpful resource. Get online, get following and get connecting, because there’s a great big world of fellow writers and avid readers. And yes, I have had a few DMs from people who have loved the books, and yes, they did spectacularly make my day.
Everyone needs a Facebook page these days, and my only advice with a Facebook author page is to keep it short and sweet. News, reviews and new blog posts can go up, long rambles about anything better kept to the blog!
4. Hints and Tips
So, you want to promote yourself online, but you don’t want to spend hours each day in front of your computer? There are ways you can help yourself out. BufferApp is a wonderful free tool that lets you buffer 10 tweets, which the programme then tweets at intervals you set. It’s dead easy. I know it’s dead easy, because I haven’t got it wrong yet, and I am not the most natural at this kind of thing! WordPress and Facebook will also let you pre-programe messages and announcements so you can do them all in one evening with a cup of tea (/glass of wine – who am I kidding?) in one hand and in front of the telly. Dead easy.
So that’s all there is to it. My main piece of advice is, if you’re an indie author putting yourself out there over the net, just relax and be yourself! I can’t claim to be much of a perfectionist, but I still worried too much about each tweet and each blog post being perfect, and they don’t have to be. They only have to be punchy and genuine and interesting. People want to know who you are, what makes you tick, what made you write your story about your characters. Perfection can be saved for the book itself!
In less than a year, I’ve grown from a shy internet caterpillar into something close to a social networking butterfly. It makes the whole business of being an indie author so much more rewarding; connecting with others like yourself, talking to readers, and growing together as a community.
Lavinia Collins is the author of Arthurian #1 Bestseller The Warrior Queen Find her here: Author Page