If you read our last post on building an author profile, you’re probably aware that you need to build an online profile. As promised, here is part two, how to build your online author profile.
Your online author profile
There are many different social media platforms you can use to promote your brand, but we’d suggest sticking with a few and doing them well. Twitter is one of the best for authors, as it’s easy to get your voice out there with minimal effort.
The number one rule of social media: post frequently. Whether it’s sharing relevant tweets or articles or posting your own tweets (with hashtags), try to post at least once per day. Make sure you take the time to follow authors you like, as well as other new writers and potential readers. Engage with their profiles and try to make meaningful contributions to discussions.
Another important platform is Instagram. Plenty of authors gain followers by posting tiles with inspirational quotes from their books, by posting writing advice, and by engaging with other authors and audiences.
Another platform worth considering is Facebook. If you intend to remain anonymous it’s easy enough to keep your identity a secret by creating an author page. It’s also another place you can post your blogs from your website, and write shorter posts. The aim of Facebook is to create content that encourages sharing. The more people who share it, the more buzz it gets, and the more chance you’ll have of getting new readers clicking through to your post/book.
Then there’s Goodreads, which operates almost like a social media platform for book readers. It’s most commonly used for book reviews, but many authors use it to do Q&A’s and interact with their readers.
Whatever platform(s) you choose, the most important thing you have to do is post frequently and also interact with the community. Like and reply to every comment, but also make an effort to follow other authors/writers/readers. In many ways, social media is reciprocal. The more you give, the more you get. While it doesn’t guarantee people will buy your book, it’s an important step in generating awareness around your book, as well as a level of credibility when people search your name and find you have a decent sized and engaged following.
We suggest starting a blog as soon as you can. Especially if you plan on remaining anonymous. Blogging is a great way to generate interest around certain topics, which increases the chance that people will click through to your website, and then your book.
It’s important that your blog is always on ‘brand’ —that is, relevant to the topics related to your book. It can also extend to topics like your writing process and experiences being published. Ideally, every blog will have some link to your book that doesn’t feel like you’re selling it—just casually mentioning it.
But keep in mind blogging isn’t as simple as writing about a topic and clicking ‘post’. There’s a lot that’s required in order for it to generate views. You need a good understanding of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), as there are certain elements you need to include in every blog to ensure that it appears when someone Googles your topic. The more you tick off the checklist, the more chance there is your article will be discovered. This involves using key search phrases in headings and hyperlinks to internal and external pages, and making sure your key phrase is common enough that a significant amount of people will be typing it in.
When blogging, it’s important you post frequently so that nobody forgets they follow you. In order to get more people to engage with your content, you too will need to engage with them. This means replying to every comment and also commenting on other blogs.
Use a paid service like Mailchimp to create a mailing list. You can use Mailchimp to create a sign-up form that you can link to your author website.
Like blogging, emails are a great way to engage with your audience. Make sure the emails are relevant and not posted ad hoc—they’re perfect for things like announcements (i.e. book release dates, book signings, interviews).
If you’re remaining anonymous, you’ll need to consider whether or not you want to include people you know on this mailing list. We normally advise authors to create a document with the details of everyone you know, not just close friends and family. Who knows, maybe someone you went to high school with would be interested in your book! In the case of using a pseudonym and remaining anonymous, it’s best to start with just an intimate list, and then aim to build your mailing list through subscribers via your blog.
Your author website
When people Google your name, your website should be the first site to come up. It’s the one-stop shop to sell your book and your brand. When an article or review is posted about your book, link it here. When you create a mailing list, put the sign up form here. Put the links to all your socials here. It’s also the place where you’ll blog (if that’s something you intend to do).
Your website should have everything people need to know about your book and yourself, including an extend bio and contact page.
If you’re remaining anonymous howver, this will be tricker and you will need to find a way to include relevant information without giving away your identity. The same goes for the contact page—it’s essential you have a contact page for things like media enquiries, but you’ll have to create email addresses without your name on it, if you haven’t already.
If you have an eye for design, there are plenty of free website hosts like SquareSpace. Otherwise, we suggest hiring a designer who will ensure that your website is simple, easy to navigate and eye-catching.
Marketing a book starts with you. Especially if you are writing non-fiction, it is essential that before you even have a book to sell, you are thinking about generating interest in your author profile and your book. The more credibility you give yourself by building your profile, the more interest and anticipation you can build so that by the time your book hits the shelves, people are ready and eager to buy it!