Being a writer is a business. If you write books or articles, you want people to read them and preferably pay you for it. It would be fantastic if lots of people paid you for writing because then you’d be Stephanie Meyer, but we’ve all got to start somewhere!
So how do you get readers?
One way is to cultivate small groups on niche websites, speak in person, communicate with individuals on social networks and maintain your own quality blog and web presence. All this is definitely important!
But you must also go where the people are.
If you have a presence on the most important sites on the internet, more people will find you. The current list of most influential sites from Read, Write, Web include:
- IMDB.com (movie site)
How do you get on these sites?
The big guns on the internet have been around for years or are celebrities. It’s taken me around 18 months to build a small, but growing, online presence, so don’t expect to get there overnight. But here are some useful posts to read around why and how you can use these influential sites. The brilliant thing is – they are all free!
Wikipedia: Everyone is using Wikipedia now for online research. It has been shown to be as correct as the Encyclopedia Britannica, and a recent interview with Jimmy Wales, the founder, discusses accuracy. Here is a useful article on writing effectively for Wikipedia. I am in the process of trying to write my own Wikipedia page so I’ll do a post on this when I have learnt it myself!
If you doubt social media at all, read this first => Writers need social media, and social media needs writers
YouTube.com: Now you can get a cheap Flipcam or iPod Nano with video, it is easy to get on YouTube. You can also use your webcam for a static picture, or build your own video using stills and music. Here’s a post on how to build your own Book Trailer using free software MovieMaker. I have been doing a series of videos on my NaNoWriMo experience which have just been one take with my iPod Nano. And of course, the poster boy for video is Gary Vaynerchuk, whose 10 book deal for Harper Collins I discuss here. Here’s my YouTube channel if you want to connect.
Flickr.com is a brilliant site for photos that I mainly use for Creative Commons photos for this blog, and my ebooks. However, it is also picked up in search engines and people go looking for photos there for other projects. I have had several of my photos featured in various online articles, which have all been linked back to my site. So it also works as a traffic tool. It is definitely worth creating a page and loading some photos on it, even if it is just your book covers, your promo photos and media appearances. Here’s my Flickr site.
Twitter.com. You may have noticed I love Twitter. It is my primary social network of choice and I am very active on it @thecreativepenn. There’s a good reason too – it is HUGELY popular now and brings traffic to my site as well as enabling some fantastic online relationships. If you don’t know anything about Twitter yet, read this article first. Then go ahead and join up!
Google.com People use Google to find things by searching. If you want people to find you by searching, you need to have a blog that is regularly updated on your niche topic. Here’s how to setup a blog, and here’s 10 tips for effective blogging for authors.
Apple.com. You can get into the Apple Store in a few ways.
a) Create your own podcast and syndicate the feed to iTunes. Here’s 5 Steps to Make Your Own Author Podcast. You can Subscribe to The Creative Penn podcast here on iTunes.
b) Create your book as an iphone app. Al Katkowsky did this – here’s an interview with him. Here’s an article with 13 Tools for Building Your Own iPhone App. This is definitely on my list for 2010 so I’ll post a how-to article when I have done it!
That may all be a little overwhelming, but the point is that you can be on the top influential websites in the world. There are people there and you need to be part of the conversation. These are all key aspects of author platform building which is what publishers want these days, so you just need to put some time in and it will start to make an impact.
This is a cross-posting from Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn site.