Content for author website

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Barbara

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Nov 10, 2017
Cambridgeshire
The time has arrived: I ought get cracking with an author website or some other online presence. (I have a blog already but the theme is travel related)

Any thoughts or tips? Do I create a proper website, or should I simply get a second blog?

As for the content, do I choose some sort of 'narrative' related to my novel, or should I just rabbit on about anything? Ideally I should relate it to my work, but at this point I don't have much to show other than 3 very different unpublished novels. Novel three is a thriller about a compulsive gambler, but blogging about addiction might narrow my audience, and my future work will most likely be about something completely different. I could blog about writing, but there are so many other blogs about writing. Also, with no publishing trail, can I blog about writing?

I guess it's all about branding, and deciding who to be as an author. But ...

Argh.

What did you consider when you started your social media presence?
 
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There is a lot said about having multiple sites, one for the author (or each author, if you go the nom-de-plume route), the twitter and FB and and GR and on and on and on.
Each of these sites is a lot of work, and if the owner of the site doesn't keep up to the schedule for regular 'scrollers/followers' the following is lost.
It's a lot of work.

What I've found: a blog is easier, and it has a book page as well as a page for each individual book as a drop-down list. The people you get on 'speaking' terms with are the people who will buy or review your work. Maybe the question should be: how do I attract the right influencer to my site?
One of the ways I see people use (unknown results, except in BookBub) is to review a lot of books - as long as you're not associated with the person whose book you're reviewing.
However, I don't know if this gets readers to Your books, only readers wanting to see what you have to say.

In the meantime, do a long and short 'Author Profile' (have a look at some on Amazon and see what you like and don't like), find websites where you like how they've set things up and can find your way around easily, etc.

Personally, I wish I'd put as much time into researching what to do with a blog site (for an author) as I do with a short story ...

Oh, and good luck.
 
I'm no help at all Barbara! My blogs are pathetic. I have a blog for my dogs and cats, one for my experience of India, and my own personal blog which is also in Italian. I started blogging in 2007 and for the first few years I posted fairly regularly, but then when I got involved with social platforms I simply waned off because it is time consuming and I've found other things to do instead which attracted me more.

Certainly, to begin with I got a thrill at blogging and loved it. And I probably will devote more time and energy after I've finished my WIP.

When I began my personal/main blog I knew it would not be about writing, but if there was something I found interesting enough, I would not exclude it. Basically, I concentrated on four aspects of life, politics, the arts, spiritual, and society because I knew I was drawn to those subjects.

I know the advice is to concentrate on one aspect, though I'm not sure why people want to limit themselves in such a way; anyway, being what I am I knew such a blog would not last long with me, I need diversity.

When looking for material, think of what interests you or try to remember some essay titles your English teacher gave you at school, like 'Washing Day', in the days when washing was done by hand.

A blog, isn't really there at the service of others but for yourself. Do it because you like writing what it is you write about. Good luck.

Oh yes, first of all, write a mission statement and publish it. That will keep you in good stead.
 
Maybe it would best to start at then end and then work backwards. What I mean is, ultimately in a perfect scenario ie you are published , loads of fans etc, what does your website/engagement look like ? Are you the author that spends her time fighting for social justice or the one who focuses mainly on her writing journey? Do you talk about and post photos of your family? Or you more private in sharing? As you think of these things it will help draw out a plan on who you are and what you want to write about.

I agree the amount of authors sharing their writing tips is oversaturad and something fresh is needed. Just add your own personality in whatever you want to write about and I think you will do fine. As for the social media I would pick one you like and focus on that and the website. You can always add another platform later down the road and you can take your fan base with you when you go to it.
 
The time has arrived: I ought get cracking with an author website or some other online presence. (I have a blog already but the theme is travel related)

Ooh, I admire your determination. I got as far as looking at the nettle, measuring it carefully -- and deciding against grasping it, 'for now'. (I wouldn't Watch That Box too carefully -- it could stay empty for some while.)

If you need any help with editing or proofreading, etc, I'd be very happy to help. And the very best of luck.
 
Thank you CageSage, Eva and Jackson. Interesting input and lots to ponder.

about having multiple sites, one for the author (or each author, if you go the nom-de-plume route), the twitter and FB and and GR and on and on and on.
Each of these sites is a lot of work, and if the owner of the site doesn't keep up to the schedule for regular 'scrollers/followers' the following is lost.
It's a lot of work.
And I probably will devote more time and energy after I've finished my WIP.
These are my 'worries': the amount of time and energy it takes. I know in this day and age we ought to participate in all social med platforms, but it takes time away from writing novels. And you're right about the pressures of keeping the interest going via regular posts. I think your suggestion of a blog is perfect, then do what Jackson says and settle for only one social media site for now.
Maybe the question should be: how do I attract the right influencer to my site?
That's a good point. I'm going to have to think that one through.
do a long and short 'Author Profile' (have a look at some on Amazon and see what you like and don't like), find websites where you like how they've set things up and can find your way around easily, etc.
Thank you for the tip. Silly me should have thought of that.

I have a blog for my cats,
The perfect blog theme ;):)
Maybe it would best to start at then end and then work backwards.
I think that's it, to work backwards. Exellent point. Thank you.
 
Ooh, I admire your determination. I got as far as looking at the nettle, measuring it carefully -- and deciding against grasping it, 'for now'. (I wouldn't Watch That Box too carefully -- it could stay empty for some while.)
It's strangely daunting, isn't it. I keep telling myself I'm a writer, I should know what to write.

If you need any help with editing or proofreading, etc, I'd be very happy to help. And the very best of luck.

Thank you very much for the offer. I'll defo take you up on it.
 
I ditto @CageSage; blogs are a lot of work and harder for the author than anyone else. I had a craft blog for 10 years and whilst I put something up regularly, it was easier than writing something for my writing blog, which I've just let die down lately.

Kristen Lamb has an interesting theory about what writers should do, and I think her book Rise of the Machines goes into it, but don't quote me on that. Basically, you should write about things that interest you. She recommends you brainstorm things that interest you and write about them. She believes you're more likely to connect with someone that way. This is one of my attempts using that technique Every been so scared, your heart jumped?. Not sure if it works... mind you, I don't have an audience, so how can it?!
 
Which blog provider do you intend to use @Barbara? You know of my struggles with WordPress, including being locked out of my account due to a plugin failing...not my fault and it took days to find a solution. There was no help from WP themselves, just loads of misinformation in scores of forums on their homepage.

WP is OK if you're a geek, but try googling "I hate WordPress" and you'll find IT professionals declaring their dislike of it. I've never done anything more complicated online than setting up a blog and a website with WordPress. It's like arm-wrestling an octopus with one thousand tentacles.

It's easy to create the bare bones of a site with WP, but many bloggers give up at that scaffolding stage, intimidated by the technology. WP reminds me of a drug dealer, who gets you hooked with free samples, only to jack up the price with diminishing returns later. There's a way of moving a WP blog over to Blogger, which I'll do once I've conquered my computer woes.
 
You don’t need to have a book in print to have links to where readers can buy the book(s). You can link to e-book sales sites (like Amazon) as well.

Blogger is easy and free if you don’t want to deal with the WordPress learning curve. Plus I like all the customizable options. Branding is important. Kristen Lamb talks about that, too. It gives you recognizability as an author.

You don’t need to blog all the time. Talk about what interests you, but find a balance between that and your writing. No one wants to be hit over the head with constant promo or boring writing tips. Readers don’t see the process as interesting in the same way we do.

I know most people on this site would rather cut off an arm than be active on social media, but it’s a necessity today. Doesn’t matter what you blog about or how often you do it if no one knows it’s there, or has a reason to want to read it.

Your website is your reader landing page, but you get to know people as PEOPLE on social media. If you take the time to interact with them, they will help sell your book(s) when it’s time. Word of mouth still sells more books than anything else out there.

Work on a website, by all means, but your relationships with potential readers are far more important.
 
Kristen Lamb
Kristen Lamb
I shall check her out. Thanks for that.
No one wants to be hit over the head with constant promo or boring writing tips. Readers don’t see the process as interesting in the same way we do.
I've def decided to not do anything writing related, but something more general, more about life, I think. I've been wracking my grey cells recently, trying to figure out if there's a common thread between my three novels; a theme that connects them which I could use as a basis for any online presence. It might give me my audience.
be active on social media,
I'm happy to be active on social media, and connect with folk out there. I've always believed it's necessary. I've been putting off because A) I'm a procrastinator top class, and B) I can see how easy it is to be ruled by social media, and to be feeling the pressure and spending hours. I have to be mindful about 'screen time' because of my dodgy eye. I find writing exhausting (creatively), and having to create content for regular posts is making my legs wobble. Then again, like you say, it's about balance. Ten mins here; twenty mins there.

Totally agree re: building a relationship with potential readers, it's part of marketing, but I feel I need something to point them towards or something to share in a sense - hence I'm wondering about a blog or site of sorts. I guess I feel insecure about what I have to offer (currently not that much :eek::cool: apart from :shortcake:).

I could collate a few of these in one place for everyone if that would be helpful
That would be lovely, Katie. Thank you.
 
Some more resources on building an author platform if you're interested (these ones are podcasts—I listen to them in the car :))

 
Some more resources on building an author platform if you're interested (these ones are podcasts—I listen to them in the car :))

Fabulous, thank you.
 
What I think I overlooked to mention is that the emphasis should not be in creating an author's website or blog, because that refers to published authors which is a completely different matter, because published authors probably have their agents or publisher advising them on this and they will probably get it done professionally. And can be quite daunting and off putting to compete with them- like you said you feel insecure about what you have to offer.

As you don't have books published, like most of us here, therefore I feel we should not be competing with websites that published authors have. We need to be looking at blogging from a different perspective, ie from that of a normal person, and that may give you the confidence you lack. The blogger's world is full of ordinary, run of the mill people who nevertheless are interesting, fascinating and a breath of fresh air from the usual row of nauseating bookshelves which is all a published writer can offer, and even then, often, it is not something they offer personally. Blog to your heart's content Barbara and let your personality shine through...
 
It's not pie, and it's not a zero sum game. :) There's room for all of us. One thing I know about readers is they are always looking for new authors, and if they find one they love, it doesn't mean they stop reading books from their other favorites as well. It just means they will also now buy yours. :) You aren't competing with anyone having an author website, even if you aren't yet published. I had one for years before I was, and that helped me once I finally did have books to promote and sell, because people knew me. I was already out there.

But yes, you do need to look at blogging from the perspective of a reader, not a writer. We are all readers as well as writers, too, so think about what you would like to read from a soon-to-be-published author, and blog about that. :)
 
@Carol Rose I'd better clear up what I meant by competing with published authors and that is: as we haven't any books to put on display we have to put other stuff on our websites and I suggest we put normal stuff that we enjoy to share with others, not try to compete with the books of published authors, until we are published and have books to put there.

What would be interesting to know is what you put on your website BEFORE you were a published author, when you had no books to put there, how did you fill your websites? That would be really, really helpful to know for us, who have no books to put on our websites, how we can make our websites interesting. Thank you.
 
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