Five Websites Every Author Should Be On
8 Jan 2016
Katy Weitz, author and co-founder of Press My Book training workshops, gives her top website tips.
Oh social media! It’s a pain, isn’t it?
And yet, in this day and age, all authors are expected to be responsible for their social media profiles. However you are published – whether it is by one of the big four, a small indie or self-published - being visible online is an absolute must.
But there are so many sites out there - Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus, FlickR - how to know which ones to join and which to avoid?
My colleague Emma Donnan and I find the majority of our Press My Book students are looking for advice and tips on how to build their web presence, as well as ideas on how to create headlines from their books.
From the simplest of questions – like, how do I get on Facebook? – to the more sophisticated users of social media looking to broaden their Twitter lists, we find that this is the area many authors find baffling, overwhelming and frankly, a pain in the backside! That is why, during the one-day press and PR training workshops we run in London, we focus heavily on social media. We are authors ourselves so we know it can seem like an enormous and daunting task to take on, but with a little bit of direction, it needn’t be such a chore. In fact (shhhh, don’t tell anyone) but it might actually be good fun.
There are certainly some sites more suited to and helpful for writers than others. So to get started, here is our list of the top five websites we think every author should be on.
No question, Facebook is a useful tool for any writer since its reach is so massive, once you have created a FB page for your name or book title, it will spring up very high in the natural listings (i.e. on the first page of Google). No personal website can compete in the same way unless you pay to advertise in the sponsored listings. Facebook allows you to talk directly to your readers, sell to people who may be interested in your genre and build a ‘presence/personality’ online. For top tips on best practice see pressmybook.co.uk.
Amazon: Author Central
Rather helpfully to authors, Amazon – the world’s biggest bookseller - has created a lovely thing called Author Central in which you can claim all your titles and craft a nice biography of yourself to go alongside them. But that’s not all! You can list your latest speaking engagements, share interviews photos and videos, add your Twitter feed and read all the latest comments of your books by your readers. There is even a ‘sales rank’ section where you can track Amazon sales of your books but best of all there is a discussion forum where you can engage with your readers. Don’t delay - it is worth claiming your page straight away!
Goodreads: Author Page
In a similar vein, Goodreads - a social media site for booklovers - offers authors the chance to write a little biography alongside their titles, add a photo, video, a URL for a website and other tidbits of information. There is a Reader Q&A section where you can answer popular questions like ‘Where do you find your inspiration?’ and ‘What are you currently working on?’ And other whizzy bits you can add like a blog, upcoming events, recommendations, quotes and comments. Goodreads has a very engaged audience so it is worth getting your profile up and running to start talking to them straight away.
Librarything is a fast-growing book cataloguing site and in a similar vein to Goodreads, it gives authors the opportunity to fill in their biographies, add photos, web links, readings and events. You can even sign up to an Author Chat which is directly promoted to any member who has listed a book of yours in their library. There is also an Early Reviewers and Members Giveaway Program. But perhaps the most attractive feature of this site is that shiny yellow button they give you as a Librarything author. Mmmmm… shiny!
This is really the best site for making connections with large numbers of people – well, considering it has over 100 million users, this is really not that surprising. Just like FB, it ranks very high in the natural listings, but it’s particularly good for writers because of the 140-character rule. Keeping it short means you’ve got to be smart, creative and pithy. Admittedly, Twitter can appear intimidating at first, given the sheer number of people tweeting out there, like a million conversations happening at once, but that’s sort of the idea. You have to get in, have a little chat and get out again. Like with all social media, try not to spend your whole time ‘selling’ – instead, get engaged with others, be generous with your ‘likes’ and try to keep it clean!
For more social media advice for authors or to find out more about the Press My Book training days visit www.pressmybook.com , email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Katy on 07968 381 911.