So I was sitting here in front of the computer, groaning to Mr. Roth about how I didn’t know what to post and therefore wanted to cancel this week’s Freaky Friday due to a lack of personal interest. (Long work week, cranky, achy muscles, tired, *insert litany of excuses here*). He told me, “Just write a blog post about blog posts.”
Please don’t tell him that I said this, but he’s a damned genius.
When you start this journey to writing a book, you think.. Ok. I’m going to put these words on the page, edit the FUCK out of them, let other people tear them to bits, and then I’ll self-pub or send it off to a publisher. My job is done, right?
Nope. Not even close. Romance is a tough market. Your awesome book is just one of a million others out there that’s vying for a place on readers (virtual or not) bookshelf. Not only will you have to write the thing, but you’ll have to market it too. Ultimately, when it all comes down to it, you’re not only marketing books, but you’re marketing YOURSELF.
You’ll be expected to have a social media presence, a website, a blog, marketing materials, to go to conferences, join writers groups in your immediate area, and interact with your readers. I’ll go through all of those things that I’ve mentioned, but today… I’ll focus on the website and blog because it segues so nicely.
I stick with WordPress. I like their layouts and their user interface. They’re easy to customize and even easier to use. You can buy your own domain name (recommended) and update from any number of different places like phone, web, email, etc. They have a community out there of developers that are thinking of new widgets to make your site bright and shiny.
Some people use their website and blogs for JUST promotion of their books, which… kind of defeats the purpose, if you ask me. Obviously, you want a clear showcase for your work somewhere on the site. Links to your social media, newsletters, calendars for appearances or publishing dates for your works in progress. That’s basic and pretty self explanatory.
The blog is different, though. You’re supposed to use a blog like you would a diary. Obviously, you don’t wanna be super whiny or share deep, dark secrets, but I’d urge you to consider it a place to let people know the you that isn’t a writer.
Talk about your family (general details only), your pets, your garden, the fact you can’t cook, or that you like to cross-stitch. People are far more likely to be interested in knowing you as a person if they’ve made it to your website. Offer them something other than a consistent hawking of your product.
A recipe for your favorite cheese cake, a previously unreleased chapter of work. Photos of your dog sprawled out on his back in the park. You are human and people will totally like that about you.
Unless you’re not human, which is going to make your publicity photos a little strange. 😉 But more on that next week….