Today I have a guest blog by emerging writer, Tahlia Newland. Tahlia gives tips on how to build traffic and interest in your new novel, even before you’re published.
How to build your online profile
by Tahlia Newland
I’m a new author waiting for my young adult fantasy novel Lethal Inheritance to be published. A friend who publishes non-fiction told me it was important to build an online profile, so I did.
When I started, I knew nothing about building an online profile. So I researched to see what authors should be doing and how. This post is designed to create a short cut for you by summarising what I’ve learned.
So how do you create an online profile?
- Create a blog that records the number of visitors (WordPress.com does.) If you already have a blog without stats recording, Google Analytics and Site Meter are free services that can do it for you.
- Make pages with easy-to-find information about the novel: blurbs, reviews, info about you, a sample first chapter (or partial chapter) and so on. I think the sample is important, because it’s harder for people to get excited about something they can’t taste.
- Make regular, well-written blog posts — at least two a week. Try to make them no longer than 800 words. Your posts should be about your book and anything related to it. Don’t get off-topic, and use your own voice.
- Create a fan page for your novel on FaceBook and add a button on your blog to direct people to it. Search in the help part of FaceBook to find out how to do this – it’s just a matter of finding the instructions and following them. You need time to set it up and an ‘can-do’ attitude.
- Twitter is another option. If you’re into it, go for it. Personally, I haven’t gone there yet.
- Visit other people’s blogs and make comments, find like-minded souls, subscribe to your favourite blogs, support them and become part of a community.
Now you have to get people to visit your blog. You also need to get a significant number of fans on FaceBook. It’s time-consuming, but you have to reach out to the rest of the world. Here’s how:
- Ask your friends and family for their support.
- List your blog on the blog listings. Make sure that your description of your blog sounds interesting. I’m on the free ones: Blogcatalog, Bloggernity, Networked blogs, blogarama, blogflux, blogsites, Toplist, Bloggapedia, Bloggexplosion, Bloggernity. Remind your readers to go there and rate your blog.
- List your blog with Google Add your URL to Google to maximise your rank in Google’s search results, make your posts’ headlines and tags clear and on topic.
- Visit the blogs of people whose interests are the same as yours. Post comments using one of the options that links your name to your blog URL. Make your comments relevant to the posts, but when you can, let the readers know what you write and that they can read a sample. In other words encourage them to visit – gently.
- At sites where you can’t make a comment, but you think the owner would be interested — find their contact and send them an email.
- After participating in your favorite writers’ blogs for a while, ask if you could share a guest blog. That means that you post on their site and they on yours. It increases traffic to both your sites.
- Post links on your site to other sites that you like. Let the blog owner know what you’ve done. They’ll probably reciprocate.
- Remind your readers to click the ‘like’ button at the bottom of your posts ( if you have one).
- Remind your readers that if they like a post, they should and add it to sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, or Reddit.
- Add your URL to your business cards, tell people about it etc.
- Ask your readers to help spread the word.
- Remember that if you support others, they will support you.
Now watch the stats page on your blog and see the hit counter rise.
If this all seems technically daunting, relax. You can google anything and find out what you need to know. For example, ‘How do I put a FaceBook button on my blog?’
All this takes time. When I don’t post or visit other’s sites, the stats go down. It’s as simple as that. If we want people to know about our work, we have to get out there and tell them.
Click here for Tahlia Newland’s Lethal Inheritance blog.
Some of the following sites are self-explanatory and straightforward to use. You can also find out more about them on Wikipedia.