Having a blog and a book site is great and all, but now you’re going to have to actually get people to go visit them.
And trust me, you will have to get people to go visit them; it won’t happen on its own.
There are literally thousands of blog posts, magazine articles and tips like ‘The 10 Secrets That Will Increase Your Blog Traffic 300% Now Today!’ already online. Some of these have good ideas, but most are unnecessarily manic strategies for upping your blog stats without having any real connection with the people who are stopping by. I feel the same way about this as I do about the people who collect Twitter followers like Starbucks mugs (or, you know, whatever you like to collect) but never talk to or really interact with them in any way: what’s the point? Your aim is to communicate, isn’t it? So let’s start doing it, but in a nice, normal way that – hopefully – doesn’t involve annoying people.
If you’re a writer, you should already be on Twitter and not just for self-promotional reasons. It’s fun, you’ll meet fantastic people (also writers!), it’s an infinite source of procrastination, inspiration and information and then, after all that, it’s pretty good for promotion too. Post links to your blog (WordPress automatically tweets links to new posts for you) and follow interesting links to other people’s. It’s quite literally the best thing I ever did in terms of my (hopefully, one day) writing career and being online friends with a gaggle of other writers has kept me sane (for the most part). Just remember that no one likes a self-promoter; be yourself first and foremost, and have a personality. What I mean by this is use Twitter first and foremost for fun, and not just an endless stream of those “MY BOOK IS OUT TODAY BUY IT NOW PLEASE RT PLEASE RT PLEASE RT” tweets (and yes, they are always in all caps, which is ironic because it just makes me skip them) that send me straight to the ‘unfollow’ button. I contained my self-promotion (mostly!) to Mondays, tweeted four or five times about Mousetrapped and tagging each tweet (as a kind of warning, really) with “#mousetrappedmonday’. In terms of effectiveness, I would guesstimate that approximately 60% of my sales start with a connection on Twitter and at the beginning it was even higher, maybe as much as 90%. And Twitter, being my literary social media fairy godmother, also brought me an agent. Woo-hoo!
My Twitter account is @cathryanhoward but I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, chances are you already knew that.
When I established a Facebook page for Mousetrapped way back when, it was something people could become a ‘fan’ of. Now they just ‘like’ it. Either way, I’ll take what I can get. However I don’t think a Facebook presence has brought me any sales. It’s main function has been, really, to update my real life friends about the book’s goings-on, and the specifics of things like the book launch, newspaper and radio appearances and availability, but as it’s free, it hasn’t hurt. It’s super easy to set up, you can update your fans by email with one click and you can also use Facebook FBML (FB’s version of HTML to personalize your page; I blogged about FBML here.) And you can post links back to your blog.
Your E-mail Signature
It goes without saying that links to your blog and book site should be centre stage in your email signature. Just make sure that you take them out when corresponding with people who shouldn’t really know about it, like your local unemployment office.
Visit other people’s blogs and if you have something to say about any of their posts, leave a comment. This will lead other commentators and, hopefully, the blog’s author, back to your blog. This is how blogging communities get built, and how some bloggers end up with 100 comments on a post on a bad day. Do this for the right reasons though; agendas stink to high heaven. I had a comment on my blog once that went something like this:
“Great post! Some really interesting points!
I posted about this very topic recently on my site, http://www.subtlelikeabrick.com. I also talk about it my book, Subtlety is My Speciality, which is available now for only $9.99 plus shipping and applicable taxes from Amazon.com. It’s the story of the year I spent leaving spammy comments on other people’s blogs under the guise of commenting on their blog posts, even though it was obvious I hadn’t even bothered to read it and had merely come across it by Googling the topic of my book. (Which – have I mentioned? – is available now from Amazon.com.) Perhaps you’d take a look at the opening chapter – http://www.subtlelikeabrick.com/firstchapter – and share your thoughts on it with me. John Jerk, author of How to Lose Followers and Annoy People, called it ‘interesting’; I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. Love the blog!’
I’m not a stupid as I look and all blog comments are moderated. So there.
This is pretty much a rule for everything, but try to be nice. Watch your incoming links; if one pops up you don’t recognise, follow it and see where it leads. If someone has blogged about you or your book, thank them for it. If you like someone’s blog and read it regularly, why not add it to your blogroll? All blogging relationships are mutually beneficial, so act like you know it.
Next up: On Monday, the bestest book trailer I ever did see (and no, it’s not mine!)