I started the week off by talking about the need to create an online presence for your work. This should be done sooner, rather than later. The more time you have before your book comes out, the better off you'll be when it comes time to promote it because you'll already have a loyal readership.
Let's talk about websites versus blogs for a minute. As I mentioned in my earlier article, the first thing I look for after receiving a review request is the author's website.
I'm looking for review blurbs, excerpts, where the book is sold, and I like to see how serious the author is about promoting his work online. If his website looks like something a kindergartner put together, I might pass on the book, which is unfair, but at least I'm honest. Sometimes authors are limited by their grasp of technology, lack of funds, lack of time, or in my case--the ability to find someone to actually complete the job (thankfully that is in the past and a new personal website is coming soon.)
Websites are important because they tell the world about you and your work. They help readers who are browsing the Internet find out about your books, even if it's by accident--thank the Lord for Google and Bing.
I won't go into what should be on your website, but if you type this question into Google or Bing, "What should be on an author's website?" you'll get a slew of results.
Websites are static, however, so they don't allow you to engage your readers. Yes, some sites have guestbooks, but people don't seem to comment on those as often as they do on blogs. The other challenge is how to provide new content for your website--unless there is a blog component to it.
I started my first blog for two reasons: 1) to create an online presence, and 2) because I had no clue how to create a website. What I soon discovered, however, is that I love blogging. While it took me a while to decide on my blog's focus, once I did, I was off and running, providing new content on a regular basis to my readers.
Blogging is also a creative outlet, in addition to, putting me in touch with numerous authors I might never have heard of before. New York Times bestselling southern fiction author, Karen White, is a good example. I learned about her books when I hosted her during a virtual book tour for The Memory of Water. Since then, I've read each new release. A blurb from one of my reviews appears in the opening pages of some of her books. How's that for exposure? As a result of my blogging, I've also been asked to provide several other endorsements for books.
I believe authors who don't blog are missing out on a great opportunity. Granted, not everyone wants to be a book reviewer, but you can use your blog to write about your characters, the craft of writing, how you develop your stories, and so many other aspects of your books that it's a shame not to take advantage of it. Blogging also allows readers to get to know more about you as a person. You're no longer that untouchable author. You're a person they can communicate with, perhaps even relate to.
Now it's your turn. Do you have a website and/or blog set up yet? If not, what is holding you back? If you have a blog, what do you like about it?