Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Building the Buzz: Day 1 A Strong Foundation

Welcome to Day 1 of Building the Buzz. Over the next  month, I'll share some insight and a task every day designed to help you build the buzz about your book. Let's get started!


Have you heard the lesson about building your house on a solid foundation? Good, cause marketing isn't any different. Before you start inviting readers in, you need to get your affairs in order. Making sure you are set up to maximize reader interaction is the focus of our first week in the challenge.

Imagine you are opening a new store. You buy billboards, take out a full-page color add in the paper, mail out coupons to every resident in a five mile radius and film the perfect commercial. People get the message and show up on opening day in droves only to discover your shelves are half stocked, none of the associates can answer their questions, and the cash register isn't working.

This is what happens when authors market their book without the right foundation. Those customers won't be coming back because shopping there is a hassle. If readers have to hunt down you or your book, they probably won't bother either. No one wants a hassle.

Every writer needs a home base, and that's the focus of today's task. Get thyself a website. I know lots of you already have blogs and that's great. Obviously, I'm a fan. Blogs can be set up quickly with little to no investment and with a little work, they can be a fantastic way to communicate with your readers. That said, you need a website.

Authors need a place that isn't restricted by the limited options available under a free blogging service. Not only does a dedicated website allow you to have full control over content and design it tells readers that you are serious. Imagine looking up JK Rowling, Dean Koontz or any other big name author only to discover they only have a blogspot.com website. In today's online world, a website is a standard practice for doing business.

I don't expect you to run out today and set up your website. Today's task is to research website services and providers. Look into who other authors have used. Ask them for honest feedback. In addition, it's time to buy your domain name. You can reserve a domain name for as little as $5-$10 a year. This is a tiny investment. Even if you aren't ready to set up your website, you need to reserve your domain name while you can.

I suggest going with your name. Ideally, you'll sell more than one book so maintaining a separate website for each of them can become overwhelming. A single site can host pages for each of your books, making it the perfect place for your readers to find you and discover all your work. 

If you already have a website, share your link in the comments. You get a free day. I'd love for you to share any feedback you have about your experiences with the hosting provider you use. If you aren't set up yet, please share the names of the companies you research as part of today's task.

So get going and come back here tomorrow for the next task.

19 comments:

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    1. Always nice to start out ahead of the game. :)

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  2. I had a website in 2011, but I didn't like it. I needed to use WP which I don't prefer, and it was costly for little return. I did keep my domain name and paid for a redirect. Now you can get to my blog by using bethfred.com or bethfred.blogspot.com. Also, you can create a page for all of your books or each book using the "pages" feature, so I'm not sure the benefit of a website. But I am afraid blogger is going to disappear one day with the changes google is making, so idk...

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    1. Having your own domain is a great step. It can give your site a more professional look. But I also worry about blogger someday disappearing.

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  3. I'm in the same boat with Beth. I bought the domain, paid for web hosting on godaddy and used a wordpress template. I had my website separate from my blog, but felt it looked unprofessional so I redirected my blog to my domain and cancelled the hosting.

    I've been very back and forth with this. I'd like to have control over my blog and everything else. I'm definitely going to look into alternatives.

    Or teach myself HTML and build it myself.

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    1. I used godaddy too and after one year the price skyrocketed. Also, Wordpress spam filters sucked.

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  4. I've been dreading this. I started my blog and had to choice my full name with middle included because it seems every third person (ha) is named Elizabeth Gibson. But, I do have the domain name for a website. But, you're right, I need to get on with it and put something on it.

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  5. I've found blogs far easier and faster to navigate and comment on than websites. I always get a little annoyed if I'm flying through blogs and commenting and I come upon a website - extra loading time, separate page for comments, manual input of name/email/blog address, and there's usually anti-spam captcha, too.

    No one will ever get any of that with me. Paypal doesn't recognize Egypt so I can't buy anything over the web ever. I'll be a little blogger girl no matter how many books I have out.

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  6. yay - I've completed step one. Phew.
    www.jessieharrell.com

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  7. K, so I did go and make my naked domain (elizatilton.com) redirect to WWW.elizatilton.com

    I forgot about that when I redirected my blogspot to my domain.

    Man this stuff gets confusing!

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  8. I have the domain name, but haven't gone with a website yet. Guess I ought to get busy. Will think about it.

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  9. Good stuff to start thinking about. I love my blog but it's time to put on big girl pants and get a domain name. Stay tuned!

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  10. I have a blog and thought about the domain name but never committed to it. Thanks for reminding me how important this is.

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  11. I love Bluehost for a provider. I have a domain name registered with them, and YA Asylum is hosted through them, but I won't do anything with my "author" site until I get that all important deal (or at least an agent).

    I know two big names use blogspot and no website: http://jayasher.blogspot.com/ (Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why) and Laini Taylor (http://www.lainitaylor.com/) though she recently bought her domain name, but it's still pretty obvious a blogspot. Personally, I'd rather have a website. They generally look nicer and more professional.

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  12. Hi Sarah,
    Should an unpublished author have a page of sample writing included on their website?
    Thanks,
    Rebekah

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    1. Personally, I'm not a fan of this, but I know there are plenty of others who disagree. If you hope to go the traditional route, your work with go through several editors making that initial sample out of date. If you are going self-pub there are better ways to use sample pages than just putting them up on your blog. That said, I think a short, stand-alone piece (@2k or less) posted on your site can be something fun to show others what your style is like.

      No matter what you decide to do, keep in mind what you are trying to achieve. Everything on your blog or website should serve a purpose. If there isn't a goal for having something on your sight then it shouldn't be there.

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  13. I see what you mean. I was thinking more along the lines of short stories or stories that have won writing contests. I agree that a manuscript in the process of publication should not be prematurely shared.

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  14. Okay, this what I have for an author website so far. What do you think?
    rmwagoner.com

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  15. I have my domain name. I went with Godaddy and paid for 5 years up front so they couldn't jack the rate. For a few years, anyway.

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