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  • Writer's pictureCandace Nola

05/14/2024 Online Presence

We are a technology-based world, like it or not. You NEED an online presence. You NEED to be on social media, at least 2 of them, if not more. Your audience is online, your readers are buying online, they are reading online via Kindle or apps on the iPad, e-readers, Nook’s or whatever else they are using. When they want to learn more about a new author, when a book looks promising, how are they supposed to decide to invest in you? 

Your online presence is your pitch to the world, how you portray yourself, how you represent yourself, how you engage with readers, and haters, alike, will all come under scrutiny when a new reader is deciding if they want to spend money on you.

Aww, come on, no one does that over a couple of dollars. I promise you; they do. I did it. Half of my adult life, money was very scarce, and reading was my passion, my only source of entertainment. The $10 I had every two weeks to spend on new books had to be well spent. Trust me, I did my research before I bought anything from a new author. I read reviews; I looked them up; I went to their sites, and I tried a freebie or a .99 book before I spent any money on someone new.

You need an online presence, and you need to be engaged with your readers. Build a website, try out various platforms and see what best suits you. There are free sites, and very low-cost sites and there are more full featured sites that allow you to build out a shop and take payment. My platform is run by Wix, and I have a full shop. I can sell my books, both paperback and digital if I wanted, and merchandise based on my books and my brand, Uncomfortably Dark. Do your research and decide what works best for you, your time and your budget.

Social media is just as important as an author's website. At the very least, I suggest Facebook and Instagram. Both are easy to use and reach the masses. You can build a following rather quickly and direct them to your amazon page, website, mailing list or newsletter from there. Join reader groups to promote, find beta-readers, reviewers and highly engaged fans that want to know what you are doing next. Join author groups on Facebook for networking, developing friends in the industry and learning from the wide pool of talent that is available there.

Keep in mind, author groups are NOT your reader groups, rather they are your tribe, your peers, your mentors and even some of your favorite authors! Keep this difference in mind when promoting and asking for reviews or blurbs, pay attention to your group guidelines and your audience and above all, keep it professional.

Be creative in posting, find something to make it personal, showcase your hobby or a personal goal, other than reading. Love to cook? Show off your meals. Love to review books on the side? Post a few, let fans see what you are reading. Don’t just post your book cover, day after day after day after day. People will get bored and will lose interest. Pitch yourself, show your humanity, show your passion for what you are doing.

TikTok is huge for small businesses, authors, artists, dancers, etc. Get on it, learn it, use it. Make it fun. Not using it limits your reach and tells those users that you are not interested in their support. It is not that hard to learn, but yes, it does take time to maintain. Also, fun fact, if you gain over 10, 000 followers, they begin to pay you as a creator. Nice bit of incentive there, to reach the masses that you are trying to reach, anyway.

YouTube is still in the mainstream and is a far-reaching platform that can be used in a variety of ways; podcasts, book review channel, story-corner, reader questions and answers, author interviews, video content for your book trailers, sneak peek at chapters or live narrations. They also begin to pay their creators at some point. I believe around 4000 hours of watch time and over 1000 subscribers. (check for yourself as this does change a bit).

Twitter (X) is another huge platform albeit, slightly more limited in what you can post and how much. Regardless, it has enormous reach, can get you connected to others, most celebrities are on Twitter, so you might get some notice sooner than you think. How to use it as an author? Tweet select passages from your novel, tease cover reveals and direct fans to your website. Tweet giveaways, beta-calls and exclusive perks to sign up for your newsletter. Be creative.

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