Monday, March 19, 2012

MMWUC: Another Can of Beans

A friend asked me to help him out. His publisher had been pressuring him to create a web presence via a web site. He wondered if it was worth it. Well, I'm no marketing expert, but I agreed with his publisher. The higher the name recognition, the better the sales. The more times you show up on a web search, the more likely you won't be like an old can of beans stuck on a shelf waiting for some granny to get you on discount. You'll be the "AMAZING NEW ALL-TEMPERATURE WRITER on display in front of the store.

That written, there is a time drain involved with doing anything other than writing. Blogs and web sites can turn into the nightmare from Cleveland, the thing that wouldn't leave, or that blood-sucking monster under the bed. Don't get pulled into a big trap. Learn to budget your time. And if you're uncomfortable about your ability to build a website or blog, get some help. Sydney has some thoughts to help.

1. Look at the websites of authors you like. Steal the idea; make it better.
2. Keep the web page simple so that you don't have to update it every five minutes; though, you will be on it a lot in the beginning as you load up pertinent information.
3. Whoever designs your website, make sure they keep it simple to update. You don't want some expert geek giving you something that only he can update.
4. Create a blog that's linked to the website. Again, keep it simple. I hate going to a blog and spending a half-hour just trying to figure out what's going on.
5. Use the website for more static information; use the blog for more dynamic-interactive information, though there are times when the web site is better suited for contests and some other events.
6. Link, link, link, link. Should I say it once more. Link. Link the website and blog to everything you can. (via Twitter, Facebook, Linked-in, etc.)
7. Create a signature line to make sure people remember who you are and how to get more information about you.
8. Pick a theme for both your website and blog. They don't have to be the same. What are you trying to say that separates you from the crap that's out there clogging up the web?
9. Create consistency with your blog so that you aren't updating it daily or, god forbid, hourly. Leave the updates that your cat just barfed on your WIP for twitter. Write your weekly or bi-weekly blog entry about the positive affects of cat barf on the re-editing of a previously perfect WIP, as an example.
10. Don't let either the website or blog consume you. Without that next book, your career will wither and die. You must write.

Go forth and pollute the web. Does anyone else have additional advise?


K.W. McCabe said...

I suggest he gets an account on twitter, Facebook, and Google+ as well. The more presence, the more people will get to know him :)

Guilie said...

Great list, Rick. Succinct, the pure skeleton of the thing. I guess the web presence matters less if you go traditional-publishing, but even so, it's always a plus. More than the marketing value, though, is also the connection: writing is a solitary endeavor, and a blog has helped me connect with all sorts of people that I never would have without one. There's a whole treasure chest of helpful advice and resources out there once you start navigating and connecting with people.

Thanks for sharing!