Along with researching agents and publishers, I’ve been thinking a lot about creating a better online presence.
The problem is, how without sounding like some annoying salesman?
From what I’ve read, the commonest advice is to offer something potential readers want and will make them keep coming back.
Okay. What do I have to offer?
It has to be free to start. It could be humor (that one’s easy. My son and husband are always coming up with something). Information and advice is another. There it gets wrinkly. Everything I know and learned has come from someone else. The trick will be to put my own unique spin on it and make it entertaining as well as informative. Otherwise all I’ll be doing is adding external links to every blog entry.
I should care about my readers, and respond in a timely manner to any comments or questions they might have. One way to do that is see myself not as a writer, but as a reader. What do I look for in writer websites/blogs? What encourages me to keep coming back? How can I emulate them, again without being repetitive or plagiaristic?
Yes, I want to sell my writing, but that should the end result of an online presence, not the foremost.
After all, if a reader enjoys my blog, my website, Facebook page and Twitter tweets, then they’ll naturally want to read my books.
The mindset has to be thus: It’s not about me or my books, per se, but about pleasing my readers.
One thing that sucks about writing and desiring to publish is that my writing succeeds or fails based solely on the opinion of others. That said it’s something I chose (sort of) and knew going in, so I really shouldn’t complain.
So far I have several ideas:
- Book reviews. I’ve wanted to do more of these, and I could certainly use the practice. That I read a lot makes this fairly easy. It’ll also help garner more readers, because if they’re well-written enough, the authors may link the review on their own websites.
- Humor pieces. There’s a blog I read (Literary Agent Steve Laube) and every Friday he writes an entry called “Fun Fridays”. He’ll either add a humorous Youtube video, or fun facts. For me, I’ll likely dedicate Mondays, because who couldn’t use a little laughter on Monday?
- Continuing my publication journey. I’ve written a few entries in an older blog dedicated to the pitfalls of pursuing publication, and received some very good responses to it (One even went so far as comparing me to Erma Bombeck. Yeah, I’m as shocked as you are). Apparently I’m fairly humorous when describing rejections. Good, because I have a feeling there will be a lot more of those.
- Faith. Seeking publication is a journey of faith. I’ve learned more about God and seen my faith grow ever since I decided to pursue it. There were a lot of bumps and bruises from falling on my face, but I learned more from those failures than I ever will from my successes. Perhaps others can learn from them as well – without the bruises. And laugh at my obvious ineptitude.
- Write more. One entry a month simply won’t cut it (my average of late). People’s time is short and precious, and if I’m not consistent – no matter how good the entries are – they will lose interest.
Now it’s your turn. What would you like to see me write or add to my website? As an incentive, I’ll send you some free stuff. I’m thinking some pens and bookmarks, or a free critique of the first five pages of a novel, short story or article. Your choice.