3 Tips for Building Your Online Presence

As we’ve discussed, it’s essential that authors establish themselves online. Not only are publishers pushing for more author-initiated marketing in the digital world, the Internet is where readers go first to find research new titles. A recent poll showed 35% of all online users are over the age of 40 and some of us should be retired.

There are 3 key building blocks to your online platform (full disclosure – these were first brought to our attention by blogger and social media guru Chris Brogan). Core to successfully using your online presence is listening to what your readers are saying about you and your books. You’ll want to know what they are saying and where they are saying those things.

  1. Home base is where you focus most of your presence-building time. This is likely your website or your blog, and more often than not it’s your blog. At New Leaf Publishing Group we use WordPress.com as our blogging platform. Your home base must fit your personality so readers will get to know you beyond the covers of your books. Here’s where you connect with fans one-on-one; here’s where you discuss your approaches to writing, share your hobbies, become real. An author I recently read (Robert Benson, The Echo Within) shows pictures of his writing studio on his site – a small building behind his home in the midst of a beautifully tended garden. Turns out he’s the gardener and digging in the dirt is where he mines ideas for his next manuscript. I’m not a fan of gardening myself, but I like knowing Robert is; he now has personality beyond his wonderfully written book.
  2. Outposts are social media sites where you maintain an online presence, where you interact regularly with readers while gently guiding them to your home base. Twitter is an excellent resource and it’s where I spend most of my outpost time. It’s where I form loosely-joined relationships, it’s where I keep up on what other writers are saying and what new titles they’re crafting. It’s great for conversing. Facebook is where I post covers of books and where my blogs are linked; it’s also where I can visit the Facebook pages of my children and grandchildren. 🙂 Other outposts include LinkedIn.com which provides living, breathing business connections with friends, former colleagues, those looking to connect. Also YouTube.com and Tangle.com (formerly GodTube.com).
  3. Outposts are places of presence you maintain for more casual interaction and promotion purposes. Passports are where it’s important to have an account or profile, but where you might not be a full-fledged community member. Flickr.com, gmail.com, yahoo.com, digg.com, stumbleupon.com, disqus.com, delicious.com, openid.org are all examples of useful outposts.

Listen. Give first, before you get. Comment on other people’s blog posts and tweets and share with others information you find valuable. Be open, transparent and relevant and you won’t go wrong.


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