I'm back with some more thoughts on marketing. Here are some details about my web-site. If anything else, take a look and let me know what you think. To top it off, here are links to the next two installments from the interview with Anne Mini.
Web-sites and Marketing
From time to time over the past few weeks, I’ve been talking a little about marketing, or selling one’s books once they are published. The last time I was here, I spoke a little about using e-mail and having a blog to enhance one’s marketing efforts. Rather than speaking theoretically, I decided to point out what I’ve been doing with the computer, the web, and the internet as I strive to make myself and my work more widely known.
In this day and age, authors are continuously told they need to have a web-site, long before they are published. And yes, I have one, thanks to my daughter who made it as her senior year project in high school. She did a very nice job of it, and I often received and passed on to her, the kind remarks of those seeing it. With a change in computers, computer operating systems, and a quest to make the site a bit more user friendly (for me), some of the aesthetics have been lost. Still, the web-site does what I want it to.
I believe that one’s web-site should be the central point, the focus of his or her on-line presence. A visitor should not need any links or URLs beyond that of a person’s web-site in order to connect with that person. The web-site should contain the links to take the visitor to other places on the web or internet connected with the person in question. Beyond that, those connections should be readily apparent, visible on the first or home page of the web-site.
Should you choose to visit my web-site, here is what you will find upon arriving on the home page. You’ll discover buttons or links taking you to my other internet locations as well as other pages on my web-site. At the very top of the page you can go to my Live Journal or Blog, my Facebook Page, and my Amazon Author Page. You can also go to a biography page, a “writing” page, an “other” page, and pages for links and contacts. While on the first page you will find a brief explanation of what I write, the statement that my first book, Beyond the Ocean’s Edge: A Stone Island Sea Story has been published, and several routes to purchase it. That first page mentions where it is available in the local area and lists any upcoming author events such as signings or readings.
The “bio” page contains basically the same author biography as presented on the back cover of the book, although with some recent changes it is more up to date. The “writing” page contains excerpts, the first chapters of each of the Stone Island Sea Stories. “Other” contains reviews that others have written of my work, reviews I’ve written, and a list of what I’ve read over the past few years. The list was getting a bit unwieldy, so I now only include the latest twenty-five items.
The “links” page will connect people to sites and pages that I find to be of interest, both in regards to writing and also the age of sail. From here, one can go to the web-sites of USS Constitution, HMS Victory, and the USS Constitution Museum. A person can also find links to the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers, the Historical Novel Society, and Anne Mini’s Author! Author! Blog. Anyone who desires to get in more direct contact with me can go to the “contacts” page and find out how to do that.
Presently I am not set up to sell directly from my site, but who knows, that may change as time goes on. I may find it worthwhile to set up with PayPal or some other system and be able to sell signed copies directly, should there be a market for them.
One thing I do is to try and keep the site up-dated. When I schedule a signing or other author event, I try to get the information on the site as quickly as possible. I also try to keep other portions of the site current as well. I want any visitors to notice at least a small change in the site when they come back again. Hopefully that will encourage them to make subsequent visits. As a web-user, I find it a bit disheartening to visit a site, often several days or weeks after my first visit and discover that nothing has changed.
Quite often when one goes to an author’s web-site, what one actually finds is that individual’s blog. I’ve been told that that is the current trend, or the way a great many people set it up. Perhaps if I had waited and started the web-site and the blog all at the same time I would have ended up doing it that way. However, once I had what I have, I wasn’t about to change and start over. I did, however include a link to my Live Journal (blog) page at the very beginning of the web-site. Again, this goes back to my earlier statement that one’s web-page should be the central point of one’s on-line presence.
Once more it appears that we’ve reached my standard length of posts, so I’ll end for now. Next time I’ll talk a little about my Face Book Page and a bit on how to get people to visit one’s web-site and other internet locations.