I do a lot of work with other authors. After all, collaboration, paying it forward, sharing information and all that – it’s a wonderful thing. Writers are my tribe, and I get excited every time an author friend hits the bestseller list, and I cheer on each new book release as if it were my own. I love you guys.
However — some of you are driving me fucking nuts because you’re sabotaging yourselves and you don’t even know it. You cannot imagine my frustration when I go to look for you on the web and… you’re nowhere to be found. You cannot imagine my frustration when I want to keep up with you, and there is no place for me to do so. Or when I need to send you an email (for something writerly that we’re both involved in) but you only list your twitter as a contact point. And why is your Amazon Author Page non-existant, or hasn’t been updated with your books published from 2015 forward? WTH is up with that?
Okay – I get it. Online stuff is hard and overwhelming and it’s A LOT of work. It takes time. But if I can’t find you or stay connected with you — what do you think your readers are going to think? I’m not being an asshole – no – this is part of the job guys. Let’s get it together.
Here are a few things I see writers skipping out on (whether indie or traditional) and it boggles the mind (and it really drives me nuts when I’m looking for your contact info and can’t find you!). It’s probably helping you lose readers, too. Yes, you heard me, some of you are losing readers.
- You need a web presence that YOU control (i.e. a website or blog) and you need to update it AT LEAST once a month. Your hardcore fans WANT to know what the hell you’re up to. Most fans of your work want to know several things. Who you are, what books you have available, and when the next one is coming out. They may want to know a little about you, and have a way to get in contact with you. Some of my favorite authors have websites, but they’re guilty of only updating them once a year (if even that) – and frankly, as a reader, that drives me up a wall. It makes me think you’re dead. Look into WIX or WordPress, or ask your other author friends what they’re using to build their website, and then take it for a test drive and build a simple website. All authors have to have some degree of know-how when it comes to the internets and computing machines. If technology freaks you out, ask a tech-savvy friend or family member. I bet they’d love to help you. This leads me to the next thing….
- You need to have a newsletter that your readers can sign up for, to keep up with you! I know – you’re a nobody. You think no one gives two craps who you are because you only have one novel out. I get it. HOWEVER — one of my biggest writing MISTAKES was not having a newsletter when one of my novels hit the bestseller lists. If I could go back and change ONE thing about my writing career, that would have been it. I would have started a newsletter from day one back in 2005.
- You really need to claim your Amazon author page and make sure you update it with your new releases as they come out. I know – it takes a few minutes to do it, but you’re probably losing sales if you don’t. When I find an author I like, the first place I hit is their Amazon Author Page to see what else they’ve written, THEN I go snooping around their website, and then I generally join the mailing list. Then I might hit them up on social media.
- If I meet you at a convention and happen to lose your card, but remember your name, and I want to contact you about that thing we were talking about- if I go to your website or your FB page – I better be able to find a contact form or an email address. I know – you want your privacy and you don’t want anyone to contact you anywhere but Twitter, but have you considered if you’ve missed out on an opportunity because no one could contact you? Afraid someone might email you? Oh heavens. Just do the rest of us a favor and start a gmail account for authorly things and check it. But Steph, that means I have to check more than one email address a day! I don’t have time for that. Well then forward your author email to the email address you DO check every day. That way no one has your personal email address (so we can’t stalk you) and you don’t have to ::gasp:: check more than one email box a day. You can also add more than one email address to your smartphone mail app and check it there.
- If you have a Facebook page make sure you actually check Facebook regularly. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to contact an author on Facebook only to get a message three months later saying, “Oh, yeah, I don’t really use Facebook. I hate social media.” Well then WHY allow people to contact you there? Either activate it and check it regularly or don’t have a Facebook. If you’re not going to update something regularly online, it’s just as bad as having nothing at all. This also goes for Twitter, Instagram, etc….
To recap – your website should have the following content regularly updated:
- CONTACT FORM
- NEWSLETTER SIGN UP PAGE
- INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR BOOKS and BUY LINKS (Kept Current)
- ABOUT YOU
- LINKS TO ACTIVE SOCIAL MEDIA
Most things beyond this are optional.