It seems like it should go together doesn’t it? Self-publishing (“Indie Publishing” I reckon isn’t quite the same) on Teh Interwebs is eezie squeezie, and getting your book up and on Amazon or B&N is something that many a soccermom turned romance novelist is doing.
But that seems to be where many end up e-stopping, when in fact they should be hitting the e-gas. I’m getting more and more active on the Kindle Boards, where I read almost exclusively the “Writer’s Cafe” forum, and about the average of what I’m seeing is folks having a blogspot.com account.
Which is fine, really, if you have no idea what you’re e-doing and are afraid of getting screwed by unscrupulous web people (of which there are a few).
And while I tend to use these two as my benchmarks, they are, so it bothers me that Joe Konrath and Amanda Hocking are both using theirname.blogspot.com accounts to blog and promote their books when there is SO MUCH opportunity out there for either of them.
Let’s take one of them as an example…
Amanda Hocking’s main site is her blogspot blog, with what I assume is a semi-standard template and a lot of widgety-goodness buzzing around on the edges. I don’t know her personally, but I would reckon it does little to convey either the feel of the author or her work through its design.
Amandahocking.com however, just has this:
YUCK. Yuckety-yuck. Poweryuck, with yuck-burning boosters.
Girlfriend, you’ve quickly ascended to celebrity status among self-publishing authors and have almost single-handedly lit the fire under the asses of tens of thousands. You’ve finally got a big book deal and you’ve optioned the rights to a bloody movie for the sake of Pete.
GET A WEBSITE UP ON THAT DOMAIN.
If somebody else owns it, pay what they want. The earlier you do that, the cheaper it’ll be. If they won’t sell, then take ’em to court and prove your own copyright now that you are undoubtedly a corporate entity, but get a site up there, because that’s craptastic crapburgers with poosauce on ’em.
Your books should have their own websites too.
Amanda has a slew of books and also a trilogy aptly named “Trylle Trilogy”, with books priced $0.99, $2.99 and $2.99 respectively. She’s got these books available on her website with a neat moving banner thingo that I think Amazon provides, but that’s about the only place she’s plugging these books. A quick Google Search for “trylle” shows only sites that are talking about her movie deal in the Top 10 and any website that’s actually about those books nowhere near the Top 30.
I actually emailed her about 3 months ago when I got started down this whole Self-Publishing E-book route, and at that time I informed her that www.trylletrilogy.com was available (which it was) and she should go and get it. I’ve just checked and it’s since been registered by “charlies sheen” under a private account. Hmmm. There’s no active website up for that domain either.
So right there, you’ve got two prime opportunities for self-promotion. You’re an author, you need a website that’s YOURS with your domain name. Heck, my new mate has www.justinscro.com that he just got through WordPress, and he knows sweet f*ck all about websites and such. Amanda Hocking should have a website that has all the trappings for linking to her fan pages on Facebook, Twitter, sending her an email, and info about her books. She can turn the homepage into a listing of her latest blog posts and then link to the blog separately too.
Hell, if done right, she can even export all of her old blog posts and import them onto a new site with little hassle.
She should have registered www.mybloodapproves.com (which fukkinell is AVAILABLE, oh my goodness, I should make that one an example) as well as www.trylletrilogy.com and put info up about both books (not just “Buy! Buy! Buy!” but other stuff) as well as set up a couple of forums for people to get on there and debate their favourite characters, discuss their favourite books from the series, what’s happening with a movie deal, etc.
Hell, all she’d have to do is blog that she’s looking for some forum moderators to help look after these websites, and she’d have 30 pasty-white and doughy hands in the air faster than you can say “secretly thinks they’re a vampire”.
ALL of this can be done with little hassle, you just need to know what you’re doing.
The best part about all of this too, most of it is free. FREE.
Get a decent web host, like my mate Pete at www.ihswebsolutions.com and you can have a website with all the trappings for about $3.95 a month. That’s peanuts, trust me.
A domain name will run you about $9/year through Pete as well, and once you’ve got all this set up, you can log into the CPanel (control panel software through the backend) and set up WordPress on your website, a PHPBB forum and an email address or five, for NOTHING EXTRA.
Go to templatemonster.com or another similar site, grab a template for $70 and install it on your website. Get a webnerd to spend an hour swapping out the huge alligator from the top banner and the stock photos of that blonde girl with the headset on (that’s on EVERY site, I swear) and you’ve got a semi-customised, fairly unique, website all your own.
That’s $9 for the domain name, $47.40 for hosting, $70 for a template (or FREE off of WordPress.com’s website), and a signed copy of your book for the dungeonmaster comicbookguy that’s never kissed a girl but can tell you the birthdate of every female that’s ever been one of The Avengers.
$126.40 isn’t much when you consider the potential book sales, not to mention the overall publicity that your name and your books will garner.
Seems a damn shame that it’s that simple and more aren’t doing it. I mean really people, if you’re not out there cornering the market on YOU, someone else will eventually.
Or worse, no one will at all.