One thing most authors do first is go out to http://www.goodreads.com and make a profile for themselves there, because all the online writing groups say you have to do that. And everyone told you to get a blog, so you did these two things and still, nothing happened. So why did I leave these two important detail to the last day of my series?
Tools. You needed the tools to make these two venues as professional as is possible.
In the course of this week you have gathered together an arsenal of tools with which to make the best Goodreads profile you can. You are tweeting. You have your Author Photo. You have your Author Bio. You have links to your about.me profile, you are LinkedIn and made a book trailer. You opened a Pinterest account and you posted a poem to Wattpad. You just googled yourself, and you are still not on page one . Have patience! This is where we pull all these disparate threads together in ONE important, cohesive place:
Open your Goodreads author profile. If you haven’t already made one, do it now!
1. Go to your Author Dashboard. If you never took the tutorial on how to effectively use Goodreads, do it now. It’s there for a reason.
2. Now look at your Bio – is it the concise, professional bio that you have used on ALL your other sites? This consistency is very important, although I am not sure why. When it comes to the internet, consistency is magic, and I’ve never really understood magic. It works, so just do it.
3. Does your blog link back to your profile page? I have the RSS feed for my book review blog, Best In Fantasy, link back there because Goodreads is a club for people who are passionate about books. This means my review blog updates there every time I make a new post, and I try to crank out at least one book review a week. The link to the blog you’re reading now, Life in the Realm of Fantasy is in my Bio.
4. Are all the books you have written, or been a contributor to listed correctly?
5. Have you read and reviewed any books on Amazon or Barnes&Noble? Re-post those reviews on Goodreads. Reading and reviewing is what Goodreads is all about, so if you haven’t read anything lately, take the time to write a paragraph about Pride and Prejudice or whatever books you have read in the past that inspired you to write, and post it. Be serious, because these reviews are part of what builds your profile stats.
When you are a member of Goodreads you will be invited to join many reading groups and you can get involved in a lot of discussions. This can be very good, OR it can be very bad. Tread these waters carefully! I have seen several authors raked over the coals in a sort of feeding frenzy when they were frank in their opinion of a poorly written book by a Goodreads author with many loyal friends. This is why I stay out of many discussions. The reviews I post on Goodreads are of the books I reviewed on my book review blog.
There will be people who tell you that Goodreads is a waste of time, haunted by professional trolls and wannabes. There is some truth to this assertion, but it is true only BECAUSE so many people use it. My Goodreads profile is the first thing that comes up when my name is Googled, so I can assure you I am very careful about what discussions I get involved with there.
I believe you do yourself a great disservice if you fall into the habit of harshly criticizing others in public forums. Ask yourself what you want agents and editors to see when they Google your author name, and make sure your behavior in public reflects that.
As a reader, I go to Goodreads to find great books written by indie authors, and I am rarely disappointed.
As you can see, my rating is quite average, and not really outstanding, but it is the FIRST link that appears on the Google search. This is where people will click first to see who I am when I submit a query to agent. This is why you must make sure it is as professional as you can make it.
NOW–you noticed that number three on the above list mentions BLOGs. In fact, every venue for you to publicize your author name offers you the opportunity to POST THE LINKS TO YOUR BLOG(S). If no one knows your blog is out there, how can they find it to read it? Flog your blog all over the internet through the free, easy to use venues we have discussed this week! (This is not Spank the Monkey. That is something entirely different!)
If you have wondered why the blog that you never wanted but were pushed into starting has never done well, it may be that you haven’t promoted it. Every venue that we have discussed this week gives you an opportunity to show the world that you take your craft as an author seriously.
You do this by writing.
Update your blog once a week, three times a week, or daily–it’s up to you, but be disciplined and somewhat regular. Normally I update this blog every other day, although this week I updated every day. I spend about twenty minutes to half an hour writing it. It is usually stream of consciousness, unless I have some particular topic that I want to speak on.
Your blog is the place where you showcase your published work and offer buy links in the sidebars. You can discuss the weather, the cat (I love indie author J.D.Hughes‘ posts on William the Cat.)
It’s through making use of the most cost-effective venues out there —>Twitter, Facebook, Wattpad, LinkedIn, About.me, Goodreads and your personal blog that you build your brand, your author name. It did involve some effort on my part for the first week or so when I was getting these venues up and running, but now they really maintain themselves. All I do is write, blog and periodically check twitter. I am not even a fanatic about twitter–I use a free program called Hootsuite to schedule tweets for the week ahead, spending maybe 10 minutes on Sunday morning, and then I simply respond to tweets that interest me or thank people when they mention me.
I can’t say that I have made huge sales or become a best seller, because that hasn’t happened. I’ve only been officially doing this for 2 years, and I’ve made all sorts of newbie mistakes in the process. But the point is, I keep at it, and I keep my professional profile updated. If you want an agent or publisher to take you seriously in this new world you must take your own career seriously by presenting your name and your work in the best light possible.
In the new world of publishing, the internet (Google and other search engines) is your ‘Store Window.’ Your books are your ‘display’ in that store. Your name is the ‘brand’ that prospective searchers see. Am I branded like ‘Nike’ yet? No, but the late Robert Jordan is, and he mastered the internet thing in the mid 1990’s when his Wheel of Time series first went viral. By using the tools that are available to us we can achieve the best results possible.
One never knows what will convince a prospective reader to try your book, so offer them every opportunity that you can.
Thank you for sticking with me through this whole week of my take on marketing your name. Now go out there and build your brand, one brick at a time.