Category Archives: Build Friends, Fans, And Followers

3 Marketing Strategies Literary Agents And Editors Love To See | Web Design Relief

There’s only one thing literary agents and editors enjoy more than discovering great unpublished writing: discovering great unpublished writing that’s backed by an author who is an enthusiastic self-starter.

But what exactly do literary agents love to see in a new client? How can a writer do more than merely promise enthusiasm for book marketing?

Believe it or not, there are three simple marketing strategies that can make a huge difference for writers even before they get a book published.

Lay the foundation for your future as a successful author right now, even before you start seeking publication.

Here’s how.

Writers: Three Marketing Tactics To Implement Before You Seek Book Publication

First: Define Your Author Brand

A writer with a well-defined, recognizable brand is a writer who can expect to build an audience that will buy book after book for years to come. But how can writers build their brands even before getting published?

Simple. Learn the core concepts of author brand development and how this strategy can work for you.

A strong writer brand starts with the author’s online personality and builds a focused outreach campaign based on the author’s select literary interests.

In other words, who you are as a writer—and what you love to write—makes up the spine of your author brand. With focused effort, a writer with strong, specific branding will develop a unique voice and style that pervade book after book, delivering on the “promise” of the brand with each new title so that readers can expect stories of a consistent quality. A writer’s social media posts, marketing materials, and writing all reflect the core tenets of the author’s brand.

But a word of caution: Writers may have a natural tendency to love many sorts of books written in many different styles, but a strong writer brand is usually only big enough for focusing on a single selected genre. Writers who hop around among genres tend to take on different pen names for each style of book—but that means marketing each pen name with “new author” status and building a readership from the ground up for each new book.

How will agents and editors know you have a well-planned author brand? You can certainly bring up the details of your plans and strategies in conversation. But you can also hint at them in your query letter.

Second: Have A Fabulous Author Website

New writers often wonder: What is the point of having an author website if there are no books to sell, no publishing credits to brag about, and—generally speaking—nothing to offer potential fans?

Friends, let our years of publishing experience AND web design smarts reassure you: New writers are as much in need of great websites as established veterans. Here’s why creating a website before publication can be a benefit to literary agents, editors, readers—and, of course, to you.

  • A well-designed author website shows that you’re actively paving the way for the future—a future that you’re willing to invest in. And if a writer is meaningfully investing, agents may find it easier to follow suit. After all, an author website shows that the writer has a strong expectation of publishing success—as opposed to a vague hope that someday, something good will happen. I’m going to be great at this, the subtext screams. So why not start now?
  • An author website with integrated social media feeds, a sign-up form for email subscribers, and freebies that encourage connections with fans makes it clear that you are READY to build your readership. Plus, having fan-building functionality on your author website may surprise you: You might find more people than you ever imagined are signing up to learn about your writing. But you won’t know who might become a fan until you give them the opportunity.
  • An author website lets you tell your personal story—which is HUGE for personal marketing and branding. If you’re a new writer, your author’s bio page gives you the ability to show industry pros that you’re dedicating real effort to the craft of writing by taking classes, attending conferences, and soaking up knowledge like a bookish sponge. Even if a writer has no publication credits yet, an author website is a chance to show that it’s only a matter of time.
  • Creating an author website makes you googleable—when literary agents and editors type your name into a search engine, something will actually come up. Read more: How Writers Can Be More Googleable (So People Can Find Your Writing Online) | Web Design Relief.
  • Not having a website seems shortsighted and passive. Literary agents and editors expect their writers will be active promotional partners. In fact, having an author website is as de rigueur as having a business card. Writers who don’t have author websites imply that they are simply not interested in promotion.

If you don’t have a website yet, be sure to hire a company that truly understands your goals as a creative writer and how those goals matter within the larger publishing industry. Start by checking out Web Design Relief.

Read more:

Unpublished Writers: Strategies For Creating An Impressive Author Website | Web Design Relief

How To Help Your Author Website Designer “Get You” And What You Want | Web Design Relief

In your query letter, be sure to tell literary agents to visit your author website so they can get to know you as a writer. Instead of including a basic URL address, try: If you’d like to learn more about me, see pictures from my research and travels, or check out my popular blog posts, visit my website: URL here.

Third: Create A Foundation For Social Media Success

If you enjoy posting new pictures and thoughts on social media, count yourself lucky. You’ve got a natural advantage when it comes to marketing and promotion. You’re probably already out there sharing the ups and downs of your publishing journey and inviting potential fans into your life—and that’s exactly what literary agents and editors love to see from writers.

And here’s a secret about social media for writers: It doesn’t matter whether you have fifty Facebook friends or five hundred.

What matters is your attitude: invigorated, enthusiastic, and active. You’re already laying the foundation for a thriving community of fans, friends, and followers. And this counts big when literary agents are assessing your potential success as an online personality who can command a large fan base of readers.

But if you’re the type of writer who would rather be writing books than social media posts—who breaks out in hives just thinking about sharing any information on social media—take heart in knowing that you’re not alone.

Let’s address some common insecurities (and a few straight-up excuses) that tend to hold people back from developing a strong online social media platform.

Excuse: There’s no point in trying to gather ANY fans since it’s so difficult to gather LOTS of them.

The truth: Literary agents prize the quality of your social interactions more than they care about the quantity. A writer with 5,000 friends who rarely interact doesn’t have more marketing power than a writer with only fifty friends who actively engage regularly.

Excuse: Social media is only for young people who care about frivolous things.

The truth: Though social media is certainly popular among students, older generations of adults are also active online. In fact, the majority of people who use the Internet are using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and similar platforms. And though cat videos are perennial favorites, posts that have more poignancy or substance are welcome too. Writers can choose how to make social media their own. Learn more: Tips For Targeting Older Demographics On Social Media.

Excuse: I’m worried about posting anything personal online—it’s not safe.

The truth: It’s possible to post information that isn’t personally revealing but is still engaging and interesting. All it takes is a little creativity and an eye for intriguing, sharable content. Read more: Safety Tips For Social Networking: A Writer’s Guide To Staying Safe Online.

Even if you don’t have a huge following yet as a writer, working with what you already have puts you in a great place to expand and grow.

In your query letter, you can brag to literary agents about big numbers of fans and followers if you have them. But equally as powerful is this simple statement: I’ve been active on social media and am looking forward to continuing to grow my following.

Build An Author Platform That Will Give Your Book Every Advantage

You only get one chance to make a first impression. Take the time to build a marketing infrastructure now, and you might see a bigger payoff when you do finally submit your book for publication.

And remember, we’re here to help!

 

Question for writers: Which of these marketing strategies seems simplest to implement? Which seem hardest?

 

How Writers Can Be More Googleable (So People Can Find Your Writing Online) | Web Design Relief

Have you Googled your author name lately? What shows up in your search engine results? If the first page doesn’t include your website or other sites mentioning your books, you may want to reconsider whether your efforts to build an author brand are working. At Web Design Relief, we know that your being “Googleable” makes it easier for readers, editors, and literary agents to find you.

7 Tips To Help Writers Boost Their Google Results And Discoverability

Search Engine Optimization

Every writer needs an author website. Without it, you’re losing a valuable opportunity to create a hub for all your marketing and promotion activities. You’re also missing the chance to optimize that author website to boost your “Googleability.” Your website should be the first Google result that pops up when someone types in your name to find you.

Optimization can be both technical and content based. Techie back-end improvements include the effective use of header tags, metadata keywords, alt-tags on photos, and smart use of hyperlinking. Front-end, content-based improvements that you can do yourself include frequent updating with new content, providing easy connections to social media, and taking advantage of multimedia tools such as photos, videos, and slideshows.

Blogging

Blogging is a great way to keep content fresh and draw traffic to your website—a quality that search engines love. But setting a regular schedule to post is not the only way you can boost your rankings by blogging. You can also:

  • Guest blog on other writers’ sites
  • Promote your blog on your social media platforms
  • Do blog launch tours and interviews when you have a new book release
  • Follow and comment on other people’s blogs

Byline And Book Listings

Authors who quickly release a lot of books tend to have a strong presence in search engine results. It just makes sense that the more bylines you have, the more Googleable you become.

If there’s a big gap of time between releases of your books, you may want to consider doing some short-form publications to keep your name visible. These could include publications in magazines or newspapers or writing short stories or novellas for an indie-published anthology, etc.

Social Media

Social media is so important to Google results that several publishing houses have included a clause in their contracts compelling authors to engage with followers on one or more platforms. Active engagement provides search engines with lots of mentions to feed algorithms.

The bigger social media platforms are preferred by Google because of their massive reach. Consider engaging with your readers wherever they hang out most: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube, etc. YouTube is owned by Google, so if you’re comfortable with “vlogging,” YouTube will give your search engine results a big boost.

Deep engagement on a few social media platforms is far preferable to shallow engagement on many, but there are some sites where book authors should at least claim their profiles. These would include:

  • Goodreads
  • LibraryThing
  • BookBub
  • LinkedIn (particularly for nonfiction writers and journalists)

Google Account Optimization

You already have a Google account if you have signed up for Gmail, Google Drive, Google+, etc., but how long has it been since you checked your Google profile? Make sure to include a tagline and an introduction about your work in the personal information section. Integrate relevant keywords to help improve your Google results and rankings.

If you use Gmail, create an email address that includes your author name, rather than “bookwriter234” or something equally unspecific.

Writing Contests

Finalists and winners of writing contests are often publicized by the contest coordinators, adding another listing of your name to search engine algorithms.

Indie Writers Go Wide

If you’re a self-published indie writer in control of your own book distribution, consider “going wide” rather than being exclusive to a certain vendor. When your work is available on Amazon, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play, Barnes & Noble, Ingram, OverDrive, Scribd, Tolino, Playster, Bibliotheca, and Baker & Taylor, your Googleability will rise.

If you want to build a brand and get your writing in front of readers, editors, and agents—being Googleable is mandatory. Discoverability depends on increasing your visibility in search engine rankings, and the results can make all the difference in your writing career.

We just typed your name in the search bar. What will we find?

 

Question: What methods do you use to increase your visibility in search engine results?

4 (Almost) Effortless Ways For Writers To Meet Their Fans | Web Design Relief

Writing may be a solitary experience, but it’s important to your success as a writer that, at some point, you connect with your readers. While it’s always nice to meet your fans in person at readings, book signings, or conferences, the Internet experts at Web Design Relief know it’s easier than ever to interact with your readers online. And best of all, with just a few clicks, you can answer questions, talk about your writing, and schmooze—all while sitting in your favorite chair and wearing your fuzzy slippers!

Easy, Almost Effortless Ways For Writers To Connect With Fans Online

Create A Facebook Group. If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times: Social media is vital for promoting yourself and your writing. By creating a Facebook group dedicated to you and your writing, you provide a forum for fans who want to talk about your work and follow your progress. A Group can be open (visible to everyone) or private (visible to members only). For ideas, check out the Stephen King: Constant Reader Fan Club or Midnight, Texas Fans, dedicated to novels written by Charlaine Harris.

Hold A Live Streaming Event. You can also host live streaming chats on Facebook and interact with your fans in real time. And it’s easier than you might think—you can even use your cell phone camera! Your followers will receive a notification of when you’re going live so they can tune in and meet you “in person.” It’s a great way to announce the cover art selection for your new book, the publication of your latest poetry or short story in a literary journal, or your upcoming book signing or presentation.

Open A Book Club On Goodreads. Goodreads is the original online mecca for book nerds: Forums, yearly reading trackers, and book clubs galore can be found in this corner of the Internet. You can create a fan club to discuss your favorite books—including your own! Take a look at Emma Watson’s Our Shared Shelf or author Colleen Houck’s Book Club for ideas. Be sure to link your author website and social media to your book club page so that new fans can follow all your online author platforms.

Start A Group Chat On Twitter. You can also create a group on Twitter that will allow you to Direct Message the group and have conversations with members. It’s a great way to develop a stronger relationship with your readers and to quickly and easily share updates about your writing. Groups can be public or private—but who wouldn’t want to belong to a secret fan club?

 

QUESTION: What online forums or groups do you belong to? Tell us in the comment section!

How To Write Effective Facebook Ads To Promote Your Book | Web Design Relief

Back in the infancy of social media, when you posted on Facebook, the majority of your followers saw your posts. But then Facebook began applying algorithms to determine which of your posts your followers might be most interested in—and the average user’s reach plummeted. So even though you may have lots of fans following you… Continue Reading

Writers: How To Use Twitter Like A Best-Selling Author | Web Design Relief

With over 336 million monthly active users, Twitter is still one of the most popular social media platforms. For this reason, you’ll find many best-selling authors using Twitter to connect with their readers, including Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Jodi Picoult, Rick Riordan, Neil Gaiman, and many others. The social media experts at Web Design Relief… Continue Reading

Writer: Turn Your Acceptance Letters Into Online Marketing Gold | Web Design Relief

If you’ve been making creative writing submissions and getting your fair share of rejections—an acceptance letter is cause for celebration! And while you’re doing your happy dance, tango on over to your computer keyboard to share the good news. The marketing experts at Web Design Relief explain how getting an acceptance letter offers you a… Continue Reading


Sign up to receive our FREE four-part series, The Writer’s Essential Guide To Reputation-Building In A Digital World—the ultimate resource for building your online author platform.
YES! Send Me My FREE Guide!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
close-link
Live Chat Software