Internet

Yesterday, Jeff Savage addressed the topic of blogging over on Six LDS Writers and a Frog. Go read it. I agree with him.

For those of you too lazy to click the link, he made the point that if you’re an author and you don’t want to blog, don’t feel like you have to do it. For as much as I’ve pushed blogging here on this site, you may be surprised that I agree with that statement. Here’s why: If blogging is a chore to you, it will come out in your presentation and will not serve you in your quest to build your fan base. Same thing goes for social networking, virtual tours, etc., etc.

However (you knew that was coming, didn’t you?), in the world we live in, the Internet is a powerful source of information and many readers go there first in their search for new books to read. In my opinion, every author NEEDS an Internet presence. This presence can be a website, a blog or an author bio page on your publisher’s site.

For beginning authors, whose publishers may not offer bio pages (or whose bio pages are substandard in design and info) and who may not have the skills or funds to set up a website, free blogs are a simple solution. You don’t have to blog on a blog—you can make one that is more like a static website, if you want. (WordPress, with it’s easy tabs and pages, works a little better for this.) If you don’t make regular changes to it, it may not show up very high when someone Googles you, but it will exist and they will be able to find it.

Your internet presence, however you choose to establish it, should have as a minimum the following:

  • Welcome message—a pleasant message welcoming the visitor to the site.
  • Book Info—containing an image of the cover, title, a short blurb, other pertinent information, and a LINK to where it can be purchased online. It can be as simple as what is posted over on the LDS Fiction blog. You need info on every book you’ve published.
  • New Release/Coming Soon—same as the book info, but this needs to be in a distinct area (like at the top or on its own tab) so that it stands out from the others.
  • Author Bio—containing a short, professional bio on yourself with a nice photo. Nice meaning that it’s crisp and clear and that you look like an author someone would like to meet.

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When it comes to “publishing” your work on the internet, either though blogging or sites like CTRStories, do you need to let a prospective publisher know that it’s been on the internet? For example, if I blog about my child with dyslexia and later decide to write a book about dyslexia using some of what I’ve written on my blog, will that cause a problem?

Yes, you do need to let the publisher know. Let’s say you blog regularly about dyslexia and people come to your blog specifically because of that, then you’ve already begun to establish yourself as an authority in this area. That is a good thing.

Whether or not it causes a problem depends on how close a match the two pieces of writing are. If what you’ve posted is word for word what is in your book, you’re going to need to take those posts down before you start submitting. You might leave up a small number of posts (ones that have the most positive comments) to show that people respond well to your writing but if you have too much up there, you’re diluting the sales potential of the book. It’s a fine line—you want enough there to entice people to buy the book, but not so much that they feel they’ve already read it.

It also depends on the publisher. Some have a policy of no excerpts posted anywhere. Others feel that a few short excerpts are a good thing. Even those who are very strict will probably not have a problem if what you’ve posted represents just a few pages of a much longer finished work, but they may have you take it down when they offer a contract.

Personally, I would not post anything I was planning to publish in print on the Internet until I had a signed contract with a publisher and their permission to do so.

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Establishing a Web Presence

October 16, 2007

When do you think it’s important to establish a web presence? Yesterday. Before you ever have hope of being published(1), after acceptance of your manuscript(2), or when the book comes out(3)? (1) If you want to, yes. Keep it professional so that when editors/publishers google you, it will make you look good. Professional does not […]

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Blogging 101—Extra questions

June 28, 2007

I have a blog site, but no one reads it. How do I attract an audience? Read this post and all the comments. Do you think it’s better to have a separate blog from your website or blog within your website? Or does it matter? Whichever is easiest for you. But if your blog is […]

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Blogging 101—Driving Readers to Your Site

June 27, 2007

I may not get all the blogging terminology correct here because I’m new to blogging myself. Also, I am not a geek—at least, not on Wednesdays. But you’ll be able to get the general concept behind these ideas. The most important thing about having a blog is to get your name and writing style noticed. […]

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Blogging 101—Settings, Part 3

June 26, 2007

Before I start on today’s list, I forgot a setting from yesterday. It’s under “Publishing.” Send Pings—Yes. This notifies the web crawlers that you’ve added new stuff to your blog. The more often you add stuff, the higher you move in the search engines. Template: If you are new to blogging, stick with a standard […]

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Blogging 101—Settings, Part 2

June 25, 2007

I’m using Blogger as my resource for the order in which I talk about settings. I am only discussing the ones that directly effect using your blog as a marketing tool for your writing. In Blogger, many of these settings have a question mark beside them that you can click on for more info. If […]

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Blogging 101-Getting Started

June 21, 2007

I’ve been inundated with questions about blogging, so I’ll be doing a short series of posts about where and when and how and all that jazz, with an emphasis on how best to use this to promote your writing career. This will be old hat for some of you who are experienced bloggers but I’m […]

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Blogging for Readers

June 15, 2007

When do you think it’s important to establish a web presence? Before you ever have hope of being published, after acceptance of your manuscript, or when the book comes out? Do you think a blog is sufficient for a web presence? When do I think wanna-be writers should establish a web presence? YESTERDAY. If your […]

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Publishing on the Internet, Take Two

May 29, 2007

I was just thinking about authors’ websites and the practice of them posting the first chapter of their books on their sites (or not,) when I remembered the Baen free library. Sci fi publisher Jim Baen has encouraged “his” authors to let him take their out-of-print books(1) and put them up on his website in […]

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Posting Your Book on the Internet

February 26, 2007

This is a long one, so I’m going to insert my comments within the letter itself. You’ll know it’s me because it’s in red and it’s not italicized. LDS Publisher, First, thanks for your great blog. Great information that can’t be found anywhere else. You’re welcome. Here is my question: have you seen [a site […]

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