Friday, September 14, 2012

Authors Marketing Websites and Blogs

Regardless of whether you're published or unpublished, you need to make an impact on the Web. The difference in being published is that you want to make an instant impact to sell your books now.

Why then, are some websites so hard to find? How many times have you seen an advertisement with a URL address and think to yourself that you didn’t even know they had a website? Or how many times have you found something that looks really promising from a search engine description, only to find that there was little to offer when you got there?

The two largest mistakes include: 

1) Designing a really fabulous website and then only performing basic marketing measures to promote it. 

2) Hardly taking the time to build a well-designed website and promoting it like crazy. Neither technique will work. You must develop an online marketing plan and follow through with it. You cannot cut corners and skip chapters. It doesn’t work like that.

Do you even have a marketing plan? If you do, does it include online marketing? How old is your marketing plan? When was the last time you updated it? The answers to these questions could be the solution as to why you might not have the success you want.

Unfortunately, people look at marketing the same way they view fitness. It seems like too much work. Starting out we have great intentions, much like joining a fitness center in January because of a New Year resolution. We go full force with determination until we burn out or life gets in the way. Marketing isn’t something you can do for a while and stop. It isn’t a business fad, and it isn’t a business hobby. It is your business. Think of it as your house or rental payment. As long as you need somewhere to live, you will pay a mortgage or rent payment. Marketing is the same. As long as you are writing books, you will need to market your books to keep selling them.

Marketing plans are designed for a reason. When written effectively, updated appropriately, and followed consistently,
they work.

Marketing plans fail because of three things:

They aren’t written and designed for you--to meet your writing needs and your schedule. You don't want a boilerplate template of someone else’s marketing plan. You need something that is realistic for you. Your writing pace, publication deadlines, family needs, obligations to other jobs and/or church are different from other writers. Therefore, your marketing plan should be realistic to other needs in your life.

Marketing plans are not updated consistently each year or proactive in taking advantage of new developments and technological advancements, as well as changes that take place in your personal life.

People don’t follow-through consistently with their marketing plan. Somewhere in the middle they want to make adaptations without proper planning and research, or they give up altogether. 

What about you? Have you fallen prone to one of these 3 situations? What steps have you taken to fix and/or improve things? 


Carrie Fancett Pagels said...

JENNIFER, I think an issue of marketing is also forming a trust relationship with the person who is offering the advice. Also, I've found that marketing consultants tend to be a super busy bunch, which is good! Means they are doing their job.

Within Christian fiction marketing, I am most aware of three trusted sources of marketing consultation opportunities: Thomas Umstaadt, Jr., you, and Jeane Wynn. There are many sites giving great suggestions, also, like Michael Hyatt's. But the blogger/writer has to take the time to access this info and as you said-implement it.


Heather Day Gilbert said...

Wow! Marketing plan! Hmmm. I'm definitely not that big-time yet, but I have upgraded/redesigned my blogspot (or should I say my beloved techie brother has!).

I do modify my blog segments based on popularity. For example, I've replaced my Newbie Writing Tips Monday with personal reflections/video blogposts, which seem to garner more hits. I've also added a third day of blogging, which I try to maintain (and that was the maximum I could maintain!). The truth is, the more posts and tweets, the more people get access to your stuff.

I love learning from writers who are a few steps ahead of me. It's a great and easy way to redesign a blog--look at blogs you love and make sure you incorporate those elements that work (like tab structure, one-clicks to twitter, etc).

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Carrie, Thank u 4 including me in such great company. I think Abingdon Press has hired Jean Wynn for my next book with their Quilts of Love series, and I'm looking forward to working with her.

Yes, implementation is key and being consistent with it.

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Heather, It's good that you are willing to be flexible as needed. Our blogs and our marketing strategies will change and evolve with our careers so it sounds like you are already on the right track. Keep up the great work!