• Life,  Marketing,  Writing

    Basic Marketing Tips for Authors (No. 4)

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    Today’s going to be all about Goodreads. Goodreads came on the scene in 2006 and is defined by Wikipedia as a “social cataloging” website that allows individuals to freely search its database of books, annotations, and reviews. Users can sign up and register books to generate library catalogs and reading lists. Goodreads was intended to be superior to Amazon as far as ratings and reviews go, but alas, Amazon bought them in 2013.

    The good news is that Goodreads is free. You can set up an account, make friends, link to your other social media and website and, if you’re an author, create an author “dashboard” so readers can connect with you in that way. You can link your blog directly on the site, ask and answer questions, host give-aways, all the Things.

    Y’all, I’ve quit Goodreads three times, so I have a really difficult time getting down with this one. I have finally settled into the idea that I have to have Goodreads but that’s about it. I will respond to messages and whatnot, and every now and then I will list a book I’m reading and give it a star rating. I have given full reviews in the past, but I’m not doing that at this time. I no longer link my social media to it, mostly because not all my connections need to know I read ten pages of Whatever I Read (it got annoying).

    So, here’s my pitch. As an author, sign up for Goodreads and set up your author dashboard. Claim your titles. Do this because if you don’t, somebody else might and you will have lost control of your image, your titles, etc. While that doesn’t happen often, the mere thought of it makes me nauseous. At the very minimum, do that, and make sure you link to your website and use the same headshot or logo you use for everything else. When your new book comes out, go to the platform and claim it. If you want to do more, go for it. I’m not a fan.

    Here’s why. When I first joined in 2006, Goodreads was exactly what the founders wanted it to be: a way to keep track of your readings, make connections with others you either know, wanted to know, or with whom you have similar tastes, and find new authors to love. What it became, however, is something completely different, with no recourse for the author. You’ve heard horror stories about authors getting bashed on Amazon, and it happens on Goodreads, too. It basically makes everyone and their dog a book reviewer and not everyone takes that responsibility seriously. They think they do, but they don’t. The bottom line for an author is that you have no recourse, other than arguing on the platform, with a reader, to correct something that’s just not right. Meanwhile, it can wreck your star rating, which can affect your sales.

    So, am I using Goodreads to it’s greatest potential as a free tool? No. I’m not sure that’s possible but I encourage you to do what you can insofar as it is under your control. All that being said, you can find me on Goodreads HERE.

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  • Life,  Marketing,  Writing

    Basic Marketing Tips for Authors (No. 3)

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    Today, I’m going to talk about free social media. As an author, with a nice headshot or logo, you can use all of these platforms for FREE:


    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • Pinterest
    • Instagram
    • YouTube
    • Google+
    • Goodreads
    • Tumblr
    • LinkedIn
    • Spotify

    There are more, but unless you are a teenager, you may want to stick to the above listed social media sites. I’m going to go over each of them in some detail in the following weeks. I’d like you to keep in mind that this is how I use tools, so others may do different things with these sites.

    Okay, now that we have the list, I’m a little exhausted. TBH, if you tried to master and keep up with all these sites, you would’t have time to write. So my best advice is to choose the ones you like to use. That’s it. Each of these has good marketing ploys you can use to get yourself seen and your books bought, so choose the ones you understand well or use most often and start there.

    When you set up your author accounts on these FREE social media sites, use the headshot or logo that you use on your website. Choose a look and feel that mirrors that of your website so there is no mistake that this is yours (I’ll give you tools to create the right sized banners for every site). Often, you have the option not to launch the site (or keep it private) until you get the hang of it, invite others, follow others and all that jazz.

    This is what I tell everyone: you can’t break it, and there’s nothing you can do that can’t be undone. Go forth and play!

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  • Marketing,  Writing

    Basic Marketing Tips for Authors (No. 2)

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    In the first post, I talked about two things you can do NOW to start marketing yourself.

    Today, let’s talk about website services that cost nothing. I know what I said in No. 1, to purchase your domain name immediately BUT if you must go for the freebie, you must! I did. I’m going to discuss three TOTALLY FREE places you can build a website. I’ve used all three. If you cannot afford to purchase a domain name and hosting and whatever platform you want to use, this can be a good alternative for you.

    1. Wix – Wix has come a long way. They have a simple to use WYSIWYG editor, which means “what you see is what you get.” It’s drag and drop, upload images, copy and paste text. You can insert tables, videos, and add multiple pages. Blogging is not it’s strong suit, so if you want to blog, there are easier ways. You can, however, link to an already-existing blog (just make sure it has the same look and feel).
    2. Weebly – At the onset, Weebly makes you choose whether you want a website or online store, so they have a foot firmly in the e-commerce market. You have several options, like linking your domain name to your site for $4/month, which is pretty affordable. Their editor is much the same as Wix (by that, I mean it does the same things, but the tools look different) and you get about the same things, just in a little bit of a different way.
    3. WordPress – WordPress is the blogging platform that became a website host. For years, WP was for blogging, and their platform reflects this. Every page has the potential to become a blog. Limitations apply with the free version. The number of templates is fewer, so are the plug-ins. The free version of WP is a great way to learn the platform, which is vastly different from the first two options, and there is a learning curve. But, when you’re ready, you can purchase WP, a WP theme you love and plug-ins to create exactly what you want. If it sounds like I’m a fan..I totally am!


    1. Free means there will be advertisements running on your website. This is why it’s free, because advertisers are paying for it. There will probably be ads for whatever the person looking at your site browses for, as well as for the website service itself.
    2. There may be limitations on what you can do. For example, a paying customer will have access to thousands of templates and images on the service…but you will have a limited selection for free. You will not have all the fancy “bells and whistles” you might like. If this is the place you want to ultimately host your non-free site, it can be a good idea to start this way, to get used to the way the service operates, and then buy in when you can.
    3. People are going to know it’s free. There’s no way around it. Your domain name will have the name of the service in it, like: mkchester/wix.com, which is a dead give-away. And there’s the ads. The only way ads get on my domain right now (because I pay for both domain and hosting) is if I do affiliate marketing, so I make some money from the ads.

    Let me just say again, these are not one-size-fits-all. These services are not generally interchangeable and you should try them all out (why not? They’re free!) and find your best fit. There’s no shame in free. I’ve owned my domain for about fifteen years, but just bought WordPress last year, after I’d figured out how to really use it on the free version. So look around, try several options before you settle, and see what works best for you!

    Have questions? I’m around–leave me a comment 🙂

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