Traditional publishing is changing and we (publishers, authors, editors, agents, bookstores, libraries, teachers--in short, anyone who creates or peddles the written word) need to change with it or we will be left behind in the dust. One significant change that every author should know about and plan to use is Web Marketing.
Web marketing is a wonderful tool. It's one of the least expensive ways to market and promote yourself as a writer and to let people all over the world know about your books. Every author should have at least one website with their writing name as the URL. If you write under several pen names, create a website for each one. If possible, create a unique website for each of your books with the title as the URL. The more ways that people can find you and your books, the better.
Websites are great, but you can't just slap up a one pager and hope that will do the trick. You need to create reasons for readers to visit your site, over and over. E-newsletters, daily blogs, contests, prizes, freebies, interactive activities--the sky is the limit. Spend a little time surfing the web for ideas. Google some of your favorite authors and see what they're doing. Which sites make you stop and look? Which ones did you bookmark and why? Which ones will you probably not visit again? Make a list of ideas and then brainstorm ways to make them your own and use them on your site.
As a publisher, I spend part of nearly every work day looking for new and exciting ways to promote my authors and their books. Finding good promotional ideas is part of my job, and it's part of your job too. Here's a link to an article on Web Marketing for Writers to get you started. (Note: I am NOT promoting this site, this company or their services. Just this one article.)
Here are links to a few LDS authors who are using some of these web marketing ideas, chosen from a completely random sampling of about 40 LDS author websites.** I've decided to give them "Webbie" awards.
HONORABLE MENTION "WEBBIES"
"Webbie" for Promotion of New Release:
Robison Wells (the two sites promoting his upcoming release: The Unknown Patriot and Trial of the Century)
"Webbie" for Free Give-Aways & Contests:
Shirley Bahlmann (free e-book)
Julie Coulter Bellon (contests)
"Webbie" for Great Visuals & Other Cool Stuff:
James Dashner (great visuals and music)
Jeffrey Savage (contests, newsletter, "secrets", "cool stuff"--makes you want to click on the link)
"Webbie" for 'I Might As Well Earn Money While I'm Doing This':
Julie Wright (google ads earn you money)
OVER ALL RUNNER-UP "WEBBIE"
Lisa J. Peck (e-news, interlinked websites for CTR Club books, Escaping the Shadows, Surviving Abuse, Mothers of the Prophets series)
FIRST PLACE "WEBBIE"
Rachel Nunes (very interactive & has everything I've mentioned as being good ideas for a website)
**Obviously, I have not visited every single LDS author's website, nor do I intend to. This was a completely random sampling gleaned from various author forums and support sites. If you think you do a great job of web marketing and you are not on this very short list, feel free to add your link in the comments trail.
If I get a lot of comments and links on this post, maybe we'll do it again in a few months, and you can nominate sites for me to go look at.