Some other sites popular with authors, to name just a few, include GoodReads, LinkedIn, Flickr, LibraryThing, Google Plus, Pinterest, MySpace and YouTube.
Adding video to your advertising on the networking sites is vital. Here is one of my favourite book trailers--look closely, I'm in!
There are several excellent reasons for using online social networks. If you ask your local newspaper or radio station about the cost of an advertising spot, you'll receive a clue to perhaps the biggest reason--the social networks are free. At least their basic services are at this point in time. That may change in the future but for right now there is no cost to join these sites and post your ads.
A great thing about advertising on the social networks is that you are promoting your books around the world--that is a vast audience of potential readers.
I find social networking fun. That I can interact with fans (and sometimes foes) around the world 24 hours a day all year round without cost is a treasured fact.
If it goes against the grain of your personality to 'toot your own horn', step back a bit and realize you are not bragging when you post ads--you are sharing information. You are letting people know you have a product (book) for sale. I view my online promotions as sharing my passion for my career, my books, my characters. There is nothing egocentric about wanting others to read the novels I wrote. There's nothing wrong with telling others it took me half a century, but I made my childhood dream of becoming a novelist, a reality.
My books are a value to my community, to my world. They not only entertain, they teach, they explore, they elucidate. I must let people know they are there.
A classy act is brought
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Before doing any of that, though, it is necessary to establish your own little corner on the Web. That is, to truly have an effective online presence one must have a personal blog and a website. And, because the WWW is lovely, there are free tools you can use to link all these sites. Your tweets can appear on your blog, facebook posts can be duplicated on Twitter, and so on.
Although those tools are free, one has to pay a fee to register a blog and website and for those of us un-tecky people, we may have to pay a web designer to get started. Compared to the cost of TV, radio, and print ads, the fees for having your own site are negligible. If your budget is really strict, you can always team up with other authors and share the advertising space, the costs, and the upkeep duties. (Cross-promoting other authors is a huge blessing--another free form of advertising.)
I do share my personal space with other authors via hosting guest blogs, but I shy away for placing formal advertisements for unrelated products and services on my sites. Although some authors do it to help defray the cost of a website and blog, to me, Magic of the Muses and eileenschuh.com are MY advertising platforms. I don't want any distracting popups and links that take people away from my pages. I want to showcase MY books and MY talent.
If you are bit tech-savy and have books on Amazon, you can put their link on your site and they'll pay you a referral fee if someone clicks on it and buys your book.
Tech-savy or not, authors often miss out on the obvious--post ads for your own books on your blog posts and websites. Every time I blog I include a "This blog has been brought to you by...THE TRAZ" (or one of my other books).
Make your website and blog visually appealing, with an easy to read font and easy-on-the-eyes colours and graphics. Keep blog posts short (under 750 words) and include graphics and pictures to add interest. Advertise your blog and website on your social networks, and vice-versa.
I'll be back with some more tips on using Twitter and facebook.
Eileen Schuh, Author