How to Manage Your Web Presence as an Indie Author

When you think of top brands, you probably think of companies like Starbucks and McDonald’s, right? You see them everywhere, and you can plan on a similar experience at every building with golden arches or a green siren.

Stores like this have two things mastered: real estate and exposure. They go hand in hand.

Their presence is something you can bank on. The more you see them, the more it reinforces your decision to shop there. And possibly, your loyalty.

And as an indie author, the same is true for your book marketing, and your web presence.

The more places you show up, the more likely your potential buyers are to find you.

So, let’s take a look at your options and some top strategies for maximizing your presence.

Author Website

You would probably be astonished at how many indie authors don’t have websites, or almost worse, have sites that aren’t updated and are really poorly done.

Your website is where readers will go to learn more about you. And it should be your resume, clearly reflecting everything you do.

And it need to support your overall goals, whatever they are. So, if you want to sell books then your site should reflect that.

If you have a business tied to your book and your book is your business card, then your site goals will be very different.

But, suffice it to say, regardless of your specific book marketing goals, your website should be clean and easy to navigate. If you need some help with this, check out our post on building a perfect website.

Amazon

Amazon is king. So it’s surprising how many indie authors don’t put much effort into maximizing it.

And although back-end optimization and metadata are important, so is your book page. This means your book description, your author bio, additional reviews, links to your other work, and maybe even an excerpt.

Your Amazon page must draw the reader in and close the sale.

This is even more true if you don’t have a website or aren’t successful on social media.

The bottom line here is that a top-notch Amazon presence is an absolute must for bare minimum book marketing. Anything less makes you look like you don’t take yourself seriously.

Goodreads

When I recommend book marketing strategies to authors, Goodreads is almost always a given, unless it really doesn’t make sense for your buyer market.

Why?

Because it’s the biggest social media site specifically for authors and readers. And it’s owned by Amazon.

Some indie authors don’t like it because the reviewers are honest. And, some of them are pretty cutthroat. But don’t use it as an excuse to stick your head in the sand.

Not only will this earn you some additional exposure, it will give potential readers insight into who you are. And your winning personality should be one of your best sales tactics!

It’s worth saying that Goodreads is a solid plan C behind a website and Amazon in terms of where you should focus your time and attention. After all, Goodreads is the dictionary definition of target market if you’re an author. And more so if you write fiction or your primary audience is women.

Social Media

If you aren’t sure where your fans are socially, then you’ll want to start off with a little research to find out where your readers spend their time.

First, do a Google search on your genre, and focus on authors who are doing well, but who aren’t household names.

Then, once you have five to ten authors, start exploring their websites and see where they are in social media. Remember that success leaves clues. So if you aren’t sure what social media site to be on, a good way to start is by getting to know other/similar authors.

Facebook

Even with the recent algorithm changes, Facebook is still number 1, because it’s the most used. You may hate it. But, remember, it’s not all about you, it’s about your buyer market.

If they’re mostly on Facebook, you should be too.

The trick with Facebook is that you must pay attention.

Twitter is quick blips of info and content, you can easily hop on and off all day. Instagram is very visual, and not a place for conversations.

On Facebook though, longer, super personal posts often do very well. People are more likely to comment and share on Facebook. It’s important to be genuine, because if you’re superficial, your readers will catch on fast.

So while Facebook is usually the top of the list, just know it also requires a lot of attention if you want to get the big rewards.

Twitter

Twitter is great for indie author visibility. And this is really because it’s such a powerful search engine.

If you can’t tweet every day, just a few times a week is fine.

And the key to using it is by sharing content and networking. So use it to push out helpful, fun, or inspiring tweets. And re-Tweet, Twitter is all about sharing the love as well. You’ll see it pay off in terms of exposure.

Instagram

I really recommend having a presence there if your topic is fun, sexy, sweet, lifestyle-focused, or just plain old warm and fuzzy.

Even business authors with tips can do really well there!

Instagram loves everything funny, heartwarming, inspirational, educational or pleasurable. It’s not super political or news heavy, which makes it a great escape, and I believe that continues to play a huge role in its growth.

Just remember, Instagram is image driven. So your images need to be sharp, clear, colorful and relevant to whatever it is you’re sharing.

Video, Facebook Live and YouTube

It’s becoming impossible to log onto social media and not see video feeds. This is because video is a massive attention-getter.

Maybe it’s a book trailer, a Facebook Live event, or an Instagram Boomerang. Doing something with video should be part of your indie author web presence strategy.

And, as with anything, it’s quality over quantity. Don’t just throw crappy videos up there that make you look like an amateur. You don’t need to be a pro, but since you’re building your brand, put some time and effort into it.

The Takeaway

As an indie author, your web presence is important.

It’s important to choose strategies that you can manage, and manage well. Prime example: and abandoned Facebook page that hasn’t been posted on since Christmas makes it look as though you’ve abandoned your own success as well.

As indie authors, it often feels like our homework is never-ending – and that’s the truth.

So consider what you can and can’t take on yourself. Contact some professionals about their book promotion services and ask them to make recommendations based on your needs.

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Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME) and Adjunct Professor at NYU, is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns.

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