Tech for Writers: 7 Thoughts about Web Presence

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

In this tech tips post, I’m covering more than just how to approach technical aspects of being a writer in todays world. A web presence is essential for a writer since the web is now Main Street where people do much of their business and, essentially, window-shop. For this reason, it’s important for a writer to consider how to build a platform on the internet. It’s easy to simply rush into the process and make a site and use any old email address. But careful consideration should be made in order to present yourself, the author, and your writing products as a consistent brand.

  1. Today’s writer must have both a comprehensive and cohesive web presence. A web site is necessary, preferably with a blog (more on this later), and social media.
  2. Regarding a website, a writer must choose how to create a site which needs some forethought. First, you must consider your needs and tops on that list is a domain name that fits your name. Why? Because this is the sign for your business and the domain to where your readers will email you which is the second need. You need to have at least one email address where you can be contacted at a professional level. Take care to plan these aspects first since they will be the foundation of the site.
  3. Next you need hosting. There are numerous hosting services available on the web. Shop around for what meets your needs for budget and control. Research what the offerings and services are available for each hosting service as well as the add-ons. Personally, since I didn’t want to initially sink a large sum of money into a long-term hosting contract, I went with a free hosting service and purchased my domain and got my email hosted over Google. However, I plan to move into paid hosting services in the future. Why? I will need more control than the basic services now allow me – such as custom themes and forms.
  4. You also need a cohesive set of themes when you can afford it. At the moment, I am working with a cover artist on the cover of my first novel. As part of what I’m having designed there will be banners and themes based on my cover art that I can use on Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media. This will lead to consistent branding for the entire platform. I would rather have done this from the beginning but there were budgetary concerns so I decided to grow into this. Consistent branding is an important goal and will be a major milestone for my writing platform when reached.
  5. Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

    Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

    You need to be prepared to blog. Why blog at all? There are several reasons. First you can offer additional/parallel content to your main content (novels or books) via your blog. In my case, I’ve posted a serial prequel, “What is Needed“, for my novel. Additionally, you can blog about writing-related topics that interest you such as responding to opinions expressed by other writers. Bottom-line, a blog is a great way to gain traffic to your site and your products.

  6. Social media presence serves to funnel interested readers to your site which represents your products. In this way you can grow your email list which will serve as a core of prospective readers who will be your word of mouth advertising. As noted above, when you have the means try to present a consistent brand across all formats that make up your web presence just like any other business.
  7. Finally, you must update your web presence regularly. Most writers just want to write and put out their products. However, you must attract readers. To do this you must offer updated information on a regular basis. You need regular traffic to your site to sell books. Schedule the time to build to maintain your web-based writer platform so you’re not distracted into wasting time. Have goals when updating your web presence so that you set limits on both what and how much you will update.
Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

What are your thoughts on a web presence? Have you hesitated to build a platform? In the near future I’ll re-visit the topic by discussing the nuts and bolts of what I’ve done and why, as well as where I’m going with it. Share your thoughts, strategy and platform-building ideas in the comments section. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today!

Thanks for reading!





Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

6 Writing Updates

Photo used in The Bow of Destiny book trailer

Photo used in The Bow of Destiny book trailer

Rather than post a short update on the News page I decided to post more details here today.

1. I plan to complete my current revision of The Bow of Destiny by the end of the month to send to my editor for structural and then detailed editing.

2. I’m currently in discussions with an artist about the cover design for The Bow of Destiny. I hope to share more details during October and announce a cover reveal date.

3. I was honored by Rave Reviews Book Club to have the “The Black Bag” chosen for their PUSHTUESDAY via Twitter last week – many thanks to those who supported me and bought copies of The Black Bag

4. I’m planning a price reduction for The Black Bag during the month of October so check back for more details. However, if you want the book sooner than that you can receive a coupon for a free copy (for any e-book format) to download from Smashwords. You know you want to whet your appetite for some early Halloween reading ! Sign-up today for the free download!

Available at Amazon, Smashwords and All Major E-Book Vendors!

Available at Amazon, Smashwords and All Major E-Book Vendors!

5. I’m submitting a short story this week. If it is accepted anywhere I’ll be sure to post the news everywhere so keep checking my feeds for announcements. I’m also working on several other short stories for submission as well. Check my Short WIP page for story titles.

6. I’ve hosted several book blog tours over the last month so check those out and support those authors.

Thanks for reading and supporting. Everyone is welcome to leave comments and questions.

8 Crowdfunding Tips

Photo used in The Bow of Destiny book trailer

Photo used in The Bow of Destiny book trailer

The crowdfunding campaign for The Bow of Destiny began this week on Indiegogo. This led me to some tips I wanted to share since this blog is largely about my ongoing growth as an author. So here’s some of what I’ve learned so far. Please read and visit the campaign site to provide your support!

1. Make sure you are ready to receive funds.

In my case I created a new PayPal account but did not complete setting it up. Likewise, Indiegogo had requirements for campaigns that I didn’t know about. Both of these issues delayed me some and it’s possible limits what I can receive (which I am confirming and working out on both sides). Read carefully about the instructions and explore the site.

Perks2. Make affordable funding levels.

I received a lot of views and referrals the first day but no contributions. Now this may be due to some PayPal-Indiegogo issues but I added a few funding levels that are low impact on wallets which is important these days.

3. Continue growing your social media platform.

Don’t let the number of your followers become stagnant. If anything you need to be more aggressive in pursuing followers to increase your reach. Always encourage others to share your campaign with their followers too.

4. Have some automated social media messages ready.

You don’t want to be writing social media messages all the time and you need to get your message out often because on busy feeds people just miss your announcements without knowing it. Use an automation service since you may be busy with any number of inquiries, changes or problems that may arise – and you want to do something else sometimes.

Campaign5. Don’t panic if it starts slowly.

See above – there may be problems so just keep on moving in the same direction and if anything tweak your overall message, keep growing your following and keep getting the message out.

6. Keep posting updates regularly.

The more you get your message out the more likely you are to be featured. Include services like Indiegogo in your tweets and other posts because they track these types of activity in addition to your funding level. Everything helps and if your are featured that means more reach for your campaign.

7. If receiving private messages to offer resources & services check them out well.

When receiving offers of service, interviews or other offers of assistance check them out. They may be legit and they may not but some due diligence will go a long way to avoiding any trouble or overspending your budget. Make sure you know the terms of anything and don’t give out private information thinking that someone is helping when they may not be. Someone may take advantage of any initial euphoria from conributions or from desperation over no contributions. Think clearly and remember to keep going ahead.

8. Don’t hover & don’t walk away.

You cannot just stay in front of the screen watching – it will drive you crazy. You get excited and wonder what will happen or nothing happens and you watch and wait for anything. If nothing is happening don’t abandon hope, keep working, be willing to be fluid in your approach – just don’t sit watching the paint dry. Do not give up and stop all work. Stay in it to the end – bitter or sweet.

Do you have tips or comments regarding crowdfunding? Do you have questions about the subject? Please leave comments below and see my campaign and help make my project a success with your support.

Share a comment below and also consider following this blog via email for a FREE copy of The Black Bag. I’m on Facebook, Twitter (@ph_Solomon), Pinterest & Google+ (ph@phsolomon.com).

Thanks for reading!