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The Author and The Web

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January 27, 2013 by jcfarnham

This February, I was planning to attend a web design course at the local college. The start date is drawing ever nearer and I still haven’t heard a thing. Putting aside the college’s poor organisation entirely, the whole process of trying to get a qualification of some sort in web design got me thinking about web presence.

There’s a whole host of opinions out there on how a writer should engage with the internet, running the gamut from “Don’t bother with the distraction” to “Damn essential, dude”.

A writer who doesn’t write isn’t a writer, but a writer who no one knows about isn’t really an author.

The biggest criticism people have of maintaining a web presence is that it takes time and energy that’s better spent writing. And while I can see plenty of weight in both arguments, I can’t help but think you need to spend some time on it.

It’s a balancing act, and you do have to write every once in a while, right? In these post-google, post-wiki days, consumers expect to be able to find what they want, when they want, in only a few seconds. It’s your job to make sure they’re not disappointed.

And after all, a disappointed consumer isn’t going to buy your book.

Of course, you could engage in everything you find online (Goodreads, Blogging, G+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Personal webs sites, blog tours …), but you may find your writing time dwindling, or you might keep up with it all. Every one has a different tolerance level.

Here’s the thing. One of the biggest failures in business is the confusion caused in your potential consumers by sending them on a wild goose chase around multiple web sites. You need to be able to pull your customers into one place. Focus is critical. If they know there’s only one way to reach you, they’ll be no confusion.

So what does this mean for the average prospective author? Whether it’s a blog or an author website, make sure it’s clear what you’re about. Blogging is great, but once you have people’s interest you need to turn that into a sale. Putting Big thumbnail links to Amazon, or Smashwords on your front page does the trick nicely. Don’t forget why you’re writing. You’re in it to tell stories to people. Never forget “the sale”

… but don’t be a creep about it.

Everything they need to know about you, the writer, in one place.

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