Part of the Indie Authors Series
In this Indie Publishing Paths series, we first focused on how to decide which path will work best for us. Once we know our goals and priorities and are ready to put our book up for sale, we need to decide on:
- the where (such as whether we use a distributor or we sell direct through a retailer or go exclusive with Amazon’s KDP Select),
- the when (whether we delay, use a preorder, or go for immediate sales), and
- the how much (whether we price high, in the middle, or low, whether our pricing strategy is a good match for what we want to accomplish, and whether a freebie is a good idea for our situation).
The second phase of our indie publishing journey is to figure out how best to increase our chances for success along our chosen path. Whatever our goal, we’ll have a better chance of success if we can hold onto our readers from book to book.
So far, in the second part of this series, we’ve covered our options for…:
- keeping our readers (such as leading them to our next book or to our newsletter)
- using buy links to lead readers to our next book (with the pros and cons for each type of link)
- creating non-expiring buy links (so readers will never encounter a dead buy link)
- including an excerpt to sell our next book to readers (and when an excerpt might not be a good idea)
One of the options we discussed in Part One of this Reader Retention Plan phase was enticing our readers to stick around by offering extra content on our website. Let’s take a closer look at what information should be included on our author website and what information we could include as bonuses.
Wait…an Author Website?
If you already have an author website, great! Skip to the next section down.
If you don’t… *ahem* We need to have a talk.
As soon as we’re serious about becoming a career-focused writer, we should do two things:
- We should decide what name we’re going to use for our writing (so all our blog comments, social media accounts, etc. match with our author name).
- We should start building our online presence (so our author name—or our name and the word author—shows up in a Google search).
Sure, Facebook is popular and that’s where our readers are, but we have zero control over it. They’re constantly changing the rules about how we can communicate with our audience. So while we can use Facebook or other social media to supplement our platform, we shouldn’t rely on it for everything. The only place that we can use for an online home base and have control over the platform is a website.
What Should We Include on Our Author Website? The Basics…
Before we get into the extra bonuses we can include, let’s cover the basics. Our author website should be able to answer a few questions for readers and visitors:
- Who are we? We should include an “about” page with our author bio, what we write (fiction, non-fiction, both?), our genres, etc.
Our goal with this section is to create a connection to visitors.
- What do we do? We should include a “books” page, with our book covers, buy links, back-cover blurbs, and excerpts.
Our goal with this section is to deepen the connection with visitors, interesting them in our work.
- How can we connect? We should include a newsletter sign-up, our social media links, and maybe a “contact” page and/or reader forum/street team links, etc.
Our goal with this section is to keep readers connected beyond this time and place.We’ll get more into the newsletter sign-up on the third bullet next month, but suffice it to say that it shouldn’t be treated as optional for any author who has the goal of keeping their readers from one book to the next.
What Can We Include on Our Author Website? The Extras…
The options for what we can include to further engage our readers or entice them to form deeper connections with us are limited only by our imagination. This list is just to help us brainstorm possibilities. *smile*
- Deleted chapters or scenes
- Bonus epilogues, scenes, or short stories
- Story inspiration
- Background information on story research, cover models, or cover design
- Book trailer
- Soundtracks to accompany the story
- Hints of “easter eggs” hidden in the story (or bury easter eggs in the website itself)
- Character interviews
- Inspiration pictures for characters, settings, etc.
- Setting maps, character family trees, etc.
- Recipes from the story
- Quizzes or contests
- Photos of fan art
- “Coming soon” information for forthcoming stories
- Downloadable book list for series or books in order
- Icons, screen wallpaper, etc.
- FAQs, author interviews, video welcome, etc.
- Details about our life, pets, hobbies, etc.
- Story of our publishing journey
- Reader-focused blog (harder than it sounds)
- Lists of favorite or recommended books, movies, TV shows, music, etc.
- Photos of readers (from our book signings, holding our books, etc.)
- Information for book clubs/groups
- Author schedule for book signings and appearances
Again, the goal with any of those items is not to take us away from our writing but to help readers connect with us. An engaged reader is more likely to remember our name and our books. And that makes them more likely to consider buying our next books. *smile*
Until next time, let me know if you have any questions in the comments!
Fueled by chocolate, she writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy tales that range from dark to humorous, but one thing remains the same: Normal need not apply. Just ask her family—and zombie cat.
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About Pure Sacrifice, part of the Mythos Legacy series:
The last guardian of his kind, Markos Ambrostead must keep the chosen Virgin hidden and untainted. But when an attacker breaches his protective magic, he’s forced to reveal himself to defend her life.
A tenacious woman who refuses to be ignored...
Celia Hawkins wishes the world would get a clue and stop treating her like she’s invisible. Only one man notices her, or is that her imagination? After narrowly escaping an attempted rape, she demands answers from her mysterious rescuer—starting with why he’s been following her.
Rules were made to be broken...
Markos can’t risk being tempted by the Virgin, yet emboldened by his attention, Celia’s determined to become his friend. Maybe more. Maybe much more. Now he must hold onto his crumbling willpower to maintain her purity—or his tribe will become extinct.
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