Sometimes the Web can seem like a huge, overwhelming place filled with more advertisements and spammers than real people. But there are real people out there ready to be reached, ready to read your work. How do you go about it?
The first and most important thing is to build a web page. Anyone who is serious about being a published author needs a good base to point their future readers to.
Online journals from places such as Word Press and Blogger offer a lot of flexibility with very little to no knowledge of coding. They will even host blogs for free, though sometimes that means that certain aspects, such as the templates you can use, are limited.
If possible, a domain name should be bought, something memorable. Most places only charge $10.00 a year for a domain name, and it is an investment worth making since something such as www.cindylynnspeer.com is a lot easier to remember than www.cindylynn.webhost.com.
Also, there is always the traditional route, where a homepage is created and put up on a server. Many ISPs offer free web space to their subscribers. Only go that route if it allows you to use your own domain name because if you someday choose to move, you can go to another server without anyone even knowing about the change and no readers will be lost in the transition.
Whichever route you choose, make sure your template is clean and readable. Your website is like the cover of your book – it should make people want to read more and it shouldn’t be hard for them to do so.
There are also a host of “widgets” – small bundles of code that you can add to your web page to do certain things. There’s a Meebo chat box that will allow all of your friends to talk to you, Blog Catalogue which shows the names of fellow Blog Cataloguers who visit your page, as well as codes to show off your book collection and your favorite pictures.
Once a web place is established, it’s time to make friends. People generally go straight to writer’s groups and while those are valuable places, remember, those are groups of people in the exact same boat as you. You need to reach readers, so check out places that have people who like to read, such as book review sites, or sites like Shelfari and LibraryThing.
Also, check out places that are related to your book. Did you write a mystery where the main character makes money by crocheting? Maybe other crafters would enjoy it.
The thing that is key here is participation. No one expects millions of comments or even comments every day, but steady replies, comments, and even new posts are important to building up a reputation. The reputation you’re going for is of a valued contributor, otherwise people will feel like you’re invading the community strictly to advertise your work.
Read the posts and comments carefully, so that when you respond, it sounds like you are a part of the conversation. So many people type up reactions to posts without really seeming to understand what the author is trying to communicate. Spell check everything you write and force yourself to read it over, even if you are in a hurry. You will miss things.glaring things.but as long as it’s not a habit, don’t worry.
Most people are really friendly, but it is impossible to deny that there are people who like to pick things apart, and the best defense is to always try your best to be grammatically correct, double check your facts, and ignore anyone who seems to be picking you apart for their own agenda.