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Ask a busy agent for a quick tip and you’ll probably hear- Get active on social media! Create an author’s website! Build a platform and start immediately- don’t wait to be published!
I follow authors on WordPress doing just that. And, for the most part, they are heading in the right direction. Blogging is an awesome way to connect and develop lasting relationships. It’s a wonderful way to share your writing and support other authors.
But it’s not an author’s website and here are five reasons why:
1) WordPress.com is a free blogging site that allows you to connect with just about anyone, but it doesn’t allow you to commercially promote your work. Sure, authors can write posts about upcoming launches. You can post and people can sign up to follow your blog, but you can not create an email list. Which leads me to number 2.
2) A self-hosted website like WordPress.org or Weebly, allows authors to have a “call to action” form to create an email list. What is that you say? Ever visited a site that asks you to enter your email to receive a free newsletter or sample chapter or a notice of a book launch? That’s a self-hosted site. Try that move on WordPress.com and your blog will be shut down. So why is that list important?
3) Every visitor is a potential fan, a reader, a lover of your book. Call them what you want, I call them precious! So give them an option to enter their email so you can stay in touch as your writing career advances. Then, when you finally have a book to sell, you have readers ready to buy it.
4) Blogging is not enough. You need a site that represents you as an author. It needs great content and the design should match your style of writing. Ever hear of branding? Choosing colors, type fonts, making choices that readers can clearly identify as you? I recently spent a day on WordPress.com browsing themes and found it a day of sheer frustration! The themes are all the same unless you want to fork over money and upgrade, which I broke down and did, just to be able to change the colors and type! Launch a self-hosted site and your options expand without additional cost.
5) Thinking of buying your domain name? Something like suebahr.com? (you did know this was coming, right?) Why not use it on your author’s website, that way you truly own the content? There are endless options for self-hosting which I’ll explore at a later date. For now, you can see what the starter package on Weebly.com offers if you visit my brand new author site.
I wish you all happy building!