Monday, May 26, 2014

Out with the old blog into the new? Not quite yet.

Lately I’ve been doing a little more research about how other authors have built their author brands and platforms or how they promote and market upcoming releases.  It would be so much easier if there was a one-size-fits-all marketing approach when it comes to selling books but what works for one doesn’t always work for another. 

What I focused on this past week was how other authors market themselves via their blogs, websites or Facebook pages.  I focused mainly on female authors who wrote mysteries, from suspenseful to police procedural to cozies.  I even accidentally researched some authors who wrote in the romantic suspense genre; not my favorite type of read but it was still interesting to see how they market their books.    

What I discovered was a huge range of techniques, some I liked and some I didn’t.  But that was the whole point in researching the other sites; not only to compare them to my own but also to see if there were some good ideas I could utilize or some techniques I’d like to avoid. 

A few techniques on some blogs and websites I found where I was immediately put off included the following:
  • The use of black backgrounds – even if I like the author or their books, I would avoid their site like the plague because I just can’t stand trying to focus on words with a black background
  • When the sites are SO busy I have a difficult time finding the basic information I need
  • Any sites that look like they were typeset directly from a typewriter (i.e. they just look outdated) and with no graphic art or visual stimulation to keep me interested
  • Offering outdated information even if a book was published in the current year
  • When moving around the site proves difficult so that I’m not able to easily move from one page to another

A few techniques on some blogs and websites I found where I enjoyed my stay included the following:
  • Good visual background that doesn’t slap my retinas and that had stimulating graphic art
  • Information is easy to locate whether by tabs or gadgets and movement around the site is user friendly
  • The attitude and personality of the author is evident and not cookie-cutter style
  • The sites make it easy to connect with the author, whether via e-mail, their blog, or social media
  •  The site is actually fun (these are few and far between)

My research also took me to the Facebook pages of authors who do use Facebook.  I’m actually surprised when I discover authors who still don’t use any sort of social media beyond their website or blog but then there are probably a few who wonder when I’m finally going to get into Twitter or Pinterest.  I’ll be honest and say that I have no interest in Twitter and can’t say that I’ll ever try it but I’ve thought more about using Pinterest only because I believe it would be a great way to visually share information with regard to the series, the characters and the setting.  It’s an idea but I just haven’t taken the time to really get involved with making the concept happen.

Anyway, with regard to social media, there are definitely different styles when it comes to authors who promote themselves.  Some share personal information about their days and their families, others are much more business-like and tend to only post about their books and then there are many who are the in-between.  A little dash of personal, along with a snippet of business, while mixing in a good assortment of this or that relating to everything in-between.  Those are the pages I enjoy – author pages that include a good mix of everything, not too much of one thing or another so that I don’t get bored.

So what’s all this research mean for me? 

I’ve wanted to make some changes to my blog but I have to actually make a decision on what I want to do and then set aside the time to do it.  My Facebook page will probably continue as is except that I’d like to try to post on a regular basis rather than erratically.  As I get closer to a publishing date for the third novel in my series, I’m hopeful that it will also mark the date when I’ll have made some necessary changes to this blog.  It’s the idea anyway and something to look forward to because I’ll enjoy promoting my new book on a blog with a new look.      

Until then, the old look will remain but I’ll continue to envision the new!

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