It seems like everybody is writing a book. Last month, tens of thousands of books were published. How is your book going to stand out in this sea of novels, memoirs and how-to books?
The answer is: Learn to become a better marketer and do what all the other authors are either not willing to do or don’t know what to do to stand out from the crowd. Here are three fundamental steps you might want to contemplate in order to rise to the top of the heap.
Get Yourself a Custom WordPress Website
Many beginner writers will tell you to go get one of the free WordPress themes, start learning how to operate your new blog, and then migrate that site later to a custom site. In my opinion, this is a mistake. Of course, I am assuming that you are serious about your writing future and will be using your website as a key component of your overall writer’s platform. The disadvantage of doing it this way is many-fold:
- You are not establishing a brand by using a temporary layout and style of the site. Why not start out right away with building your brand (yourself)?
- You have limitations with the generic sites because you are most likely going to use one of the free themes. To remove some of the limitations, you will have to upgrade and that costs money. So, it’s no longer free, if that’s what you are after.
- Your site will end up looking pretty much just like everybody else’s site. You are now firmly in that sea of sameness.
- You will be adding content to your site and connecting with your target audience, which is good, but if you should decide to move the site to a more powerful and professional premium theme, now you just made extra work for yourself. You’ll have to now use the import function of WordPress. Not a real problem, but I bet you’d rather be writing the next novel than tinkering with your website structure.
Start Yourself a Membership Site
Membership sites are becoming more popular with authors who want to create some recurring monthly income even before they get their book published. This method may work better for nonfiction writers because they have some expertise they are sharing. But who knows, the trick is to stay creative…even fiction writers might be able to find a way for a membership site to work.
The goal is to start gathering members from your target audience who need or want your expert knowledge. You become the expert who is help to provide a solution to someone’s problem. You are a problem solver. You now start to build your membership who are paying you monthly for your content. While you are building membership, you may also be completing your book on a similar topic. Let’s say that you finish you book after one year and have a few hundred or more paying members. Now, when your book is ready to be published, you will have ready buyers. You have just built a writer’s platform so you can prove to the publishers that you already have an audience.
A membership site is actually just another form of a custom website. Membership functionality can be built into your primary website. WordPress is an excellent platform to use for a membership site. Here at WordsandWriters.com, you can build either a custom site and/or a membership site.
Get Social Online
Now that you’ve built your custom website, it’s time to get social! We recommend focusing on all the free social media outlets before spending any money any paid advertising. There are so many social networks out there to use that could bring you tons of traffic to your website for years to come. Of course, they are not totally free because you will have to put in effort and time. If you are willing to do this yourself, plan on devoting weekly time out of your schedule to consistent effort in your newly-creating social media network. You will certainly want to start with the big four: Facebook page, YouTube, Twitter and blogging (on your site). You should learn how to meld all the social networks into your marketing plan.
The other social activity you can do is join other blogs, forums and groups to connect with other writers. You can learn from other others’ successes (and failures) as well as share with others what has worked for you. On WordsandWriters.com, we are creating a community of writers. As a member, you will have the ability to get social: create your own groups and forums as well as connect directly with other writers. You might eventually want to form associations with other writers to review each other material.
And, finally, think of your custom website as your marketing hub. You should connect any of your outside social media networks to your website.
Think of how you can create a website and online presence that stands out from the crowd. If you’re willing to go that extra step, you’ll reap the rewards by selling more books, getting more speaking engagements, and gaining the status as a great marketer and a great writer.