As an author without a published book to his name, I wanted to learn as much as I could about the actual act of publishing and marketing before I launched my first book. Knowing that there are lots of authors in a similar position to myself, I wanted to be able to offer up the steps that I have taken as well as an open and honest evaluation of what has worked and what hasn’t. I know it was something I would have benefitted from before I started this process.
Whilst I know there are forums to share information on all aspect of the writing process, I was never able to find one that took me through all the steps that I could take. So what I have done here is tried to include as many of my methods and areas of focus as possible.
If, reading through this, you see an area where I could improve, or something that I have missed entirely, please let me know in the comments.
So, I am now just over two months into this whole process, starting just before Christmas. What have I done so far? Today I want to focus on the website.
Although technically the actual writing of the stories came first, my website, www.authorsteveboseley.com was the first thing to materialise. Although I’ve had free websites previously through Weebly, WordPress and Wix, I felt I needed to get myself a custom name and site if I wanted to make a go of this writing game (and I do!). Wix was my choice, and I am happy with it. It is easy to update and very versatile. At the same time I kept my blog at WordPress, as WP does Blogs really well. Having myself split over two sites was not something I had originally intended, but it seems to be working ok, as my Mailchimp email list can direct people from either site to the same list.
I spent a lot of time working on the design, not just in choosing images and where they go, but design in the sense of ‘conversion’ – converting people from visitors to people that are going to click a link, buy a book, sign up to a newsletter, etc. Knowing how people browse web pages and knowing that you have a tiny window of opportunity to grab their attention, enables you to position the key elements on your web page. There are plenty of excellent websites and blogs dedicated entirely to growing your audience and converting visitors to buyers.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
At the outset, SEO was something I didn’t really know about. I thought that just by hitting ‘Publish’ the site would go live and then I would sit back and wait for the visitors to find me. Well, that doesn’t happen, and SEO is a way to get more people to your site by optimising the way in which search engines like Google and Yahoo look at your website. So far, I have spent time looking at SEO for my site, by identifying key words and phrases that people browsing the net are looking for. I have had some success, and my Google Analytics reports show me that more people are visiting the site now than before I started the optimisation. It’s got nothing to do with the quality of my work, but Google does like sites that are ‘back linked’ (being linked to from other sites), so maybe it does matter about the quality of my work!
If you are a new author looking to publish your first book, what was the first step in your journey to publication? Let me know in the comments below.