Home > Standards Blog

Advanced Search 

Welcome to ConsortiumInfo.org
Saturday, February 28 2015 @ 06:33 AM CST

Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II)

Adventures in Self-Publishing

Public Domain, courtesy of US Fish & Wildlife/WikiMedia CommonsIn the last post, we talked about the different types of Web sites you can create or take advantage of.  In this entry, we’ll talk about actually creating the Web-based pages you’ll need to sell your self-published book, leaving to a later date how to create and manage more social-media oriented pages such as Twitter and Facebook. 

Setting up the pages discussed below is well within the abilities of most authors, even if you don’t consider yourself to be very tech-savvy.  But as a client of mine often observes in similar settings, “Says easy, does hard.” That’s particularly true when it comes to Web-based promotion, because you should not – must not – assume that if you simply build it, that they will come.

In fact, unless you constantly add content to the sites and pages you create and do the other things it takes to drive traffic to them, no one will even know they are there. If you’re not willing to take the time to do that, there’s no point in spending a lot of effort on your Web pages in the first place. Or for writing a book for sale, either.

I’ll use another quote to introduce the second thing to keep in mind, this time a catch line popularized by the legendary Magellan Fund manager Peter Lynch. He may have been talking about investments, but the same advice also applies to Web pages: know what you own, and why you own it.  In other words, unless you understand how and why a given Web presence will fit into your overall strategic plan, you won’t know what to do to make it pay off.

The third major lesson to absorb (sorry - no quote this time) is that while creating many types of  Web presence by yourself can be free, that doesn’t mean that doing a good job of it isn’t important. And even though the tools that have been made available to showcase your book at the obvious sites (e.g., Amazon) are designed to be easy to use, they aren’t always completely intuitive, or that each site doesn’t have its own frustrating quirks and surprising limitations. So if you’re serious about promoting your book, either set the time aside to do a decent job of setting things up, or consider getting someone else to help you, even if you have to pay for the assistance.

The first two lessons above are closely related, and are best illustrated by some frequently heard advice that you should think twice before following. That advice is, “You’ve got to have a Web site for your book.”

That’s very good advice at a high level, because it’s not likely that anyone is going to buy your book on line (and they’ll be much less likely to buy it elsewhere, as well) if there isn’t an easy to find site where they can see the cover, find out what the book is all about, read an excerpt, find out whether people like it, see who wrote it, learn how much it costs, and how to get a copy.

If all of that has a strangely familiar ring to it, it should, because you’re used to finding all of that information every time you look for a book at Amazon. Amazon is also the first place that the majority of all readers are likely to go to find (even a self-published) book. Each such potential purchaser will already be comfortable with the way your book’s information will be organized and presented, and they probably have their purchasing information already logged into Amazon’s system, so the likelihood of a visitor making an impulse purchase of your book is as likely to happen at Amazon as it’s possible to make it (think about it: would Jeff Bezos have it any other way)?

In fact, if you had to choose between having your own Web site just for your book and having an Amazon page, there would be absolutely no question which one to choose.

Which brings me to my first formal recommendation:

1.  Before setting anything else up on line, maximize the quality and scope of your listing at Amazon

For starters, that means being sure that your book has found its way on to Amazon at all. It’s easy to sign up at Amazon’s Author Central site, and that’s what you’ll want to do, so that you can manage your book’s listing.  Amazon’s software should automatically find and list your book shortly after your POD publisher submits it, and of course if you used CreateSpace it should be even more automatic. If for some reason your book doesn’t show up when you expect it to, your publisher should be able to help you out.

But that’s just the starting point. Once you’re logged in, you’ll want to take advantage of every tool that Amazon provides for building out your page, such as adding your book’s cover image (no, that doesn’t happen automatically), enabling the “Look Inside” permission (allowing excerpts to be read), adding at least the blurb from your book cover, and including something about yourself (the Author!) as well.  Instructions covering much of this can be found at the Author Central section of the Amazon site, and as you might expect, there are many books (often free) that can walk you through the steps as well. 

My page is pretty thoroughly built out, and you can find it here. If you start in the upper left, you’ll see that I’ve uploaded the cover art, and also given permission to allow readers to sample what’s inside – an invaluable tool for letting people decide whether they like your style, and (in the case of a non-fiction book), whether you cover the topics that they are interested in. If you’ve never tried that feature before, try it now on my book, and while you’re at it, imagine you’re looking at the first page of your book on line instead.  Is your text catchy enough to close a sale? If not, you’ll want to rewrite it – as many times as necessary, since no pages of your book will be as important as those in the beginning.

Under the book description, you’ll see that I’ve pasted in the same text that’s on the back of my book. If you’re only publishing an eBook, you should consider whether following the same stylistic and length conventions that are used for book covers, since readers are used to making a preliminary evaluation of a book from text presented in this way. Not surprisingly, I used the “about the author” text from my book as well, and the same advice applies.  For more about how to write your book and author text, see this earlier post on cover design.

Excuse me for a moment now while we break for a brief commercial message:

Have you been finding “Adventures in Self-Publishing” useful?  If so, why not spring for a mere $2.99 NOW to encourage the author to continue writing it? That’s less than the proverbial cup of Starbucks coffee, and hey, the reviewers all say it’s a great read!

Okay, I’m back now. There are a few more bells and whistles that Amazon provides to authors, such as allowing you to link to a blog, but personally I think they are far less important, and less likely to be used by potential readers. On the other hand, providing the information and permissions discussed above is essential. A few other cautions and complaints also bear mention:

  • If you’re into Web design, you’ll be disappointed with what you have to work with. Amazon serves millions of pages a day, and is understandably concerned about maintenance, loading speeds, and hosting costs. The result is that you have almost no flexibility about how you can post, or even what font sizes you post it in. On the other hand, it’s free.
  • Amazon can be very frustrating to work with. Although, amazingly, you can get a near-instantaneous call back from a support person, that person will often not be able to do anything, or will say that they’ll put a work order in, which disappears into a void without anything being fixed. As an example, my eBook once disappeared for no apparent reason for two months, despite ongoing and constant efforts by me and by my publisher to get it restored. Talk about a negative impact on sales, let alone promotion.

OK, so now you’ve got your Amazon page set up.  Recommendation #2 comes next: 

2.  Be sure your book is properly displaying at the other major on line outlets

That means at least at Barnes & Noble and iTunes (and also at Google, in case its GooglePlay service starts to take off). Once again, you’ll need to do some things yourself, like uploading your cover art, and you can add some other basic information as well. The good news is that it takes just a few minutes to do this, since neither of these services allows you to add much anyway.

Of course, the sales channels just mentioned are only the most visible ones out there. Depending on your POD publisher and the automatic actions of the Web crawlers of other sites, you may be surprised how many other sites your book may pop up at as well, but you usually won’t be able to make any corrections or improvements at these purely automated sites, so let’s move on to the next category of web presence: community sites.

There are a host of sites that support, or are trying to attract, one flavor or another of a book community, and many of these sites provide a free, basic presence to an author. Most operate on a “freemium” model that provides a no-cost level of service, plus fee-based service(s) that will provide greater exposure to your book. In many cases, the price of these services is likely to exceed any economic returns that may follow, although it’s possible that launching a coordinated campaign across many sites at the same time might build some momentum that would pay off over time. In any event, the return on any paid service is likely to be insignificant without a lot of extra effort by you to maximize your visibility at the site in question (if you’re beginning to sense a theme here, you’re dead on target).

As of this writing, probably the best known book community site is GoodReads, although there are many others as well.  The GoodReads site allows users to discover books, review and discuss them, and recommend them to their friends, among other services.  Authors can post information about themselves and their book, start discussions, launch book promotions (e.g., allowing you to invite people to sign in to get a chance to win a copy of your book) and conduct other promotional activities (some free, some not).  As of July of last year, GoodReads had 20 million registered members. Not long afterward, Amazon announced that it had purchased the site for an undisclosed sum.

Which brings me to my next formal recommendation:

3.  Add your book to GoodReads

Why? Because it’s easy to do, the site is justifiably popular, and people will actually stumble upon your book there. After you get the hang of GoodReads, you can decide whether you have the time to consider any other community sites, but as of this writing, I don’t have one in my sights that seems worth the effort (if you know of one, by all means let everyone know by adding a comment below). 

And don’t forget the lesson that I led off with – just building something on the Web will never be sufficient to make them come.  You’ve got to keep rolling each rock up its own virtual hill if you expect your initial effort to pay off, so spend some time at the GoodReads site learning what it has to offer for authors, and then act accordingly (I’ll return to that subject in a later post).

Now that your formal on-line sales channels are in reasonably good shape and that you’ve dipped our toe into the community waters, let’s turn back to the stock advice that your book should have its very own Web site. You will have read this recommendation from just about every print on demand publisher because (spoiler alert), while a Web page is rarely if ever included in a POD basic plan, the great majority of POD publishers will include a custom website in one or more of their sales packages, with a simple site being included in their middle service offering (most have at least a bargain, middle, and high end package), and a more fully-featured site in their most expensive package.

It wasn’t until months after I launched my book that I bothered to set up a site, and then only for the experience of doing so (you can find my site here).  Guess what? Unless I’m doing something to drive traffic there, that site can go a week without getting a single visitor.  And why would it? The likelihood of a generic Google search pulling the usual self-published author’s book site out of the almost infinite number of pages on the Internet is vanishingly small, no matter how hard you work to optimize it. You can (and should) add sample chapters from your book as well, and I also recommend visiting the sites of other authors that have come up with creative ways to promote their books through their sites.
On the other hand, if are willing to spend the time adding content to your site to help support your book sales in addition to what Amazon is set up to host, then having a book site begins to have a purpose – assuming you’re also willing to put in the time to try to drive traffic to your site. Starting a blog at your site is perhaps the easiest place to start, and you can link your blog to your Amazon page, as well.

Which brings me to my fourth and final formal recommendation for today’s post:

4.  Don’t bother creating more than a free, minimal Web site for your book unless you have a plan for updating and driving traffic to it – and really commit to follow that plan

This isn’t to say that you can’t find some pretty nice book sites out there (there are lots, and many are well worth visiting), or that their owners might not have built up a community around them (often of other authors, however, rather than potential buyers). But if you cruise around, you’ll see that most are pretty dormant.  My personal belief is that the amount of time that most people would spend maintaining an active site would be better spent on other promotional activities.  Not because having a site might not be worth having, but because the owner doesn’t really know why they own it.

Tune in next week, when we’ll dive into the maelstrom of social media. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy my book

If you’re new to this series: You can find all of the earlier entries, covering topics such as choosing the self-publishing model that’s right for you, formatting and pricing your book, and much, more beginning here.


Trackback URL for this entry: http://www.consortiuminfo.org/standardsblog/trackback.php?id=20140202161249793

No trackback comments for this entry.
Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II) | 31 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Authored by: Rivera on Thursday, March 20 2014 @ 02:27 AM CDT

Knowing the topic of your content allows you to focus your time and energy. You can include yourself in determining all there is to know about a particular topic professional writing service Website without any probability of getting redirected.

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II)
Authored by: Sofia Roberts on Monday, May 12 2014 @ 04:33 AM CDT

I'm sure everyone would agree with your point because it's really not that easy to establish your presence on the worldwide web. There are many factors that will be involved if you are publishing your own contents and the same can be said from a student's point of view when writing assignments. I for one, am always seeking for assignment help since it's a very difficult task.

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II)
Authored by: Allwyn Jones on Tuesday, August 26 2014 @ 01:08 AM CDT

There are many factors that play a role in attracting writer towards assignment help. Students lack knowledge and understanding of subjects so they need assignment help. Follow these tips and you can easily solve any assignment.

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II)
Authored by: Amber on Thursday, August 28 2014 @ 02:03 AM CDT

Thanks for information! custom essay writing services. This company has great potential.


Authored by: Amber on Thursday, August 28 2014 @ 02:04 AM CDT

Hi! If you have any difficulties with your essays, you can always ask for some writing tips at http://special-essays.com. Luckily, there are lots of opportunities nowadays to find all necessary information on the Internet.

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II)
Authored by: Donald Stern on Saturday, October 11 2014 @ 01:44 AM CDT

Thank you for these links! I was really looking for this information for my essay writing service company and I'm so glad I found your site. 

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II)
Authored by: Eric28 on Monday, October 27 2014 @ 01:41 AM CDT

I think this is a really valuable post to share for readers in order to make establish their personal web presence online with more reliable blog posts and contents for users.

Dissertation Proposal Help


Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II)
Authored by: Jeanne-Louise on Tuesday, October 28 2014 @ 11:03 PM CDT

Slightly an interested idea of taking all the things working perfectly and amazingly I love the idea of being nice.Essay Spot

Authored by: JEMON77 on Monday, November 10 2014 @ 01:22 PM CST

When I arrived at the end, I understood that short of what 10% of the promotions were profit situated. But, in the event that you were to ask the publicists who composed these promotions, each of them could provide for you a protracted address on how imperative solid advantage explanations are to composing great duplicate.  custom paper writing service

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II)
Authored by: babygirl on Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 03:58 AM CST

Excellent information about creation of web-pages that will help to sell self-published book.
And if you want to buy qualitative essay  join this site best-essays-writers.com/ )

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II)
Authored by: Harlan robert on Saturday, November 22 2014 @ 12:16 PM CST

You put really very supportive information. Keep posting. I will waiting for your next blog. write my assignmentbuy uk assignment

great custom essays
Authored by: jolyan on Thursday, December 04 2014 @ 03:56 AM CST

Thanks a lot for this information. By the way, http://essaywritingstore.com is available 24/7 so that every student can get well-written essay for sure.

Authored by: jolyan on Thursday, December 04 2014 @ 04:02 AM CST

If you need professional essay help, go to this Website. Its writers know how to create top quality academic papers in a short period of time.

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II)
Authored by: JEMON77 on Thursday, December 04 2014 @ 09:29 AM CST
Their -to-be deal get embarrassed and feel harebrained on yearly of amaranths sayings and advertisements.it is a 18-carat measure of issue to baddest the controlling that clothing you and your stores.   custom essay writing services
Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II)
Authored by: Rjcollings on Sunday, December 07 2014 @ 11:37 PM CST

For slef publishing it's much neccessary to make a market reasech and should have to ask some key points from the expert to get successed. 

Authored by: lojane on Tuesday, December 09 2014 @ 04:37 AM CST

Just want to say many thanks to everyone for all their hard do the job on this project! Top quality academic papers


Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II)
Authored by: lojane on Tuesday, December 09 2014 @ 04:39 AM CST
Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II)
Authored by: Farah Khan on Wednesday, December 17 2014 @ 01:14 AM CST

This website is so cool and full of constructive information. Keep sharing and I will always support to such a great blog posts..www.facebook.com Essay Writing Pakistan







Authored by: JohnsJack on Wednesday, December 17 2014 @ 03:57 PM CST

I want to say that this article is awesome. hr research paper :: research paper writing service

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II)
Authored by: doneAssignment on Saturday, December 20 2014 @ 12:17 AM CST

Students normally wants news thing books articles and technology news because of this they search many site on Google. Students wants visit Uk Assignment Writers and read new things related to your works.

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II)
Authored by: talissa on Monday, December 22 2014 @ 02:47 AM CST

Great blog. I'll definetly put this article in my diary and my blog

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II)
Authored by: essays on Monday, January 05 2015 @ 05:01 AM CST

 I think this is a really valuable post to share for readers in order to make establish their personal web presence online with more reliable blog posts and contents for users and its must usefull for my custom essay writer students also 

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II)
Authored by: gotitgo on Tuesday, January 13 2015 @ 02:55 AM CST

If you’re under, say, the age of 40, your answer will probably be, “Come again? I’ve always known about it.

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II)
Authored by: Anderson on Thursday, January 22 2015 @ 01:41 AM CST

I read this article. I think you put a lot of effort to create this article. I appreciate your work! Cheap assignments

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II)
Authored by: LarryHarp on Friday, January 23 2015 @ 04:44 AM CST

During their time of study, students are required to write different academic papers including admission essays. Due to the complexity and standards that are required in essay writing, they can use admission essay writing service.

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II)
Authored by: anny on Friday, January 23 2015 @ 07:02 AM CST

There are many students who are worried about writing effective papers and deadlines for submitting their essay papers are very short. They are in trouble what to do? If you are one of them then you'll batter understand this situation. Now kick away all worries because now you can hire professional writers to ask  custom-paper-writing.org  on my behalf and within the deadlines. I assure you this is easiest way of getting good grades and I hope you guys will find it effective :)


Authored by: anny on Friday, January 23 2015 @ 07:06 AM CST

Utilizing essay writing service is an alternative for those who want to finish their  www.custom-paper-writing.org   in a short time. Writing an essay can be, somewhat, very tiring. An essay does not merely a matter of a basic structure consisting introduction, main body, and conclusion. There can be more than that. Sometimes, you are wondering why your friends can be very addicted into writing. They can be very excited when it comes a time to finish their writing assignment.


Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II)
Authored by: katieoliver on Monday, February 02 2015 @ 08:18 AM CST

It is well said, if you really ready to work hard then you can show your presence in the google. it s most compitative world. so in order to give a presence you should know all about the promotion work and how to handle a aite to. I was doing buy custom essays online service and he effort i put to imporve one position in the google is really difficult one

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II)
Authored by: hy.sehar on Tuesday, February 10 2015 @ 05:29 AM CST

 An interesting discussion is worth comment. I think that you need to write more on this matter, it may not be a taboo subject but usually individuals are not enough to speak on such topics.  anarkali dress

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II)
Authored by: Medio Ambiente on Friday, February 20 2015 @ 01:48 PM CST


the castelar financial company has publciado a major report on the subject.


Adventures in Self-Publishing: Establishing a Web Presence (Part II)
Authored by: albertroger on Saturday, February 21 2015 @ 12:06 AM CST

Students generally requirements news thing books articles and skill news because of this they search many site on Google. Students needs official visit Write my assignment for me and read new things connected to your works.