Recently, someone sent me an article from Tech Crunch called The Seven Principles You need to Know to Build a Great Social Product. As you may know, I’m never content to leave anything in context, and so it made me think how these principles can apply to other things, such as writing and building your online platform and presence.
1. Make Your Book Matter in a World of Infinite Supply
Just as the article states, people are inundated with a huge number of products, sites, and in our case, books on a daily basis. Why should they read your book? And how are you getting that across? When someone comes across your site, or your links, they’ll give you only seconds to catch their attention before they move on to the next product. As this article suggests, the best way to get their attention is to consistently hit on the emotions your book is supposed to create in people. Your blurb, your blog and your site should convey those feelings not only verbally, but visually. Yes, you’re a writer, but despite what they say, the cover does sell the book and the site does sell the content because people have already processed the feelings created by the colors, layouts and element arrangements before they’ve even had time to read the title of the page. So, if your books are creepy vampire books, then your content should reflect that. Sweet romance? Then there may be some pink, or “pretty” colors in your future.
2. Be the Best at One Thing
In other words, Author Branding. Stephannie has recently posted on this topic, so I’ll leave the specifics to her, and just say that author branding means you need to have something consistent across all your books. An author who writes horror erotica or violent death scenes might find it hard to then sell a Christian devotional or even a children’s book. Be mindful of your genres and content.
3. Seek out Uniqueness
This could be what makes your book unique or, as the article suggests, making people feel unique. I do believe that can carry over into the writing not by giving your readers extra content, or making them feel as though they have in hand in things. For example several authors post their works in progress in a blog. Ruth Anne Nordin springs instantly to mind, when I think of this. Her readers get to comment and make suggestions, and she listens to them. This makes her readers feel special and unique and keeps them coming back. If you can connect to your readers on an emotional level, you’re more likely to keep them.
4. Focus on your Most Important “Interaction”
As a writer your most important “Interaction” is your writing; so, make sure your book is the best it can be. Edit it and then double edit it. Check it for typos and then check it again. Have at least one beta reader look at it for consistency and believability. When it comes to your site, make your homepage count. Have the most important information easily accessible so that your readers don’t have to hunt for it. Remember people have about a three second attention span.
5. Own your story
Sure, they say there’s nothing new under the sun, and that every story has already been told, but it hasn’t been told by YOU. You make your story unique because your perspective is unique. You are like no one else on the planet, and neither is your writing, or your book. Remember that, and exploit it. Weave your experiences and knowledge in with your stories. If you used to be a nurse then make one of your characters a nurse, or set your story in a hospital instead of an expected place. Use your unique perspective to make your story unique.
6. Keep Down the Clutter
This applies not only to your writing (do you really NEED the scene where your characters discuss minty toothpaste?) but also to your website or blog. Make it all easy to navigate, clean, sharp and tight, and you’ll get repeat visitors. Have a site that is clunky, confusing or too cluttered and you’ll lose visitors.
7. Concentrate on Change
Not changing you, but changing your reader’s lives. How does your book impact them? I don’t mean that it has to be a life changing, inspirational book, but it should leave an impact of some kind. It should give them an idea, or an escape – in essence it should provide a service of some kind. What that service is depends on the kind of book you write.
And so we see that a book and a social website aren’t so very different after all. Kinda scary, huh?
Good post Joleene…enjoyed your helpful comments. Many thanks. Dave AscensionForYou Knight
Thanks, Dave. Wow! You’re fast!
This is an excellent post. 😀
My main thought as I was reading it is that I come across so many author websites that are cluttered with words. I’m a visual person, and I think when you have a new person coming to your site, they are going to be drawn to images and quick snippets of information. Too often, I see authors who write one or two pages worth of information on their Home page. So it’s like your having to read through an essay to figure out what in the world the author writes or sells. The graphics often don’t give any clues either.
I say keep all the info dump to another page on your site, and let a sentence or two speak with graphics (like book covers) and links to your blogs, Facebook, whatever be the feature of you Home page. People, after all, are there to check out your books, not you. When they like your books, then they’ll be interested in you and probably go back to check on the information.
Sorry to ramble. I just see info dump too much on the Home page and it drives me nuts. I don’t bother staying at those websites. I pretty much scan the Home page and then click out as fast as I can.
I agree completely. I was recently at a website that had so much junk on the homepage I couldn’t even find their books and it was like “Are you an author, or what?” I ended up clicking back off of it without ever finding what it is they write.
Music player bugs the (*&^% out of me too. and autoplay videos. why do you need an autoplay video on your home page? if it;s your book trailer then fine, put it there and have a nice big “click to lay” button and call it good. Don’t aggravate those of us who are listening to our own music!
Now I’m ranting, lol!
I forgot about the annoying music/video pop ups. Those are definitely annoying!
Great tip too Ruth!
Wishing i was a ‘Joe 90’ and could copy and paste Ruth’s Joleene’s and Steph’s ‘ info and writing brains’ in a 30 sec spin of his chair! Write on guys !
sending brain waves at you 😉
We’re all still learning as we go. 😀