I’m delighted to welcome my first guest on this Blog, an author I recently came across on another guest posting, Rick Chesler. One of the key reasons I started this Blog was to connect with others and I feel inviting people to come and post about things they specialise in is an ideal way to do just that.
After reading Rick’s initial post I was drawn into his ideas, as such reading the first few Chapters of his novel ‘Wired Kingdom’ and purchasing the full edition to read over the Christmas period. Overall this is an ideal example of how Blogging and interacting as an author can really help bring in new readers. So without further ado let me introduce you to Rick Chesler who will now discuss marketing books online, his author platform, and how he’d change things if doing it all again…
First of all, I’d like to thank Matthew Turner for having me as a guest on his Blog. I’ve had two thriller novels published by small presses: WIRED KINGDOM (2010) and kiDNApped (2011). In 2012 I will be releasing my third Tara Shores series novel, SOLAR ISLAND. I have found that it does help to promote my work online, and so I agreed to discuss how to go about that with Matt, with an eye toward guiding aspiring writers and maybe helping them to avoid some of the pitfalls that befell me.
>Please could you describe how you went about creating your author platform:
The core of my web presence is my author web site: RickChesler.com… I recommend using your author name for the web address rather than a book title, because that way if you write more than one thing you won’t have to keep registering new domains, you can just add new pages or sections to your site. Then various other places around the web such as social media sites, Amazon pages, etc., can all feed into your website.
>What media have you used to interact with your readers? (Twitter, Facebook etc):
Those two together with my website form the core of my online presence. On Facebook I have an author page (formerly known as “fan pages”):
I use this to let Facebookers know about my upcoming book news, contests, etc. Having the Fb page lets me put an Fb widget on my website which gives it some interactivity and draws more people to my Fb page.
I also have a twitter account (@rickchesler): …which I use to spread the word about my books, tweet out interesting science and ocean news articles, keep up with publishing industry developments, and interact with writers, readers and fans. Again, I have a twitter feed to my webpage and on my Amazon Author page. I even still keep my old MySpace account because instead of deleting it I just feed my twitter to it. Why not, that’s 18,000 friends, some of which still use the site. That’s the power of twitter—it can be syndicated to many sources. Nowadays, every one of my tweets reaches a combined total of over 30,000 people.
>If you could go back to the beginning and do it all again, what would you do differently:
Concentrate on twitter more than Facebook, but use Facebook for maintaining publishing industry contacts and ongoing relationships with other writers. Twitter is fantastic for making new contacts. Facebook is a bit better for maintaining professional relationships with a close circle of contacts. Try to decide on a consistent name for all your sites and social media, for example, at first I named some after my first novel (http://www.facebook.com/WiredKingdomNovel ), but later that became problematic when I published a second book and then had to start a new Fb page under Rick Chesler, to cover all possible future books I might write instead of having to start a new page each time. Now, whenever I establish some new internet account, I always make my user name or web address, whatever, Rick Chesler for the sake of consistency and ease of operations.
Also, I’ve watched the rise in popularity of Goodreads.com, and now have a surprising amount of contacts there: (Click Here for my profile)
Try new things. No one knows what really works, so just do things that are interesting and fun to you, that engage potential readers and keep you learning about new books and the publishing industry in general. When I read a book, I try to put up an Amazon review. Why not let people know what I’m reading on Goodreads, then post a review to share my thoughts? I also do signed book giveaways on Goodreads from time to time, exchange web links with other authors, do audio interviews, attend real life book festivals, join professional organizations like International Thriller Writers, submit books to reviewers, have a blog, etc.
>Any general tips to an Author just starting out:
Make sure your writing comes first. There’s no point promoting something that isn’t your best possible work. Read a lot, too. Tweeting and updating your status all the time isn’t going to make you a better writer. Only purposeful writing and reading will do that. I never had an online presence until I signed the contract for my first novel, Wired Kingdom. Resist the urge to publish only because you can, just to “see what happens.” In the old days a writer had to wait weeks to hear back from an agent or publisher via snail mail, but I think there is something to that painful process—it encourages constant revision and editing until someone says “Yes!” Dashing off first drafts straight to Kindle will shortchange you as a writer. Push yourself to make each manuscript the best it can possibly be, to make certain that it is truly representative of what you set out to do.
>The importance of YOU in selling your book:
I just try to be myself online and interact with people who share my interests in reading, writing, the ocean, science, the environment, etc. It’s all about establishing relationships with people so that later, when they see one of your books available, they might say, Hey, I remember that guy, he’s always talking about some interesting stuff, I think I’ll give his book a try…
A huge thanks to Rick for taking the time to post today, it’s always good to hear from writers that have been there and done it, and to also hear that he’s always learning and looking at ways to improve. I find it heartening as an aspiring author to hear he’d change certain things if given the chance, and feel this shows mistakes are ok as long as we’re willing to adapt and progress.
Rick’s UK Amazon page can be found HERE and I’d certainly recommend Wired Kingdom if you like a read with twists and turns. I’m certainly hooked to the character, Tara Shores, and kiDNApped & Solar Island are both on my reading list.
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