Dec 14 2009

A few tips for writers looking to network online…

Published by at 5:46 pm under Blogging

There are three main ways your site can get new viewers: referrals (links), search engines, and ads.  I’ll focus on getting referrals here because ads are probably not cost-effective for authors and search engines can have a low payoff. 

1.  Have content worth sharing.  If your material is good and plentiful, spreading it will be a lot easier. 

2.  Make it easy for your users to share your content.  For example, SN gets a free 50-100 readers a day from StumbleUpon, probably because several of our popular articles end with a link asking readers to Stumble SN.  Adding those links only took me about 30 minutes. 

3.  Hit-and-run selflinks don’t really help very much.  If you insert a comments like “See my webpage!” onto people’s sites apropos of nothing, people are just going to scroll past them.  Interact with prospective readers!  Work your website into a conversation where it fits naturally.  For example, if somebody had a question about male characters, linking a story where you did a male protagonist well would feel very natural and helpful.  (Or, if you’re into nonfiction, you might have an article on writing male characters lying around).  Interacting is critical because it gives people a reason to look. 

4.  Think of networking as cultivation rather than extraction.  Aim for steady, long-term gains because you won’t get anything overnight.   A single post on a website will quickly get buried by subsequent comments and will quickly prove useless.  However, a series of comments over time may add up into something more substantial because 1) you’ll probably have more recent comments and 2) if you sustain a presence on a website or board, you’ll gain credibility over time.  People will take you more seriously and your odds of attracting readers with your links will grow.   Who knows, maybe people will come to trust you so much that they check out your links even though they wouldn’t otherwise care about the subject in question.  That’s the only reason you’d consider checking out this Iron Chef slash-fiction link.  

5.  Reciprocate!  Reciprocate!  If a site that is even remotely good links to you, link back to them.  This will reinforce the warm fuzzy feeling they already have when they think of you.  Incidentally, readers like being alerted to interesting sites. 

6.  Invite reciprocity.  Be generous with outgoing links.  As long as the sites are good, linking them costs absolutely nothing and can result in links to you.  (If the sites are bad, then linking to them may cost you credibility with your readers).

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “A few tips for writers looking to network online…”

  1. Scribblaron 17 Dec 2009 at 3:22 am

    See my website!

  2. Scribblaron 17 Dec 2009 at 3:24 am

    Or not, I don’t care. ;}

    This post is informative and interesting. I’m looking at e-publishing and the comments here could be applied directly to that.

    I was hoping you might care to do an article more geared specifically to how to market an e-novel.

  3. B. Macon 17 Dec 2009 at 5:23 am

    Hmm… have you looked through the Blogging category? A few of the articles might be helpful to you, particularly How to Design Your Front Page, Building an Audience for Your Blog and How to Grow Intense Fans.

    Prospective readers -> readers -> habitual readers -> customers

  4. Scribblaron 17 Dec 2009 at 6:04 am

    I’ll check that, then. Thanks.

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