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  1. LisaV

    LisaV New Member

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    Indie Website - Do you really need one?

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by LisaV, Feb 22, 2021.

    Hi all -
    I've self-published four novels, but haven't done much marketing. I was "all in" when I first started, trying to reach potential readers with all the right social media channels including a landing page website with my own domain.
    Since this whole COVID mess, I can't seem to stick to one WIP at a time. I've lost a lot of motivation.
    I'm considering giving up my website (which doesn't get any traffic) and domain since it's just another added expense which I don't need right now.
    I have a WordPress Blog where I have made a good following, but hasn't translated into readers. But I enjoy my blogging community.
    My question is this: How important do you think having a website is (as opposed to a blog or something else), especially if it isn't getting any traffic?
    If you're a published author do you have a website?
    Thanks for your help.
    LisaV
     
  2. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    only if you are going down the mailing list route... i did but i'm over it... the amount of effort vs amount of reward ... the juice wasn't worth the squeeze... its probably better to put the money in to ams or fb advertising... when i got my renewal notice i decided enough was enough and turned it off
     
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  3. KevinMcCormack

    KevinMcCormack Senior Member

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    Based on research, I'd say that it's becoming clearer every year that a domain/website is the number two 'must have' marketing instrument for an author (the number one being an actual book to sell). More than blogging or social media content, whose value has been dropping precipitously. Note, this is different than paying for advertising on the platforms. I'm just referring to offering content to engage readers there. I'd also retain mailing lists as the #3 must-have, with platform advertising as #4.

    We retain almost complete control over a domain, and it's accessible to all potential readers. This is as opposed to social media, where our visibility is dependent on the platform's policies, and the readers signing up for an account with that third party corporation in the first place.

    The website should host our media kit, with author photo and short/medium/long editions of your bios, and links to any social media, blogs, if we are doing those, and links to works that are published in other sites, if we have any.

    So, to recap... my opinion about marketing tools here in 2021:
    1. something to sell
    2. website with media kit / links to work on the web / list of books and links to where to buy them / calendar / optional blog
    3. mailing list
    4. social media platform advertising
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
    Lifeline likes this.
  4. pyroglyphian

    pyroglyphian Word Painter

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    Congratulations on self-publishing four novels — what determination!

    RE: the website, the only reason to have one is to help people. If it's not doing this then it's a waste of time.
     
  5. SapereAude

    SapereAude Member

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    If you self-publish but have created an imprint (a publishing "house"), would you suggest doing an author's web site, or getting a domain for the publishing imprint and then listing the author on that site?
     
  6. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    just do an author site - you won't fool anyone by pretending to be a publisher and listing a single author... that just looks desperate
     
  7. KevinMcCormack

    KevinMcCormack Senior Member

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    Personally, I would only do this if I thought I would take on other authors, and I would still want to maintain a separate site for each author.
     
  8. Steve Rivers

    Steve Rivers Contributor Contributor

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    I'm doing pretty well with my website. It garners a steady flow of hits, and even without advertising now for a few months, I keep getting people sign-up to my mailing list from it.

    I think the key part is making them feed off of one another. On the very second (or third, I forget) page of my book, I put the website address front and center, and let the reader know that if they want to learn more about the book, the series, or the characters, hop over to the website. The very first thing they're greeted with at the website? My mailing list sign-up. Later on, when I get the time, I'm going to add a short story about one of the characters as a freebie for entering their email address. I read that added incentive really ups the numbers of people who sign up to mailing lists.
     
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  9. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    it does - I got to about 2.5k pretty quickly after adding a magnet... but my caution would be that its very easy to fill your list with people who only want free stuff... i found my list be a near complete waste of time in generating actual sales ... after a couple of years i've come to the conclusion that my time and money would be better spent on direct advertising... ymmv of course
     
  10. Selbbin

    Selbbin The Moderating Cat Staff Contributor

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    Publish lots of books under different pseudonyms?
     
  11. More

    More Active Member

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    There is not a blanket answer to your question. I have made a few commercial websites. It is not expensive to create and publish a web site if you can do all the work. If you have something people are looking for, and there are not too many competitors, you will get some traffic. It is always interesting, to me, to think of a new way to create a new link to your site. I enjoy having people contact me, from around the world. But it can be time-consuming, especially when you first start. It can take a long time to become established and you might not have the thing people are looking for.
     
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  12. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    My website doesn't get a ton on traffic, but I really like it as a one-stop shop of links for where to purchase my books. If someone inquires it's easy to just send them to my Books page instead of multiple Amazon links (and this was even better when I was on multiple platforms back when my books were traditionally published).

    I used Wix and it was super easy and not very expensive - a couple of hundred bucks a year, more than covered by my modest writing income.
     
  13. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    The only thing harder to promote than a book is a website. I have one, lewis-mcintyre.com,but it gets very little activity. I recommend setting up an author page on facebook, for yourself, and for each book if you have several. See https://www.facebook.com/LewisMcIntyreAuthor and follow links on the pinned posts to my books and to my groups. That is free, and much easier to set up than a website. And you can use that page to advertise to people you DON'T know, though that is not free. On your personal FB profile page, select Create Page and you are off and running. PS you can't advertise your books on your personal profile!
     

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