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Your work has just appeared in an online literary journal or on your author website. Now it’s time to maximize your readership beyond subscribers, family, close friends, and the most computer-savvy of your three cats.
Here are ten suggestions from Writer’s Relief’s obvious and not-so-obvious files!
1. On your writer website, link directly to your newly published work. Include it on your news page, as well as in your bibliography/bio.
2. If you have a blog, put a mention and link there…before commenting on the presidential race or why your local planning board allowed a hedge-fund guy to put a two-car garage in his birdhouse.
3. If it doesn’t compromise your work’s artistic integrity, give your latest literary creation an SEO-friendly title that might place it high up for viewing by a gaggle of Googlers. SEO means Seeing Excellence Online…or is it Search Engine Optimization? An example: If your story called “Stark Birds and Rubbish” is about surfboarding, use the term “story about surfboarding” in the title of your blog post so that people who are Googling “story about surfboarding” will find it. Few people will be Googling “stark birds and rubbish” when they’re searching for general topics.
4. Take advantage of social media to draw attention to your newly published work. This can include putting the link on your Facebook page and sending out the kind of tweets you won’t hear in that hedge-fund guy’s birdhouse. But there’s even more you can do:
5. For instance, let’s say your latest piece of writing mentions or quotes a famous author. So, politely post a link to your work on that author’s Facebook page! Even deceased authors have Facebook pages created by admirers—and the word “posthumous” includes “post”! But if you’re going to post links just be careful to avoid these Eleven Deadly Sins of Online Promotion For Writers.
6. Your newly published work might also mention a country, a city, animals (such as computer-savvy cats), and other entities that have Facebook pages or blogs. Leave links on those pages too. (In the case of animals, you can find critter-related organizations.) But if you decide to go with suggestions 5 and 6, make sure your approach is one of friendly networking rather than hard-sell marketing. Spam’s Extremely Obnoxious! (Another SEO.)
7. Don’t forget good old-fashioned email! When your creation goes online, send the link to family, friends, colleagues, former colleagues, and others. This can be done via one network email.
8. Better yet, send a separate email to every recipient. You can make this process go faster by cutting and pasting the same message and then partly personalizing it before each click on “send.” People might ignore mass emails, but personalized invitations get noticed.
9. Don’t forget the power of fun contests and promotions (on your author website, blog, Facebook page, etc.) because they can attract more people to your newly published work! For instance, if your online story or poem is about dogs, ask visitors to send you photos of their pooches and then have people vote for the best ones. Or if that takes up too much bandwidth, visitors can submit and vote on favorite dog names. (“Fido Castro” and “Rover Cleveland” are automatically disqualified.) The prize? Anything from a free signed copy of your latest novel to just giving winners an online spotlight.
10. Last but not least, diplomatically nudge people you’ve told about your new online work to spread the word to people they know. Your fans can retweet, post your link on their Facebook pages, and so on. When it comes to maximizing your potential audience, SEO also means Seeking Exponential Opportunities!
Do YOU want an author website? A blog? Web Design Relief can create your blog and site for you! And we can even offer advice based on our experiences in the publishing industry since 1994. Check it out!
QUESTION: Do you have other suggestions for widening the readership of your online publications? We’ll Savor Every One (SEO) of them!