How I set up my own author presence on the Web, wth a little help from the experts.
Being an author is not just about writing books. I mean, it should be, and you should dedicate as much time as you can to the wonderful art of worldforging. In the real world, though, an author must also connect with the reading public.
If you think about it, one of the fathers of the novel himself, Daniel Defoe, relied heavily on his readers before writing the next episode of Robinson Crusoe. (It was published in instalments on a newspaper, and Defoe connected with his readers regularly).
“I already do that!” I hear you say, “I have over [insert impressive number here] followers on Twitter, Facebook and-“ “Of course you do,” I reply, cutting you short because I don’t like hearing other people’s voices in my head. “But who controls those platforms?”
An author website allows you to build and sustain a reader base on your terms. Furthermore, any money you spend on promotion, puts your name in front, and not Facebook or Twitter.
That said, I knew I couldn’t go out and build my website presence all alone. I mean yeah I can play around with WordPress settings and I even managed to set up a pretty neat site on the free WordPress plan.
But I knew I had to get my own domain and blog platform. Why? Well I don’t want to advertise for WordPress either, that’s why.
Choosing the best hosting and domain solution was the first issue, and this is where social media sites shine. Author groups on Facebook are the best place to get advice, some groups are designed for that. I went to Pen Warriors, which is a group that has a special focus on helping authors with the tech infrastructure and dos and don’ts of self promotion.
The hosting service recommended to me was BlueHost. But it was not just a name pulled out of a bag. I explained what I needed and Pen Warriors went in, checked the plans that were offered and what was included. Double checked for hidden costs before giving me the thumbs up and offering extra help even after I’d signed up. I love the solution. Same WordPress interface but it’s hosted within my own site, so no ads. That means I still was able to set myself up and get to blogging right away, with a little help from my friends, who also provided invaluable feedback for the overall look and feel.
To any other fellow author taking this step. Use Facebook for what it does best: connect with amazing people and find support for your project, so that you can focus on what you do best.
Drinking coffee, taking glamour shots of your pet, hoarding books.