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How Can a Website
Benefit an Author?

By Joe Balestrino, © 2003

As someone who writes and also works with writers, I thought Iíd share some information. Now, Iím not an authority on publishing. However, I am a Web designer for writers, and I know some things about marketing that can help.

Some authors think all they need to do is write the book, find a publisher, and get the book published. But thatís only the beginning. The book needs to be promoted. How much promotion will your publisher do? Truthfully, unless you are already a well-established writer, not a whole lot. So, how will your book sell if no one promotes it? And if it doesnít sell well, what are your chances of getting another book published?

Do you see where Iím going with this? Iím not saying to stand in front of a Barnes and Noble bookstore reading excerpts from your book. But, what do you do? Publishers canít afford to launch a big advertising campaign for every book. They probably have a few hundred or maybe thousands of authors just like you. So what can writers do to pump up the sales of their own books?

The perfect and most affordable way to advertise your book is with a website. You donít need a fancy, expensive high-end site. You also donít want a cheap looking site with a long web address. A domain name with your own name would be great. What would you place on your site if you had one? A more important question is, what is the purpose of the site?

The purpose of your site is not just to sell books. It goes way beyond that. You want to create a fellowship and friendship with your readers. You need to make people know who you are and what you write about. Tell them what reviewers say about your book. Tell them what readers have to say about it too.

Granted, it takes time to build a following. This wonít happen overnight, but be persistent. Think about what you can do with your site. Readers can talk to their favorite author (you!) via email, which they will love. You will know more about what your readers like and dislike about your book and what they want to read about next. The value of the information you will gain is priceless.

Start a buzz on your site about your new book, tell your readers of book signings, and more. They will tell friends and the anticipation will build. Isnít that what authors want? Authors want to bring their visions into other peopleís minds. They want recognition for their efforts. They always want to know people enjoy their hard work.

Not published yet? A website can still help. Iím currently interviewing publishers and asking them the million-dollar question: What does a publisher look for on a writerís website? I know some of the answers already. You will certainly want to know what they had to say. If you were a publisher, what would you look for?

The key to success is to build an ongoing relationship with your readers. They will help spread the word about your work. The better you know your audience, the better you can make your books reflect their needs and wants.
Joe Balestrino is a published writer both on and off the Net. He has covered topics from marketing and small business to free software and website promotion. To find out more and learn about his services, see:

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