If you were hoping for a scene from Star Trek, I’m sorry to disappoint. I’m actually talking about black holes in your internet presence. Dictionary.com defines a black hole as: “Any place regarded as resembling a black hole in that information entering it cannot be retrieved.”
A Real Life Example
Recently an author contacted me on twitter. He sent me a link to his website (a Blogger page). The message on twitter said that this was the link to his website and book. After spending about ten minutes clicking on nearly every link of his site, I couldn’t find either his last name or his book name or a link to buy his book anywhere on his site.
Being a bit on the OCD side, I couldn’t just let it go. After all, he took the time to personally connect me with. I wanted to see if his book was anything I might be interested in reading.
So, I decided to go back to his twitter profile. This, at least, had his first and last name and a link back to the same uninformative Blogger page. I copied and pasted his name into Amazon to search for him. There was a book that came up, but it didn’t fit with the description on his twitter profile. The middle name of the author that came up was different than the middle initial listed for the author on his Blogger page.
I gave up. I wasn’t sure I was looking at the right person. I also spent way too much time trying to find his book—much more than any reader would spend.
Said author just dropped me into a black hole.
Tips To Avoid Black Holes
So, authors, here’s my tips to make sure you don’t drop potential readers into an internet black hole:
1. On your website, make sure your name (or pen name) is spelled exactly the same as it would appear on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, in book stores, or any other place your book is sold.
2. Make sure you have a link to at least one, but preferably all your distribution channels, on your book’s page on your website. It’s even better to put a link to one or more of your books on your homepage. Some prolific authors may prefer to list only the book they are currently promoting instead.
3. Make sure your titles are spelled the same as what a reader may use to search for you on Amazon or B&N.
4. If you have a separate website and blog, make sure all of the above is done on both sites. (The real thing you should do is combine both your blog and website into one website for SEO – search engine optimization. But, that’s a whole different blog post.)
5. On your twitter profile, please list what genre you write and include a link to your now cleaned up website. Note: If your twitter handle does not resemble your name in some way, set up another account that does. Perhaps include a link to your other twitter profile. I know it’s hard to switch if you’ve built a big following, so be creative.
6. On your other social media sites (Facebook, Facebook Fan Page, Google +, Goodreads, Library Thing, Shelfari, etc.), make sure they all link back to your website. If they have a place to list individual links for your books, add those too.
Another note about social media and marketing
Whenever you talk about your books on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, etc., be sure to link directly to where a reader can purchase your book. Link it to the Amazon product page (not your author page), or B&N product page. Something.
Why? You do want people to buy your book, right? Give them the most direct access possible to do so.
Periodically check your internet presence.
Think like a reader. Click on links you posted on your website, in your social media profiles, etc. Can a reader easily (one or two clicks) get to a place to purchase your book. If not, it’s time for a little updating.
Best-selling self-published author, Karen Baney, enjoys sharing information to help authors learn about the Business of Writing. She holds a Masters of Business Administration from Arizona State University and has worked in various business related career fields for the past 20 years. She writes Christian Historical Fiction and Contemporary Romance novels. To learn more about her novels visit her website: karenbaney.com.
Karen and her husband, Jim, also run several online businesses. They make their home in Gilbert, AZ, with their two dogs.