7 Ways to Build Your Author Brand Online

On Saturday, I posted Four Surprising Conclusions About Author Websites. Yesterday, I posted on Why Every Author Needs a Powerful Online Presence. Today I want to address the how of building your author brand online.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/eyeidea, Image #3250049

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/eyeidea

Let me begin with a disclaimer. I am not a web guru. I am not a professional. I am simply a guy who has been blogging since 1998 (before they called it blogging). I have some degree of success, but mostly I have just tried to be a student of what works and what doesn’t work. And, I have made a lot of mistakes along the way.

From my point of view, there are seven things that are important in building an online brand, particularly if you are an author:

  1. Read Tribes by Seth Godin. I reviewed Seth’s new book last Friday. It explains the importance of building a tribe of followers and exactly how to do it. It represents a paradigm shift in leadership and communication.

    If you are an author, your tribe members are your readers—or, at least, that’s potentially true. The only question is whether or not you will become the tribe’s leader and equip them to communicate with you and with one another. Monologues are so last-century. Facilitating dialogues and polylogues are what is happening now. Authors who understand this and jump in with both feet are the ones who will succeed.

  2. Start Twittering. Do this before you do anything else online. It will teach you more about where the Internet is going than anything else I can recommend. I know, I know. You don’t have time. You can’t understand what all the fuss is about. You don’t get it. Blah, blah, blah. And you won’t get it until you try it.

    If you aren’t on Twitter, I double-dog dare you to try it for 30 days. Start with my 12 Reasons to Start Twittering, then read my Beginner’s Guide to Twitter. You can read both posts in 15 minutes. Then sign-up and enter the fray. If Max Lucado, Donald Miller, Sheila Walsh, Colleen Coble, Patsy Clairmont, Rachel Hauck, and other successful authors find it valuable, you just might too.

  3. Open a Facebook account. This is an easy way to humanize your brand and help people get to know you. Your fans want more than just the output of your creative mind; they want to get to know you. Facebook is an easy, simple way to do this.

    Again, this is one of those things you just have to try to understand. If you already have a Facebook account then connect it to Twitter using the Twitter app. This way, your tweedts will automatically update your Facebook account. By the way, I accept all friend requests on both Twitter and Facebook. Period.

  4. Create a website. Surely you already have one, but, if not, then make this a top priority. If someone hears your name or reads something they like about you, guess what they are going to do? That’s right, they are going to Google you. And, if your own site is not at or near the top of the list, they are not going to take you seriously. Worse, how will they find your other works or become a fan?

    But having a Web site is not enough. If you don’t have your meta tag data populated, you are missing traffic and opportunities. This is not that difficult. Run your website through WebsiteGrader.com and follow the directions. If necessary, get your webmaster to fix the problem. This was the number one problem with most of my own top authors’ websites.

  5. Write a blog. A static website (one that never changes) is boring. You’re not going to build a fan base, loyal readers, or repeat visitors unless you offer your visitors frequently-updated content. You must give them a reason to come back, again and again. This is what builds a following.

    A blog is like a lab for writers. It gives you an opportunity to try out new ideas and see if they get traction with your audience. It will also hone your writing skills. But you must make a commitment to write frequently. How often? That depends. I go through different seasons. In general though, I would say brief and more frequent is better. (I know, I could work on the briefer part.)

  6. Participate in the conversation. If you have a blog, you must—MUST!—allow comments. Today’s readers are not content just to sit at your feet and take notes. They want to interact. They want to challenge, question, and add their own comments. If you don’t allow this, you are making a big mistake.

    Yes, people will sometimes hurt your feelings. But they will also provide you with near-instant feedback. Both are essential for your development as a writer. So make it easy. Don’t require them to sign in, have a valid email address, or have you approve their comments first. This only creates delay and unnecessary friction in the conversation. Occasionally, you will get inappropriate comments, but you can easily delete these. I am speaking from many years of experience here.

  7. Be generous and show the love. The more you give to your readers, the more they will give back. Reply to tweets, Facebook comments, and blog comments. Leave comments on other people’s sites. Promote things that you think your readers will find valuable, even if it means directing them to your competition.

    This may seem like it will take a big investment of time. I don’t think so. But even if it does, you can establish some boundaries. Turn your email and other pings off while you are writing. Then, when you achieve your word count for the day, get out there and interact with your readers.

Finally, regardless of the online venue, be authentic. People today can smell a phony a mile away. The world is becoming increasingly open and transparent. The more you embrace this rather than fighting it, the more you will build a tribe of loyal readers.

Question: What am I missing? What else have you found to be important in building your brand online?
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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • http://www.audrakrell.com Audra Krell

    I second the comment part of this great post. Blogs where I have to be verified and create a login, simply to join a conversation, are out for me. Usually I won’t ever return to the blog, because those types are “static” as you describe.
    Thanks for the heads up on website grader, I’m off to run mine through now.

  • http://www.caraputman.com Cara Putman

    Seems like a pretty succinct list. And I’m doing all that – yeah. The challenge remains keeping the content fresh and giving your readers a reason to come back. I’ve opted for vulnerability and book reviews. I’ve let readers into parts of my life in the hope that the experiences can be used — I’m thinking in particular of a miscarriage. And then the book reviews — I love Christian fiction. Am passionate about it. And that comes through, I think. Readers come by for the reviews, and I’m always giving away something. Just gave away $30 giftcards so they could choose their books, and have lots more books to give away. That keeps it fun for me. And let’s face it, people like winning. :-)

  • http://www.anemulligan.com Ane Mulligan

    I’m doing all that, Twittering is more recent. It’s fun but sure takes discipline not to spend the entire day there. :)

  • http://www.trishberg.com Trish Berg

    Michael- Great post! I was excited to see that I am on the right track. I Twitter, Facebook, blog and have an interactive website.

    The only thing I would add to your list is MAKE YOUR BLOGGING and WEBSITE RELEVENT to the visitors, viewers. TO YOUR TARGET MARKET.

    It’s really not about you and how many books you can sell.

    It’s about ministering to the people you come in contact with there.

    i.e. I have 3 blogs and am planning to add a 4th. I have a tip of the week blog that goes out via RSS feed on my blog to over 1,000 moms, and I add subscribers from every event I speak at. (Just added 300+ from Hearts at Home)

    I have a recipe of the week, that draws moms in like crazy, and I have a BOOK OF THE WEEK Blog where I feature a CBA book every week and give out 2 free book prizes every week. To enter the contest, peopl epost comments to my blog or reply to my RSS feed from my Tip of the Week.

    The publishers provide the books to me (3 copies of each FREE) and I keep one, and give 2 away. It is my marketing investment. It costs me $7 in shipping and handling each week to mail out the prizes, and I include my own book postcards and info.

    Not bad for marketing. And it draws people into my web world. People love contests..especially weekly.

    This online world is growing and growing. Join in. The hard part? Making time to be present online.

    The blessing? Being able to connect daily with my audience, the taregt market for my books and speaking career, other authors, and speaking God’s truth to the world to anyone and everyone.

    Hope that helps someone – Thanks, Michael for the list…LOVE IT!

    Catch up with me on Twitter and Facebook y’all….follow me and I’ll follow you.

    Blessings-Trish

  • http://www.audrakrell.com/ Audra Krell

    I second the comment part of this great post. Blogs where I have to be verified and create a login, simply to join a conversation, are out for me. Usually I won't ever return to the blog, because those types are "static" as you describe.
    Thanks for the heads up on website grader, I'm off to run mine through now.

  • http://www.caraputman.com/ Cara Putman

    Seems like a pretty succinct list. And I'm doing all that – yeah. The challenge remains keeping the content fresh and giving your readers a reason to come back. I've opted for vulnerability and book reviews. I've let readers into parts of my life in the hope that the experiences can be used — I'm thinking in particular of a miscarriage. And then the book reviews — I love Christian fiction. Am passionate about it. And that comes through, I think. Readers come by for the reviews, and I'm always giving away something. Just gave away $30 giftcards so they could choose their books, and have lots more books to give away. That keeps it fun for me. And let's face it, people like winning. :-)

  • http://www.anemulligan.com/ Ane Mulligan

    I'm doing all that, Twittering is more recent. It's fun but sure takes discipline not to spend the entire day there. :)

  • http://www.angelfire.com/ok2/weakandfoolish Rob Sargeant

    One thing I might add is to incorporate video into your website. I take a video camera along with me on most of my travels and have a V-Log. You-tube and now God-tube allow you to embed these into your website. As an author you can share what inspired you to write your book, or you can make a quick 2-minute summary of your work in progress.

  • http://www.cyndysalzmann.com Cyndy

    >>>What am I missing? What else have you found to be important in building your brand online?

    Shoutlife has been a worthwhile tool for me. The first time I posted an event on SL, I had a dozen people show up for a book talk at B&N in St. Louis that only knew me from Shoutlife. It was such fun to met them – and they have definitely become part of my “tribe” — even booking me as a speaker at their churches.

    SL has also provided contacts for book reviews and media interviews with both Christian and general market outlets.

    That said, I have a question about Facebook. I set up an account about a year ago because my reader demographic is moms in the childbearing/rearing years. My children told me this was “embarrassing” for someone “my age” – 50 – because Facebook was for high school-twenty-somethings. Poking around the site seemed to add validity to their observations.

    My questions… why is Facebook worth my time investment? Has the demographic changed? If so, what’s the best way to connect with an older reader demographic?

    Thanks for a great post.

    • http://www.1writeway.wordpress.com Marie Ann Bailey

      Cyndy, I would encourage you to continue with Facebook. I'm over 50 and use FB in part to keep up with my nephews and their families. The young moms like to share photos and day-to-day trials of being a mom. My older friends use FB to stay connected with their kids while they're away in college (or not!) So I think you can find your ideal demographic at FB. There's a notes feature that you can use to upload your blog if you have one, and that your friends can read on your profile. You can also use Networked Blogs (a FB application) to invite people to become fans of your blogs and to follow other blogs. I got all these tips from Mari Smith who was interviewed by Angela Wilson on her website Wicked Wordsmith (my post for all this info is http://1writeway.wordpress.com/2008/12/28/faceboo… The title of Angela's post is "Using Facebook to Your Advantage." I invite you to send me a friend request (I go by my real name on FB — Marie Ann Bailey), I'll be happy to accept.
      Good luck and have fun!
      Marie

    • http://donaldlafferty.com Don Lafferty

      Cyndy,

      Facebook is the #2 method people use when sharing online content. Email is still #1. Consequently, it's impossible to ignore this important outpost in your web presence.

      I'd suggest creating a Facebook Fan Page for your author brand or your book brand as a way to create YOUR community in the Facebook environment, then design your messaging and tactics to drive traffic back to your website.

      Tell your kids that the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is the 40+ crowd, so they better get used to it. :-)
      My recent post Who’s in an Author’s Community?

  • http://www.trishberg.com/ Trish Berg

    Michael- Great post! I was excited to see that I am on the right track. I Twitter, Facebook, blog and have an interactive website.

    The only thing I would add to your list is MAKE YOUR BLOGGING and WEBSITE RELEVENT to the visitors, viewers. TO YOUR TARGET MARKET.

    It's really not about you and how many books you can sell.

    It's about ministering to the people you come in contact with there.

    i.e. I have 3 blogs and am planning to add a 4th. I have a tip of the week blog that goes out via RSS feed on my blog to over 1,000 moms, and I add subscribers from every event I speak at. (Just added 300+ from Hearts at Home)

    I have a recipe of the week, that draws moms in like crazy, and I have a BOOK OF THE WEEK Blog where I feature a CBA book every week and give out 2 free book prizes every week. To enter the contest, peopl epost comments to my blog or reply to my RSS feed from my Tip of the Week.

    The publishers provide the books to me (3 copies of each FREE) and I keep one, and give 2 away. It is my marketing investment. It costs me $7 in shipping and handling each week to mail out the prizes, and I include my own book postcards and info.

    Not bad for marketing. And it draws people into my web world. People love contests..especially weekly.

    This online world is growing and growing. Join in. The hard part? Making time to be present online.

    The blessing? Being able to connect daily with my audience, the taregt market for my books and speaking career, other authors, and speaking God's truth to the world to anyone and everyone.

    Hope that helps someone – Thanks, Michael for the list…LOVE IT!

    Catch up with me on Twitter and Facebook y'all….follow me and I'll follow you.

    Blessings-Trish

  • http://www.danieldecker.net daniel d

    Great thoughts here. Thank you. My suggestion to add would include a few of these…

    1. IF IT’S SOCIAL MEDIA… IT HAS TO BE YOU. I’ve seen several authors setup a Facebook accounts, Twitter or even blog as a tool because they hear that “Social Media” is hot but then they hire someone else to manage it or they open these and never update. Only works if it is authentic and if you care about engaging people.

    2. BUILD A LIST. Blogs and RSS feeds have many benefits but I am also still a fan of building a list. That can be by way of a Feedburner email subscription sign up on the blog sidebar or a newsletter such as Constant Contact. I like both for several reasons and if managed properly they compliment and grow the list together.

    3. GIVE STUFF AWAY. Offer free downloads, ebooks and resources that others can access by submitting their contact info. (helps build the list and gives readers ammunition to grow and be a viral force by sharing your info with others).

    4. THINK FORWARD. For many authors the immediate payoff for online efforts is long. For some they rely solely on book advance or royalties which take a while to come in. Others have additional means to support themselves such as speaking, training, product sales, etc. Whatever yours is, just spend time thinking things through. Think forward. Think of the funnel and steps you want people to take as they engage your brand. What is it you want them to do? Give them a clear path to do it.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael S. Hyatt

    @Cyndy: I think the demo of Facebook has changed. I can’t point to anything objective, but I believe it has changed dramatically in the last few years. Thanks.

  • http://www.angelfire.com/ok2/weakandfoolish Rob Sargeant

    One thing I might add is to incorporate video into your website. I take a video camera along with me on most of my travels and have a V-Log. You-tube and now God-tube allow you to embed these into your website. As an author you can share what inspired you to write your book, or you can make a quick 2-minute summary of your work in progress.

  • http://www.cyndysalzmann.com/ Cyndy

    >>>What am I missing? What else have you found to be important in building your brand online?

    Shoutlife has been a worthwhile tool for me. The first time I posted an event on SL, I had a dozen people show up for a book talk at B&N in St. Louis that only knew me from Shoutlife. It was such fun to met them – and they have definitely become part of my "tribe" — even booking me as a speaker at their churches.

    SL has also provided contacts for book reviews and media interviews with both Christian and general market outlets.

    That said, I have a question about Facebook. I set up an account about a year ago because my reader demographic is moms in the childbearing/rearing years. My children told me this was "embarrassing" for someone "my age" – 50 – because Facebook was for high school-twenty-somethings. Poking around the site seemed to add validity to their observations.

    My questions… why is Facebook worth my time investment? Has the demographic changed? If so, what's the best way to connect with an older reader demographic?

    Thanks for a great post.

    • http://www.1writeway.wordpress.com/ Marie Ann Bailey

      Cyndy, I would encourage you to continue with Facebook. I'm over 50 and use FB in part to keep up with my nephews and their families. The young moms like to share photos and day-to-day trials of being a mom. My older friends use FB to stay connected with their kids while they're away in college (or not!) So I think you can find your ideal demographic at FB. There's a notes feature that you can use to upload your blog if you have one, and that your friends can read on your profile. You can also use Networked Blogs (a FB application) to invite people to become fans of your blogs and to follow other blogs. I got all these tips from Mari Smith who was interviewed by Angela Wilson on her website Wicked Wordsmith (my post for all this info is http://1writeway.wordpress.com/2008/12/28/faceboo… The title of Angela's post is "Using Facebook to Your Advantage." I invite you to send me a friend request (I go by my real name on FB — Marie Ann Bailey), I'll be happy to accept.
      Good luck and have fun!
      Marie

    • http://donaldlafferty.com/ Don Lafferty

      Cyndy,

      Facebook is the #2 method people use when sharing online content. Email is still #1. Consequently, it's impossible to ignore this important outpost in your web presence.

      I'd suggest creating a Facebook Fan Page for your author brand or your book brand as a way to create YOUR community in the Facebook environment, then design your messaging and tactics to drive traffic back to your website.

      Tell your kids that the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is the 40+ crowd, so they better get used to it. :-)
      My recent post Who’s in an Author’s Community?

  • http://www.brandilyncollins.com Brandilyn Collins

    Thanks. Another very helpful post. I love your posts on marketing because in my work day I’m either (1) writing, or (2) figuring out how to sell more books. Which can make this pea brain of mine really swim at times.

    BTW, I have lurked on your blog a long time, and it’s high time I commend you on the work you’re doing here. Your posts are always insightful.

    Just read Tribes on your recommendation and am glad I did. Gave me a lot to think about!

    Four years ago my editor said I should start blogging. Sheesh, did I groan. But I started and have done it consistently on weekdays since then. It’s work, but Forensics and Faith has been very good for me, and I know it’s been helpful for others. It provides that immediate communication/feedback that is so important.

    I agree with Daniel D’s idea of giving stuff away. As a novelist who believes in my products, I think one of the best ways to market is simply to get my suspense novels in a new reader’s hands. Through my “tribes”–whether from my blog or my fan club on Facebook, or my e-newsletter, I give away my books whenever possible.

    Finally–okay, okay, already, I’ll Twitter!

  • http://www.danieldecker.net/ daniel d

    Great thoughts here. Thank you. My suggestion to add would include a few of these…

    1. IF IT'S SOCIAL MEDIA… IT HAS TO BE YOU. I've seen several authors setup a Facebook accounts, Twitter or even blog as a tool because they hear that "Social Media" is hot but then they hire someone else to manage it or they open these and never update. Only works if it is authentic and if you care about engaging people.

    2. BUILD A LIST. Blogs and RSS feeds have many benefits but I am also still a fan of building a list. That can be by way of a Feedburner email subscription sign up on the blog sidebar or a newsletter such as Constant Contact. I like both for several reasons and if managed properly they compliment and grow the list together.

    3. GIVE STUFF AWAY. Offer free downloads, ebooks and resources that others can access by submitting their contact info. (helps build the list and gives readers ammunition to grow and be a viral force by sharing your info with others).

    4. THINK FORWARD. For many authors the immediate payoff for online efforts is long. For some they rely solely on book advance or royalties which take a while to come in. Others have additional means to support themselves such as speaking, training, product sales, etc. Whatever yours is, just spend time thinking things through. Think forward. Think of the funnel and steps you want people to take as they engage your brand. What is it you want them to do? Give them a clear path to do it.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com/ Michael S. Hyatt

    @Cyndy: I think the demo of Facebook has changed. I can’t point to anything objective, but I believe it has changed dramatically in the last few years. Thanks.

  • http://www.brandilyncollins.com/ Brandilyn Collins

    Thanks. Another very helpful post. I love your posts on marketing because in my work day I'm either (1) writing, or (2) figuring out how to sell more books. Which can make this pea brain of mine really swim at times.

    BTW, I have lurked on your blog a long time, and it's high time I commend you on the work you're doing here. Your posts are always insightful.

    Just read Tribes on your recommendation and am glad I did. Gave me a lot to think about!

    Four years ago my editor said I should start blogging. Sheesh, did I groan. But I started and have done it consistently on weekdays since then. It's work, but Forensics and Faith has been very good for me, and I know it's been helpful for others. It provides that immediate communication/feedback that is so important.

    I agree with Daniel D's idea of giving stuff away. As a novelist who believes in my products, I think one of the best ways to market is simply to get my suspense novels in a new reader's hands. Through my "tribes"–whether from my blog or my fan club on Facebook, or my e-newsletter, I give away my books whenever possible.

    Finally–okay, okay, already, I'll Twitter!

  • http://www.pearlgirls.info Margaret McSweeney

    As always, you offer such excellent advice and decisive insights. Thank you for taking the time to educate this community of authors and for navigating us through the paradigm shift as we strive for strategic and effective communication. One additional thought: Guest blogging. It’s an easy way to increase traffic to a website. What a blessing it has been to have other authors guest blog on my website and vice versa.

  • http://www.rachelhauck.com Rachel Hauck

    Great list of ideas, Mike, and love the comments from others.

    I think a newsletter is effective too. Drop it in a readers email once every other month or so.

    I recently had 60 some people post on a blog post to win a free copy of Love Starts with Elle.

    With Nelson, we agreed to give all posters a free book. The enthusiasm over it has been incredible. Everyone sent a big thanks to Thomas Nelson for being so generous.

    I think those sorts of things can go a long way. We can’t always do them perhaps, but as authors we need to keep an eye out for opportunity to reach out.

    For me, another big factor, as a follower of Jesus, is to pray and ask Him for opportunity, open doors and ideas. I’ve been blown away by some of His interaction and blessings to me.

    Rachel

  • http://www.pearlgirls.info/ Margaret McSweeney

    As always, you offer such excellent advice and decisive insights. Thank you for taking the time to educate this community of authors and for navigating us through the paradigm shift as we strive for strategic and effective communication. One additional thought: Guest blogging. It's an easy way to increase traffic to a website. What a blessing it has been to have other authors guest blog on my website and vice versa.

  • http://www.rachelhauck.com/ Rachel Hauck

    Great list of ideas, Mike, and love the comments from others.

    I think a newsletter is effective too. Drop it in a readers email once every other month or so.

    I recently had 60 some people post on a blog post to win a free copy of Love Starts with Elle.

    With Nelson, we agreed to give all posters a free book. The enthusiasm over it has been incredible. Everyone sent a big thanks to Thomas Nelson for being so generous.

    I think those sorts of things can go a long way. We can't always do them perhaps, but as authors we need to keep an eye out for opportunity to reach out.

    For me, another big factor, as a follower of Jesus, is to pray and ask Him for opportunity, open doors and ideas. I've been blown away by some of His interaction and blessings to me.

    Rachel

  • http://www.rhondamcknight.net rhonoda mcknight

    Thanks for the post. Keeping up with social media is like a full time job, so I’ve cut it down to 3 sites that I think will be helpful for my target market.

  • http://www.teawithtiffany.blogspot.com Tiffany Stuart

    This makes me feel so much better. I can spend hours and hours visiting blogs daily and leaving my mark: words. I love is the relational side of blogging. I love encouraging others by visiting and offering kind words or prayers or whatever I feel led to do. To me, it’s not about the numbers. It’s about people. One person at a time. I value people and I want my blog and ministry to reflect that. I’ve even developed some great friends out of state and hope to meet them someday. One of my blogging friends, I’ve talked for hours on the phone with.

    Sure, all this takes time and doesn’t pay in dollars, but to me it feeds my soul. I love knowing I touched someone by the words I’ve wrote them or spoke to them. I know this is part of why I exist. To motivate, encourage, comfort others and point them to God.

    Thanks for letting me know that my visits and comments are worthwhile. It confirms the path I am on.

  • http://www.rhondamcknight.net/ rhonoda mcknight

    Thanks for the post. Keeping up with social media is like a full time job, so I've cut it down to 3 sites that I think will be helpful for my target market.

  • http://www.teawithtiffany.blogspot.com/ Tiffany Stuart

    This makes me feel so much better. I can spend hours and hours visiting blogs daily and leaving my mark: words. I love is the relational side of blogging. I love encouraging others by visiting and offering kind words or prayers or whatever I feel led to do. To me, it's not about the numbers. It's about people. One person at a time. I value people and I want my blog and ministry to reflect that. I've even developed some great friends out of state and hope to meet them someday. One of my blogging friends, I've talked for hours on the phone with.

    Sure, all this takes time and doesn't pay in dollars, but to me it feeds my soul. I love knowing I touched someone by the words I've wrote them or spoke to them. I know this is part of why I exist. To motivate, encourage, comfort others and point them to God.

    Thanks for letting me know that my visits and comments are worthwhile. It confirms the path I am on.

  • http://www.kehinde.com/blog Ivy

    I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned podcasts. Those are an easy way to reach an audience.

  • http://borrowedlight.blogspot.com Sue

    I don’t know if I agree about comments. I have two decent sized blogs – a mommy/humor blog where people can comment, and a fiction blog where people can’t. The fiction blog is about four times as popular. I haven’t seen any negative effect.

  • http://www.kehinde.com/blog Ivy

    I'm surprised you haven't mentioned podcasts. Those are an easy way to reach an audience.

  • http://borrowedlight.blogspot.com/ Sue

    I don't know if I agree about comments. I have two decent sized blogs – a mommy/humor blog where people can comment, and a fiction blog where people can't. The fiction blog is about four times as popular. I haven't seen any negative effect.

  • http://www.colleencoble.com Colleen Coble

    Great post, Mike! And it really doesn’t take a lot of time to do those things. I’m particularly fond of tying Twitter to Facebook. People who don’t Twitter see the short posts and start conversations with me and it builds community that way.

    Colleen who is leaving paradise (Kauai)tomorrow and will get back in the saddle with online community building

  • http://www.colleencoble.com/ Colleen Coble

    Great post, Mike! And it really doesn't take a lot of time to do those things. I'm particularly fond of tying Twitter to Facebook. People who don't Twitter see the short posts and start conversations with me and it builds community that way.

    Colleen who is leaving paradise (Kauai)tomorrow and will get back in the saddle with online community building

  • http://www.danieldecker.net daniel d

    Ivy noted about podcast. She is right. Podcast are a great way to build online traction as well. Podcast and videos work well IF they are focused on providing good content to end users or if they are viral in a way that causes others to fwd (funny, how-to, etc)

    Another idea that has worked for an author or two of mine is to do a short 1-2 minute audio vingette. Like a tip of the week or inspirational moment (works for certain types of authors). You can podcast them, you can play the audio in your blog posts, you can submit the 1 minute or less clips to radio stations and ask them to consider running them. You’d be surprised how many radio stations will pick them up if the content is good, not overly promotional for you and if you leave a 5 second end space where the station can tag it with their call letters.

    Just another idea…

  • http://www.danieldecker.net/ daniel d

    Ivy noted about podcast. She is right. Podcast are a great way to build online traction as well. Podcast and videos work well IF they are focused on providing good content to end users or if they are viral in a way that causes others to fwd (funny, how-to, etc)

    Another idea that has worked for an author or two of mine is to do a short 1-2 minute audio vingette. Like a tip of the week or inspirational moment (works for certain types of authors). You can podcast them, you can play the audio in your blog posts, you can submit the 1 minute or less clips to radio stations and ask them to consider running them. You'd be surprised how many radio stations will pick them up if the content is good, not overly promotional for you and if you leave a 5 second end space where the station can tag it with their call letters.

    Just another idea…

  • http://www.linda-adams.com Linda

    < >

    Not alienating your audience with yoir Web presence. I’ve heard some people say that after reading an author’s blog, they ended up being turned off enough to not want to buy the books. I had my own personal experience with it.

    A major lawsuit involving plagiarism had just been settled in the favor of the person who had been accused. I posted a link to the news story on my blog. No commentary, nothing other than that the case had been settled.

    The author who had lost the case posted a comment on my blog. It looked like a canned response, like maybe he was searching for blogs about the case–but it was a rather unpleasant rant. Being me, I looked at his Web site and found much worse. Though his book had been a best seller, the publisher had gone bankrupt so he never saw any of the money. He was bitter and it showed through with rant after rant on the Web site.

    What this author didn’t know was that at time he posted his entry on my blog, I’d just gotten one of his books from the library. If I’d like it, I might have bought more at the bookstore. I was one chapter into the story, and I sent it back to the library.

    The Internet makes it easy to say what you want, but you know, we’re writers. We need to be aware of how our words influence and what kind of image they protray.

  • http://www.linda-adams.com/ Linda

    <>

    Not alienating your audience with yoir Web presence. I've heard some people say that after reading an author's blog, they ended up being turned off enough to not want to buy the books. I had my own personal experience with it.

    A major lawsuit involving plagiarism had just been settled in the favor of the person who had been accused. I posted a link to the news story on my blog. No commentary, nothing other than that the case had been settled.

    The author who had lost the case posted a comment on my blog. It looked like a canned response, like maybe he was searching for blogs about the case–but it was a rather unpleasant rant. Being me, I looked at his Web site and found much worse. Though his book had been a best seller, the publisher had gone bankrupt so he never saw any of the money. He was bitter and it showed through with rant after rant on the Web site.

    What this author didn't know was that at time he posted his entry on my blog, I'd just gotten one of his books from the library. If I'd like it, I might have bought more at the bookstore. I was one chapter into the story, and I sent it back to the library.

    The Internet makes it easy to say what you want, but you know, we're writers. We need to be aware of how our words influence and what kind of image they protray.

  • http://djchuang.com djchuang

    I agree with @daniel, that the web is better used when you give stuff away — you don’t have to give away the whole store (although there are a few that do, cf. the Naked Conversations was written with help of feedback via their blog, and the book still sold many copies).

    The idea I had was to record and post presentations on something like slideshare.net , so the tribes can experience and get a better look at what an author has to contribute beyond the constraints of a book.

  • http://www.emergingintofaith.blogspot.com Dr. David Frisbie

    We’ve had success with “LinkedIn” which is a business-level concept similar to Facebook. Our network is constantly expanding from the LinkedIn connections; we’re ‘meeting’ new friends in publishing. After ten books with four mainstream Christian publishers, we are still rookies and still very much in learning mode!

  • http://djchuang.com/ djchuang

    I agree with @daniel, that the web is better used when you give stuff away — you don't have to give away the whole store (although there are a few that do, cf. the Naked Conversations was written with help of feedback via their blog, and the book still sold many copies).

    The idea I had was to record and post presentations on something like slideshare.net , so the tribes can experience and get a better look at what an author has to contribute beyond the constraints of a book.

  • http://www.kathimacias.com Kathi Macias

    I got dragged into a lot of these social networks kicking and screaming–and then had to drag myself back out long enough to get some actual writing done! As others have mentioned, it takes discipline not to spend too much time twittering and blogging and chatting, etc. Also, experiment! Find out which sites work for you and which don’t. We don’t need to be in touch with the same people on seven different sites. There is a definite place for all this e-type networking, but remember that the purpose is to help sell our product–and we won’t have any to sell if we spend all our time twittering!

  • http://www.emergingintofaith.blogspot.com/ Dr. David Frisbie

    We've had success with "LinkedIn" which is a business-level concept similar to Facebook. Our network is constantly expanding from the LinkedIn connections; we're 'meeting' new friends in publishing. After ten books with four mainstream Christian publishers, we are still rookies and still very much in learning mode!

  • http://jeffgoins.myadventures.org/ Jeff

    Advertise your email (or some kind of contact info) and communicate with people who show an interest in what you do. Give away free books for reviewers. Have contests to build word-of-mouth appeal.

  • http://www.kathimacias.com/ Kathi Macias

    I got dragged into a lot of these social networks kicking and screaming–and then had to drag myself back out long enough to get some actual writing done! As others have mentioned, it takes discipline not to spend too much time twittering and blogging and chatting, etc. Also, experiment! Find out which sites work for you and which don't. We don't need to be in touch with the same people on seven different sites. There is a definite place for all this e-type networking, but remember that the purpose is to help sell our product–and we won't have any to sell if we spend all our time twittering!

  • http://www.shortthoughts.com Jeff Short

    Excellent series of posts. One question I thought of was: What about the content? For instance, should a fiction writer be posting short stories? I know that once something is on the web it is considered published. What are the ramifications if you should want to use that material in some other venue?

  • http://jeffgoins.myadventures.org/ Jeff

    Advertise your email (or some kind of contact info) and communicate with people who show an interest in what you do. Give away free books for reviewers. Have contests to build word-of-mouth appeal.

  • http://www.shortthoughts.com/ Jeff Short

    Excellent series of posts. One question I thought of was: What about the content? For instance, should a fiction writer be posting short stories? I know that once something is on the web it is considered published. What are the ramifications if you should want to use that material in some other venue?

  • http://LinoreRoseBurkard.com Linore Rose Burkard

    Writing and distributing articles to article banks hasn’t been mentioned, but can boost an author’s profile on the web. As writers, churning out an article is something many of us can just about do in our sleep. If you blog regularly, you are writing articles. If you do a newsletter, you may be writing articles for it. Take and leverage these pieces by distributing them to article banks. You sign up once, and then can post articles whenever you like. By crafting your bio box to include your “brand” or your website URL, a call to action, your latest book title, etc., you get free promotion every time someone reads the article. Additionally, website owners, bloggers, and ezine editors are always looking for content. If they choose yours, you have just reached an audience you might never have been exposed to, otherwise. I usually leverage my articles four ways:
    1. It’s the feature in my monthly ezine
    2. It goes to article banks
    3. It goes on a webpage on my website as “free content.”
    4. I post it to a blog. (Sometimes.)
    From Google alerts,I can tell you that my articles have appeared in the strangest places–and reached people I never could have.
    I could talk about this for much longer, but since this isn’t my blog I’ll have to stop! There’s a part of me that loves getting multiple uses out of one little act of creation: the article. Start at ezinearticles (dot) com and just keep going.

  • M.L. Eqatin

    Good stuff to know, Mike. Thanks. But one question that you didn’t cover about internet networking which I would like more information / data on is forums. Very quickly, I am an aspiring writer who needs to build a base on a shoestring. I have a site, which needs much work, and set out to blog. But after considering the task of getting traffic to my blog, I decided that the time was better spent in an online community of my precise target market: general historical fiction readers. To that end, I have been interacting on the largest (for a while the only) HF forum on the web. Although I am not currently using my pen name, since my author brand/website is still under construction, I do have many relationships on that forum. And the reader feedback for other books in that genre has been priceless. What about forums? with all these other options, it puzzles me that they are not mentioned, since that is where a pre-existing tribe of people who share your passion have already collected.

  • http://LinoreRoseBurkard.com/ Linore Rose Burkard

    Writing and distributing articles to article banks hasn't been mentioned, but can boost an author's profile on the web. As writers, churning out an article is something many of us can just about do in our sleep. If you blog regularly, you are writing articles. If you do a newsletter, you may be writing articles for it. Take and leverage these pieces by distributing them to article banks. You sign up once, and then can post articles whenever you like. By crafting your bio box to include your "brand" or your website URL, a call to action, your latest book title, etc., you get free promotion every time someone reads the article. Additionally, website owners, bloggers, and ezine editors are always looking for content. If they choose yours, you have just reached an audience you might never have been exposed to, otherwise. I usually leverage my articles four ways:
    1. It's the feature in my monthly ezine
    2. It goes to article banks
    3. It goes on a webpage on my website as "free content."
    4. I post it to a blog. (Sometimes.)
    From Google alerts,I can tell you that my articles have appeared in the strangest places–and reached people I never could have.
    I could talk about this for much longer, but since this isn't my blog I'll have to stop! There's a part of me that loves getting multiple uses out of one little act of creation: the article. Start at ezinearticles (dot) com and just keep going.

  • M.L. Eqatin

    Good stuff to know, Mike. Thanks. But one question that you didn't cover about internet networking which I would like more information / data on is forums. Very quickly, I am an aspiring writer who needs to build a base on a shoestring. I have a site, which needs much work, and set out to blog. But after considering the task of getting traffic to my blog, I decided that the time was better spent in an online community of my precise target market: general historical fiction readers. To that end, I have been interacting on the largest (for a while the only) HF forum on the web. Although I am not currently using my pen name, since my author brand/website is still under construction, I do have many relationships on that forum. And the reader feedback for other books in that genre has been priceless. What about forums? with all these other options, it puzzles me that they are not mentioned, since that is where a pre-existing tribe of people who share your passion have already collected.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael S. Hyatt

    M.L.: Good question. I used to personally participate in forums more, but not so much lately. Regardless, if it works for you, keep doing it!

    (The comments to my blog posts are a kind of forum.)

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael S. Hyatt

    @Lenore: Can you recommend some specific article banks?

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael S. Hyatt

    @Jeff: I would experiment. I am not an expert in fiction. The great thing about the web is that you can test different ideas and get almost instantaneous feedback.

  • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

    Thoughtful, thorough analysis.

    And yet I wonder: in a cyberworld of twittering and facebooking and commenting… can one create an oasis of unusual quiet? A blog with 6 days a week of thoughtful, probing posts, that aren’t “quick reads and click away”… but entries that invite a reader to slow, to think, to really enter in and consider. A blog that is counter-cyberculture: No obligation to leave a comment. No twittering. No full sidebars. In the online world of so much noise, can you create a retreat for readers from the “loud” internet? And because it precisely goes against the trends, it finds its voice?

    I don’t know. These are things I’ve thought about, things I’ve intentionally cultivated (perhaps wrongly?) for the last four years of blogging. To build a still “chapel,” (so to speak) to think long and pray quietly…

    And yet, true, Jesus was eminently about community, not for his own glorification, but to humbly serve.

    You’ve given me much to prayerfully mull over, Mr. Hyatt — my genuine appreciation.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com/ Michael S. Hyatt

    M.L.: Good question. I used to personally participate in forums more, but not so much lately. Regardless, if it works for you, keep doing it!

    (The comments to my blog posts are a kind of forum.)

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com/ Michael S. Hyatt

    @Lenore: Can you recommend some specific article banks?

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com/ Michael S. Hyatt

    @Jeff: I would experiment. I am not an expert in fiction. The great thing about the web is that you can test different ideas and get almost instantaneous feedback.

  • http://www.aholyexperience.com/ Ann Voskamp

    Thoughtful, thorough analysis.

    And yet I wonder: in a cyberworld of twittering and facebooking and commenting… can one create an oasis of unusual quiet? A blog with 6 days a week of thoughtful, probing posts, that aren't "quick reads and click away"… but entries that invite a reader to slow, to think, to really enter in and consider. A blog that is counter-cyberculture: No obligation to leave a comment. No twittering. No full sidebars. In the online world of so much noise, can you create a retreat for readers from the "loud" internet? And because it precisely goes against the trends, it finds its voice?

    I don't know. These are things I've thought about, things I've intentionally cultivated (perhaps wrongly?) for the last four years of blogging. To build a still "chapel," (so to speak) to think long and pray quietly…

    And yet, true, Jesus was eminently about community, not for his own glorification, but to humbly serve.

    You've given me much to prayerfully mull over, Mr. Hyatt — my genuine appreciation.

  • http://www.steppingintothelight.net Diane L. Harris

    Thank you for being so generous. I’ve just ordered “Tribes” by Seth Godin and look forward to reading it.

  • http://jeanettefisher.com Jeanette

    Excellent information from all. I’ve had great results posting press releases on PRWeb. Also, listing your teleseminars on sites like TeleSeminarNation generates traffic.

    A warning about Twitter: I’ve not finished a book since I started paying on Twitter. And, it’s so much fun, I don’t even care.

  • http://www.steppingintothelight.net/ Diane L. Harris

    Thank you for being so generous. I've just ordered "Tribes" by Seth Godin and look forward to reading it.

  • http://jeanettefisher.com/ Jeanette

    Excellent information from all. I've had great results posting press releases on PRWeb. Also, listing your teleseminars on sites like TeleSeminarNation generates traffic.

    A warning about Twitter: I've not finished a book since I started paying on Twitter. And, it's so much fun, I don't even care.

  • http://www.liorahess.com Liora Hess

    Thank you. I was happy to realize I’m doing everything except for reading Tribes, and I’ll get that soon when my Amazon Kindle gets here. For those who don’t know, you can also post your Tweets directly to your Facebook as your current updates. This has been important as many of my Facebook contacts aren’t Twitter fans.

  • http://www.liorahess.com/ Liora Hess

    Thank you. I was happy to realize I'm doing everything except for reading Tribes, and I'll get that soon when my Amazon Kindle gets here. For those who don't know, you can also post your Tweets directly to your Facebook as your current updates. This has been important as many of my Facebook contacts aren't Twitter fans.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/TipsGoda TipsGoda

    hye Micheal..how are you doing?My name is Aidil and im kinda new with blogging and i want to build up my brand as well…do you think im on the right track?Just want your view..

    have a look at my blog and tell me what you think.thanks.

    http://www.TipsGoda.com

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/TipsGoda TipsGoda

    hye Micheal..how are you doing?My name is Aidil and im kinda new with blogging and i want to build up my brand as well…do you think im on the right track?Just want your view..

    have a look at my blog and tell me what you think.thanks.

    http://www.TipsGoda.com

  • http://www.1writeway.wordpress.com/ Marie Ann Bailey

    Michael, I came across your post via Twitter, actually two tweets, skipping from one to the other. Made my arrival here seem serendipitous, and much of the internet is still like that for me … full of wonderful surprises. I love this post and will definitely be following you on Twitter. Thanks for all the great info and the great forum your post generated.

  • http://www.1writeway.wordpress.com/ Marie Ann Bailey

    Michael, I came across your post via Twitter, actually two tweets, skipping from one to the other. Made my arrival here seem serendipitous, and much of the internet is still like that for me … full of wonderful surprises. I love this post and will definitely be following you on Twitter. Thanks for all the great info and the great forum your post generated.

  • http://www.momblognetwork.com/user/brisman julissa brisman
  • http://www.momblognetwork.com/user/brisman julissa brisman
  • http://forums.bpa.gov/members/vedar.aspx freda payne
  • http://forums.bpa.gov/members/vedar.aspx freda payne
  • http://bink.nu/members/amandaboch.aspx thelma houston
  • http://bink.nu/members/amandaboch.aspx thelma houston
  • http://www.spacegeneration.org/user/2036/public jeremy tyler
  • http://www.spacegeneration.org/user/2036/public jeremy tyler
  • http://phoronix.com/forums/member.php?u=19578 megan mcallister
  • http://phoronix.com/forums/member.php?u=19578 megan mcallister
  • http://peaceforthejourney.blogspot.com/ elaine

    Thanks for all the wonderful ideas, Michael. I just ran my blog through Website Grader and have little idea as to what the result of "66" means, but it sure has given me something to ponder in addition to the thousands of words swimming around in my head and heart … just dying to jump out! I suppose a 66 is better than zero, which is what it would be had I never started a blog.

    peace~elaine

  • http://peaceforthejourney.blogspot.com elaine

    Thanks for all the wonderful ideas, Michael. I just ran my blog through Website Grader and have little idea as to what the result of "66" means, but it sure has given me something to ponder in addition to the thousands of words swimming around in my head and heart … just dying to jump out! I suppose a 66 is better than zero, which is what it would be had I never started a blog.

    peace~elaine

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/DebraWeiss DebraWeiss

    First of all, I really enjoyed this article. Your information is spot on.

    I just finished writing a (short) five part series on building your author platform. You can check out part one here – http://www.novelistscafe.com/2009/06/building-you

    I originally blogged about the topic because I had so much difficulty finding solid information about building an author brand/platform.

    Thanks again for sharing this! : )

    Debra W.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/DebraWeiss DebraWeiss

    First of all, I really enjoyed this article. Your information is spot on.

    I just finished writing a (short) five part series on building your author platform. You can check out part one here – http://www.novelistscafe.com/2009/06/building-you

    I originally blogged about the topic because I had so much difficulty finding solid information about building an author brand/platform.

    Thanks again for sharing this! : )

    Debra W.

  • Denise McClain

    Michael, great post! These are things that I, as a writer, have been pondering as I polish my first manuscript. I have a couple questions for you.

    When you say you accept all friends on Twitter, does that mean you follow them back? I find it difficult, at times, to scroll through all their tweets. What advice do you have for this conundrum?

    I have a website that I've created myself through http://www.realmacsoftware.com/rapidweaver/

    There is a way to add a blog page. I've done so but don't get many visitors. I've stopped blogging all that frequently. Do you have any advice for increasing blog traffic? The only thing I could come up with is to perhaps use Blogspot or WordPress and link my blog there through my website. Do you think that would be a way to increase traffic?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I do recommend following them back (provided that they aren't robots). However, you can also block them, which means that they can't even see your posts. My wife vets each one before she allows them to follow and is very selective about which ones she follows back. For me, that's more trouble than it's worth.

      When you get a large number of followers, you can't really pay attention to all of them. That's where you need a tool like PeopleBrowsr.com or TweetDeck. It allows you to arrange you followers in user-defined stacks or columns. I have one for employees, authors, employees, friends, etc.

      I would definitely ditch the RapidWeaver site. I would create a blog-centric site and then hang the static pages off of that. You need something with good SEO—that's why I like WordPress. My blog traffic was up 70% just this last month. It takes months and months of faithfully blogging, but it is well-worth the effort if you want to grow a tribe.

      Hope this helps.

  • Denise McClain

    Michael, great post! These are things that I, as a writer, have been pondering as I polish my first manuscript. I have a couple questions for you.

    When you say you accept all friends on Twitter, does that mean you follow them back? I find it difficult, at times, to scroll through all their tweets. What advice do you have for this conundrum?

    I have a website that I've created myself through http://www.realmacsoftware.com/rapidweaver/

    There is a way to add a blog page. I've done so but don't get many visitors. I've stopped blogging all that frequently. Do you have any advice for increasing blog traffic? The only thing I could come up with is to perhaps use Blogspot or WordPress and link my blog there through my website. Do you think that would be a way to increase traffic?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I do recommend following them back (provided that they aren't robots). However, you can also block them, which means that they can't even see your posts. My wife vets each one before she allows them to follow and is very selective about which ones she follows back. For me, that's more trouble than it's worth.

      When you get a large number of followers, you can't really pay attention to all of them. That's where you need a tool like PeopleBrowsr.com or TweetDeck. It allows you to arrange you followers in user-defined stacks or columns. I have one for employees, authors, employees, friends, etc.

      I would definitely ditch the RapidWeaver site. I would create a blog-centric site and then hang the static pages off of that. You need something with good SEO—that's why I like WordPress. My blog traffic was up 70% just this last month. It takes months and months of faithfully blogging, but it is well-worth the effort if you want to grow a tribe.

      Hope this helps.

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  • Denise McClain

    Thank you! I've started looking at migrating my site to a new server which allows for easier WP conversion. I may start out with WP for my blog and then eventually use it for my entire site.

    As for Twitter, I've just created a UserList on my Seesmic Desktop so I know which ones I should read each day and which ones to read when I have time. Thank you so much!

  • Denise McClain

    Thank you! I've started looking at migrating my site to a new server which allows for easier WP conversion. I may start out with WP for my blog and then eventually use it for my entire site.

    As for Twitter, I've just created a UserList on my Seesmic Desktop so I know which ones I should read each day and which ones to read when I have time. Thank you so much!

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  • http://twitter.com/AngBreidenbach @AngBreidenbach

    I've been blogging now for almost 3 years. I am on facebook, twitter, my space, shoutlife, LinkedIn, and I'm sure a few others :-) Building a platform is a constant time issue, but a newer necessity. I will keep building because I am placing the foundation for my future. And I love having reconnected with old friends and made so many new ones with the social networks.

  • http://twitter.com/AngBreidenbach @AngBreidenbach

    I've been blogging now for almost 3 years. I am on facebook, twitter, my space, shoutlife, LinkedIn, and I'm sure a few others :-) Building a platform is a constant time issue, but a newer necessity. I will keep building because I am placing the foundation for my future. And I love having reconnected with old friends and made so many new ones with the social networks.

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  • http://www.shyjumathew.com/ shyju

    that was an amazing article, i feel more confident that i'm somewhere right on the track, more to go… thanks mic.. u rock..

  • http://www.shyjumathew.com shyju

    that was an amazing article, i feel more confident that i’m somewhere right on the track, more to go… thanks mic.. u rock..

  • http://www.facebook.com/Lucy.Ann.Moll Lucy Ann Moll

    Nice. By the way, I know I've spent too much time tweeting when I develop "mouse hand" and need to pull out the winter right glove. : )

  • http://www.facebook.com/Lucy.Ann.Moll Lucy Ann Moll

    Nice. By the way, I know I've spent too much time tweeting when I develop "mouse hand" and need to pull out the winter right glove. : )

  • http://www.twitter.com/chromedaffodils Wendy

    If anyone needs tech help with their websites and social networking aspects of their business, please contact me. I could really use the work and I am very active online and would love to help you navigate the web. I have a technology degree and a Bachelors in business admin/e-marketing, just so you know.
    :0)
    Take care!

  • http://www.twitter.com/chromedaffodils Wendy

    If anyone needs tech help with their websites and social networking aspects of their business, please contact me. I could really use the work and I am very active online and would love to help you navigate the web. I have a technology degree and a Bachelors in business admin/e-marketing, just so you know.
    :0)
    Take care!

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  • Lexie

    That was a great post. :) Thanks for the awesome advise!

  • Lexie

    That was a great post. :) Thanks for the awesome advise!

  • http://wordvixen.com WordVixen

    As a reader, i appreciate a resources page/s and other goodies that don't go away. Blogs are great for current events and discussions, but my favorite author websites offer much more.

    Simon Haynes (http://www.spacejock.com.au/) has several blogs with identical posts on several platforms in order to be accessible to everyone, but his main website offers articles on how to write and the business of writing, and, being a programmer by day, custom built a useful writing program called YWriter and some other software that he offers as a free download. He's based in Australia and gives away several copies of his books every month, which helped create a high enough demand in the UK that the books have been picked up there, and now Powell's carries them in the US.

    Mercedes Lackey (http://mercedeslackey.com) customizes dolls to resemble characters from her books, and designs jewelry that her characters wear. These are sometimes auctioned off for her favorite charity, and are always great eye candy. She's also got a great FAQ, recipes, and short stories.

    I discovered Michael A Stackpole (http://stormwolf.com) through is podcast on writing (The Secrets). His site offers much the same as every other writer with a full website (bio, where to buy, FAQ, etc), but his The Secrets podcast is the reason that I ended up buying the first two books in his The Age of Discovery series (the third wasn't out yet).

    None of the above have pretty websites. None have active blogs on the websites that I've listed (though Haynes does have an active blog elsewhere), but they all have something unique to offer that I go back to time and again and am able to tell other writers and readers about that they can find easily from the navigation menu.

    Jenny B Jones's blog is fantastic for interaction and never fails to crack me up. Brandilyn Collin's blog has a wealth of information and publishing news. I honestly believe that if you can do any one thing really, really well, anything else is just a bonus. But believe me, blogging and social networking aren't the only way to succeed online.
    My recent post Win Thicker Than Blood

  • http://wordvixen.com/ WordVixen

    As a reader, i appreciate a resources page/s and other goodies that don't go away. Blogs are great for current events and discussions, but my favorite author websites offer much more.

    Simon Haynes (http://www.spacejock.com.au/) has several blogs with identical posts on several platforms in order to be accessible to everyone, but his main website offers articles on how to write and the business of writing, and, being a programmer by day, custom built a useful writing program called YWriter and some other software that he offers as a free download. He's based in Australia and gives away several copies of his books every month, which helped create a high enough demand in the UK that the books have been picked up there, and now Powell's carries them in the US.

    Mercedes Lackey (http://mercedeslackey.com) customizes dolls to resemble characters from her books, and designs jewelry that her characters wear. These are sometimes auctioned off for her favorite charity, and are always great eye candy. She's also got a great FAQ, recipes, and short stories.

    I discovered Michael A Stackpole (http://stormwolf.com) through is podcast on writing (The Secrets). His site offers much the same as every other writer with a full website (bio, where to buy, FAQ, etc), but his The Secrets podcast is the reason that I ended up buying the first two books in his The Age of Discovery series (the third wasn't out yet).

    None of the above have pretty websites. None have active blogs on the websites that I've listed (though Haynes does have an active blog elsewhere), but they all have something unique to offer that I go back to time and again and am able to tell other writers and readers about that they can find easily from the navigation menu.

    Jenny B Jones's blog is fantastic for interaction and never fails to crack me up. Brandilyn Collin's blog has a wealth of information and publishing news. I honestly believe that if you can do any one thing really, really well, anything else is just a bonus. But believe me, blogging and social networking aren't the only way to succeed online.
    My recent post Win Thicker Than Blood

  • http://dupontluxuryhomes.com Alex Beattie

    Out of all 7. I can tell you that reading Tribes is the most important. Absolutely. Hands down, without a doubt. Seth Godin is a brilliant author as well as very generous with his ideas.

    Apparently he has a new book coming out called Linchpin that takes the Tribes concept a few steps further.
    Nice post!
    My recent post Are you “insanely passionate” about real estate?

  • http://artisanbranding.com/ Alex Beattie

    Out of all 7. I can tell you that reading Tribes is the most important. Absolutely. Hands down, without a doubt. Seth Godin is a brilliant author as well as very generous with his ideas.

    Apparently he has a new book coming out called Linchpin that takes the Tribes concept a few steps further.
    Nice post!
    My recent post Are you “insanely passionate” about real estate?

  • Ifeanyi E. Onuoha

    I like this info is timely.Shalom.

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  • LoriLamp

    Some time down the road, I may be an author. For now I’m a nonprofit director trying to build a “tribe” around the work we’re doing, and all of these suggestions sound right on to me. In fact, I’ve already started to do most of them. Thanks for the confirmation of the direction!!

  • http://twitter.com/NewEnglandHiker Roy Wallen

    These 7 actions on building a brand are, once again, great advice. Although these points apply to an author’s business, appropriate coming from the perspective of your sector in publishing, they also apply to any brand development these days. In my field of medical technologies, too many companies are still missing the opportunity.

  • http://twitter.com/GaylaGrace Gayla Grace

    This is a helpful post for new authors. I noticed it was originally written 2 years ago. I’m curious if you still follow the policy of accepting all friends on Facebook and Twitter. I thought I read a blog post awhile back that discussed how your thinking on FB friends had changed. Do you do anything differently now? Also, do you still believe Twitter is as valuable now as it was previously?

    Thank you for your informative posts and continued help for authors.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I still let anyone follow me on Twitter. With regard to Facebook, I now have a fan page. Anyone can follow me there. I reserve my Facebook profile page for my family and close personal friends. I think Twitter is more valuable than ever and Facebook more valuable than I initially understood.

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  • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

    Like that websitegrader.com tool.
    I think testimonials are a great reinforcement of a strong brand.
    The more people we help, the more we’ll be a buzz in the marketplace.

    Zig Ziglar is on to something when he says, “You can have everything in life you want, if you just help enough other people get what they want.”

  • Anonymous

    Wow. I just finished a group coaching call w/ fellow She Speaks grads on this EXACT set of points… and here I find them again, all in one place. Just another reason I love your blog… you seem to post on what I’m thinking and wondering about more often than not! :)

  • http://www.taintedcanvas.com/ Jonathan Sigmon

    I feel like this could be summed up in 4 words:

    “Be authentic. Be engaged.”

    It’s pretty simple, it’s just the follow-through that is difficult…

  • Tinsleyfineart

    Do you think the same strategies would apply to artists? Like watercolor artists?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I do. Checkout RandyElrod.com for an example.

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  • Anonymous

    Goodreads … it is an excellent source of readers and followers! And once you have an account, I would suggest doing one of their Giveaways for your books. It’s another way to build readers.

  • http://www.linda-joyce.com Linda Joyce

    Okay, I’m gonna take the plunge and try the 30 day Twitter challenge. Will start tomorrow, Dec. 1st.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Awesome. Congratulations!

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  • Michael Mulligan

    You didn’t reference Google+.  How does that fit into author brand building?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I actually wrote this article before Google+ was available. It is simply another way to connect with your tribe. If you like it and can build a following, use it!

  • http://doreenpendgracs.com/ Doreen Pendgracs

    This is a great post, and I’m pleased to say I’m pretty much following all of the tips already. It sure is a lot of work, but it’s definitely paying off, as the posts on my blogs are beginning to develop a true community (particularly on my writer’s blog.) 

    And I agree. Twitter is amazing, and it’s only after you use it for awhile that you realize its true value.  

  • http://www.shortcutblogging.com/ Dave Young

    Throughout my career, I’ve met a lot of experts who had a lot to share. These are people who should be authors, who I wish were authors, who’s friends wish they were authors. Problem was that they just would not, could not find the time to write, or they didn’t have the confidence to write. We figured out that if they’d just buddy up with someone who could interview them for a podcast, they could produce about 80,000 words in a year doing a 10-minute weekly podcast. The magic comes in the repurposing of those spoken words. Transcribe them, then turn them into blog posts and articles. If you’re following a chapter by chapter outline, you’ll have your book in 52 weeks. Now, it’s just an editing job instead of a writing job. That seems a whole lot easier. I love finding shortcuts.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This is invaluable advice. I am all about re-purposing content.

      • http://www.shortcutblogging.com/ Dave Young

        Michael, we built a business around the concept. Just launched it a week ago. We do all the work (except for the talking). We provide a professional radio guy to be the sidekick, we transcribe, professionally rewrite the transcription and handle posting to the blog and setting up RSS/iTunes. We even have a super cool brainstorm/outline process that generates a year’s worth of topics in 37 minutes.

        We provide the outline process for free (for an opti-in). It was taught to us by Keith Miller, author of The Taste of New Wine. We give him credit in the video. He passed away last week. We didn’t get to tell him about the terrific feedback we’ve been getting on his process. We adapted it to creating a blog editorial calendar, but he used to teach it to authors as a quick way to outline a book. The guy who taught it to Keith used it to plan new businesses.

        BTW…we’re going to teach exactly how to do what we’re doing for free via our own blog/email. I mention this because we’ve had a few comments about being expensive for individual authors, small biz and sole proprietors.  Our target clients are people who need to save time, not money. We actually operate pretty lean. Vetted professional interviewers and editors are not cheap. We don’t outsource to the freelance world.

        I hope this doesn’t come off as too promotional. My business partner and I have been teaching this stuff for over 5 years and found that most people get started and just lose steam. We figured out how to provide the steam.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          I’m sorry to hear about Keith. He was a friend of mine, but I had not seen him in a couple of years.
          Can you provide a link to your site? Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    Michael, concerning your comment about a Facebook page.  I’m assuming your talking about a fan page… If so I’ve been a little hesitant to do that.   I’m new to the blogosphere so I would think that starting a Facebook fan page would be a little presumptuous.  I was thinking that would be something for down the road…  You know when my readership has expanded beyond my mom and dad.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I am talking about a fan page. I still think you should set one up if you intend to write or build a following. I use my facebook profile exclusively for real friends.

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  • Kelly

    No mention of Google+? You might also want to read Guy Kawasaki’s “What the Plus.” Google+ is much, much more effective in reaching people that share similar interests than is Twitter. Twitter limits the discussion to 140 characters, whereas Google+ actually allows people to engage and interact with others. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your comment. First of all, I wrote this post before Google+ came out. Second, I don’t agree. I think Google+ is great for certain audiences, especially those who are more technology-oriented. (I use it myself.)
      The best social network is the one your prospects and customers use. You have to go where the people are. If that’s Google+, great. Dive in. But if that is some other service, go there.

  • http://www.dianeestrella.com/ Diane Estrella

    I think it helps to have a blog niche too that solidifies your brand. 

  • Dani Byham

    My writer’s group just talked about the importance of interacting on social media platforms, so your post perfectly coincides with that discussion. Thank you for explaining how to get it right!

  • neetika

    I think YouTube might be a good way to build a brand. People who are writers (non fiction) look to become speakers and uploading crisp videos on YouTube related to your writing content might help build your brand.

  • http://www.psdnetwork.com/ @hsboggini

    I’m a huge Hyatt fan and a student of his book Platform, which is why this post comes up short for me. The 6 listed items are essential but seem focused on transactions or tasks. I suggest before reading Tribes, first read and really understand Simon Sinek’s Start With Why – and do the hard work of figuring out your Why. A personal brand, platform, marketing message, tweet, blog – whatever you want to call it – will be grounded in your Why and make the tactical pieces more powerful and meaningful, and get you closer to building an author brand. Thoughts on that?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I don’t disagree with you. The why is critically important. I talk about this a lot in my work. But that is a different post. The purpose of this one was to explain how for people who already are convinced. (By the way, it was written back in 2008, so I would probably write it differently now.) Thanks.

      • http://www.psdnetwork.com/ @hsboggini

        2008!? That’s 100 years ago in web-years. Now that’s what I call leveraging your archived posts…but that’s another post in itself. Thanks for all your great work – Platform has truly been a great help to me.