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Author Success Story: Allie Phillips

We continue our series on successful author websites by featuring Allie Phillips, author and animal rights advocate. Her website, www.AlliePhillips.com, aims to teach people how they can make a difference in the lives of animals (and sell her book, of course!). It gets close to 1,000 hits each month. So how did she do it? Here are her words of wisdom…

Who built your website? How was the experience?
You did! The experience was great because you handle all of the difficult work and taught me how to make updates to the website

Which social networking sites do you regularly participate in? Facebook? Twitter? GoodReads? LinkedIn? Any others?
Facebook and LinkedIn right now. I also blog through my website.

How many online followers do you have? How many pageviews have you gotten on your website?
I have 1,169 on Facebook for a page that is specific to my animal work and books. My LinkedIn page is just for me and only minimally relates to my books, but I have 139 connections there. I’m getting over 600 hits on my website each month. I am not sure how many people follow my blog (I don’t have the service to determine that) but do not get many people posting comments. I feel that I get more comments when I repost the blog on my Facebook page.

How has your online presence (be it through a website or social networking profiles) increased your visibility/book sales?
That is difficult to tell.  I’ve only had one person purchase my book from me through my website. I’m not sure how many purchased online (through Amazon, etc.) as a result of the website or Facebook. I think having an online presence may help with book signing events and simply raising awareness regarding the plight of pets. I just don’t have a good sense of how it is helping to sell the book.

What is your “secret” to achieving this success? Were there any tricks or creative ideas (i.e. a contest) that you used?
This has been my first real effort to have an online presence, so it’s been an adventure making my way through the process.

Is there anything you would do differently if you were starting over again?
I should consider Twitter, but I feel like Facebook is a better fit for me. ’m having trouble keeping up with Facebook, website updates and blogging. If I had more time, I would try Twitter. I would also find a way to hire a PR person to help me market online. I know that a PR person would benefit me, but the costs right now outweigh the benefits.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned in the process of building your online presence as an author?
That I never knew I would have to market my own book (my agent did not tell me until a month before my book was published because she knew I would freak out and likely not write the book). I’ve followed the ideas in your blog but feel like I’m having trouble engaging people online. The topic of my books should get people discussing the issues but I find that is not happening at the rate that I thought it would. My greatest lesson is not to give up and keep trying new things to reach people.

How and where do you promote your website? Is the URL on business cards? Your email signature?
I put my URL in my signature line and on business cards. I even include it on PowerPoint slides when I give presentations.

Final words of wisdom for any new authors wondering how to get started….
Be flexible, take in as much information and advice as you can, and be willing to   try anything. Most people have no idea that they will have to market their own books so connecting with web designers (like Smart Author Sites) and PR people who are specialists for authors is very important.

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