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Author Success Story: Askhari Hodari

Every author wants to know how to get lots of traffic to their website (and ultimately, sell lots of books). Well, Askhari Hodari is a great example of that success. She is co-author of two books and has two websites (one for each book). Best of all, she gets nearly 9,000 pageviews a month on the two sites combined. How does she do it? Here are her answers to our questions…

Who built your website? How was the experience?

[Smart Author Sites] built the websites for both my books, The African Book of Names and Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs.  She took the designs of our previous websites and morphed them into WordPress.  I learned a lot about website possibilities during the process and am appreciative of being introduced to WordPress.

Which social networking sites do you regularly participate in? Facebook? Twitter? GoodReads? LinkedIn? Any others?

We have created an online presence for both books on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/LifelinesTheBlackBookOfProverbs -and- http://www.facebook.com/TheAfricanBookofNames), and Twitter (@DailyLifelines & @AfrikanNames).  We use Networked Blogs to post from WordPress automatically to Facebook; and Facebook posts automatically to our Twitter account.  We also have a minor presence on LinkedIn.  )

How many online followers do you have? How many pageviews have you gotten on your website?

We have hundreds of subscribers to our Daily Lifelines (LifelinesProverbs.com).  We regularly get over a thousand visits to both sites.  In fact, Afrikan Names regularly averages around 6,918 pageviews per month and LifelinesProverbs regularly averages around 2,790 pageviews per month.

How has your online presence (be it through a website or social networking profiles) increased your visibility/book sales?

One of the more frustrating aspects of spending time building an online presence is the inability to determine the relationship between social networking and book sales.  If would be helpful our royalty reports could give us an idea of the areas where our book is selling and what types of venues, but we don’t have access to that information outside of bookscan, which gives limited information.

What is your “secret” to achieving this success? Were there any tricks or creative ideas (i.e. a contest) that you used?

I don’t know that we have been successful.  I can only say that we have tried to create the type of presence our publicity and marketing team advised us to.  So, no tricks or secrets.

Is there anything you would do differently if you were starting over again?

    If I understood everything WordPress had to offer, I would have probably thought to design the website differently.  I would create more interactive activities on the home page and other key pages on LifelinesProverbs.com.  And, if I had known how popular AfrikanNames was going to be, I would have highlighted the book more.

    What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned in the process of building your online presence as an author?

      I don’t know that I have learned lessons.  Personally, at times, I feel building an online presence is time consuming and as a writer, I realize that time is precious and irretrievable.  So, I have learned to focus on building quality relationships to maximize the time.

      How and where do you promote your website? Is the URL on business cards? Your email signature?

        We promote our websites anywhere we can.  The URL is in the book, on the business cards, in our e-mail signatures, on our videos, on our Facebook and Twitter pages, etc.

        Final words of wisdom for any new authors wondering how to get started….

          Work to establish an online presence before the book is released; and make sure the book lists your URL.

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