William Eamon is a Regents Professor of History and dean of the Honors College at New Mexico State University. He’s also the author of Science and the Secrets of Nature: Books of Secrets in Medieval and Early Modern Culture and the co-editor of Beyond the Black Legend: Spain and the Scientific Revolution. In addition, he has written more than 50 scholarly articles, essays, and book chapters. William gets nearly 1,000 hits each month on his website, www.WilliamEamon.com. So to what does he attribute his success? Here are his answers to our questions…
Who built your website? How was the experience?
My site was built by smartauthorsites.com
Which social networking sites do you regularly participate in? Facebook? Twitter? GoodReads? LinkedIn? Any others?
I have accounts on all of these sites but regularly use Facebook and Twitter. I find that Facebook and Twitter are effective in directing readers to my blog posts and my web site. However, Twitter is very noisy and it’s hard to break through the chatter. I also have an author’s site on Amazon.com, which connects to my blog.
How many online followers do you have? How many pageviews have you gotten on your website?
I get about 800-1,000 hits per month on my website, sometimes more depending on the blog posts. The key, I think, is having blog posts that are interesting enough to attract readers and to cause them to retweet your tweets.
How has your online presence (be it through a website or social networking profiles) increased your visibility/book sales?
I’m not sure but my publisher is convinced that it has boosted my sales. My book is a historical work for a general readership but also crosses over to an academic audience. It sold about 8,000 copies in its first 6 months: not a best-seller but for a book if its kind not too bad.
What is your “secret” to achieving this success? Were there any tricks or creative ideas (i.e. a contest) that you used?
It’s important to use social media. Blogging is important, but I don’t think readers will follow a blog if it isn’t original and interesting. Unless you are a “star” author, I don’t think readers care much about your personal life, so writing a blog that has content is the most important thing.
Is there anything you would do differently if you were starting over again?
I would probably blog more; I just don’t have the time. I have a day job as a professor so it’s hard to find the time. Blogging for me is mainly a way of writing something while I’m between books. It has attracted a lot of readers that I did not have before.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned in the process of building your online presence as an author?
Keep changing and adding to your web site. Your blog is your best friend. A static web site will soon grow cold and lose its effectiveness.
How and where do you promote your website? Is the URL on business cards? Your email signature?
All of the above. I hand out author business cards all the time, shamelessly.
Final words of wisdom for any new authors wondering how to get started….
Every author needs a good agent.