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Author Websites vs. Social Networking: Why You Need Both!

I am currently in discussions with a company who handles social networking and other online marketing tools for authors. I hope to have a formal announcement on that later…

But something cam up in our email chain yesterday that I thought was worthy of mentioning here. It has to do with the benefits of an author website, why you NEED a Facebook page, and how the two can interact.

What an Author Website Offers that Social Networking Doesn’t
I like to think of an author website as an interactive portfolio for authors. In its most basic form, an author’s website should include a bio, a list of books that the author has written, contact information, news and reviews, etc… But even more important than that is, in my opinion, the look and feel of an author website. By building your own site (as opposed to having pages on Facebook/LinkedIn), you can allow readers and fans to enter your world. They can get a sense of the tone of your books just by the colors, images, and fonts that you choose. They can read a book excerpt. They can experience your writings through more than just words.

We just launched a new author website yesterday that I think exemplifies this quite well. It is for an author who writes children’s fantasy/fiction books. Check it out at http://kenkarta.com/

What Facebook/Twitter/GoodReads Offers that an Author Website Doesn’t
You know how I referred to an author website as a portfolio? Well, a portfolio is not enough in today’s world. Social networking offers authors like you the chance to communicate directly with your visitors. Every time a fan logs into Facebook, your recent message will be on their wall. And they’ll be free to comment on it. This is a much more effective way of interacting with your readers than the traditional email newsletter. On a website, you are the speaker and they are the readers. On social networking sites, you’re on the same level. You’re communicating as friends. It’s much more of a two-way street, which readers always appreciate.

How They Should Interact
You need to make sure that all your friends on Facebook are aware that you have a website, and everyone on your website sees that you have a Facebook page. Make sure to put your website address in your Facebook profile, and continually post status updates on Facebook that include mentions of new things on your website, links to your website, etc… Similarly, make sure to offer Facebook as a “contact” option on your website. Rather than making people sign up for a newsletter to stay in touch, let them friend you on Facebook. Offer to answer questions on Facebook. Friend as many website visitors as you can through social networking — this will be the best way for you to stay in touch with them for the long-term.

Why You Need Both
There are some authors who think building a website is enough. Others believe that websites are soooo yesterday and social networking is the wave of the future. The truth is that neither of them are completely correct. You need to have some sort of presence in both to truly take advantage of the vast internet world. The two are very separate entities, which should compliment one another. Think of it like getting business cards printed AND making flyers to promote your next speaking engagement. They’re not exclusive. And if you do one and not the other, you’ll be missing out on some big opportunities.

Ready to speak with us about creating your online presence? Contact us today for a free consultation!

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