Q: Nice job on your website! Were you always this organized, or has it evolved over the years?
A: I would have to say it evolved in the truest sense of the word. I kept trying things to see what worked, what didn’t, and ended up where I’m at now … and then come to find out I’m now doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. But it was all trial and error for me.
Q: Who made your website? How many iterations is this for you?
A: I make all my own websites — that’s become my day job — and I would have to say this is probably iteration 15, if not 20. I’ve lost count. To give you a timeline, my first website was on Geocities, so that was back in the mid 90’s. For several years the biggest draw to my website was a live webcam aimed at me while I wrote, the infamous “WriterCam” … that was me. After that became passe, I moved on to blogging (I was on Blogger before Google bought it) and from there transitioned to self-hosted WordPress websites. I hope this isn’t scaring anyone away — WordPress is easy. It lets you focus on content, so you don’t have to speak HTML or JAVA or anything like that. It’s more like writing. Type type, click, boom, updated.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your success/ track record as an author? Have you found that having this awesome website/ social media presence has helped your sales?
A: My sales are on a nice steady climb since I figured out the winning combination. Not a steep climb, mind you, but a steady one. And my ebooks seem to be doing far better than my one traditionally published novel.
Q: Can you give some examples of how you balance your time, meaning how much time per day do you spend actually writing vs. website/ marketing activities?
A: In an ideal world, I would spend 50% of my time creating, the other 50% marketing. And marketing includes just talking to people and having fun. Really, the creative aspect of the marketing is starting to blend in more and more with the creative aspect of writing. In reality I spend 30% of my time writing, 30% marketing, and 40% being distracted by shiny objects.
Q: Any other pieces of insight you can share with authors who are just setting up their networks/ getting their stuff out there? Any “lessons learned” moments, or sneaky tips you can share?
A: The best lesson I’ve learned so far is how to not feel awkward about marketing myself. People confuse marketing with selling, or being a salesman, and in that I mean being a stereotypical salesman. You know, the kind who try to sell you a junky used car or a timeshare you’ll never use. That’s not marketing — forget that image, divorce yourself from it. That’s not how you market or sell your books, and if it were, YES, it would be very awkward. Instead, just find people who you like, reach out to them, interact with them, make friends, and mention your book(s) when appropriate. Put the fact that you write books in the background, visible but not in their face — easy to find if someone is interested. And when you start making all these friends, who will turn out to be pretty much like-minded, they will naturally be interested in your books. That’s all marketing is, making sure people can find your books, and then putting yourself in situations where people will be interested in looking for them. When they find them, make sure they’re easy to buy, and make sure they’re easy for readers to show their friends. There’s nothing awkward about that at all. You’re not pushing, you making things easy.