Monday, January 7, 2008

I've Got A Website, But... (Author Island Contest)

...No one is visiting it! How am I supposed to get my name out there so people actually see it?

Let's face it, unless you are a well known author, getting your name out there is not an easy feat. In our search for FAB authors, dee and I know how hard it is to find those new authors. I still have no FAB for January. None. I live in a small town with no book store with the big WM as the only place to find books. Have you tried to find new books, by new authors, at that place? Last year I was lucky enough to find Kristan Higgins there, but it was a rare find. Most of the books I see on the shelves there have Best Selling Author across the top. If you'll read our FAB guidelines, I can't (or won't) consider a book if the author has already hit any of the lists, that seems unfair perhaps, and while we heart many big name authors here, we also really, really heart the new ones. So, I did what any other book buyer without an outlet does - I went online.

Chari-Dee's Quest For New Authors:

1 - I started by going to different publisher websites. While many are easy to navigate, they aren't "get to know the author" friendly, even when they try to be. The focus really seems to be more on their big sellers. And while I can understand this, I don't like it.

2 - Getting no where with the publisher sites, I did a blog search for publisher and agent blogs. I figure even if they don't shout from the tree-tops (so to speak) the new authors on their web sites, surely their blogs would introduce us? Nope. While I did find updates on a few of their authors, I also found more mention of awards being handed out and already (albeit somewhat) established authors.

3 - Next, I gave up and went to I'll tell ya, I'm not a big fan of on-line book ordering. I like to actually touch a book, feel it in my hand, ya know? BUT, I didn't really see any other options. One of the nice things though, is that little "others who bought this book also bought," feature they have. I started by ordering a few books I was positive I wanted to read. Next in series and so forth, and then I started looking at the recommendations. In the end, I spent over half the night going from Amazon to search engine, to author sites and ordered over $100 in books (which will arrive tomorrow!).

So while I absolutely agree that a web site is key for any author, I wonder how do you find the websites? After all, the reader needs to have heard about the author/book before they go hunting down the site. What is the best thing a new author can do to spread the word about their books?

In my quest to find such authors, I've joined a few on-line groups (mainly on Yahoo!) that allow authors to Promote (yes, capital "P" let's face it, it deserves it). The problem I've had with these groups is there are too many authors and readers posting, and I don't have time to go through three digests a day. First of all, there is a lot of repetition in those groups. People reply to posts without cutting out the original post they are replying to, so a lot of the stuff gets overlooked by me because it's simply too hard to read. Perhaps I'm a stickler for cut and paste and low signature use because of the first on-line group I joined, and while some find the rules for posting too much of a hassle, it helps make things easier on everyone.

After a couple years of deleting thousands of digests, I cannot tell you how happy I was to find . First of all, it's not an e-mail loop all of the time. While there is an on-line group set up for AI, it is used only during chat and only for a set amount of time. It makes it more intimate and I truly felt like during that first chat I had gotten to know the authors, I'll remember their names.

Secondly, DeNita sends out newsletters that have blurbs of the author's latest book or upcoming release, there are links to both author sites and to buy the book. At the Author Island site you'll find tons of contests (You know how I love me contests by the amount of them we run here), announcements, and links. The really great thing about the site is it isn't genre specific, so I can get news on author's from the many genres I read.

But of course, not all authors are members of Author Island, and I'm still going to have to find a way to find them. So, I've put up a new poll with this post about this very thing, and I'm going to explain my thoughts on the choices so you can see those before you vote.

How Do You Find Author Web Sites?

1 - On-line Group: Be it a site such as AuthorIsland or a Yahoo! Group, several authors participate in on-line loops. I've found a great many authors from my favorite Yahoo! Group, and it's the group of another author. But here's the thing, if you're an author and a member of another authors Fan Group/ Message Board, please truly be a fan. Yes, posting to a forum of a well known author will get your name out there, but readers will know if you are a true fan or just some one trying to self promote and doing so by riding coattails.

2 - Search Engines: This one isn't so easy for me, because usually when I think of search I think of searching for an author by name. I know there must be several ways to search for new authors, but I haven't found a great way to do it yet. So, if you vote this, please share with us the keywords you use to find them without a specific book or name.

3 - Blogs: Be it the author's (agent, publisher) own blog or comments they've left on another site. I have found a few authors from well known author blogs when they get a nod from said author. BUT, I've also made a list of authors not to look up or buy based on comments left on blog posts. This one is a sticky subject, because authors are readers too, but your comments as a reader can really turn me off of you as an author. Group author blogs are great, but unless there is at least one author on that blog with name recognition getting traffic is still an issue. If you choose this option, please let us know why and what works for you.

4 - Other: What am I missing here? The readers at dee & Dee are too smart not to have some tricks up their sleeves.

For the contest, please make sure to send DeNita a copy of your comment here to AuthorIsland at (ya know the drill with the spaces and symbol) put dee & Dee Dish contest in the subject and your name and address in the body with your comment.

Take Care


danetteb said...

I find new authors and their websites with a mixture of the ones you mentioned and sometimes during author chats(i.e. writerspace, nightowlromance,etc.)If I find debut authors and authors I think I'll be interested in, I invite them to guest blog with me so I could share them with fellow readers. :)

Wendy said...

I find a lot of new authors on Amazon! Especially checking my favorite author's books and looking at the similar books they show you, that helps a lot.

I just emailed DeNita my comment. :)

karen said...

My comment really has nothing to do with finding new author websites :) Mostly because I visit very few sites. I will subscribe to some blogs. But I have been very disappointed over the years to find how infrequent updates can be to an author's site. It bugs me when I have more up-to-date information than the author's own site.

Cheryl said...

I find authors from places like Author Island, Writerspace, Fresh Fiction, Shelfari, Eharlequin, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Bookreporter, etc.

I love finding new authors as it helps me broaden my range of books that I read. Everyday is a new adventure when I find a new author that I can tell my friends about!

Eva S said...

Most authors have links to their favorite friends, I've found many new author from their lists.
And Amazon is a great place, there are many lists in listmania!

Maureen said...

I have found the best way to find out about new authors is through websites like Author Island. There are several that I visit and they have links to the authors website which makes it so easy to look up their information.

Little Lamb Lost said...

I find new authors by looking or chatting at sites like Writerspace, Fresh Fiction, and Author Island, publisher sites as well as joining publisher yahoo groups. Author blogs as well as reviewing blogs are also very helpful with this.

Cherie J said...

I have found some through recommendations from friends. Also through online groups and blogs as well as review sites. Author Island has been really helpful for me. Amazon has also been a great help to me.

peggy said...

i find new authors by word of mouth
from friends and family
online book clubs.

Mindy said...

I also use a combination of sources Author Island, Ellora's Cave Chat, Fresh Fiction, Hachette and Writerspace to name a few as well as word of mouth and occasional visits to different bookstores (About 20 min. away).

char10 said...

Sometimes I use search engines,but most of the time I read writerspace,fresh fiction and bookloons.I also know a sales clerk at a walden books store. We like the same books and she lets me know when something good comes out.

Lori B. said...

I find new authors from blogs, as well as yahoo groups. Occasionally I will also get a recommendation from Amazon too.

Nathalie said...

I usually go to publishers' site and read some summaries... if I like it, then I go to the author's website :)