The use of the Internet can help launch your success as an author. There are several ways to take advantage of what the Internet has to offer.
First, you need a website. There are many ways to design, develop and maintain your website. It is easy and cheap to secure your domain. GoDaddy and Register 4 Less are two registrars that offer domain name parking. From there, you can use Google Aps, Webs.com, or a host of other mediums that are user friendly to develop and publish your website. You can hire a web team that will take care of everything for you. Keep your website fresh and up to date so that your readers will keep coming back for more.
Next, sign up for all types of social media. Facebook is a great way to connect with almost everyone you know. As a first time author, your friends and family will be the first ones to buy your books. With Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, you can reach almost everyone easily and without any cost. Make sure you post where you can buy your books and invite everyone to your book signings and events. In Facebook, you can develop a fan page where your fans can sign up to receive updates. Just like your website, keep it fresh and up to date.
Sign up on Bookmarket.com. Author John Kremer has developed this site and it is full of helpful information. Here you can network with other authors and publishers as well.
Blogging is another essential tool. Blogger.com is one great place to build your own blog site. This is a wonderful avenue to let everyone know what you are working on next. This is your personal space to let your fans get to know you. Some blogs add a newsfeed link so that your readers can follow you.
24-7 Press Releases and PRWeb are two fantastic PR sites to help increase your online presence as well as being able to reach your target media outlets. Your releases will show up on websites all over the place. Many websites have news feeds set up with key words. Your releases will be rolled into the feeds for readers to see. Both of these sites have affordable options as well as the more involved. You can choose your weapons.
Newsletters and email are the most important vehicles for marketing. Here you can send personalized messages to those who subscribe to your newsletters or email updates. Constant Contact, the program this email came through, is one of many programs available for this type of marketing. It has a tool that you can use to put on your websites, blogs, etc., so that your readers can sign up to receive news from you. You can use your emails to extend special offers to your subscribers only.
Use Amazon.com and other online booksellers. Many of you may not know about the tagging feature in Amazon. Tell all of your friends to tag which genres your book falls in. You can also build an author page there and add a live feed to your blogs. Have your friends and reviewers add their reviews and rankings. Play around on these sites. You'll find a treasure chest full of surprises.
Another great way to market online is to network with other writers. Go on a blog tour. Trade links with them. You both will have a lot to gain.
Make yourself available for instant messaging on occasion. Set up an account that you will use for "the public". Announce when you will be online and let the fun begin. You'll be amazed at the questions people will ask you. If you wish, keep it short. Half an hour may be enough. You can also reply through email to the questions you do not get to during your chat session. (Make sure to include a link to your books, sign-up area for your website, and anything else you are trying to promote in your email response.)
Finally, podcasting and videocasting can reach a different audience. Go ahead, do not be afraid. Take advantage of YouTube. Forward your links to everyone you know. If even half of them forward to their friends, you have reached a greater audience.
Marketing online can not only be profitable; it can be fun as well. Be careful, marketing takes time. Make sure to balance your online time with your other activities. It's easy to get thought up in cyber land. Good luck!