Tuesday, October 18, 2011

TECH INFO FOR WRITERS: Latest Tips on Establishing Your Online Presence and Broadening Your Readership

Below are excerpts from October issue of “More” magazine. They are interesting suggestions and make sense. The “More” article was directed at job hunters, but so much of it pertained to writers or anyone who wants to broaden their presence online, I posted them here:

Produce an author video -- a two minute clip, and introduce yourself. List any writing or applicable awards you’ve garnered. Talk as if you were speaking at an author signing. What is your passion, how did you get published, etc. If you’re tech savvy– I’m not – you can use iMovie and do it yourself. Shoot inside with a white background and do some lighting checks to make sure you aren’t creating unflattering shadows. Avoid natural daylight and fluorescent bulbs. Use indirect soft light bulbs, like a lamp with a paper shade. The latter will create the most flattering look.

(I note here that you should get some good bulbs before they are permanently taken off the market!)

Otherwise, hire a video-production company like VideoBIO –  cost close to $300 –  but they will set you up with a videographer, offer script advice, will do the lighting, shooting and editing. (Videobio.com) Rehearse first!

I’m skipping the basic info on blogging as most of us have more samples of good blogs than we know what to do with. But this info was new and useful:

Consider vlogging (video blogging) if you are skilled with a webcam. You can interview other writers or people in the industry about which you write. Example: I write horse racing mysteries so I might interview a racing security officer who was involved in bringing down a race fixing ring.

Follow the top blogs in your industry. Pick five or fewer blogs. Find them at alltop.com. This is a way to keep up with the latest information pertaining to your genre or story related industry. Example: Having just checked the top equine blogs, I find that information on training riding-horses, show-horses and Quarter horses has a much bigger following (readership) than race horses. Could it be time to broaden my novels to reach this wider market? What about your market?

Get a good, professional profile picture to use on the internet. Use it at each and every site you appear on.

Regarding Tweeting, the new rule of thumb is 120 characters.  This allows followers to retweet and add their own commentary. You can check your Twitter influence by entering your name at Klout.com, a service that analyzes your tweets and followers.

Create a Facebook author or “brand” page. For extra security, consider downloading Reputation.com’s free uProtect.it tool, which encrypts everything you post to Facebook so your data won’t get leaked the next time privacy settings change.

Ditch your AOL e-mail address, ditto Hot Mail and Yahoo. Supposedly these are an instant give away that you are out of touch. Use Gmail, which enables you to take advantage of useful tools such as Google Documents (great for sharing/editing manuscripts without any worry about disappearing attachments), Google Reader (which allows you to track all your blog subscriptions and news feeds in one spot) and Google Video Chat.