Monday, March 28, 2016

Websites and Marketing

Thanks to the long weekend, I was finally able to update my website, which is here. I haven't changed the theme or basic layout, but I did update the front page with the most current news, reorganize a few pages, and update buy links for my works. I might play with the theme or background during the next update.

One thing I noticed as I updated buy links is that some of my short stories are only on Amazon or one other retailer. As I discussed previously on my blog, I decided to switch my distributor from Smashwords to Draft2Digital. In fact, I just had my Smashwords account closed last week. Now I have to decide if I should enroll some of my short stories in Kindle Unlimited (KU) or distribute them widely. Although KU doesn't pay as well for short stories as it used to, it could still introduce new readers to my work, and I've always done better on Amazon than on Kobo, Apple, or any other e-book site. On the other hand, exclusivity can backfire. It's also easier to enroll in KU than pull stories down from other sites. I know at least one regular reader of this blog who prefers to buy from Apple; does anyone else here buy ebooks from other places than Amazon?

Lindsay Buroker, an indie author and blogger, once recommended puttting up samples of your stories on your website for readers to download. I tried it for a while with Lyon's Legacy and Twinned Universes, but I'm not sure it made a difference. Would you prefer to download a sample from an unknown website or from a trusted one? I get all my e-book samples from Amazon, as I learn about new books from all the e-mail newsletters I subscribe to. They link directly to Amazon, and once I finish a sample, it's easy to buy the entire book if I choose to. So it might be better to just direct customers to the appropiate store.

There's still so much I have to learn about maintaining my website and marketing with it. Someday it might be worth selling directly through my own website, but I don't want to deal with collecting taxes. If I ever do sell directly, it'll probably be in conjunction with something like Gumroad.

How often do you visit author websites? What do you expect them to have?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

My blog is my website.
With most of the retail sites, you can read a sample right there. (Or with Apple, download a sample.) That's all the sample I usually need.
Yes, I do prefer to download from Apple. (I have the Apple account, my wife has the Amazon account.) It doesn't hurt that I seem to have a never-ending supply of iTunes gift cards, either...

Sandra Almazan said...

That reminds me I should update the other pages of this website too. (groan) Thanks, Alex! I suppose it would be easier if I migrated over to Wordpress and combined my blog and website. It's useful knowing the main .,website is completely under my control, though, since I own that domain.

Maria Zannini said...

There are only two times I visit an author's web site:
1. If it's a new author and I want to know more about her.
2. If their blogs are on their web sites.

If it's a web site without a blog what reason would people have to visit regularly? I think in the end, that's what you want.

As for downloading, if you were a stranger to me, I'd probably feel safer downloading directly from Amazon.

Sandra Almazan said...

Thanks for your comments, Maria. I would also visit an author's website to learn more about her books (specifically, reading order for a series). My blog does feed over to my website, but it's on a separate page. I wonder if I should move the blog to the home page or transfer this blog to the website completely. My main concern would be if my regular readers would follow me to that site.

Maria Zannini said...

Well, you know how I fretted when I started the new blog. All I can suggest is to give people plenty of time to get used to a new location. If you have an existing newsletter, all the better.

Pat Dilloway said...

I have 3 websites besides my blog. I don't really do much with them except to update the list of books on two of them.

Sandra Almazan said...

Maria, I need to do more with my newsletter. Maybe I can coordinate a giveaway with the release of Chaos Season.

I think the more websites you have, the harder it is to keep them all up-to-date, Pat.

Yolanda Renee said...

I read blogs and don't usually pay attention to the other stuff unless I'm researching an author or looking for information for a blog post that they forgot to send. LOL
I had a website and own but have all hits sent to my blog now. One day maybe, when I can afford to have someone run it! LOL
Thanks for your comment on Alex's blog about my excerpt. So appreciated!

@YolandaRenee from
Defending The Pen
Murderous Imaginings

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