What Is the Best Way for Authors to Get Noticed on the Internet?

Picture courtesy of Sarah Forgrave! Thanks, Sarah!

My Amazon page for The Doctor’s Lady says this at the top: The Doctor's Lady and over 950,000 other books are available for Amazon Kindle.

950,000 books available on Kindle? I mean think about it. My book is just ONE out of nine hundred and fifty thousand currently available.

Yikes! The numbers of writers and books seems to be constantly growing. And if the numbers are increasing, how can writers ever hope to stand out amidst SO much competition? Is there any hope?

Most of us are coming to terms with the fact that modern authors need to develop a web presence in order to help our books stand out. But even when we make an effort, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd of all the other writers who are jumping onto the social media bandwagon.

Recently, @ellebethmiller asked me a question on Twitter: “What is the best way for an author to get noticed on the internet? There are so many options . . . it’s overwhelming.”

What is the best way to get noticed on the internet? What social media sites can help the most? And will the social media efforts really pay off?

I’ll tackle the questions and give you my opinions based on my experience so far. But make sure you chime in the comments with your thoughts.

What is the best way to get noticed on the internet? 

First, the most important aspect is to use social media to SOCIALIZE. And second, the socializing must be in a GENUINE, AUTHENTIC, and FRIENDLY way.

And no, social media isn’t a high school popularity contest. This isn’t about how much attention we can get, or how famous we can become, or how many friends we can accumulate.

Rather, we can approach social media with the goal of blessing others. We can take the focus off ourselves, stay humble, and look at how we can help, encourage, inspire, and pay the love forward to those we come into contact with. In doing so, others will begin to appreciate and respect our presence.

At the same time, our efforts must be consistent. We need to move outside of our comfort zone and meet new people. It WILL take a great deal of effort to regularly and genuinely interact.

What social media sites can help the most?

I don’t’ believe Twitter and Facebook alone are enough to build a vibrant web presence. They’re both great ways to chit-chat and begin to form relationships. But short comments are not enough to solidify friendships.

I also don’t think having a standout, knock-em dead website is enough either. While a website is a necessity for every author, it’s not designed for the back and forth exchange that people long for.

Of all the social media sites, I believe that my blog has helped me the most in standing out. Our blogs can be our home bases for socializing. We can engage people by sharing issues we're passionate about. But we need to do that sharing in ways that solicit interest, inspire, educate, and encourage, etc.

And yet, even if we have THE best content ever written, we still have to work at promoting our posts. That might mean visiting, commenting, and mingling with other bloggers (especially at the beginning). We can also share links to our posts on Twitter or Facebook. And if people appreciate and enjoy our blogs, they’ll usually keep coming back.

Will social media efforts really pay off?

If writers go to all the work of building a large social media presence, will it really help our books to stand out?

Yes. And no.

Yes, I believe writers who put forth the effort to develop an authentic and vibrant web presence will eventually help their books stand out. Maybe our books won’t hit Amazon’s Top 100 sellers. But we’ll give our books a slight boost in the right direction.

But no, social media efforts can only take us so far. The most important factor is and always will be THE BOOK ITSELF. If we rustle up all the social media attention in the world, it will fall flat if we don’t back it up with a book worthy of the attention.

If we want to see our books succeed in today’s market, then we’ll really need BOTH—an engaging web presence AND an engaging book.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my opinions? What do you think is THE best way for an author to get noticed on the internet?

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Monday 9/12:  Book reviewer Christy Janes interviews me in sassy Southern style on her blog!

Monday 9/12: I'm visiting with Susie Finkbeiner on her blog and sharing when I was little what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Tuesday 9/13: On Marji Lane's blog find out what event from Narcissa Whitman's diary I wish I could have included in the story but wasn't able to! 

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  1. I agree with your opinions. Of course. Seems like I"m always doing that. :-P Genuineness and a true interest in others goes a long way toward building relationships.

  2. I agree with you, definitely. I think potential readers want to find authors who are approachable. The kinds of people you could meet for coffee or say hi to in the street. If we care about a person and what they have to say, we're going to be interested in the kinds of stories they have to tell.

  3. Thanks Jody! I'm still rolling around in the internet muck, trying to determine what is best for me (and God wants) for this area of my life. It can consume so much precious time if a person isn't careful, but on the flip side, it can be such a blessing and a great way to interact with others.

  4. I agree with you - being social, helpful, and focused on others. Not being boring. Being open and honest without being inappropriate. And it always helps to get an agent and a book deal to go along with it! :)

    But I think the most important part is the book! Like you said.

  5. Good morning, everyone! Yes, "getting noticed" on the internet is time consuming. Which is why I don't necessarily suggest that newer writers make it their priority. I think young writers should focus most of their time and energy on learning, growing, and writing. Of course, the internet is a great way to meet fellow writers, form crit partnerships, and find encouragement. But I don't think newer writers should worry about "getting noticed" until they have a couple of books and are getting ready to query.

  6. I don't think there's any one main ingredient to get noticed on the internet. We have to combine them all - Blogs, Twitter, Facebook - to make our ever-genuine presence known.

  7. As always, great reflections. So many others learn from your experience. I'm launching a new site and blog soon, and these sorts of questions certainly apply. Write a great book comes first. After that, I want to find a way to be myself--someone readers would like to know.

  8. I think the actually socializing and blogging aspect is the most successful- I've seen your book all over the place! People spread the word because they've gotten to know you through the internet and want to see you succeed. (And in many cases are already fans of your writing through prevous books or your blog) That's harder to do with facebook and twitter.

  9. I totally agree with you and everyone else. I am always trying to balance my time in a way that is productive and not obsessive! I think your blog works well for you because you do a great job with it! Always so possitive and informative. Keep it up Jody!

    Elizabeth Loraine, author of Royal Blood Chronicles and Phantom Lives

  10. Agree. Can't say enough about that word genuine that you threw in there.

    I want to give a shout out to Keli Gwyn. She has established many, MANY strong connections in a purely authentic, (goal of blessing others) way and it makes me want to promote her every day.

    ~ Wendy

  11. I definitely think a quality blog has the most to do with being noticed on the internet and people looking up your book. Twitter and facebook are ways to get people to your blog and help you to get to know your blog readers.

  12. A good book, social media -- and word of mouth, i.e. "buzz." I think all of that (and probably more) helps an author get noticed on the internet. When others start retweeting and commenting and leaving reviews and FBing about an author's book--people notice.

  13. I agree, Jody. It really comes down to the book you write, and with social media--I think it is all about building genuine relationships, otherwise it would feel pretty empty. :-)

  14. I agree with almost everything except what you said with regards to newbies, i think building a social profile can be extremely important for first time writers as people get to know them and watch them grow, then when they do have a book ready there are a lot more people likely to buy and recommend it as they feel they already know the author rather than a newbie just coming along and saying ' i'm a great writer who you've never heard of please buy my book and be my friend.'
    I think many who follow aspiring writers can build an almost parental affection for them which can be a huge confidence boost when you start to market your first book knowing that you have 100's of mommy and daddies watching out for you.

  15. Yes, I do agree that building your blog and helping others succeed is the best way to garner a following.

    An email you sent me two or more years ago greatly encouraged me when I was ready to give up writing. I printed it and had it on my wall above my writing computer for months. That one caring gesture cemented my loyalty to you, Jody. You're not only a splendid writer, but a kind friend.

    Did you know I won Dr's Lady on Katie's blog? Woot woot!!!!

  16. Oh, Jen! I'm so glad that I've been able to be an encouragement to you! You sure have been to me and to many others as well! And I'll be putting your book in the mail soon! Hope you enjoy it! :-)

  17. I couldn't agree more, Jody, and as always, you said it beautifully. It's so nice to be blogging again--I've missed you!

    P.S. I'm currently reading The Doctor's Lady! :-)

  18. Authors like you set a good example for those of us just beginning this journey. Thanks, Jody!

  19. I agree with all you've said here! Just this weekend I was chatting with a friend and we were talking about this (and lots else - we talked a LOT! LOL). People want to know what the magic key is, but there's really a dozen magic keys and they all have to be working at the same time. That's not to dissuade people, but to lower the expectation that "if I just get on Twitter, everything will work great" or "this new thing, THAT's the key to everything."

    The book is the only essential element; after that use your dozen keys to open a dozen doors, and eventually you'll find your way. :)

    Great post!

  20. I agree 100%, Jody! Putting others first never hurt anyone. :) (And thanks for using my picture!) :)

  21. UGH! Social media is the hype everywhere you look these days. I can definitely see the benefits to marketing yourself with it, however I really wish it was easier and less time consuming.
    Having said that I really like your comment about making it personal - not just selling yourself or your book but actually making friends. I can always use more friends. I will change my approach.
    Thanks Jody!

  22. Wonderful discussion. I agree with your post. I think it's a combination of things, but I think blogging offers a more intimate connection for readers and makes it much more effective for long term fans and readers.

    Really enjoy your blog. Been lurking for a long time now figured I'd finally post a comment after I mentioned your blog on my blog. Great information. I'll be commenting more often.

  23. Hi Lena, Thanks for coming out of lurkdom and making a comment! :-) Appreciate your input! Thanks for mentioning my blog!

  24. I try to keep my blog up and writing about things that hopefully interest people. I use Twitter a lot...but I just can't seem to get a following on Facebook.

  25. Jody, I'm loving the new labels around here! Congratulations on the new release, I'm looking forward to reading it! Think I will actually get a proper book next week and have you sign it!! I hear this a lot, the concept of being a blessing to others. It really does take the pressure off when we look at life this way. While it's always nice to see a book doing well, I think it's more important to focus on how that book is touching lives. I enjoy the social networking, but it's really cool when I get a note from a reader and we can form a new friendship.

  26. Great advice. I totally agree with you. Facebook and Tweeter are good, but it's blogs where people really get to know you.

  27. Quality writing is definitely the most important. If someone throws your book across the room after the first chapter, well, that doesn't bode well.

    I think approachability is number two. Personal interactions build loyalty and people will line up to purchase future books if you simply chat with them, respond to their tweets, or learn their names.

    The question is, how do you get over that initial hump. Perhaps farmville. It'll get you a whole pile of facebook friends.

  28. Love, love, love and your points are right on. Thank you for continually posting on such relevant topics that truly help all of us, whether we are published, pre-published, self-published, or aspiring writers.

    Great post and thanks!

  29. Thanks again for your informative insights. I am relatively new to blogging and feeling my way, trying to discover what engages people and I agree this is the most useful medium to communicate on a personal level. I set up a webite and joined twitter and facebook after having a short story included in an antholgoy by Bridge House Publishers who provided me with my first author marketing tips. It has been a steep learning curve, and I still have a long way to go. I don't have a book published yet (I'm a short story writer) and I'm using the time to hone my marketing skills; an area very much out of my comfort zone.

  30. Writing is such a solitary activity, the genuine friendships you make online are invaluable in keeping you grounded. Great post Jody :)

  31. I'm so glad I found this post!

    My initial Twitter & blogging activity was filled with spam and acted more as an exercise in the worst sort of self-promotion.

    I've begun to learn that it's about more than just screaming "buy this" or "read this" and that these outlets are really a way to connect thoughtfully with other writers.

  32. This is a very timely topic and one that I think a lot of us worry about. We may have a good or even a great product, but if we can't stand out, no one will ever know. Some great tips here for those of us still working hard to build a following. Thanks!

  33. I love your take on this. And I love that there is such a warm community on-line for us to socialize with! Thanks for sharing your experience.

  34. When I become frustrated that all this blogging+tweeting+facebooking is overwhelming and taking me away from my writing, I stop and remind myself that we 21st century writers are VERY LUCKY we have this option at all. In the not so distant past, if we couldn't get an agent to take a chance with us, that was it. End of road. End of dream. Bub-bye and thanks for trying. But now we have a whole buffet of options open to us and which helps us get the message out and turn a dream into a career.

  35. Great point, Martin! We are very lucky to have the ability to take our dreams in our hands and make something of them! Thanks for the great reminder!


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