The Goopy Ghost at Cristmas
November 2017 by V. R. Duin

BOOK PROMOTION IN
THE DIGITAL AGE

One elf asked, “Who are you?”
“I'm Goopy Ghost,” was the reply.
“I fell asleep in Santa's sack
And had a sleigh ride through the sky.”
(“The Goopy Ghost at Christmas”)

Writers must design a book writing website with constantly updated content for book promotion in the digital age, then use social media to drive visitors to that site.

For book promotion in the digital age, a book writing website can change the undefined to something defined. People are tired of mass productions. They are looking for something unique among the one billion websites and millions of books and videos floating around in cyberspace. Unfortunately, it is hard to make books appear extraordinary. Few books offer unique and holistic experiences. It seems that everyone has self-published one or more books, or is currently writing one for pending release. When everyone is doing something, nobody is impressed by it. To separate the many unknown writers from the few celebrated writers, local news media will tell self-published writers to come back, once they have a traditional publisher. Self-publishing continues to have some stigma attached to it.

Independent writers are not just vying with each other for business. Celebrities and Silicon Valley giants are entering the content production and promotion business. These influencers are creating an experience that garners quick and easy attention. They have an established following. Fans may feel enlightened by celebrities and want to be aligned with them. For book promotion in the digital age, non-celebrities harbor the hope of building celebrity status for one or more book characters through their book writing websites, advertising and social media outreach activities. Writers must connect with mainstream through the uniqueness of their missions, characters, systems and most importantly, their influential connections. Nothing great ever happens in isolation. Connections are critical to success with book promotion in the digital age.

Merely trying to hawk books neither qualifies as nor works as book promotion in the digital age. People are looking for something other than books. Augmented reality, virtual reality and mobile or wearable devices drive today's creative environment. Writers must transcend books and become a fashion, trend, culture or voice for the outside world with their book promotion. Websites must contain information of wide and general interest. Content that is specific to unknown books or unknown writers is not compelling. The contemporary flair of a flashy book writing website is an expected feature for traditional book promotion, book marketing and book selling. Innovation can make books attractive to technologically sophisticated consumers and search engines of the digital age. Publishers are reinventing the way content goes to market. Books seem flat and dull for consumers who are accustomed to the Web. Interactive and audio books are becoming the next level of production.

Regularly updated, informative articles with professional insights can help drive traffic to a book writing website. Authoritative content and appropriate keywords prompt search engines and human readers to visit and return. Book lovers want to hear about a writer's innovations. Are the books scented, illuminated, plantable, edible or otherwise unusual? The numbers and rankings earned by a newcomer's surprising content or format may be good for business. Curiosity may trigger the promotional interest and business participation of an influential individual or organization in a creation that is extraordinarily new. Unknown writers can rise with these stars through carefully planned and executed book promotion designed for the digital age. Writers must do something outlandish, quaint or unconventional that garners notice and earns respect.

As technology changes, for book promotion in the digital age, writers must replace outdated and outmoded elements, such as unsupported templates and video formats. Writers must look for opportunities where books are less of a commodity. Websites currently define brands for the modern world. Technology offers a measure of accountability. Literary agents will scrutinize a writer's Web presence, before agreeing to representation. Measures of traffic to a website are readily available. Mainstream publishers also are influenced by the breadth, reach and scope of the Web platform. The numbers of human visitors and machine bots that hit each page of a website are public information. A book writing website evolves with each new book, event and change in direction. It must be regularly updated with vibrant, new content to retain the interest of returning visitors and machine bots. The number of visitors helps to determine the ranking of a website against the competition.

Over time, writers may add multimedia, games, quizzes and other advanced technologies to draw and maintain website traffic to their book writing websites. Book promotion in the digital age is not an instant or immediate process. Most writers work alone. Anything new is considered suspect until it evolves, matures and earns respect. Authoritative, qualitative content carried keywords for websites administered by V. R. Duin to the first page of the Google Web Search Engine owned by Google Inc. The rankings of these sites soared above the competition, without paid advertising. These successes came after years of development, not days or months. However, it is a constant battle to remain at the top, when there is no crew of directors, producers, copywriters, editors and tech specialists. Most writers work alone.

As reading falls out of favor, book promotion in the digital age must attract remaining readers and encourage reluctant readers to engage with writers and their content. The genre of a writer's books, the covers, inside illustrations, multimedia programs, videos of readings, video trailers, slide shows, excerpts and reviews should generate a constant stream of ideas for book promotion. Book promotion should highlight actual accomplishments. The prospective audience to a book writing website and social media content is unlikely to be drawn by mere reflections of the published or pending books of unknown writers. It is particularly hard to make an approach seem fresh and interesting when it comes from a remote location and involves an unknown brand.

Members of the digital age are in search of celebrated content and successful ideas that can be used to fulfill a personal purpose or with which to meet a personal goal. People want to be a part of big campaigns and big trends. Today's writers must provide solid structures upon which visitors can reflect and from which they can build personal strength. Social media giants commandeer digital data. Finding, supporting and sharing popular content lends a sense of power that is not present in the unknown. To share in the limelight, the 99% willingly promotes the 1%. Influencers have the funds to channel their brands to consumers. The 99% gets pushed outside of the concentration of searching, streaming and socializing. An inability to pay, creates a wall, that may be crossed through connection or partnership with someone from the 1%.

Publishing provides material to present on social media and in a book writing website. An online presence gives the 99% an opportunity to generate a following for material that does not resemble advertising. The aim of social media posts and other Web writing can be specifically targeted to interest groups through advertising. However, the proprietary data behind this targeted advertising has created a data privacy backlash. “Shotgun” book promotion in the digital age will miss more than it hits. These misses should help a writer craft better content. More hits than misses may pave the path to 1% status. Writers must work very hard and adjust approaches constantly in effort to reach the promising numbers that mainstream expects of book promotion in the digital age. Ten thousand followers generally is considered a “viral” following on social media.

Developing a social media following through book promotion in the digital age is very difficult. Social media site managers place “pay-to-play” ceilings on growth. These tactics greatly limit the visibility of accounts that do not pay to be seen. Additionally, the number of followers may be limited for accounts that do not pay for advertising. Social media management companies may facilitate and encourage fans' departures. It can cost more to advertise than writers can earn from the sale of a book. People often click “Like” without any purchasing interest. The backlash against data collection and ad tracking is causing followers to scale back social media presence, deactivate or completely close accounts. It is very easy to “unlike” or “unfollow” a person, place or thing. Profit focused algorithms restrict growth of non-advertisers. Non-promoted pages may find their audiences and fans shrinking dramatically.

Across social media, paid content is prioritized and unpaid content is filtered out by algorithms and content manipulations. Social media platforms favor paid content for visibility. Active participation may encourage some growth momentum. Curious visitors to websites often come through social media platforms. Writers must be creative and consistent with the development of engaging, new content to win this “game.” Here are 11 Reasons Indie Authors Need Social Media (And How to Get It Right) for book promotion in the digital age. Paid advertising may not rival the development of quality website content as a lure to human and machine traffic.

Social media content should drive visitors to the book writing website for additional information. Writers should not build a book writing website that is creative but hard to navigate, or difficult to view on a mobile device. Mobile devices are increasingly used to navigate the Web. Devices of a shrinking size, with burgeoning content to explore, call for brevity of verbiage and minimization of visuals. Book promotion in the digital age that is not paired with images often loses views. Persons who cannot read the source language, or who prefer to read nothing, may be drawn to the images. Visitors to a social media page may be lured to the book writing website.

Symbolic, photographic, video or verbal content that is brief, funny, flippant, ridiculous or unusual stands a better chance of being shared than material that is controversial or vulgar in nature. The development of recognizable cultural icons may lead to the establishment of a viral social “meme”. From this meme, a writer's brand can become known, followed and shared by fans as they go about their days. Book promotion in the digital age should focus on image as well as content. A 2012 National Endowment for the Arts Survey shows fewer readers are turning pages. According to this survey, art is proving more popular than reading.

Increasingly, individual interaction and networking is the province of cellular phones. A website that is not mobile-friendly is ranked poorly, if it is ranked at all by search engines. Book promotion in the digital age should accommodate search operations with a wide variety of search devices. This will help to ensure optimum reach. Voice commands are also coming into wide use for searches made om the Web. Business-to-business, intra-company and professional engagement, work and production may continue to require the additional capacity of desktop or laptop computers. Writers should also be seeking new avenues to create stronger ties in the data-privacy world. It is important to create trust.

On social media, it is important to engage with people and businesses that share interests. The average social media account has about 300 followers. On major social media sites, the participation rate of followers in post activities tends to be low (1-2%). Agents rarely represent creative individuals with fewer than 3,000 followers. Should a writer's account manage to reach 10,000 followers on social media, traditional publishers may accept this number as a “ticket” into their “stable”. Social media can be a great place to engage with others, but beware of friend “fatigue”. Do not overwhelm connections with interactions that may make them feel they are being shadowed or tracked.

A social media following offers a gauge of a writer's potential for ongoing visibility and engagement. Unknown writers may have to connect with influencers to expand their reach. Until they become known, writers rarely generate sufficient income from books to pay for book promotion in the digital age. It is expensive to use pay-per-click advertising or to purchase space in a visible location. Moreover, advertising does not guarantee book purchases will be made. The value of location and interest specific advertisements is greatly diminished by traffic from fake traffic, like bots. People often click adds without a buying intention. Consumers are increasingly unwilling to release personal information about age and interests for use in targeted ads. It can cost more to advertise than a writer can expect to earn from book sales.

Purchasing followers for social media accounts rarely works. The “fans” that are available for purchase, and for incorporation into social media accounts, are generally inactive “shell” accounts. Fake followers are only helpful to those who sell them. The correspondingly low measure of follower interactions gives clue that the high number of followers in a social media account may be bogus. Social media management companies are aware of and are actively deleting these fake accounts. Mainstream recognizes and respects the potential in real numbers of followers obtained through quality book promotion in the digital age.

Search Engines actively track interactions between sites and social media. Social media companies have active bots trolling the sites connected with their platforms. Societal and government forces are pushing social media companies to remove bad actors and respect data-privacy rights. Book promotion in the digital age requires quality, authoritative content. Old SEO “magic tricks” with metadata no longer work with the advanced learning achieved by machines. Due to strict regulations and privacy concerns, social media companies are censoring content uploaded to their platforms. Some accounts are blocked, banned or deleted.

Information culled by machines is understood by these machines. Much of this information is widely and freely available to humans. In addition, humans are complaining about content that is of a false, hateful, bullying or vulgar nature. Bad reviews are worse than no reviews. Few people bother to write positive reviews. Negative reviews seem to flow more easily in these unsettled times. Unless content is regularly updated, of high quality production and contains authoritative links, it is not likely to appear in searches or be reviewed. Writers can earn a real following for creative work, but it must be presented and executed in the right way. In the process, writers will be required to write far more material for book promotion in the digital age than was written in the actual books.

3 comments

  • book promotion admin says:

    Writers—whether unpublished, self-published, or traditionally published—must be informed about, if not steeped in, the technology of book writing websites, blogs, and social media, all of which contribute to successful book promotion in the digital age.

  • book promotion in the digital age admin says:

    Writers in the digital age must understand the basics of website design, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, graphic formats such as JPEG and PNG, as well as scripting, content management systems, web hosting, and mobile technology.

    • book writing websiteadmin says:

      Website design and social media must reflect the continuous transformations that technology is making on book readers, writers, publishers, sellers and marketers.