The day didn’t start too well. I’ve been working hard on building my web presence, and for the last couple of days I’ve started to feel junked out. As soon as people begin to notice that you’re a serious web-dude, they all want to sell you something.
I’ve been following writers, agents, web experts on Twitter, and posting sensible, well-directed entries – just as all the experts advise – 3 or 4 times a day. But what do I get? Invitations to join Donald Trump selling Viagra to all my friends – any takers? (It might not be Viagra – but it’s some kind of health care thingy and I couldn’t be bothered to hang around and watch for details.) I know what several literary agents had for breakfast and how much fun they’re having with ‘the 4yo’ – I think that must be a brand-name for the latest model of child. I came close to signing up for Wealth for Teens but when I tried to enter my year of birth, it wasn’t in the drop-down list.
What I was really looking for from Twitter was some evidence that someone might have noticed my tweets on the short story I’ve published here on the blog, and had then come to join us here. There wasn’t one – not one.
I now have around 75 Twitter followers, more than my target for the month, but it’s certainly not an effective tool for me at the moment. There have been occasional gems, and far too much dross. But I’ll keep working on it, starting with eliminating the dross.
But hang in there. Today, just after noon I posted Waiting for Orders to Smashwords, probably the leading e-publishing site for independents. And the results have been FAR better than I expected. After 8 hours, just look at how many readers have downloaded the story – here’s my Smashwords dashboard around 8 hours after the original posting:
45 new readers in 8 hours – that’s a lot. And since I haven’t mentioned Smashwords here until now, I assume that most of these will be new readers, not my blog-friends
Now to be fair, I’ve cheated. I’m giving away my short story for free. I’m sure the numbers would have been much lower if I’d set a price – which I’m at liberty to do with Smashwords. And I was particularly pleased with the cover design I managed to put together, and the introductory blurb. These first impressions are so important to just pull in your ‘customers’ in the first place. What do you think of the photo and the blurb in the left-hand panel? Would they have drawn you in.
Smashwords is extremely important to my strategy. I want to devote the whole next post to explaining why and how.
But in the meantime, if you like my story and you’d like to give me a little support, then here’s how. Head over to the Smashwords home page, and sign up – it’s free. Then Search for Alain Miles and you’ll see the title page for Waiting For Orders. If you download, you’ll be adding to the buzz. Better still, add the story to your library. And best of all write a couple of sentences as a Smashwords review – nothing extensive – and please don’t give too much away about the actual story.
Next you could start posting a few of your short stories on Smashwords too, to build your readership. We’ll talk about how to do that next time.