Online presence. If you’re a new author, you probably know something about publishing options, social media, and sales. And you probably have questions. Lots of them.
IT consultant David Schuchman answers these questions, and he offers workshops that explore the gamut of social media and publishing platforms to help authors decide which ones can best serve their particular needs. His workshops also cover digital marketing strategies, search engine optimization, and more.
Schuchman’s next workshop, “Social Media for Authors,” takes place at the Princeton Pubic Library Tech Center on Thursday, March 22, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. For more details, contact his company, Princeton Technology Advisors, at 609-454-6010 or e-mail email@example.com.
A few platforms he will cover include Amazon, Goodreads, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Amazon: The company offers a variety of self-publishing and social media services. Its publishing tool for eBooks is Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). The platform also offers a solution for publishing paperbacks, but its main tool for the paper format is CreateSpace. Amazon offers audio book publishing through its program, ACX, and also offers video and music services.
Amazon’s social media tool is Author Central, where you can create your own interactive author page that includes your profile, bibliography, photos, videos, interactive blog posts, and more.
Goodreads: Owned by Amazon, this online service connects authors and readers. Its mission is “Help people find and share books they love.”
As a writer, you can enroll in a free membership in the Author’s Program and have your book included in its database. You can create an author profile page to promote your books and interact with readers through blog posts, giveaways, and advertising. Your verified profile will include the official Goodreads Author badge, which can be useful when asking your fans to follow you. The Goodreads website boasts an audience of more than 65 million.
LinkedIn: This platform is known for being the most popular website for business profiles. LinkedIn allows authors to add links to published articles they have written about their books through the publications option. Authors can also publish articles directly on LinkedIn with links to webpages about their books, and they can repost articles others have written about them. A 2018 report from Social Media STATS cites 546 million registered users.
Twitter: This platform gives you the opportunity to inform followers of newly published books, events, and promotions. Twitter now allows up to 280 characters per post. In addition to using the basic free platform, authors can sign up for a paid service that allows more promotional options.
Other platforms Schuchman will cover include Issuu and Scribd. He will also cover mainstream platforms such as Facebook.
After becoming familiar with what the social media sites offer, the next step is deciding which ones best suit your needs. As Schuchman points out, there aren’t enough hours in a day to be on every social media platform out there. To help narrow your choices he suggests asking yourself these questions: What is your genre? Where is your audience? Where are your competitors? Which platforms best address these questions?
Schuchman’s advice is to experiment, measure the results, and adjust your strategy as needed. It is OK to change your mind. When you determine what works, stick with it.
Optimize your website. Another online presence that provides the benefits of social media is your own business website, and it is essential to have a site that viewers and search engines can easily find, says Schuchman. At the workshop he will discuss search engine optimization (SEO) to increase the number of visitors to your site. If the search engines cannot find you, your website is functionally irrelevant, he says.
An important element for improving SEO is the use of keywords, the words and phrases that internet users enter to find websites that match what they are looking for. Keywords should appear within the content of your web page and also in metatags that inform search engines but are not visible to viewers.
Schuchman will cover both on-page and off-page SEO: On-page refers to the content on your actual web pages and includes your copy, title tags, headings, alt tags that describe images, and links on your web pages that connect to other pages. Off-page SEO involves other websites’ links to your site. These back links can come from your social media pages, websites from businesses who recommend your services, or websites for whom you have written articles or posts.
To help you determine the effectiveness of your SEO strategy and the platforms you are using, Schuchman recommends analytics, a process that lets you know how many people visit your webpages, where they are coming from, the links they click, and more. Schuchman recommends using booth Google Analytics and the analysis tools offered by the individual social media sites.
Be a blogger. Schuchman finds that blogging is an effective way to increase your visibility and strengthen your brand. He regularly posts on his website, www.princetontechadvisors.com, where he gives practical advice on using technology. Some of his topics include travel, using public Wi-Fi, branding, and security. As the executive chair of the Professional Service Group of Mercer County, he also writes on networking and career transitions.
Hire a professional. For an author who feels a need for additional support, Schuchman recommends working with a professional company that provides publishing, promotional and editorial services like Open Door Publications in Yardley, Pennsylvania.
Social media is just one of several areas where Schuchman serves clients. Princeton Technology Advisors’ solutions include web development and design, e-mail marketing, managed services (websites, PCs, and servers), software review, project management, risk assessment, and training.
He offers presentations and workshops in digital marketing, branding, promotion, website types and best practices, blogging, and e-mail tools. For job seekers or people wishing to change careers, he offers workshops covering transitions, interviewing, and networking.
Schuchman grew up in Long Island, where his father was a businessman in the garment industry and his mother was a social worker. A graduate of Hofstra University with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, Schuchman has more than 30 years of IT experience in the financial services, transportation, and healthcare industries and has held managerial positions with Radiology Affiliates Imaging, TRAC Intermodal, Delphi Technology, Amback Assurance Corp, Citibank, and otherss.
In addition to working with companies, Schuchman helps non-profits and community organizations. He helped Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) find a cloud-based solution to address the group’s fundraising and volunteer management needs, and he helped design an updated network structure.
Working with Mill Hill Child and Family Development Corporation, he evaluated and recommended an electronic medical/health records solution to ensure billing compliance with Medicaid.
Wearing his technology consulting hat, Schuchman summarizes his advice to authors: “Get active on social media.”