Ask Daphne! How did you get the word out?

February 4th, 2010 • Kate

04shoes-1-popupI’m in love with these shoes, which, according to this article from The New York Times, are the product of a shoe-making workshop you can take. With a shoe guru! If only my upcoming trip to NYC wasn’t fully booked already! Anyway, moving on, today I wanted to share a question from Callie, who asks:

I’ve been following your blog for quite a while and have found it to be extremely useful and a lot of fun. My question is, how did you get the word out about your website? Was it just a natural consequence of people submitting to you? Or were there specific steps you took in order to establish your web presence? I know this isn’t the usual advice you give, but I have read quite a bit on the importance or building a platform and, since this pertains to that, I thought you might be able to give me a few ideas to work with.

First of all, thanks for the kind words! The business of building a website — or any online presence, honestly — is a lot of hard work, but can still be fun.

How did people first find out about this site, when kt literary was just a fledging little agency, lo these two years ago now? (btw, Happy Birthday, kt literary!) Well, I used to have a personal blogspot page, where I would semi-anonymously share occasional “Advice From An Agent”. When the kt lit site first went live, even before I officially opened my doors, I posted a link on my blog where people could check it out. News of the link got around (this was before Twitter, even, so I couldn’t tell you HOW), and I had over 300 queries in my inbox before I even officially was open to them!

Since then, I have my information posted around the web — on the Publishers Marketplace site, where I have a page, but also every time I make a sale and post it; on sites like AgentQuery, Preditors & Editors, Absolute Write, and the Verla Kay boards; in the lists of agents compiled by the SCBWI, Writers’ Market, and the AAR; on my clients’ sites; and now, on other Twitter users’ lists of Agents Who Tweet. (Note: some of the above links require memberships to access.)

But it’s not just about being listed. It’s about driving traffic to your site. If all I did was throw my name and address and submission guidelines up and the web, sure, people would find me, but would they keep coming back for more? Doubtful. So I blog daily (on weekdays), tweet often, and comment on posts by other agents and bloggers.

What about the rest of you? I would imagine almost all of you have websites that you’ve worked to promote. What tricks or tool did you use? Let us know in the comments!

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7 Responses to “Ask Daphne! How did you get the word out?”

  1. Michael Broadway Says:

    I've been fortunate to have started off with really good traffic so far. Started the blog January 20th of this year. Traffic count is over 15,000 in two weeks. I'm happy about that. I use Twitter (probably more than I should) to announce new posts. 110 followers get alerts when I post something new, so that helps, too. Plus our recent query contest (judged by a real agent) is going to have the winners announced tomorrow. That was a big traffic generator, too.

    I can't add anything new, except that having loyal followers who mention the blog on their own blogs is quite helpful.

  2. Rissa Watkins Says:

    Those shoes are gorgeous! I would love to take that class.

    As for my website, I don't promote it as well as I should. My blog gets more traffic. I want to move the blog to the website but have been bogged down in edits.

    To promote the blog I do the usual things…tweet, facebook etc. One thing that brings in a lot of new people is to simply comment on other blogs. People will click on my name to check out my blog.

    I did find that when I was blogging daily my views went up and I had a lot of new readers. Updating often is the best way to keep people coming back for more.

  3. Beth Cato Says:

    When it comes to website traffic, promote yourself wherever you go. That doesn't mean that you spam people. But if you post on a forum, a service like Facebook or Twitter, a blog, or publish a story with a biography, include that url. Participating here is all part of that promotion dynamic. The first poster here mentioned a query contest–so by golly, I clicked on his name to go see what that was about, and as a result I bookmarked his page.

    I know much of my website traffic comes from people reading my stories on online magazines and following the link in my biography. They then go on to my blog and leave a comment, or (less frequently) email.

  4. Krista G. Says:

    Yep, definitely comment on other blogs and message boards (see, I'm taking my own advice πŸ™‚ ), and make sure people have a way to track you down if they find you particularly fascinating or insightful. It's also a great way to meet other writers and find potential critique partners.

    And in the spirit of building an online presence, I just started a new series on my blog today entitled "Interview with an Agent." First up is Joanna Stampfel-Volpe of Nancy Coffey Literary & Media Representation, and I already have a few others waiting in the wings. Come check it out! (You only have to click on my purple name up there.)

  5. Lisa Gibson Says:

    Great advice and you're right, it's a process. It takes time. I do always appreciate your blog.

  6. Stina Says:

    Blog presence is something I have to work on more, but the number of followers I have is growing. Teens writing for Teens have even linked me to theirs, which is really cool. But that's because my blog was designed specifically for teens interested in photography and writing fiction. Can you tell I write YA?

  7. callie Says:

    Thanks everyone. I know I'm late on getting back…somehow I missed this answer going up. πŸ™‚ I really appreciate all the advice!