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7 websites to use and 3 websites to avoid if you are an author

“Everyone, promote your novels on social media!!!”

Yeah, but where? On Facebook? On Twitter?

“Write a blog and engage with the audience!!!”

Mhm… On WordPress? On Blogspot?

“Buy marketing materials!!!”

On Fiverr? On Canva?

A reason why I started Always Inspired Writing was because I noticed that there was a lot of advice for writers on the internet – and most of it was really bad advice. Today, a very valuable post in which I am sharing with you my private, personal experience with 10 websites: Facebook, Blogspot, Tumblr, Twitter, WordPress, Pinterest, Canva, Wix, Amazon and Fiverr.

If you don’t agree with my opinion on these websites, and their usefulness for authors, please feel free to share your ideas in the comments below this post.

I tested the aforementioned websites for 1-3 years to check what results they yield. I believe in systematic work for prolonged periods of time, but if something doesn’t bring results after a year, it’s just not worth it. 

Let’s start with WEBSITES THAT I DON’T RECOMMEND:

  1. Facebook – I have a horrible experience with Facebook and I would actually delete my account in there if it hadn’t been for the fact that I need to keep in touch with my friends from all around the world. I started the fanpage for my mermaid book in 2015. I was posting there very actively, and I even launched a campaign to get more likes from my target audience. The numbers grew, but I never got to see who these people actually were. After I ended the campaign, I had 420 followers instead of 120, but I got no likes, no comments and no shares from these people AT ALL. So basically, I wasted my money. Later, I learned that Facebook wants to limit the exposure of fanpages created by indie entrepreneurs. The reason for this was that people don’t want to see products on Facebook, but actually we still see products, just that these products are promoted by big brands and powerful names. Even though I posted valuable content tagged with hashtags and changed the language to English, I didn’t get any more followers. In fact, my following number fell down by 40 followers. After 3 years of struggling I’m decided to give up on Facebook, as I consider it a completely worthless tool. Use this instead: Twitter.
  2. Blogspot – I started blogging on Blogspot after Blog.Onet.Pl was closed. What I loved the most about Blog.Onet.Pl was the catalogue of blogs, where you could research other similar blogs by topic. On Blogspot, there is nothing like that. This makes finding and following similar blogs much more difficult. Even though there is an option to subscribe, I didn’t get any subscribers, and most visits were from my friends and family. I actually tried to sign up for Adsense, but I got rejected because of too little visits. Overall, I received nothing from blogging intensively for a year: no subscribes, no likes, no comments and no money. Even though my book was promoted on my Blogspot all the time, I didn’t sell any new copies. Use this instead: WordPress.
  3. Tumblr – I started my Tumblr, mrfoti-writes, together with my Twitter. Even though I posted regularly the exact same content as on Twitter, and tagged it extensively, I received little likes and almost no reblogs. My number of followers remained very low. My writing Tumblr is actually a side Tumblr connected to my main, private Tumblr, and for this reason, I could send messages, respond to comments and follow from my private Tumblr only – instead of my writing Tumblr. It was very uncomfortable. During the whole year, I got only 7 followers. Not an impressive result. Also, Tumblr is deleting mature content, so if you are an erotica writer, trying to do anything in there is going to be pointless. Use this instead: Pinterest.

WEBSITES THAT I RECOMMEND:

  1. Twitter is the winner. I created my Twitter account in 2015, but I didn’t do anything in there. In November 2017, I had 5 followers, out of which 4 were my best friends. Nevertheless, I decided to give Twitter another chance. I posted valuable content (pictures quotes + articles about writing), and I added other writers and bookish people using the follow-back method. Gathering the first 1000 people was the hardest. After reaching 5000 people, people started to add me on their own. After a year, I have 7800 followers and an organic reach of 95 800 people per week (this organic reach is so huge because it counts the followers of people who retweet my posts). It’s an incredible result, and if you need to build a social media following fast, start with Twitter.
  2. WordPress doesn’t have a blog catalogue either (or at least I couldn’t find it…), but somehow, people interested in your content actually leave likes. Those who choose to follow receive e-mail notifications when you post something, and the post also appears on their feed. After a year of writing Always Inspired and promoting it on Twitter, I got 30 followers. It’s not much, but it’s always better than Blogspot. What is more, you can offer your followers extra content in exchange of a paid subscription, which is a great way to monetize your blog, even if you don’t qualify for AdSense.
  3. Pinterest – it’s so much is richer in content than Tumblr, and better in so many ways. You can find posts on almost every topic and easily group them into separate boards. The boards can be followed separately, so if you want to follow only a part of someone’s account, it’s possible to do so. This is very comfortable, because you can follow only what truly matters to you. There are also more people on Pinterest, and the age range is wider. I was too busy this year to dedicate much attention to Pinterest, but a one-time follow action brought me more fans than one year of activity on Tumblr.
  4. Amazon – I was reading about publishing on Amazon for almost a year, and I launched a pen name experiment to see how difficult it is to actually publish in there and sell your story. I chose to be patient, because I’ve heard horror stories about how someone’s book got rejected 20 times. But mine, edited cheaply and formatted in Word only, was accepted in just 72 hours. I think that Amazon is an amazing alternative if you can’t publish traditionally. Even though a lot of people complain about Amazon, to me it’s a blessing, and I am always going to recommend it.
  5. Fiverr – Fiverr has a bad opinion online, but I had only good experiences in there. First of all, thanks to Fiverr being the middleman, the payment is secure for both the buyer and seller. If you are struggling to make ends meet, and are left with little budget to invest in professional services for your novel writing business, then Fiverr is the perfect place for you. They offer editing, formatting, covers, social media promotions and more. However, I don’t recommend Fiverr for copywriting. There are already too many copywriters out there and you either won’t get any copywriting orders or you will be paid very little.
  6. Canva – Before, I used to create my posts in Photo Filtre. Photo Filtre is still a good, free and easy to use photo editor – but creating original and fashionable posts requires skill and imagination, while Canva is full of free, ready layouts that you can instantly use. Canva can help you create Instagram and Facebook posts, as well as a book covers, wallpapers, calendars and other things that you can distribute later as freebies in exchange for e-mail subscriptions.
  7. Wix – I’ve tried Weebly and IM Creator (XPRS), but I didn’t like any of these, maybe because I’ve already got used to Wix’s user-friendly interface. Wix is really easy, doesn’t require any programming, and if you don’t have time for dragging-and-dropping, there is an option to have your website designed by a ready creator. With Wix, I saved a lot of time and money. The only cost was to buy a domain. When I compared Wix’s website creation offer to a local company’s offer, I realized I saved 15 times, and my websites are exactly the way I wanted them to be!

Actually, I was inspired to write this post after talking to my friend about what I learned about being an indie author in 2017/2018. I think that each author has the same problems to overcome:

  1. Hire professionals to help with your book.
  2. Create a blog & website.
  3. Prepare marketing materials.
  4. Become popular on social media.
  5. Find a publisher.
  6. Build a mailing list.
  7. Get honest reviews.
  8. Actually sell books.

This year, I resolved 5 of 8 of these problems. Take a  look:

  1. Hire professionals to help with your book (Fiverr).
  2. Create a blog & website (WordPress, Wix).
  3. Prepare marketing materials (Canva, Fiverr).
  4. Become popular on social media (Twitter, Pinterest).
  5. Find a publisher (Amazon).
  6. Build a mailing list.
  7. Get honest reviews.
  8. Actually sell books.

I have learned much more as a writer this year, and I will share everything in here, so please, make sure to follow Always Inspired Writing. Otherwise, you’ll miss awesome posts. 😀

Stay inspired!

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Author:

Hi! I am an author. I've published my debut novel in 2015 in Poland ("Dokąd teraz popłynę?"). My main genre is fantasy and magical realism. I often discuss socially difficult topics in my works and try to pass on a message of hope. I am always inspired and I never stop writing. My writing inspirations are Bruno Schulz, Pablo Neruda, Kiran Desai and Haruki Murakami. In my private life I am a polyglot. I believe in the Law Of Attraction and I write about it on UltimateManifester at Wordpress.

8 thoughts on “7 websites to use and 3 websites to avoid if you are an author

    1. Thank you for your comment, D. A. Smith! I see that most writers have similar experiences on these websites! It’s good that are discovering which websites are worth using – it helps save much time! Stay inspired.

  1. Hi M. R. Foti, I really enjoyed reading your post here. I have always wanted to try and write a short story. I have never taken the chance to be rejected and never really knew where to start. This post was informative and I found it helpful to learn about all the obstacles ahead of me.

    Thanks again for the awesome post and if I decide to take the leap in 2019 to start writing I’ll be sure to come to you for some advice.

    -JG

    1. Thank you for your comment, JG! I’m glad you found this article useful! Good luck with your writing in 2019, and I will be looking forwards to receiving your questions! The inbox on Always Inspired Writing is always open for article suggestions! Stay inspired!

  2. Have you noticed that Twitter is now using an algorithm like Facebook does? I used to get 10 new followers a week or more now I get zero. . And I only see the tweets of the same 12 people over and over. Have you had that problem?

    1. Hey, Jacci! I haven’t heard about Twitter changing their policy! I still get followed by many people. Maybe it would be a good idea to add more followers? Accounts that have over 5000 followers get followed by more people naturally. Also, using hashtags in descriptions and tweets is very important. I know that Twitter will show tweets of people who tweet a lot. Some people tweet every hour to be noticed. If you are annoyed by those people, you may mute them. I hope this helps! Stay inspired.

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