When I was putting together my ebook “100 Publishing Questions Answered” someone asked me for a list of the best blogs and websites for indie and self-publishing authors. I didn’t have one handy, so I thought I should make my own. However I decided NOT to make a curated list. Which means, instead of trying to determine which websites have the best articles and content, I decided to sort them only by discoverability.
In other words, I let Google pick.
I searched for “self-publishing” and went through the top 27 pages of results. I screened out a few big companies or unrelated items, and jotted down everything that seemed potentially related to writing and publishing. These are the results, from first to last.
I did it this way to stress some topics of insane importance that many indie authors ignore or trivialize (to their own peril) thereby proving my own oft-repeated points, which are these:
1. Your blog or website is worthless if people don’t find you.
2. The vast majority of new authors will Google blindly visit whatever websites show up on the first few pages – almost nobody goes past the first 3 or 4 pages of results.
3. You can show up higher in the search results if you have a lot of content, and a lot of other reputable blogs pointing back at you (you get them to point at you by having amazing content).
4. You can judge the reputation of a site based on its Page Rank – a rough score between 1 and 10 that Google updates every few months.
New blogs have zero page rank.
Established blogs have 4 or 5.
Twitter and Facebook have 9 or 10.
Some people say you can ignore Page Rank because it doesn’t matter. Those people usually don’t have any page rank and don’t get much traffic.
Going through the following resources, if you get a Page Rank plugin/addon for your web browser you’ll be able to see that they ALL have a pretty high page rank, which means it is still a very good indicator of how much Google likes them.
If you want to dig deeper, you can use a backlink tracker or website analyzing tool to see who is linking to them.
This is the one I like:
http://www.quicksprout.com/ because it tells you about how you’re doing compared to everyone else (this blog is ranked about 100,000 – which I think is pretty great, since there are millions of blogs).
Super Ninja Book Marketing TIP: Google a bestselling book in your genre + “review” and write down all the websites or blogs that talked about or reviewed that book. Then email all THOSE blogs and websites and offer them a free review copy of your book, saying, “Hi ___, I saw you posted a review of X, I’m an indie author and I just published something similar, about …., I’m attaching an ebook copy here in case you get a chance to read it, and I’d really appreciate an honest review if you do!” Make it really easy for them. Don’t make them write back and ask for a copy – 75% of them won’t.
How to increase your rank quickly
First, Google the keywords, genres or topics that you imagine your target readers will be searching for.
Then write lots of articles with those keywords. Put those keywords in your website’s title or subtitle.
Write titles that will get clicked. The best way ever is with the WordPress Title Generator, an amazing plugin that will spin unique headlines for whatever terms you put in.
Get your excellent content shared by actively reaching out to bloggers or websites with more traffic and telling them about it.
Share it on Social media. I recently found a kickass plugin called Social Locker – you can use it to protect a free download or ebook and get lots of shares.
Shares on Social media sites are valuable, because they have a high PR. You’re trying to get LOTS of links from high PR websites – another way to do this is to comment on them, or guest post articles and have a link back to your site in the byline.
Pat Flynn just posted a superb article on contacting forum owners: A Simple Traffic Generation Strategy You’re Probably Not Using (notice how that works? He didn’t give away the tip in the title, because people don’t already know the tip so they won’t be searching for it. Instead they’ll be searching for “how to get more traffic” or something like that).
It takes time and work, but then you become “established” – and then Google will recommend you and you’ll get lots of traffic.
And traffic is an amazingly powerful thing; it gives you control over your business and your life. You don’t have to beg for help or favors anymore.
Top websites and blogs for self-publishing authors (did you make the cut?)
Are you on this list? I’m not – and that’s mainly because, although I talk a lot about self-publishing, it’s not part of my main brand. That means I have to work even harder to get traffic than I would if I changed my subtitle to, for example, “Self-publishing tips for indie authors” (which maybe I should do… like right now). Figure out who you want to attract and make sure you’re using the right keywords.
If you DID make this list, congrats! I made you an award. Even though ranking high doesn’t necessarily mean you have great content, it’s pretty likely that you do, or else people wouldn’t have talked about you enough to rank highly. You can right click and save these images (if you use WordPress you can get a plugin to add an image to your sidebar), or download the following code and paste into your sidebar.
I tried pasting the code here, but WordPress keeps messing it up. Click here to download a text file; copy the text to your sidebar, and they should show up. Then delete the ones you don’t want: codetext
Drumroll please…. here’s the list!
Mclesh mad self publishing diary (made a note but can’t find the link now)