Given that my novel is my startup, I felt the logical first step in marketing would be to own search results for my name. Now obviously, instead of my name I could have chosen a key phrase that might bring more traffic to my site, like “free book online.” In the end, however, that wouldn’t have achieved my ultimate goal nearly as well (and would have been much harder to crack into). But what is my ultimate goal? I’m glad you asked, even if I had to do it for you.
My ultimate goal with my organic search marketing is to build a web home for myself as an author. Some people call this an author’s platform, and others demand that such a phrase can not be applied to fiction writers (silly pedantic authors). Others still talk about building a brand, and that’s close, but I feel there’s a little more to it than that. A brand would need a web presence, true, but I’m talking here about a human being establishing a connection and visibility above all other similar names. What I want is for people to look for me, and not just information about me. I want them to hear my name, search, and connect–all without having to wade through the myriad of other similar results that have nothing to do with my writing.
So, with that in mind, the first question was, “What’s my name?” After all, if you’re to remember my name, it must be consistent. Is it Pete Story or Peter Story or Peter J Story? Or something else entirely? A pen name perhaps? Since you’re here reading this post, I imagine you’ve figured it out already. But, before we continue, there was one key factor remaining, “To dot or not to dot?” In other words, should I use a period after my middle initial? This might seem trivial, but I found it important, as consistency is key. I can target all of the above if I have the time, but I still need to know which is my main target. So, I settled on no punctuation to my name. And that’s my author brand–of course mixed in with a consistent font, etc.
Next up, I had to take the first page of results. This was tricky given that there are so many people with my exact name out there and since so many stories exist about Peter and/or J. One early step was to ensure I was using that exact name in each post rather than a witty or artistic name with no significance–you’d be surprised how often that’s done. But after that, it was a game of content and waiting. And since I’m not about to go injecting my own name into a number of unrelated articles simply to boost my search results, it required even more content and waiting. This is one significant spot where faith and patience came in handy for me.
And I hate to break it to anyone reading this to find a shortcut, but that’s it. I chose my name, I wrote, and I waited. No magic, no tricks, just perseverance. It took about a month and a half to get first page results, three and a half months to get the first result on the first page, and four and a half months to own the first page minus a couple of shifting results at the bottom. Of course, owning the entire page has included a social media effort, which I’ll post about soon.
Of course, I’ve explained previously that the details I share on novel writing and marketing are what I’ve found to be logical and/or effective for me in regards to my fiction so far. So please keep that in mind in determining if your writing could benefit from these tips.