Author Archives: Web Design Relief Staff

How To Make It Easy For People To Read Your Writing On Your Author Website | Web Design Relief

Your author website is the hub for your online presence. It’s where literary editors, agents, and readers go to learn more about you and your writing. So it makes sense that you’d like to use your author website to showcase your best work! But how much of your poetry, short stories, or novels should you display? And how can you make the reading experience the best it can possibly be?

Smart Tips For Sharing Your Writing On Your Author Website

For Novelists:

Novelists have a lot of material to work with. They also have many good reasons to share excerpts of their work on their websites:

  • The first chapter of an upcoming release can be a great tease, whetting readers’ appetites for the completed and encouraging pre-orders.
  • Deleted scenes of an already published book can draw avid fans to your website, where you can encourage them to join your mailing list.
  • A short book excerpt of a yet-to-be-published novel can keep readers interested and engaged between publication dates.
  • A book excerpt from an uncontracted novel may attract the interest of editors and agents when the URL is shared with certain hashtags on social media.

Adding images to the excerpt page to illustrate setting and character, or posting a set list of music that you listened to while writing can offer new, multimedia dimensions to the story.

For Short Story Writers:

A short story writer may want to offer a free story on his or her website in order to:

  • Sell a collection of short stories that contains the freebie.
  • Attract the attention of editors of literary magazines or agents and editors who may be interested in other works.
  • Build a mailing list by attracting lovers of short stories and encouraging them to subscribe.

Rather than post a previously published short story, you might want to show off all previous publications in a hot-linked list to the actual publications.

For Poets:

Poets have to be the most careful of all when it comes to sharing work on their author websites. Here’s how to showcase your poetry wisely:

  • Only upload previously published poems, once you get the rights back from the literary journal that licensed them.
  • Write new poems to be used exclusively on your website for promotion and marketing purposes.
  • Share one poem from your self-published poetry collection to entice people to purchase the whole collection.

And whether you’re posting an excerpt or an entire poem or story, keep in mind this important caveat: The work will be considered previously published by literary journal editors. Removing an original piece from your author website doesn’t always work—old versions of webpages are still visible to a search engine. If an editor finds your “unpublished” poem cached online, you’ll look unprofessional and probably kill your chance at publication.

Don’t publish anything on your author website that you might want to submit to literary journals.

Author Website Design That Offers The Best Reading Experience

People stare at screens all day, so you want to make the online reading experience as pleasant and easy as possible:

  • Use a simple, easily legible typeface in a large enough font size.
  • Don’t blast black print against a neon yellow background just for contrast’s sake—simple black print against a gentle off-white is boring but often works best.
  • Add images if they enhance the text, but use them wisely to avoid making the background distracting or too busy.
  • Include lots of paragraph breaks—readers are intimidated by large blocks of print.

 

Question: How much of your writing do you share on your author website?

Author Website Tips For Writers Who Don’t Want To Deal With Having An Author Website | Web Design Relief

Sure, having a well-maintained, active author website is a vital element in your author platform and social media support—but who has the time to deal with that? You have your day job, appointments to keep, groceries to buy, children to drop off and pick up, and your writing time to squeeze in. You may wonder why you should worry about building an author website if you haven’t even written a book yet!

Fortunately, the experts at Web Design Relief have a trick or two up their sleeves for hassle-free author website prep.

Tips For Planning An Author Website With A Minimum Of Cost And Fuss

Claim your domain name for your author website. Author websites aren’t created in a day. There are multiple steps before you actually build the site itself. And the most important step is to claim your domain name, i.e., your “URL.”

If you have a relatively common name (like John Doe), you may find that a simple domain URL using your name, such as www.JohnDoe.com, or even a more elaborate one like www.JohnDoeBooks.com or www.AuthorJohnDoe.com, may already be taken. That means you’ll have to think up some creative domain names so your future fans can find you—a job best done when you’re not under pressure.

Decide on your web hosting company. After you’ve registered your domain name, you need to decide which company will “host” your website. Web hosting companies allow your site to be stored on their servers as they provide the technology that allows it to be viewed on the Internet. Check prices and fees carefully to make sure you find the best hosting company for your website. Remember, a bargain isn’t always a bargain: Make sure the hosting company offers the best security and regularly scheduled backups. For the most hassle-free, dependable hosting, talk to Web Design Relief!

Prepare your content. Sooner or later, you’ll have to write an author bio. You may also have to write a back-of-the-book blurb about your story or nonfiction project. You certainly will need an author-dedicated email address. An author photo wouldn’t hurt, either. When it comes to these marketing and promotion basics, you might as well start now.

Build an author website, or have one built for you. Even if you don’t have plans for a book, or it won’t be released for over a year, people interested in you and your writing will be searching for you on the Internet. What will they find?

A single page with info about your project, yourself, and your contact information is all you need to make yourself “searchable” on Google and other search engines. You don’t want to miss out on any opportunities!

Some authors build their own websites using drag-and-drop builders like Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, and Jimdo. Tech-savvy authors may use WordPress. But if you want to avoid handling all the technical complexities yourself, consider hiring someone to build your author website for you. You may be surprised at how stress-free and inexpensive it can be to have Web Design Relief do all the work for you.

While your author website is the hub of all marketing and promotion efforts and the best first step to creating a platform, you should also act now to claim your social media profiles as well. By having all your foundation elements in place, you’ll be ready to market and promote your writing when the moment arrives.

 

Question: When you go to an author website, what’s the first thing you look for? A bio? Book list? Contact information? Upcoming events? Breaking news?

6 New Ways To Move Fans From Your Social Media Profile To Your Author Mailing List | Web Design Relief

You might have the greatest group of social media fans ever, but did you know that your news blasts reach only a small percentage of them? Repeating posts can be annoying, and paying to boost posts helps, but neither guarantees you’ll reach everyone. At Web Design Relief, our marketing experts know that nothing works better to push the launch of your next book or improve your marketing and promotion efforts than a solid mailing list, where you control the timing and frequency of your emails and can even reach out to those who didn’t open your missives the first, or second, time.

How To Move Your Social Media Fans To Your Mailing List Without Being Pushy

Pin A Post

Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook allow you to pin a post to the top of your newsfeed so it’s the first thing a visitor sees. Consider crafting that post as an enticement for followers to join your mailing list, perhaps by offering:

  • a free book
  • a short story or unique content unavailable in any other way
  • advance notices of launches, exclusive behind-the-scenes information, and/or a heads-up whenever there’s a sale or discount

Include an enticing graphic to be sure to grab your followers’ attention!

Make Signing Up Simple

Include a hotlink to your mailing list in your user description on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and any other social media platforms.

Also make sure you have a “Sign Up” button on your Facebook page that leads directly to your mailing list sign-up form. MailChimp, Constant Contact, and a number of other email marketing services have Facebook apps that make it easy for fans to sign up without leaving your social media site.

Run A Contest

Running a contest or giveaway is one of the most effective ways to move your social media followers to your mailing list. Contest apps like Rafflecopter make the process easy. Just make sure to include language in the entry form that clarifies that, by joining, entrants will be added to your mailing list.

Chats And Live Videos

When it comes to making a connection with fans and followers, nothing beats live action. Consider starting up a Twitter Chat or doing regularly scheduled Facebook Live Videos or Google + Hangouts to engage your followers. A reminder about your mailing list, including the URL, may be all you need to turn those viewers into subscribers.

Lead Generation Ads

If you’re willing to spend a little money to move fans from your social media profile to your mailing list, consider Facebook’s Lead Generation Ads. With these ads, the Facebook user doesn’t even have to leave the platform in order to join your list. These ads can be targeted to people on your page, friends of people on your page, people interested in authors in your genre, etc. They can also be restricted based on age, gender, and geographical area. Facebook can even create a custom audience similar to, say, your current mailing list to increase the odds you’ll attract the right followers.

Ask

Every once in a while, ask your followers to join your mailing list. It can feel awkward to request a favor, but if you offer lots of interesting content on your social media pages, grateful followers will be willing to help you out if you ask them to sign up. Explaining the reasoning also helps convince wary fans:

Hey, everyone! If you want to be sure to receive news about upcoming books, freebies, and discounts, please join my mailing list at (URL). I love interacting with all of you on my (insert social media platform), but because of the way social media works, I can’t always reach all of you! This way, you won’t miss a thing and we’ll stay connected.

While it’s always smart to encourage fans and followers to join your mailing list, just remember that social media is about sharing. Fans and followers want to get to know you better, and that takes time. So make sure you limit your mailing list requests just as you limit your “buy my book!” posts to about one in ten. If social media followers start to feel pressured or spammed, they’re more likely to scoot away than sign up.

 

Question: What’s the favorite kind of “gift” you’ve received from signing on to an author’s mailing list?

Say Cheese! 8 Modeling Tips For A More Flattering Author Portrait Or Headshot | Web Design Relief

Whether you’re hiring a professional photographer or relying on a friend to hold the camera, you can make the most of your author headshot photo shoot by following these simple tips from the design experts at Web Design Relief. Looking good never looked so easy! Steal These Modeling Tips To Take A Great Headshot Or… Continue Reading

May 2018 Links Roundup | Web Design Relief

Welcome to May’s Links Roundup! This month, we’ve found must-read articles about how to use Instagram to improve your brand as a writer; split-testing tools to optimize your WordPress site; tips for writing a blog post series; and some fascinating new blogging statistics. Whether you create your own author website or Web Design Relief creates… Continue Reading

13 Dos and 1 Big Don’t For Growing Your Poetry Social Media Following | Web Design Relief

After years of languishing, many poets probably thought they’d never see this day come: Poetry is popular again! The social media experts at Web Design Relief are tracking a new generation of poets—dubbed “Instapoets” due to their success on Instagram—and these social media-savvy bards are commanding audiences in the hundreds of thousands while enjoying drool-worthy… Continue Reading


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