Author Archives: Web Design Relief Staff

Here’s The Right Way To Showcase Your Short Stories Online | Web Design Relief

As the literary world becomes more and more connected online, an author website is a great way for short story writers to share their work with readers and publishing industry insiders. But it’s very important to know the RIGHT way to showcase your short stories online.

You may be excited to share your short stories online, but Web Design Relief has one very important caveat that you must not ignore: If you want to get a story published by a literary journal, do NOT put the entire story on your author website. If you do, that story is now considered published. It doesn’t matter that it’s your own website. It doesn’t matter that only three people read it online and one was your aunt Tilly. If it’s on your author website, congratulations—the story is officially published, and most editors do not want previously published work.

How To Safely Feature Your Short Stories Online

Here are three ways you can post your short stories online without annoying literary editors:

  • Post only short stories written specifically for your online audience. These are stories that you do not intend to submit to literary journals for publication.
  • Post short stories that have already been published. Once the rights revert back to you, you can post a story on your author website that has already been published. Be sure to give credit to the literary journal that first published your story. You can also post a link that will take your visitors to the online magazine where your short story appears. In fact, whenever you have a new story appearing in a journal, posting a link on your author website and social media is a great way to cross-promote!
  • Post an excerpt from your short story. An excerpt (a few sentences or one paragraph) can act as a great teaser to build interest in your short story.

Once you’ve selected an option from the list above and decided how you want to feature your short story online, you can then promote it worry-free:

On social media: While most social media accounts have a word limit, you can post a brief blurb/excerpt from your short stories with a link to your author website or the journal where they can read the full story. Be creative, and your post might even go viral!

On your blog: You can feature a few sentences from an upcoming short story or a brief, captivating summary on your blog. Be sure to always announce whenever you have a short story accepted by a journal, and offer your readers a link to the literary magazine once the story is published. You can also include details about your writing process and the ideas that inspire your short stories.

With an image gallery: Image galleries are an essential and eye-catching element that can engage visitors on your author website.

PRO TIP: You can use an image gallery to showcase your short stories in a way visitors might not expect! Fill your image gallery with cover art from the literary journals that have published your work.

In your list of publications: Rather than trying to post all of your published short stories on your website, offer readers and editors an easy way to see the full scope of your publishing history. A website page dedicated to your list of publications is a great way to outline your short story publishing credits and provides a one-stop shop for fans who want to read more of your work.

Via your mailing lists: A mailing list is an easy way to stay connected with your readers and fans. Whenever you have a new short story published in a literary journal, or when you “self-publish” by posting a short story directly to your author website, you can send an alert to your entire mailing list. You can even use an exclusive short story as an incentive for people to sign up for your mailing list!

Remember, as long as you follow these tips and guidelines, you’ll be able to effectively boost your fan base and readership—without losing your opportunity to publish your short stories in literary journals.

 

Question: How do you boost readership of your short stories online?

How To Create A “Book Me” Page On Your Author Website To Get More Speaking Gigs| Web Design Relief

Networking, shaking hands, and meeting new people is a great way to drum up interest in the speaking or book signing events you can offer as an author. But your author website can be equally effective at nabbing you some new invitations to speak—if you’re using it right. Imagine: You could be lounging around in sweatpants, binge-watching Netflix, while your author website is hard at work scoring new book promo invitations and more speaking gigs on your behalf.

The marketing experts at Web Design Relief know that when you create an effective “book me” page on your author website, it will help you…

  • Get more invitations to speak at (or call in to) book clubs
  • Get more nibbles to give readings at libraries and local coffee shops
  • Get more invites from teachers who might want you to speak in classrooms
  • Get more requests from writing groups for seminars and lectures
  • Get more invitations to book fairs and festivals, book signings, and other events
  • Get more inquiries about teaching online classes or participating in author forums

By expanding your reach through author speaking gigs and appearances, you grow your audience and potentially sell more books. An exciting, effective “book me” page on your author website can help make that happen!

9 Tips For Getting More Speaking Gigs Using Your Author Website

Pinpoint your target audience. Are you hoping to score more invitations from book groups made up of casual readers? Or are publishing pros your target market (like booksellers, writing groups, librarians, etc.)? If your answer was something like “uh, both?” then you might want to consider creating two separate web pages: one customized for each audience. Or consider dividing your “book me” page into different sections. Why? Writing group organizers and librarians may be looking for different takeaway value from your speaking gigs than casual book readers.

Define your call to action. What action step do you want website visitors to take when they stop by to consider booking a speaking gig or call-in with you? Do you want them to reach out to you directly using your contact form? Or would you rather add them to your author mailing list (and then reach out to your subscribers regularly to let them know about new offerings)? Once you know exactly the step you want your visitor to take, be sure to make it easy for them to take that step.

Make the most of your headshot. People who are interested in meeting you might be more inclined to reach out if your author headshot (photo) shows a friendly, approachable face—you know, the face of a person who is going to be interesting, clever, and thoughtful. If your writing style is more serious or eerie and sinister, feel free to turn down the wattage on your grin for a look that’s more mysterious and intriguing. Whatever the mood of your author brand, use your author headshot to boost your personal interest factor. Learn more: Your Author Headshot: How To Create A Flattering (And Affordable!) Portrait For Print And Online.

List your offerings. Create an easy-to-skim list of seminars, lectures, classes, readings, call-ins, and other presentations that you can present to audiences. Bonus points if you’re mixing up both digital and real-time offers like FaceTime book club appearances for faraway readers as well as readings for local library crowds. Some tips:

  • Come up with catchy titles for your talks
  • Keep descriptions short and punchy
  • Put a new spin on perennial favorite topics whenever possible
  • Give audiences what they want (offer a big takeaway value)
  • Let people who want more details about your presentations know that additional info is available upon request

Sweeten the pot. Many writers try to tempt audiences to book a seminar/reading with them by offering extra enticements to participants. Here are some examples:

  • Offer a gift basket with book-related items and goodies for book club groups.
  • Host a fabulous prize giveaway that attendees can opt to enter (plus, you can collect email addresses for your subscriber list).
  • Give a free critique to one lucky listener/attendee (great for writers groups).
  • Volunteer to donate a portion of any proceeds to a related charity (aka cause marketing for authors).

Promise promo. Sometimes, overworked organizers aren’t able to drum up a lot of pre-event promo—but they LOVE the idea that you might enthusiastically drive new visitors through their doors. You might want to note on your author website that all of your events come with a free prewritten press release, flyers, social media promotion, etc.

Brag by number. If you’ve hosted events with huge numbers of attendees or you have a healthy social media following in your region, organizers would be interested in your fledgling fame and promotional reach. They may be more inclined to host your event if they sense you already have a strong following.

Let’s go to the video. Posting a small snippet of a presentation you’ve given—or even a video of yourself inviting others to reach out to you—can go a long way toward demonstrating your likeability factor. But don’t stress about it! Your video doesn’t have to be fancy to be effective. In fact, some companies have deliberately dropped high-production, slick videos in favor of clips that have a homemade, authentic vibe. But if video makes you look nervous and uptight (because, hey, we can’t all be nightly news anchors), then just skip it and embrace a medium that works for you.

Picture this. You know what they say: A picture is worth a thousand words. A photo or two of you at your events either with fans, standing in front of a crowd, signing books, etc., could hint at the promise that a great time will be had by all.

Be Smart, Be Safe, But Be Easy To Contact

Make it easy for event organizers to contact you—the more hoops people have to jump through in order to connect with you directly, the more likely they’ll say “forget it” before they manage to knock on your door.

That said, we do not recommend publishing your personal email address on your author website. First of all, you’ll want to protect your privacy. But secondly, spammers will be flooding your published email address, and you won’t be able to tell which emails are from humans and which are from spambots. So you might miss out on an important contact.

Instead of broadcasting your personal email address, invite visitors to fill out a contact form, preferably with a CAPTCHA-type security measure in place to vanquish web-trolling robots. Then, be sure to take careful precautions when moving forward with any author speaking gig: Only agree to visit reputable, safe organizations or restrict in-person lectures to public places.

Once your book promotion event is booked, brush up on your book signing etiquette, pack your books and your enthusiasm, and go have some fun!

 

Question: What strategy do you find is most effective for nabbing author speaking gigs?

Online Book Marketing Isn’t Working? Here’s What To Adjust | Web Design Relief

As a marketing-savvy author, you know building a social media platform is vital to your writing career. That’s why you post frequently, respond to all comments, and monitor your social media platforms throughout the day. But at Web Design Relief, our experts know that sometimes your online book marketing strategies don’t show any real results. What should you do when the number of your fans and followers flatlines—despite all your best efforts?

Updated Tips, Tricks, And Adjustments To Tweak Your Online Book Marketing Strategies

Ask Your Social Media Followers A Question

One of the best ways to increase engagement with your current followers and fans is to ask questions! Quick, easy-to-answer multiple-choice queries grease the ease of engagement. E-books or print? Vampires or werewolves? Coffee or tea? Sometimes a simple question gets the best results.

Another way to keep your fans engaged is to always be upbeat, even when sharing less-than-happy news. A positive outlook is always appealing. Fans and followers will respond to your optimism.

Share Eye-Catching Images In Your Posts

Data suggests that across social media platforms, posts with graphics get more attention than those without. If the thought of wrestling with the knotty tangle of photo copyright restrictions makes you twitch, consider checking out some free or low-cost graphic-design-tool websites such as Canva or BookBrush to create the most eye-catching posts you can. Another good strategy is to post your own graphic quotes using Quozio.

Take Advantage Of Available Data Analytics For Book Promotion

Numbers and statistics might make your head spin, but they can help you determine what to post for maximum engagement, and when to post for maximum exposure.

  • For Facebook, go to the Insights tab on your business page for information about which posts have the greatest reach and data about when your followers are most active.
  • For Twitter, check out impressions and engagements of a particular tweet by clicking on the three vertical bars icon under the tweet. Or check out “Analytics” on the drop-down menu beneath your Twitter profile picture.
  • Instagram business profiles have an “Insights” feature that will give data on posts, stories, and your audience.

Boost Your Best Efforts

Using data from the analytics above, you can magnify your reach on Facebook by boosting your best posts. Facebook allows you to pay to “boost” posts so that they will be seen by more of your followers, their friends, and other possible targets based on age, gender, location, interests, etc. You can choose the duration and the budget, which can be as short as one day and as affordable as one dollar per day. You can also pay to boost Tweets and Instagram posts too!

Be Innovative About Book Marketing And Book Promotion

Although one of the ultimate goals for building a social media following is to sell your books, constant posts that scream “buy my book!” will only drive followers away.

Instead, promote your book by building interest in you as a writer and the story itself. What first interested you in the setting or the premise of the book? Where did the first germ of the idea come from? Share stories about how you came up with character names, or why you hope your nonfiction will help people with a specific problem. The more your followers feel involved with the story and the process, the more likely they’ll respond when you finally do ask them to buy your book.

Plan And Schedule Your Book Promotion Efforts

It can be exhausting to spend every day coming up with new, fresh, interesting content and the graphics to go with it. To make better use of your time, do your social media post planning all at once and then take advantage of schedule-ahead options:

  • Facebook author pages allow you to schedule your posts. Use the drop-down menu of the “Publish” button on your post to access the scheduling feature.
  • Check out TweetDeck for scheduling Twitter posts.
  • Look into Hootsuite for scheduling across multiple social media platforms.

Online book marketing can easily become overwhelming. Many companies hire whole departments of social media professionals to promote their brands. But there’s only one you, so be sure to avoid social media burnout by focusing on what’s really important: writing more books.

 

Question: Of your recent social media posts on any platform, which post has had the largest level of engagement, discussion, or sharing?

5 Fun Web Design Ideas Just For Children’s Book Writers | Web Design Relief

While authors who write for adults may feature minimalist design and a monochrome color palette on their websites, the designs and colors that work for authors of children’s books can be much more expressive and bright. Parents may ultimately be your book buyers, but it’s the kids you have to impress! At Web Design Relief,… Continue Reading

6 Ways To Use Your Author Website As A Networking Tool | Web Design Relief

You made the right decision and created an author website. Excellent! Now when readers, editors, or literary agents google you, your author website will act as your online business card. But the experts at Web Design Relief have a warning: Don’t let your author website just sit there like a static, online poster with your… Continue Reading

Author Website Must-Haves When You’re On A Budget| Web Design Relief

Unless you’re George R.R. Martin or J.K. Rowling, you—like most writers—will have to invest in some self-promotion to increase your readership. And the hub of your promotional activity should be your author website. But when you don’t have the big marketing budget of a bestselling author, an author website can be a sizable expense. Not… Continue Reading


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