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 book sales!

This is the best time for poets to jump on the social media bandwagon and build their social media following. Here’s what you should (and shouldn’t) do to grow your poetry audience:

How To Grow Your Social Media Following As An Instapoet

Join the community. Mingle, watch, learn, and see who’s already at the party. If the online poetry vibe doesn’t resonate with you, you have a few choices: stay and conform, stay and try to change it, or leave and start a party of your own.

Learn the etiquette. You don’t have to focus on Instagram to become a celebrity poet. Choose a platform you like! But be sure that you have a deep understanding of its rules—both formal and informal—as well as its etiquette, sensibility, and intentions.

Help yourself. There’s a personal development movement in the uplifting verses of many Instapoets. And is it any wonder? Our challenges make us grow—and profound inspiration inspires profound response.

Confess. Confessional poetry has a big audience among social media users, so don’t be afraid to share your raw, #nofilter experiences and emotions. A big emotional wallop leaves a lasting impression on readers. And unforgettable images—both metaphorical and visual—can catch your readers’ attention.

Get mad. From explorations of institutional injustice to experiences of personal affront, poems that are politically charged or infused with righteous anger are sometimes swiftly shared among frustrated peers.

Embrace your passions. What really fires your engine? What makes you obsessed? When you share your deepest passions with readers, you may move them to empathy. Start by finding your voice.

Experiment with fonts. Many social media poets find that a photograph (or snipped image) of a well-typeset poem is more readily shared than a poem that has simply been cut and pasted into a word-processing program using standard fonts and margins.

Use images. Social media posts thrive on strong visuals. Even if you don’t know the difference between f-stops and ISOs, you can create compelling, artistic (maybe even poetic) pictures using image editing apps that apply filters and effects.

Embrace the self-portrait. Confessional poets are the subject of their own poems—and Instapoets often put their portraits front and center regularly on social media accounts. Learn more about DIY headshots.

Post often. Long silences may be poignant in poems or conversations—but not on social media. Online, your followers will quickly move on if your social media platform gets stale.

Quote yourself. Choose your best quotes and incorporate them into images that followers will want to share and share again. Here’s how. Shorter poems—little poetry snacks instead of ten-course feasts—seem to be fan favorites.

Make a slam dunk. Slam-style poems can be social-sharing gold, so hit “record” on your camera and post live recitations of your poems.

Monetize, merchandize, and advertise. Create your own collection of poems to sell. Create T-shirts with your best quotes. Book advertising space, guest blogging spots, or pay-to-play mailing list slots. You don’t have to wait for organic notoriety to spring from the fertile fields of the Internet—instead, create a marketing campaign!

If You’re Not Authentic, Go Home

Poetry purists might argue that there’s no room in poetry for considerations of marketing. It’s the words that should come first (and last, and in the middle too)—not some aspiration to become an Internet meme. Readers can sniff out imposters like teens hunting for free Wi-Fi.

Also, keep in mind: What you post on social media may be considered published by literary journal editors. So think carefully before you put up that image featuring your new poem.

If you love the poetry, community aesthetic, and vibe of the Instapoet scene, then dive in! But like Mom and Dad always said: Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you should too.

 

Question: Is promoting poetry online a worthy cause or a waste of time?

How To Monetize Your Author Website (Without Annoying People) | Web Design Relief

By the time you factor in expenses like Web hosting, site design, updates, headshots, registration fees, etc.—maintaining an author website can take a big bite out of your budget. But with a little creative thinking, you might be able to get some of that money back by turning your author website into a source of income with smart website monetization. The trick is to not turn your website into an advertising three-ring circus in the process!

Web Design Relief Explains How To Appropriately Monetize Your Author Website

Build a book-selling website. If your books are selling well, capitalize on that by creating an author website that has been designed from the cyber ground up to generate book sales. With emphasis on your books and a simple/easy buying experience, your author website can help put extra money in your pocket. But there are right ways and not-so-right ways to make the most of your online retail space: Be sure you’re working with a website designer that has experience in the publishing business. (Wherever will you find one? Um…see our banner above.)

Blog to a big audience. Bloggers can make money by offering vital information to voracious audiences. Consider starting a book fan blog and promoting it with lots of giveaways for avid bookworms. Once your audience has grown, you can charge for advertising and guest blogging. Or try blogging about your hobbies with posts that are jam-packed with clever, useful tips. If your blog gains popularity, you may be able to muster the power of your fan base to create affiliate link relationships, accept sponsorships, or even parlay your blogging into a book deal.

Create and sell an eBook. Offer your readers how-to information in an eBook format, and make it available through your website. A successful indie author can write an eBook on self-publishing. A writer who pens short stories could write an eBook about how to get short stories published. Short books and novellas might not make you rich, but every little bit helps!

Sell ad space. Partner with a third-party company like Google AdSense that will place pay-per-click targeted ads on your author website. But you may not have control over the content being shown to your visitors.

Accept sponsored blog posts. Some bloggers have such a great audience that other bloggers/writers will pay for the privilege of publishing a guest post. If your readership is already vibrant, you could make this opportunity available to other writers who want to guest blog on your site.

Take donations. Seriously. You don’t have to be pushy about asking for donations on your author website—but a respectful “donate” button on your site will probably not hurt anyone’s feelings. And you may be surprised by reader support!

Add a “hire me” page. Are you willing to consult with other writers on their projects? Or do you have other skills to offer? Visitors who want to work with you will be glad to know that the opportunity is there. They might not ask otherwise!

Remember To Keep Your Priorities In Sight

You don’t want to send out conflicting messages to your audience about your author brand. Some visitors might not take too kindly to “hard sell” tactics if what they’re looking for is more information about your creative writing. Also, if you spread your moneymaking efforts too thin, you run the risk of not succeeding at any of them. Monetizing your website can work; you just may need to experiment to find your visitors’ comfort zone.

 

Question: Would you consider monetizing your author website?

What Is Your Author Website’s Primary Mission? | Web Design Relief

Let’s talk about a new way to think about your author website in order to reach your goals. The experts at Web Design Relief know that successful author websites have one clear, primary mission—whether it’s to sell books, develop a fan base, connect more personally with readers, or build a brand.

So…what is your author website’s mission? Find the answer by asking yourself these questions:

What is a mission?

A mission calls for something to be accomplished. As you build or maintain your author website, ask yourself: What is the most important objective for this site? Your overall mission may be to develop a fan base for your debut novel, or to consolidate all your nonfiction books in one place for easy shopping.

How is a mission different from a call to action?

A mission is a bigger goal than a call to action, which asks the visitor to take a specific action: Like my Facebook fan page! Enter my contest! Sign up for my newsletter! Click here! These are all effective calls to action.

How is a mission different from an author brand?

An author brand is an implied promise that the reader can count on consistency from the author. For example, fans of John le Carré can rest assured that his newest novel will be an espionage-type thriller, not a flowery, romantic read, and Alexander McCall Smith’s latest release isn’t going to be terrifying or nerve-racking.

How do you identify your author website’s mission?

Try drafting a mission statement that answers the following questions: What do I do? (I write nonfiction, self-help books.) How? (I write faith-based, easily accessible books with straightforward language.) What makes my work unique? (My writing is informed by my degrees in psychology and religion.) Who is my audience? (My audience is primarily Christian women.) What value do I provide? (I help people who are struggling with depression.)

In this example, your author website’s mission could be stated as “Attract a female Christian audience to my website to see my entire selection of self-help books.”

5 primary elements that support your website’s mission:

Call to Action. Whether you want visitors to sign up for your newsletter or “click here” for links to your book’s sales sites, make sure your CTA is clear and it’s easy for visitors to follow through.

Images. Many authors discount the importance of including images on their websites, but statistics show that visitors are drawn to them. Learn more: Posting Images on Facebook and Social Media Sites, and check out how to add textured images to your site for a little extra pop!

Author Bio. Intrigue your readers by offering more than just a dry listing of your high school achievements, accolades, and a catalog of your books. Express the core message behind your work, your inspiration, and anything else that will make the reader curious to learn more.

The Dear Reader Letter. Here you can speak directly to your website’s visitors. Showcase your voice, your style, and your mission in this personal welcome letter. Keep it warm, casual, and somewhat brief.

Blog. Blogging on a regular basis is yet another way to form a connection with your audience. You can share personal insights on writing, your process, the publishing industry, etc.; share information that relates to your work (like an interesting article about llamas that relates to your gentleman farmer how-to book); or link to other articles, websites, and images. (See Web Design Relief’s A Weary Writer’s Guide to Blogging for more tips.)

Other elements that will help showcase your author website’s core message—or mission—include:

  • Your contact information
  • A professional (posed or candid) headshot
  • A list of your books
  • Social media icons
  • A “Buy Now” button
  • Reviews and accolades
  • Email or newsletter subscriber list
  • Upcoming events / latest news

Designing an author website that clearly conveys a mission can be a bit overwhelming, so it’s important to find the right designer—one who understands the particular needs of an author. Our experts at Web Design Relief can help you create an author website that effectively incorporates your mission. Schedule a consultation today!

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