Category Archives: Author Website Design

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?

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 to worry. At Web Design Relief, we specialize in creating affordable, attractive, and functional author websites. We know which website elements are must-haves when you’re building an author website on a budget.

Design Elements Your Author Website Can’t Do Without

Domain and Web Hosting: Both a domain and a web host are crucial when building a website—after all, your website can’t run without them! A domain is your website’s name and how visitors will find you with an Internet search. Hosting refers to the company providing server space and connection to the Internet. This is where your site “lives” on the World Wide Web.

Safety Protocols: Cybersecurity is another must-have in order to keep your site, yourself, and your web visitors safe from online threats like viruses and spam. It’s worth the money (and you’ll sleep better at night) to use a dedicated hosting service that will run routine software and security updates on your site—something you can count on with Web Design Relief’s hosting service. You can also install security plugins to run scans on your site for malware and CAPTCHA-secure all areas where visitors can input information, like a contact form.

Informational Pages: Pages for your author biography, publication history, and contact form are essential because they serve as the real meat of your website. An author website is meant to act as a modern version of a business card and serve as a networking tool to further your writing career. This is where editors, agents, and your readers can learn all about you and gain insight into your previous publications. A contact form also gives visitors an easy way to get in touch with you about a question, a compliment, or even an opportunity!

Mailing List: You might be thinking: What do I need a mailing list for? But our marketing experts urge you to never underestimate the power of old-fashioned email lists. Sending promotional emails for your book projects and other writing can more effectively engage your audience than pricey social media advertisements. And while social media accounts are fleeting (think Myspace), email and mailing lists are a form of communication between you and your followers that isn’t going away any time soon.

Buy Now Buttons: Interactive buttons that lead visitors directly to the retailers offering your books and merchandise make it easy for visitors to purchase your content, transforming your website into a book-selling machine. And buy now buttons also add a layer of professional polish to your website.

INSIDER TECH TIP: There is a simple trick that achieves the same results without the extra cost of buttons. Simply include hyperlinks that lead to the various retailers, effectively acting as a button without the razzle-dazzle.

Social Media Integration: Having Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other icons on your website lets visitors easily network with you on your social media platforms. You can even feature live feeds of your social media content so that posts reach a bigger audience. There are many ways to incorporate social media on your website.

INSIDER TECH TIP: High-tech social media integration not in your budget? Consider placing posts on your website that direct visitors to your social media accounts via a hyperlink or good old-fashioned instructions on how to search for you (Follow me on Twitter at @myauthorname!). Or work in reverse! Add links to your website in the “About” section of your social media account for a free and effective way to link your audience with your website.

When it comes to building a professional author website, it’s important to know the best elements to spend your money on—and to build a great foundation without busting your budget.

 

Question: What do you consider the most important must-have element of an author website?

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Have you Googled your author name lately? What shows up in your search engine results? If the first page doesn’t include your website or other sites mentioning your books, you may want to reconsider whether your efforts to build an author brand are working. At Web Design Relief, we know that your being “Googleable” makes… Continue Reading


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