Category Archives: Blogging Tips For Authors

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 Portrait

Wear solid colors or small prints. Loud prints can clutter an image and draw viewers’ eyes away from your face. If you want to wear big, bold prints, go for it—we won’t stop you! But smaller prints may be easier on the eyes of your author website visitors. And if you go too far in the monochromatic direction, keep in mind that black or white clothing may also present problems in portraiture: White can blow out, and black can lose definition and disappear. Learn what colors look best on you.

Know your good angles. Spend some time looking at your face in the mirror. When you tilt your chin down slightly, your eyes will look bigger, giving an impression of approachability. Tilting your chin up slightly can convey a strong bearing. Turning your head to the side, but keeping your eyes on the camera, might give the impression of a writer who has a secret to tell. Play with your expressions and angles so you capture the expression that best represents you as a writer.

Lean forward, just a smidge. Leaning forward elongates the neck, emphasizes the jawline, minimizes a soft chin, and puts the emphasis on your eyes. It may feel weird, but it can have great results!

Turn your shoulders. Staring straight into the camera can resemble a mugshot and make you look wide. Instead, move one shoulder to a 45-degree angle to your camera lens—you’ll look more approachable and natural.

Smile, smile, smile. A single face can wear a thousand smiles—from toothy and unrestrained to subtle and subdued. Try them out in a mirror and then try them out during your photo shoot. Hopefully you have a photographer who can help you “craft” a natural subdued smile but who can also crack a joke and make you laugh in order to catch that gleam in your eye.

Squint. One of the best kept secrets for an intriguing headshot? The squint. A subtle squint with a smile lends authenticity to a grin or thoughtfulness to a serious look. Practice a little in the mirror to see what you think. But if looking like you’re trying to see Jupiter without a telescope feels overwhelmingly uncomfortable to you, don’t do it. Better to be relaxed and natural overall.

Ask for some headshots AND for some portraits. Unlike the up-close-and-personal style of a headshot, a portrait pulls back the lens for a wider view of you and your surroundings. Use your background to help show who you are as a writer. Write romances? Have your photo shoot in a rose garden. Mysteries? Maybe stand in front of an abandoned building. Or you can simply show another side of your personality: Maybe you’re lying in a field of wildflowers or getting a smooch from your dog. Ask your photographer for a mix of both headshots and portraits. They’ll come in handy at different times.

Request black-and-white versions of your photos. Why ask for black-and-white versions of your color portraits? Good photographers know that there’s more to a flattering black-and-white image than simply removing rainbow colors. There’s a whole spectrum of black-and-white possibilities. And your black-and-white photos will look better if they were designed to be shown that way from the get-go (as opposed to having the color stripped by a copy machine).

Make yourself comfortable. A relaxed, self-assured vibe can make the difference between a flattering headshot and one that’s bound for the circular file. Consider: What can you do to make yourself comfortable in front of the camera? Bring along a loved one? Make some goofy faces to loosen up before getting serious? Maybe listening to music would help? When you feel good, you look good!

 

Question: Getting your picture taken—love it or hate it?

 

6 Author Website Elements On Publishers’ Wish Lists | Web Design Relief

 

Traditional book publishers are always on the lookout for the next best seller, whether it’s a topical nonfiction project or the latest Great American Novel. But before they accept a manuscript, book publishers want to know whether the author will also be a good business partner. Web Design Relief knows that publishers have a specific wish list of what key marketing and promotional elements they hope to find on the author website:

What Publishers Look For On Your Author Website

Project-Appropriate Website Design

Publishers will expect a professional website as a given, but they also want to see if you understand what you are selling. Considering color, construct, typography, and imagery: Do the website design elements you’ve chosen accurately reflect the nature, mood, and themes of the books you write?

Clear, Clean Website Design

Does your website load quickly or is it riddled with advertisements? Is the menu easily visible? Is navigation simple and concise? Is there too much text in big, blocks of hard-to-read type? Do the website design elements enhance or detract from ease of navigation? The easier a book publisher can move around your website, the more they’ll like it.

Focused Website Design

A smart author sets a goal for her website, and that goal is projected in a concise call to action on the landing page that leads to some hoped-for final action:

  • If the goal of the website is to grow an audience: Does the author include a pop-up box with a call to action to collect emails for a newsletter, subscribers for a blog, or followers on social media?
  • If the goal of the website is book sales: Are buy buttons visible, the call to action clear, and the associated blurbs, text, and marketing copy compelling?

Visible Social Proof

Book publishers will note the number and engagement of your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest followers—but they’ll also keep an eye on website-related stats, such as:

  • Website traffic measures through Google Analytics, etc.
  • Number of newsletter followers and how frequently you put out a newsletter
  • Number of blog subscribers and how frequently you blog
  • How evergreen your content is
  • Engagement in terms of comments, responses, retweets, shares, etc.

A Compelling Author Bio

The goal of an author bio is to engage the reader’s empathy and interest. Along with books, awards, and literary accomplishments, publishers look for author bios that give readers a glimpse of the person behind the writer: candid photos, letters to the reader, an inside look at the origin of your latest story, or even a personal story that connects with the themes of your book.

List Of Professional Contacts

Publishers want authors who know the importance of connections. Bloggers, bookstore owners, speaker’s bureaus, and foreign or subsidiary rights agents interested in your book will go to your website in search of contact information, so be sure to include:

  • Links back to the publisher’s website to strengthen the relationship between book, author, and publisher.
  • Contact information for your agent.
  • Contact info for you or your publicist so bloggers and reviewers can submit requests directly.
  • Buy buttons for multiple retailers, because publishers have relationships with all of them and don’t want to see favoritism.

What publishers want to see in an author website is often the same as what your fans and readers want: a site that conveys the theme, mood, and atmosphere of the books—and the personality and individualism of the writer—offers evergreen content, and presents easy ways in which both fans and professionals can contact, engage, and quickly connect.

 

Question: Is there an element of website design that puts you off, such as sound, video, certain typography, excess of text, etc.?

Online Marketing Tips For Writers Who Have More Than One Pen Name | Web Design Relief

There are several reasons why an author would use multiple pen names. Perhaps you write in three different genres and don’t want to confuse your separate audiences. Or you are published with a traditional publisher but also self-publish under a different name. Maybe you just want to start fresh. But the experts at Web Design Relief know that having two or more author pseudonyms can complicate your marketing and social media efforts—how do you handle promotion and branding when you have more than one author name?

Marketing Questions To Ask Yourself When You Use Multiple Pen Names

Connect Multiple Pen Names Or Keep Them Separate?

The first question to answer is whether you want people to know that you’re publishing under multiple pen names.

Perhaps you write for young children as well as for more mature audiences. These are two audiences that don’t overlap. Or you might have professional reasons for separating your identities. For years, the romance writer Eloisa James (aka Mary Bly) kept her pseudonym secret from her colleagues at Fordham University, where she taught English literature, fearing the revelation would affect her bid for tenure. These are good reasons to separate your pen names.

But if you believe that some of the readers who adore your YA dystopian fiction will also enjoy your intergalactic hard sci-fi—or if you just want to simplify your marketing and promotion efforts—you can publicly link your author pseudonyms.

A Single Combined Website Or Multiple Author Websites?

If you’ve decided to keep your pen names distinct, you’ll also have to keep your websites separate. That means maintaining an author website for each of your pseudonyms. For this option, there’s additional cost involved in designing and hosting fees, as well as the time it will take to keep multiple websites regularly updated.

However, if you don’t mind linking your pseudonyms, there are many creative ways you can build a single website that accommodates all your pen names:

  • Make your website landing page a portal that gives readers a choice as to which of your names they’re interested in learning more about.
  • Direct the URL for each pen name to one website that links all of your pseudonyms. Check out the website for Jennifer Ashley and Allyson James.
  • If the branding for your pseudonyms is similar, you can simply use separate tabs on the home page to direct readers to each of your pen names.

One Social Media Profile Or Many?

Whether you’re keeping your pseudonyms separate or linking them, you may have to set up separate social media identities for each name to make sure you’re not missing a segment of your audience:

  • Facebook allows you to make as many “author” business pages as you want, as long as you have a Facebook profile.
  • Twitter lets you make as many personas as you have email addresses.
  • Goodreads requires you to create a separate profile for each of your pen names.
  • Instagram also requires you to create a separate profile for each of your pseudonyms.

If you’re wondering if this will double (or triple!) the amount of time you have to spend on social media, you’d be right—if it weren’t for the wonders of social media automation features! Here are some ways you can write your posts on one social media platform and have them automatically posted on other platforms:

Using more than one pen name definitely means a lot more marketing and promotion work for the writer. Fortunately, that drawback is often offset by the creative benefits of writing for multiple pen names or in multiple genres, which keeps your work fresh, vibrant, and exciting.

 

QUESTION: If you use more than one pen name, how many do you use and why?

What Is A Call To Action? And How Does It Work For Writers? | Web Design Relief

When you research ways to market yourself as a writer, you’ll run across experts who talk about creating a strong call to action. But what is a call to action? And what does it mean for creative writers who want to build their reputations and sell books? Let’s take a look. Web Design Relief Explains… Continue Reading

7 Signs That Your Writer Website Will Impress Literary Agents, Editors, And Readers | Web Design Relief

Your author website is the hub of your online identity. It’s the first place curious visitors will check to learn more about you and your writing. Are you sure your author website will make a good impression on literary agents, editors, and—of course—readers? Signs Your Author Website Will make A Good First Impression: Insider Tips… Continue Reading

The Top 5 Problems Of (And Solutions For) Maintaining A Writer’s Blog

One of the most important self-promotion tools available for writers is an author website—and, more specifically, the writer’s blog featured on that website. A blog gives you the opportunity to connect directly with your readership, to contribute to the literary community, and, of course, to promote your writing. But maintaining an effective, interesting blog that… Continue Reading


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