Category Archives: Grow Your Author Platform

3 Marketing Strategies Literary Agents And Editors Love To See | Web Design Relief

There’s only one thing literary agents and editors enjoy more than discovering great unpublished writing: discovering great unpublished writing that’s backed by an author who is an enthusiastic self-starter.

But what exactly do literary agents love to see in a new client? How can a writer do more than merely promise enthusiasm for book marketing?

Believe it or not, there are three simple marketing strategies that can make a huge difference for writers even before they get a book published.

Lay the foundation for your future as a successful author right now, even before you start seeking publication.

Here’s how.

Writers: Three Marketing Tactics To Implement Before You Seek Book Publication

First: Define Your Author Brand

A writer with a well-defined, recognizable brand is a writer who can expect to build an audience that will buy book after book for years to come. But how can writers build their brands even before getting published?

Simple. Learn the core concepts of author brand development and how this strategy can work for you.

A strong writer brand starts with the author’s online personality and builds a focused outreach campaign based on the author’s select literary interests.

In other words, who you are as a writer—and what you love to write—makes up the spine of your author brand. With focused effort, a writer with strong, specific branding will develop a unique voice and style that pervade book after book, delivering on the “promise” of the brand with each new title so that readers can expect stories of a consistent quality. A writer’s social media posts, marketing materials, and writing all reflect the core tenets of the author’s brand.

But a word of caution: Writers may have a natural tendency to love many sorts of books written in many different styles, but a strong writer brand is usually only big enough for focusing on a single selected genre. Writers who hop around among genres tend to take on different pen names for each style of book—but that means marketing each pen name with “new author” status and building a readership from the ground up for each new book.

How will agents and editors know you have a well-planned author brand? You can certainly bring up the details of your plans and strategies in conversation. But you can also hint at them in your query letter.

Second: Have A Fabulous Author Website

New writers often wonder: What is the point of having an author website if there are no books to sell, no publishing credits to brag about, and—generally speaking—nothing to offer potential fans?

Friends, let our years of publishing experience AND web design smarts reassure you: New writers are as much in need of great websites as established veterans. Here’s why creating a website before publication can be a benefit to literary agents, editors, readers—and, of course, to you.

  • A well-designed author website shows that you’re actively paving the way for the future—a future that you’re willing to invest in. And if a writer is meaningfully investing, agents may find it easier to follow suit. After all, an author website shows that the writer has a strong expectation of publishing success—as opposed to a vague hope that someday, something good will happen. I’m going to be great at this, the subtext screams. So why not start now?
  • An author website with integrated social media feeds, a sign-up form for email subscribers, and freebies that encourage connections with fans makes it clear that you are READY to build your readership. Plus, having fan-building functionality on your author website may surprise you: You might find more people than you ever imagined are signing up to learn about your writing. But you won’t know who might become a fan until you give them the opportunity.
  • An author website lets you tell your personal story—which is HUGE for personal marketing and branding. If you’re a new writer, your author’s bio page gives you the ability to show industry pros that you’re dedicating real effort to the craft of writing by taking classes, attending conferences, and soaking up knowledge like a bookish sponge. Even if a writer has no publication credits yet, an author website is a chance to show that it’s only a matter of time.
  • Creating an author website makes you googleable—when literary agents and editors type your name into a search engine, something will actually come up. Read more: How Writers Can Be More Googleable (So People Can Find Your Writing Online) | Web Design Relief.
  • Not having a website seems shortsighted and passive. Literary agents and editors expect their writers will be active promotional partners. In fact, having an author website is as de rigueur as having a business card. Writers who don’t have author websites imply that they are simply not interested in promotion.

If you don’t have a website yet, be sure to hire a company that truly understands your goals as a creative writer and how those goals matter within the larger publishing industry. Start by checking out Web Design Relief.

Read more:

Unpublished Writers: Strategies For Creating An Impressive Author Website | Web Design Relief

How To Help Your Author Website Designer “Get You” And What You Want | Web Design Relief

In your query letter, be sure to tell literary agents to visit your author website so they can get to know you as a writer. Instead of including a basic URL address, try: If you’d like to learn more about me, see pictures from my research and travels, or check out my popular blog posts, visit my website: URL here.

Third: Create A Foundation For Social Media Success

If you enjoy posting new pictures and thoughts on social media, count yourself lucky. You’ve got a natural advantage when it comes to marketing and promotion. You’re probably already out there sharing the ups and downs of your publishing journey and inviting potential fans into your life—and that’s exactly what literary agents and editors love to see from writers.

And here’s a secret about social media for writers: It doesn’t matter whether you have fifty Facebook friends or five hundred.

What matters is your attitude: invigorated, enthusiastic, and active. You’re already laying the foundation for a thriving community of fans, friends, and followers. And this counts big when literary agents are assessing your potential success as an online personality who can command a large fan base of readers.

But if you’re the type of writer who would rather be writing books than social media posts—who breaks out in hives just thinking about sharing any information on social media—take heart in knowing that you’re not alone.

Let’s address some common insecurities (and a few straight-up excuses) that tend to hold people back from developing a strong online social media platform.

Excuse: There’s no point in trying to gather ANY fans since it’s so difficult to gather LOTS of them.

The truth: Literary agents prize the quality of your social interactions more than they care about the quantity. A writer with 5,000 friends who rarely interact doesn’t have more marketing power than a writer with only fifty friends who actively engage regularly.

Excuse: Social media is only for young people who care about frivolous things.

The truth: Though social media is certainly popular among students, older generations of adults are also active online. In fact, the majority of people who use the Internet are using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and similar platforms. And though cat videos are perennial favorites, posts that have more poignancy or substance are welcome too. Writers can choose how to make social media their own. Learn more: Tips For Targeting Older Demographics On Social Media.

Excuse: I’m worried about posting anything personal online—it’s not safe.

The truth: It’s possible to post information that isn’t personally revealing but is still engaging and interesting. All it takes is a little creativity and an eye for intriguing, sharable content. Read more: Safety Tips For Social Networking: A Writer’s Guide To Staying Safe Online.

Even if you don’t have a huge following yet as a writer, working with what you already have puts you in a great place to expand and grow.

In your query letter, you can brag to literary agents about big numbers of fans and followers if you have them. But equally as powerful is this simple statement: I’ve been active on social media and am looking forward to continuing to grow my following.

Build An Author Platform That Will Give Your Book Every Advantage

You only get one chance to make a first impression. Take the time to build a marketing infrastructure now, and you might see a bigger payoff when you do finally submit your book for publication.

And remember, we’re here to help!

 

Question for writers: Which of these marketing strategies seems simplest to implement? Which seem hardest?

 

11 Web Design Tips That Self-Published Authors Must Know | Web Design Relief

Cookie-cutter author website templates with little functionality might be cheap—but “cheap” is still a waste of money if your author website doesn’t actually grow your writing career. At Web Design Relief, we know that self-published authors need a website that acts as a hub of connectivity and works as a powerful sales driver.

The Best Website Design Tips for Self-Published Authors

Define your mission. What specific goal must your author website accomplish? Are you hoping to sell books? Do you want to grow an email list? Do you want to point readers toward your social media profiles and build your following there? Although your website may offer visitors various opportunities, you as an author should have a clear mission of your top, primary goal.

Send out the call. Once you know your website’s essential goal, you can design the layout of your individual webpages to support that goal. Every page of your website—especially your author homepage—should offer a clear call to action that makes it easy for visitors to do what you want them to, whether it’s sign up for your newsletter or buy your book.

Choose a great domain name. The URL of your author website could be your name, your book title, or something else entirely. Here’s how to pick a domain name that’s right for your writing career.

Build your branding. From your author headshot to your website’s footers, every element of your author website should support your author brand. Each component should embrace the same mood, tone, and color schemes so that all elements of your website tell the story of who you are and the types of books you offer.

Make a mailing list. Although much emphasis is placed on the power of social media for generating word-of-mouth sales, the fact remains that your email list essentially belongs to you—but your social media platform does not. For that reason, building a private mailing list—that you own and control—is an important long-term strategy for advancing your writing career. Learn more about how to entice people to join your email list.

Socialize. Integrate your social media feeds into your author website so all of your posts and pictures will automatically appear on your site as you share them. It’s a great way to ensure that your author website remains fresh, lively, and up to date.

Tell your own story. The story of who you are and how you came to be a writer may be one of your most powerful marketing tools. Learn more about how to tell your personal story on your author website.

Cater to the media. Make it easy for bloggers and reporters to download a media kit that includes all your basic information, as well as free press releases and your author headshot.

Use your cover art. If you have fabulous cover art that stirs up strong emotional reactions, be sure to feature it on your website! The bigger a reader’s emotional reaction to what they find on your website, the better.

Create a website that sells. If you’re hoping to sell books directly from your author website, check out this article: Nine Author Website Tips To Increase Your Book Sales.

At Web Design Relief, we specialize in creating affordable websites that suit writers and their unique needs. Schedule a free consultation call today to find out how we can help you!

Keep yourself safe. Most visitors who come to your website will be avid readers searching for a great new book to buy. But not everyone who types your URL into a browser is harmless. Here’s what you need to know to protect your website, yourself, and your visitors from hackers, spammers, and thieves.

 

Question: Which of the elements on our list do you think is most important for writers who are building an author website?

Behind The Scenes: 10 Secret Tips For Creative Writers Who Blog | Web Design Relief

Creative writers who blog tend to drive more visitors to their author websites than those who don’t. But what are the secrets behind a successful blog? The experts at Web Design Relief offer ten insider tips for writers who blog!

10 Tips To Help Creative Writers Boost Their Blogs

Post original content. While this may not exactly be a big secret, it’s important to offer readers fresh content on a regular basis. (Google loves original content too!)

Provide relevant metadata. Metadata is the text that is visible to search engine algorithms. When you provide a relevant metadata description, it’s easier for people to find your blog. These 156 characters represent the first point of contact with your author brand, so make them count! Learn how here: Through The Eyes Of A Search Engine: Metadata And Your Searchability.

Get new traffic to old posts. At a loss for new content? Promote your older blog posts on Twitter by using special hashtags like #WaybackWednesday or #ThrowbackThursday.

Use a great blog post title. Don’t let an awesome post languish because of a boring title! A great title sells the content of your post to people who see it on social media, RSS feeds, etc. Use a web analytics tool like Google Analytics and URL shorteners to see which titles drive the most traffic to your site.

Comment on other blogs. When you comment on other blogs, you gain backlinks and a higher volume of traffic, all while building your author brand. Leave thoughtful comments that show you’ve read the post, and use a Gravatar—an image that follows you from site to site to help cement you in readers’ minds. Don’t forget to add your site name next to your own name to further increase traffic when you comment!

Use keywords. These are the words or phrases people are mostly likely to type in when using a search engine, and successful bloggers know that incorporating keywords in their blog post titles and strategically throughout their post content can help boost their rankings. Just beware of “keyword stuffing.” (Hint: Use the Google Keyword Planner for suggestions. It’s free!)

Optimize your images. You have the option of adding alternate text for the images you upload to your blog, which can also boost your SEO efforts. Image-alt text describes the image for search engines, so it’s important to provide descriptive and informative filenames for your images. Include keywords and use hyphens between the words for best results.

Discover the secret of the Yellow Box. Yellow is a color that draws the eye. Consider presenting your call to action in a yellow box (or whatever color matches your brand) within your blog post, and make it easy for readers to subscribe, download a PDF, or buy your book!

Aim for clear, concise posts. You have limited time to interest readers before they get bored and bounce to another site. So make sure you’ve eliminated the clutter of filler words and long, rambling sentences.

Connect with readers. End each post with a question or a call to action to encourage interaction. Here’s more about how to engage your readers.

Ready to optimize your author website’s blog? Before you dive in, check out more tips from Web Design Relief: How To Revise Your Author Website For The Better.

 

Question: Do you have a tip to share when it comes to driving traffic to your blog?

Writer: Turn Your Acceptance Letters Into Online Marketing Gold | Web Design Relief

If you’ve been making creative writing submissions and getting your fair share of rejections—an acceptance letter is cause for celebration! And while you’re doing your happy dance, tango on over to your computer keyboard to share the good news. The marketing experts at Web Design Relief explain how getting an acceptance letter offers you a… Continue Reading

5 Ways To Digitize Your Writing Conference Experience | Web Design Relief

There was a time when workshops and seminars for writers were limited to what was discussed and reviewed in hotel conference rooms or classrooms. So if you weren’t an attendee, you’d have to wait weeks or even months to pick up the few crumbs of information available when summaries of the conferences finally showed up… Continue Reading

5 Things Writers Don’t Know About Instagram—But Should | Web Design Relief

 Since its launch in 2010, Instagram’s popularity has been growing by leaps and bounds. Today, Instagram is one of the most commonly used social media platforms in the world, with a reported 500 million daily active users! And while other social media platforms have peaked and are trying to reinvent themselves, the social media experts… Continue Reading


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