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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 From Web Design Relief

Your call to action is clear. Your site turns idle browsers into connected, focused buyers by pointing visitors very clearly toward something they can doa specific action they can take—now that they’re on your website. Often, authors like to direct visitors to sign up for their mailing list (a freebie is a great way to encourage visitors to share their email addresses). Other authors prefer to focus their website’s call to action on encouraging visitors to buy a book. Whatever your “call,” use your author website to funnel guests toward the first action you hope they’ll take.

Your website design supports your author brand. Moody and mysterious? Comedic and lively? Introspective and literary? Your author website will make the right impression on readers when you use colors, fonts, and images that echo the tones and themes of your writing.

Your headshot is a great representation of you. Your author headshot is not just an image of your face; it’s an excellent opportunity to reveal who you are without saying a word. Learn more about how to create a great author headshot on a budget . Then, pair your headshot with a “dear reader” letter or an intriguing author bio for maximum impact.

Your website tells your personal story. Smart marketers (and smart writers) know that story is one of the most compelling elements of making a sale. Your personal story—the story of how you became you—can help you connect with other people (people who also happen to be literary agents, editors, and lovers of the written word).

Your social media is integrated into your author website. Your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads feeds are woven into your author website in multiple ways, giving your readers the opportunity to connect with you via live updates. You can use static icons to direct people to your social media pages, or you can incorporate your status updates and posts directly into your website. Here are some tips from our designers about how to integrate your social media profiles into your author website.

Your website functions properly. Broken images, out-of-date text, and typos can send the wrong message to visitors. Even well-constructed websites can “break” due to server, hosting, or technology changes. Smart writers regularly check in on their author websites to make sure that everything looks okay and to avoid the mistakes that “bounce” readers fast .

Your visitors can easily contact you. Your website is more than just a digital poster; it’s a way for readers to reach out and interact with you. Learn about the contact form safety protocols that will protect you, your website, and your fans.

Remember: You Don’t Have To Spend A Fortune To Create An Impressive Website

It may be human nature to think that investing a lot of money into a project is the “best” way to go about it. But how much money you spend will not predict the success of your author website. Instead, it’s important to be sure that you’re working with a Web design company that specifically understands the needs of writers and the etiquette of the publishing industry—expertise is priceless.

Learn more about how to create an author website that fits your budget.


Question: What element of an author website is most important to you?




Tips For Getting Over Social Media Stage Fright

It’s your big moment: The audience eagerly awaits your next word. But your palms are sweaty and you’re much too nervous…to press that button and post on social media. You’re one of the many writers who suffer from social media stage fright.

Having an active Internet presence is the most effective way to develop an author brand and build your audience. However, a bad case of social media stage fright can make it harder for you to interact with your followers and build relationships with your readers.

Don’t panic! Take some deep breaths into a paper bag and read on, because we’ve got easy tips to help you shine in the social media spotlight:

How To Overcome Social Media Stage Fright

Don’t Overthink Your Posts. The more you overthink what you want to post on social media, the more you’ll get hung up on the details that your followers aren’t likely to care about: Does this post say too much? Too little? Is it too serious? Too silly? If the post resonates with you in some way, it will most likely resonate with your followers. And if it doesn’t—they’ll probably be fine with that too. If you do post something you wish you could take back, simply delete it.

Know Your Target Audience. Your author brand has a specific audience with specific interests, so use those parameters as a guide. For example, if your writing revolves around LGBT themes, you could post about issues that are relevant to the LGBT community. If you write in the horror genre, Halloween is your fans’ favorite holiday, so be sure to fill your social media with bloodcurdling, scary treats! Knowing your audience will help you identify the content that is relevant and most likely to build your fan base.

Value Quality Over Quantity. If the thought of speaking to a large crowd makes you cringe, don’t worry—on social media, you really don’t need mobs of screaming fans. While having lots of followers might make you feel like a success, it’s much more important to develop a strong relationship with your real fans and followers. You might be tempted to pay a company that guarantees you fans, but be warned: The fans they provide will most likely not be interested in you or your writing, so they’ll never interact with you. New visitors to your social media— especially literary agents and editors—would rather see that you have a strong rapport with your fan base.

Agree To Disagree. Disagreements will happen online, just as they do in real life. Generally, it’s best to not take disagreements personally. If you’re lucky, you will have a diverse group of fans who come from different backgrounds with multiple perspectives on different subjects. Focus on handling any disagreements or negative comments calmly, and you’ll be able to widen the conversation—or simply move on to another topic. Here are some tips for effectively dealing with online trolls.

Remember: You’re The Reason They’re Here. Your readers and fans are following your social media for one simple reason—they already like you! They WANT to know more about you, your thoughts, and your writing, and they’re eager to interact with you online. Make it easy for followers to connect with you by maintaining a consistent social media persona, and make a point of posting consistently.

Here’s a tip from veterans of stage performances: Don’t be your own worst heckler! Instead of focusing on yourself and how nervous you feel—focus on the audience and how much they like you and want to support your efforts. The more you practice and post on social media, the more at ease you’ll become interacting with your fans.

Question: What aspect of posting on social media makes you most nervous?


8 Tactics For Guest Blogging To Promote Your Book


Many book bloggers love inviting authors to “pay a visit” to talk about their hot new read. But if you treat a guest blog post opportunity like a megaphone to shout “Buy my book!” at unsuspecting visitors, you’ll lose your audience fast. The key to writing an effective promotional guest blog post is to find the sweet spot between blatant marketing and casual blogging. We’ve got the tips you need!

Just For Authors: How To Write A Guest Blog Post For A Virtual Book Tour

Tell a true story about yourself that relates to writing your book. While readers don’t necessarily want to hear you drone on about how great your book is, they DO want to hear about you as a writer. By sharing something true and emotional about your writing process, you avoid offending readers with flagrant promotion, you draw attention to your book in a natural, honest way, and you let readers into your life a bit so they can relate to you.

Here are some guest blog post topic ideas:

  • Where you got the idea for your book
  • If your characters are based on real life
  • If your setting is inspired by a place that has meaning to you
  • How your writing space influenced your writing process
  • How writing a book changed you
  • How books you read as a child affected your goals
  • What music you listen to when you’re writing
  • Why your book is dedicated to a certain person
  • What you believe a good book should do
  • Why reading matters in your life
  • What’s your favorite genre—and why
  • Which books are on your keeper shelf
  • How you manage your TBR list
  • The most surprising thing about publishing a book

Include no more than one or two paragraphs about your actual book. At some point, a good guest blog post connects the author’s true story with the story of the book itself. Use a segue to work a very short synopsis of your book into the blog post (sort of like what you might use in a traditional query letter synopsis). Then, quickly transition back to talking about yourself as a writer.

Keep it short. Most book bloggers have recommended word counts. If you haven’t been given a word count target, ask for one!

Get visual. Send your host an author headshot in 300dpi, as well as a photo of your book cover, so that the blogger can post them as needed. Learn more about how to create a writer headshot.

Don’t recycle blog posts. If you’re on a book blog tour to promote your book, make sure you don’t repeat yourself too often. All of your guest blog posts will have some elements in common: They fundamentally include a story about you and a synopsis of your book. But the auxiliary information and spin on your posts need to change from one blog to the next.

Give something away. Bloggers (and readers) love content that generates buzz. Ask your readers a simple question like, “What’s the earliest book you remember reading?” Then, encourage them to post their comments to enter to win. Learn more about how to host a blog contest for book promotion.

Thank your host. No blog post is complete without a nod to your host, who was so gracious to invite you to post on his or her blog.

End with your linked bio. Include a short third-person biography at the end of your post, with a link to your author website or to a retail site where readers can pick up your book.

Remember To Cross Promote

One final note about writing a successful blog post: When possible, use your own social media networks to promote your guest appearances. Share links, pictures, and contest opportunities. Not only will your own social clout rise, but you’ll also throw a little bit of promo in your host’s direction. It’s a win-win!


Question: Have you written a guest blog post to promote a book? Tell us about your experience and leave a link to your post in our comments section. We’re all about cross promotion too!




Sounding Off: The Dos And Don’ts Of Recording And Adding Sound To Your Website

In an increasingly crowded bookselling marketplace, the challenge du jour for every hardworking author is discoverability. How on earth do you distinguish yourself from thousands of other authors, and your book from thousands of new releases hitting the real and virtual shelves? The answer lies in your ability to communicate your unique brand—the special, amazing qualities… Continue Reading

Web Design Relief’s Links Roundup, September 2016

Welcome to September’s Links Roundup! This month we’re letting you in on some secrets: How Snapchat—yes, Snapchat—can help you reach an untapped market; the best ways to use the power of Medium to reach more readers; a surprising resource that offers you the best odds of getting your book reviewed; and insider advice on getting… Continue Reading

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