Author Archives: Blog Editor

Why Aren’t People Signing Up For Your Author Mailing List? | Web Design Relief

You’re ready to move your writing career to the next level, so you’ve worked hard to build an author mailing list of your fans and followers. You have an account with MailChimp, MailerLite, or some other e-mail marketing automation platform. In the back matter of all your books, you encourage readers to join your mailing list. The same invitation is pinned to the top of your Twitter feed and your Facebook newsfeed. And on Instagram, you periodically post an invite for readers to sign up. In other words, you’ve worked hard to build a newsletter subscriber list—so why aren’t people signing up?

Perhaps you aren’t offering the right hook or incentive. Fortunately, the marketing experts at Web Design Relief have a list of great ways to make your readers an offer they can’t refuse.

How To Effectively Entice Readers To Sign Up For Your Author Mailing List

Build Your Mailing List With A Free Book

To coax readers to follow you, consider offering them what they want the most: a free book! Specifically, a free e-book.

Before the digital disruption of publishing, the idea of offering a free book meant paying full price for a copy and mailing it, a cost-prohibitive venture when you’re hoping to attract thousands to your author mailing list. But with the advent of e-books, self-publishing, and an easy-to-use service like BookFunnel, offering up a free e-book to new subscribers can be effortless and free!

Using this kind of grand incentive is one of the best ways to move your social media fans and followers to your mailing list.

Lure Fans And Followers With Exclusive Content

Books aren’t the only powerful incentive you can offer. Followers and fans want to be part of the “in” crowd, so consider giving people who join your newsletter some uber-exclusive content, which may also prod them into buying your books.

Exclusive content options could include:

  • A bonus prologue or epilogue to your most popular novel.
  • A deleted scene from your latest novel.
  • A sneak-preview of the first chapter of an upcoming book.
  • A novella or short story in your series world written exclusively for newsletter subscribers.

Nonfiction writers may want to offer:

  • A resources page where readers can get more information about the topic at hand.
  • A favorite recipe that is representative of, but not found in, your cookbook.
  • A cheat sheet of bonus information, such as “best knitting tips” or “how to make a log cabin out of Popsicle sticks.”

If you’re looking to increase traffic to your author website, you can make this exclusive content available on a “locked” or “hidden” page accessible only to newsletter subscribers.

Boost Sign-Ups With Fresh, Original Content Ideas

Mark Dawson, a hugely successful British writer of spy thrillers, uses a partly redacted fictional MI5 “case file” on his main James-Bond-like character as a highly successful sign-up incentive. Dedicated readers of his novels may already know most of this information, but the compilation is original and intriguing.

Consider these other ideas:

  • An annotated family tree for your fantasy novel or multigenerational saga
  • A timeline that maps the evolution of your long-running series
  • A short nonfiction book about the creatures that live in the world you’ve imagined in your sci-fi or fantasy novel
  • Unrevealed backstory about the villain or monster in your horror novel

Maintaining an author mailing list is actually more important than social media when it comes to building a true-blue following for your work. Social media platforms change their algorithms all the time. On a whim, they could switch up the way they do business and significantly reduce your reach, since your list of followers is in their hands. So build your mailing list with gusto and confidence: Your cultivated list of email subscribers will always belong to YOU.

 

Question: What incentive does your favorite author use to entice readers to sign up to his or her list?

5 Mistakes Writers Make On Their Author Websites (And The Easy Fixes) | Web Design Relief

Did you know that every website needs regular care and housekeeping? So unless you have a fairy godmother or can sing well enough to inspire woodland creatures to assist you with your chores, you should keep a virtual broom and wrench handy. Even the most meticulous author website design may experience issues that arise over time: Links break, information becomes obsolete, plugins stop working, etc. Thankfully, the most common mistakes writers make on their author websites have easy fixes!

Check out these website blunders and Web Design Relief’s tips on how to fix them without IT support intervention.

5 Easy-To-Fix Common Website Mistakes

Broken images: Uh-oh, has your beautiful photo been replaced by a sad face or what looks like a torn piece of paper? This means that the file containing the image may have been corrupted. But this can be fixed simply by re-uploading your photo to your author website or installing a handy plugin to solve the problem for you!

Typos: Some of the most damaging mistakes on an author website are typos, grammar mishaps, and incorrect punctuation. After all, you’re a writer—you’re held to a higher standard of web content than your online neighbors. Typos and grammar gaffes on your website may cause visitors to question your writing skills in general.

And you can’t count on website building elements to alert you to typos; they don’t feature spellcheck like word processing programs do. Thorough, expert proofreading is the solution to this common mistake and can ensure that your author website is up to professional standards.

Dead Links: Is there anything more frustrating than a link that leads nowhere? If the hyperlinks you have included on your website are no longer active, your site will look abandoned and poorly maintained. Worst-case scenario—improper use of links can even get your site banned.

Fortunately, reviving dead links is easy! If a website has a new web address, simply update your link with the new URL. If the site you are linking to no longer exists, remove the link altogether or find another source. And remember to check your hyperlinks often to make sure you aren’t letting dead links lurk on your website!

Slow Response Times: Does your website take a long time to load? Having too many elements running can cause lagging. Download time is an overlooked issue on many author websites. And if your website is taking too long to load, visitors will bounce off your site.

To fix a lagging website, reevaluate what you really need on your web pages and what is simply clogging up response times. For example: There is no need to have images larger than 1500px, so you may want to resize large photos so that they do not take up so much space. However, don’t lose the resolution—make sure your photos have at least 300 dpi (dots per inch). Another tip: Instead of uploading videos directly to your website, upload them to an external website like YouTube and then embed them on your site to save space!

Design Is Not Mobile-Friendly: Your author website may look perfect on your desktop computer, but nowadays more and more people visit sites using their cell phones and tablets. So it’s important that your website looks great on mobile devices too! The key is sizing. Make certain that your buttons are big enough to be seen on smaller screens, but that your photos and graphics aren’t so big that they are cut off.

Our pro tip: Test, test, test! View your author website on as many devices as possible and adjust your design elements accordingly.

Check out these 7 tips for a more mobile-friendly author website!

BONUS TIP: While most mistakes on your author website can be easily fixed, there will be glitches that require more complicated intervention. But don’t panic! Regular website backups can still save you lots of grief. Backing up your website frequently gives you the option to revert back to an earlier version (before the error kicked in!).

 

QUESTION: What are some overlooked mistakes you’ve found on websites you’ve visited?

Your Author “About Me” Web Page: What To Include (And What Not To)! | Web Design Relief

Any savvy writer will tell you: An “About Me” page on your author website is an absolute necessity. The “About Me” page is usually one of the first pages new readers will visit, and the first stop for literary editors and agents who are interested in your work. But that doesn’t mean you should dump anything and everything onto your “About Me” page—no agent, editor, or reader wants to know the exact date you got your first haircut. Here are some suggestions from the experts at Web Design Relief on what to include and—just as important—what not to include on your “About Me” page to strengthen your author brand.

What To Include On Your Author “About Me” Page

Your Author Biography

Your author bio is the most important element of your “About Me” page. Writing it might seem challenging, but it doesn’t have to be—as long as you remember to include the basics:

  1. The genre or genres in which you write.
  2. How many books you’ve written and/or where your work has been published.
  3. Professional achievements related to your writing, such as awards, best-seller lists, even blurbs from prominent experts in your field or from fellow writers.
  4. Relevant proof of authority in terms of work experience, education, and other credentials. What makes you uniquely qualified to write what you do?
  5. Writing-related side-hustles, such as whether you’re a journalist, a reviewer, a podcast host, etc.
  6. A writing style that fits with your author brand.
  7. A personal touch, which may include a mention of your family, pets, your work for charity, or whether you have an unusual hobby or a surprising educational degree. The personal touch usually comes at the end of the bio. 

Photo Or Video Introduction

Whether your author publicity photo is an impromptu selfie or a professional portrait, you should have at least one picture of yourself on your “About Me” page. By nature, people respond to and remember faces, which will make you more memorable.

Depending on the genre in which you write, you may also want to consider adding other visuals that are in sync with your author brand. Some ideas include posting pictures of your work space, the setting of your books if you write a series set in the same town, or other writing-related photos that expand the world of your stories or give the reader a deeper sense of who you are as a writer.

Many authors who are comfortable with video embed short videos on their “About Me” pages. They often use these videos to introduce themselves, welcome readers, and invite visitors to browse, join the newsletter, or read an excerpt of their latest books. 

Call-To-Action

Every page of your author website should have a clear call-to-action based on your goal, whether it’s to sell your latest book, sign people up to your newsletter, or direct potential readers to an excerpt on another page of your website.

Since a newsletter is one of the best ways to corral readers, nurture a connection, and ultimately market your future releases, you should make sure to have a “subscribe to my newsletter” button on your “About Me” page.

Social Media Connections

Clickable social media icons provide a subtle invitation for website visitors to join you on one or more platforms. If you’re particularly active on Facebook or Twitter, consider using website plugins to display your recent posts to intrigue your website audience and tempt them to follow you.

What NOT To Include On Your Author “About Me” Page

Personal Contact Info Or TMI

Never include your home address, employment address, or personal phone number anywhere on your “About Me” page. Most importantly, avoid inadvertently including private information that is commonly stolen for identity theft, such as your exact birthdate, your mother’s maiden name, the first street you lived on, where you and your spouse met, your first pet’s name, etc. Sharing some of the details of your life on your “About Me” page is a great way to make connections, but for safety’s sake, be sure to maintain healthy boundaries.

And avoid oversharing. Telling visitors a few interesting tidbits about your life is fine, but don’t drone on for paragraphs about the spelling bee you won in third grade or how old you were when you had your wisdom teeth removed.

 

Question: What kind of information do you look for when you check out an author’s bio?

7 Social Media Scams: Writers Beware! | Web Design Relief

Social media is a great way for writers to build their author platforms and connect with fans, readers, literary agents, and editors. But beware: It also puts your personal information and privacy at risk. A recent survey found that 22% of Internet users reported being hacked at least once. At Web Design Relief, we understand… Continue Reading

Is A “Free” Website REALLY Free? 10 Things Writers Need To Know | Web Design Relief

You know all the reasons you need an author website—to act as your online information source for readers, editors, and agents; to provide a hub for your author platform, etc. But like most folks, you don’t want to spend all of your hard-earned cash building a website. Budget-conscious writers might therefore jump at the chance… Continue Reading


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