Author Archives: Web Design Relief Staff

Pen Names And The Internet: 5 Writer Problems—Solved!| Web Design Relief

Many prolific authors use pseudonyms (pen names) in order to write in multiple genres without muddying brands. And some writers with long or difficult-to-pronounce names may opt for shorter, easier-to-remember monikers. Pen names can also be used to build walls between day jobs and writing ventures, or to provide a fresh start if a writer’s previous efforts have failed in the marketplace. But, while there are many good reasons why a writer might use a pen name, Writer’s Relief has discovered that using a pseudonym can also introduce problems—especially when it comes to author websites and social media.

Problems—And Solutions—When Using A Pen Name On A Website Or Social Media

Problem #1: Someone Already Has The Same Name On Social Media.

With billions of people active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, it’s no surprise that you may find a non-writer with the exact same name. So how are you going to distinguish your pen name profile from thirty other non-authors with the same name—without losing or confusing your readers?

  • Facebook requires you to set up a personal profile with your real name, but you can create an author page with whatever name you please. Consider calling your new page “Pen Name Author,” “Pen Name Writer,” “Pen Name Books,” or some other simple title. Focus all of your writing-related Facebook social media efforts there.
  • On Twitter and Instagram, you can set up (separate) accounts with “handles” that also incorporate “author,” “writer,” or “book.” Just make sure to note your writing career in your short bio so your readers can feel confident that they’ve found the real you.
  • To build authenticity, keep your social media name consistent across all platforms. Ideally, all of your pen name’s social media handles will be short, easy to spell, easy to remember, and contain your pen name, preferably first.

Problem #2: Which Name Should Appear In The Website Registry?

If you’re going to use a pseudonym online, you’ll need an appropriate domain name to set up a website. But who is going to buy that domain? If you buy it with your legal name, then your ownership of the pseudonym will become searchable in website registries—and thus available to the public.

  • If you’re not concerned about anonymity, then the simplest choice is to buy your domain under your legal name.
  • If you’d prefer to remain anonymous, but want to buy your pseudonym domain name under a legal name, consider purchasing privacy insurance for a monthly or yearly fee.
  • If you wish to ensure anonymity, consider adding a layer of privacy with several corporate or legal options. Some authors write under pseudonyms connected to a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or corporation. Others file DBA (“Doing Business As”) statements with their counties. If anonymity is the central reason why you’re using a pen name, you may want to seek legal help for your particular state, county, and situation.

Problem #3: Which Name Should The Website Copyright Notice Be Under?

U.S. copyright allows for the listing of both a legal and pen name. If you register your work under your legal name (whether you choose to include your pseudonym on the copyright materials or not), your book will remain under copyright protection for the author’s life plus seventy years. However, your legal name and your pen name will be linked and thus publicly searchable.

You do have the option of registering your book ONLY under your pen name, but if you leave off any record of your legal name in the copyright, you’ll run into two issues. First, you may have trouble proving the book is yours if you don’t take the necessary legal precautions. Second, the term of the work’s copyright will be changed. As opposed to the author’s life plus seventy years, the book registered under a pseudonym alone will be protected until 95 years from publication or 120 from the creation of the work.

An IP (intellectual property) lawyer can help you consider your options wisely.

Problem #4: What’s The Best URL?

If you’re writing under several pen names, you’ll be faced with the dilemma of how to design your website for multiple pseudonyms and determining what URL works best.

If the readership of your genres is quite different—you write both middle grade books and adult erotica—you may want to set up two separate websites so the two audiences never meet. In that case, your best URL for each website is the domain name of the associated pseudonym.

If you write in several subgenres under one strong brand, you may want to consider creating one branded website that has different tabs for each of your pen names. Each of the associated domain name URLs could be directed toward the one landing page.

A good website designer can help you choose the wisest course for managing pen names.

Problem #5: How Am I Going To Manage More Than One Writing Persona Online?

One of the biggest hurdles to using a pen name is the multiplication of social media accounts, and perhaps multiple websites. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when juggling more than one active pseudonym!

Fortunately, there are social media management software options like Hootsuite and TweetDeck that can make your life easier. And linking your pen name to social media profiles across platforms can amplify your efforts.

Writing under a pen name can sometimes be challenging, but with a little planning, smart website design, and clever social media time management, embracing a pseudonym can give you anonymity and the freedom to write what you want, and multiply your chances for breaking out in a new and exciting genre.

 

Question: In what situation would you choose to write under a pen name?

Free Author Website Worksheet: Every Question Writers Need To Ask | Web Design Relief

Creating an author website involves making a lot of important decisions. From choosing a web host, to selecting the home page design, to determining which font you want to use, there are a lot of questions writers need to ask! Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t be. The experts at Web Design Relief know exactly what you need to do to create the best author website possible, and have put together a worksheet of questions you can use as a handy guide.

Worksheet: Every Question Writers Should Ask When Building An Author Website

  1. What is your main goal for creating an author website?
  2. What is your budget?
  3. Who is your target audience?
  4. Which web host will you use?
  5. What domain name do you want?
  6. Which domain provider will you select?
  7. Do you want multiple domains all pointing to the same website?
  8. Have you picked a username and password?
  9. Is your password unique and secure?
  10. Do you want to design the website yourself or hire a professional?
  11. What is your genre’s style?
  12. Have you found other websites to use as design inspiration?
  13. What do you like most about other websites you visit?
  14. What specific features do you want your website to include?
  15. How many pages do you want on your author website?
  16. Do you prefer serif or sans serif fonts?
  17. Have you selected fixed-width or fluid-width design?
  18. Do you want a pop of color on your website, or are you keeping it grayscale?
  19. Do you want a textured background?
  20. Do you have a title for your website?
  21. Do you have a tagline?
  22. Will you have a search bar?
  23. What items will be in your menu bar?
  24. Do you want a sidebar or full-length menu?
  25. Will your website be author-focused or project-focused?
  26. Will the website be more fun or more professional?
  27. Is your author bio ready?
  28. What will you feature in your header?
  29. Are you going to include photos on the website?
  30. Do your photos have high resolution?
  31. Do you need a photo gallery or slideshow?
  32. Will you feature videos on the website?
  33. Will you feature animations?
  34. Do you want social media integration?
  35. Will there be live social media widgets on the website?
  36. Will you have social media buttons and if so, where?
  37. Are you planning to have a blog on your website?
  38. If you said “yes” to the above: Do you have your first blog post ready to go?
  39. Will you have an editorial calendar?
  40. Will you enable comments on your blog?
  41. Have you planned how to make your content SEO-friendly?
  42. Are you going to sell your writing on the website?
  43. Do you prefer shopping carts or Buy Now buttons?
  44. Are you going to feature a list of publications?
  45. Do you need an events calendar?
  46. Do you plan to utilize a mailing list?
  47. If you said “yes” to the above, have you selected a host for your mailing list?
  48. Will you offer an incentive to get visitors to sign up for your mailing list?
  49. Do you have outside websites you want to link to?
  50. How will you design your contact form?
  51. Do you have CAPTCHA protection for your contact form?
  52. How else will you keep your website secure?
  53. Will you proofread your website yourself or hire a professional?
  54. How will your website be optimized for mobile devices?
  55. Can you test your website on multiple browsers?
  56. Can you test your website on multiple devices?
  57. How often will you update the website?
  58. Will you update the website yourself or hire an administrator?
  59. Have you planned a website you can be proud of?

As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider before your author website can go live: functionality, content, aesthetics, marketing capabilities, and so much more! If finding the right answers to all of the questions on our worksheet seems like an insurmountable task, Web Design Relief is here for you! We’ll help you choose the best answer for every question about building your author website.

7 Tips To Make Your Author Headshot Portrait Session A Success | Web Design Relief

Some people would rather schedule a root canal than get their photo taken. But the experts here at Web Design Relief know that for writers, the benefits of having a professional headshot to use for marketing purposes make the “pain” of posing for a picture worth it.

If you’re thinking it’s time to get an author portrait taken for your book or website (or if you’re just dreading your twice-a-decade headshot update), our tips will help soothe your nerves and pave the way for a relaxed, successful author portrait session with a professional photographer.

Tips For An Easy, Breezy Author Headshot Photo Session

Choose the right photographer. Ideally, your photographer should be interested in you as a writer. He/she should have an intimate understanding of your author brand and your goals as an author. Instead of cringing from being looked at as “subject matter,” you should feel like your photographer is your partner and co-creator. Together, your chemistry will lead to a fantastic photography experience.

Communicate any feelings of anxiety or nerves to your photographer prior to your session. Once you’ve settled on a great photographer, it’s time to express any reservations you might have about the portraiture process. Sometimes, just talking about your fears and concerns is enough to assuage them. And your photographer might have practical suggestions to nip any tension in the bud.

Let your photographer know your expectations for retouching (aka Photoshopping). Unless you convey your feelings about retouching (or editing), you might be surprised when you receive your final portraits. Photographers can often make wildly dramatic changes to facial features, hair color, and overall looks—or they can take a milder approach. Discuss before you hire.

Pick a location that makes you feel relaxed. By choosing a spot that feels good to you, you’re more likely to appear calm, cool, and authentic in your author headshot photos.

Know your good angles. Before you step in front of a camera, spend a little bit of time looking at your own face in a mirror to figure out which angles show you in your best light. Or ask a friend to snap some photos and then spend a little time deciding which poses you like best. If you know you look your best, you may feel more confident when the camera starts clicking. Learn more modeling tips for a professional-looking headshot.

Bring a friend for moral support. Having a loved one nearby for comfort, or a friend who knows which buttons to push to make you laugh, can go a long way toward feeling relaxed and comfortable during your author portrait session.

Don’t overthink it. Reading a few portrait tips is great if it builds your confidence, but if scouring the Internet for tips about how to look better in pictures begins to make you feel anxious, you may want to disconnect. Better to show up relaxed and unprepared than overprepared and wound up tight.

If You’re Not Working With A Professional Photographer For Your Author Headshot…

While a professional photographer might know the tricks that can make you feel more relaxed and lead to a high-quality portrait session, you don’t necessarily need to hire a pro in order to create a great portrait. Check out our fabulous tips for creating a DIY author portrait for your website.

 

Question: Camera shy? What tricks do you use to handle photo sessions?

How To Juggle More Than One Author Website | Web Design Relief

Sometimes the idea of having two of something sounds wonderful! (Unless it’s a paper cut, of course.) Yet many writers might think that maintaining not one, but two author websites would be exhausting. At Web Design Relief, we know there are major benefits to compartmentalizing your online content. Not only will it make your books… Continue Reading

Welcome To Patreon: What Every Writer Should Know | Web Design Relief

Many of us dream of getting paid to write. And while it’s not impossible, making enough money to support yourself by writing short stories or poetry isn’t easy. Even authors who manage to finish a book, get an agent, and sign a publishing contract may only receive an advance of $10,000—not enough to live on.… Continue Reading

The Best Author Website Strategies Of Professional Writers | Web Design Relief

If you want readers, editors, and literary agents to take you seriously as a professional writer, you must have an author website. And when your writer website incorporates smart marketing strategies, you reap the double bonus of also proving that you’re committed to building your reputation through enthusiastic outreach. If you want to boost your… Continue Reading


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