Author Archives: Web Design Relief Staff

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. Some writers have turned to the crowdfunding website Patreon to make money by writing, even if it’s just a few extra bucks. But before you create your Patreon account and start posting, Web Design Relief gives you the facts that every writer should know.

Welcome to Patreon!

Launched in 2013, Patreon is a crowdfunding website that gives creatives—writers, podcasters, visual artists, musicians, video creators, and others—the ability to publish and share their original content. In return, fans (or “patrons”) support the artists by paying for access to the content. Creators can charge by the post, or they can set up monthly subscriptions.

The subscriptions can be tiered too. So the more a patron pledges to pay each month, the more content they will receive.

Creators can also set funding goals, which are checkpoints that explain what they will be able to create or achieve once they have a certain amount of monetary backing.

It’s free to get started: Once you start earning, Patreon takes a small chunk of your income—currently 5-12 percent, depending on the plan you choose.

Patreon Is Different From Kickstarter

Sites like Kickstarter are mainly used to fund entire projects and get them off the ground, but Patreon allows fans to support artists on a continuing basis—and usually with much smaller monetary contributions.

Kickstarter users set an initial goal for the amount of money they will need to complete a project, and then ask people to fund that project. And although you can set funding goals on Patreon, the overall idea of the site is very different.

This is why, while Kickstarter may be good for those looking to make a movie or an album or something that can cost a lot of money up front for production, Patreon is perfect for writers who want to post regularly and earn some money while doing so.

How A Writer Can Use Patreon

True, there are writers on the platform who bring in thousands of dollars a month (N.K. Jemisin snags over $5k a month!), but most Patreon users won’t be able to give up their day jobs.

However, writers who use the site can definitely bring in some side money. The more patrons you have, the more you will earn, so income will build as your base does.

To start, you can offer smaller rewards for a fairly low monthly subscription, and include a few higher tiers. Rewards can be new poems or short stories, newsletters or blog posts, or even services such as offering feedback or proofreading/editing someone else’s work! In general, the more content you create, the better chance you have at making money.

And that leads us into another benefit of Patreon—motivation! If you have people paying you (even if it’s just a few dollars a month) and they are expecting new content on a consistent basis, it can serve as a great source of creative inspiration and motivation.

To have the best shot at making some money, you’ll want to play to your strengths. If you already have several short stories, poems, or even a completed novel that you’ve yet to submit for publication, consider publishing the work on Patreon (a novel can be serialized for the platform).

Keep in mind that your income hinges on building a following, so self-promotion will be necessary. If you have social media or an author website, those are great places to spread the news about your Patreon account.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Remember, if you publish work on Patreon, it will be considered previously published by literary editors. Don’t publish anything on Patreon that you might want to submit to literary journals for publication.

Tips For Success On Patreon

  • Check out other writers on Patreon (especially the successful ones) for inspiration.
  • Don’t be afraid to self-promote!
  • Make (and stick to!) a content creation/posting calendar. If you don’t keep to your promised posting schedule, your patrons won’t keep funding you.
  • Connect with your patrons—see what they like, what they want to see more of, etc.
  • Make sure to set up rewards that you know you can consistently provide. Start small but include a variety of tiered options.
  • If you write in a certain genre, check out places on the Internet or in real life where fans of this genre congregate, and promote yourself!
  • You can always adjust your fees/rewards. Maybe you need to lower your subscription fees at first. Or maybe you can add new tiers at higher rates. Writing a lot? Put out content more often! Not writing consistently? Charge by the post instead of by a subscription.

The Takeaway: What Writers Should Know About Patreon

Posting on Patreon probably won’t replace your day job, but it can be a great, long-term option for bringing in some extra cash, maximizing your productivity as a writer, and building a fan base.

 

Question: Have you posted on Patreon? How has it worked out for you?

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 reputation and your marketing power, Web Design Relief shows you how with tips hacked from the author website strategies of successful writers.

Author Website Content Strategies That Show Publishing Professionalism

Professional author website domain name (URL). Your author URL is your professional address; it should be relevant and memorable (with no extensions that indicate that your website was built using free software). Here’s how to decide which author website domain name is right for you.

Custom, ad-free layout. Cheap or free websites often seem like a good deal—except that many of them contain advertisements. Visitors to your author website shouldn’t be distracted by spammy ads that give off the wrong vibe. Your website should also be personalized as much as your budget allows; after all, your unique voice is your best selling point in your writing career.

Integrated social media feeds. Regularly updating your social media feeds is a great way to grow your audience. But did you know that you can also set your social media updates to appear automatically and instantly on your author website? Not only does this tactic demonstrate to agents and editors that you are committed to marketing, but also keeps your author website fresh and interesting with very little extra effort on your part.

Links to your published works. Whether your published works are poems in literary magazines or full-length books, make it easy for visitors to read your writing. Linking to your published materials demonstrates pride in your work.

Opportunities to sign up for your mailing list. By creating incentives that tempt visitors to sign up for your mailing list, you send a message to industry professionals that you are happy to embrace smart marketing strategies—and you are also setting the stage to support a wide readership. Learn more about which tactics can get people to sign up for your writer mailing list.

Easy-to-use “contact me” page. Make it easy for a literary agent or editor to reach out to you with career-building opportunities by creating a simple “contact me” page. You don’t have to give away your personal information in order to be easy to reach (and it isn’t recommended to do so online). Instead, you can use a plugin to hide your private info, minimize spammers, and facilitate easy outreach for website visitors.

Good headshot. You don’t need to fork over a ton of money to have a great author portrait taken. While a professional photographer can help ensure good lighting, focus, and flattering retouching, you may be able to create an author headshot using nothing more than a simple point-and-shoot or one of the amazing phone photo apps available now. Learn more about how to create a professional-looking DIY author portrait.

And The Best News Is…

Having an author website—even if it’s very basic—is a huge indicator of a writer’s dedication to building a reputation in the publishing industry. So even if you have a very simple author website, you’re already ahead of the game.

If you don’t have an author website, there’s never been a better time to get one! Web Design Relief offers a range of author website design options for writers of all genres and budgets. And our publishing experts can advise you on the strategies that readers, literary agents, and editors love to see.

 

Question: What has been most helpful to you in building your reputation as a committed writer?

Should You Renovate Your Author Website Or Start Over? | Web Design Relief

Visit a few of your favorite author websites and you’ll see some that just need a little touch-up, while others need a complete overhaul. Where does your author website fall on the spectrum? Is your author website a fixer-upper, or does it need to be torn down and rebuilt from scratch? The experts at Web Design Relief can help you determine whether you should renovate your author website or start over.

Reasons Why You Should Rebuild Your Author Website From Scratch

Much-needed updates. Let’s face it—having an outdated author platform isn’t the best marketing strategy. It can be a big red flag to web visitors that your website, and maybe even your content, is outdated. When your author website design is missing key, up-to-date features like social media widgets, mobile-friendly layouts, and responsive images, it is better to start from scratch than try to extensively manipulate your current website.

Rebranding. While some authors find their niche and stick to it, others take their career in an entirely new direction. For example, if you’re a children’s book author and are now suddenly publishing horror novels, a new website is certainly in order. This can help you better target your new audience and increase your readership.

New concepts or functions. For many authors, their websites serve as an online storefront to sell books and other merchandise. However, now most authors are shifting to selling their books on third-party retailers like Amazon, or simply offering them as e-books on Kindle and Nook. If you’re thinking about ditching the shopping cart or adding a new concept to your website (like creating a platform for blogging), it’s time for a new website!

Writing career relaunch. If you’ve taken a break from writing for a prolonged period of time, you may feel like you simply need to dust off your old author website. However, a new website can actually give your career a boost! How? Rather than emphasizing the gap in your writing career (which may be evident if you’re using your old site), a new website will give your readers a visual treat with eye-catching designs, new logos, updated headshots, and insights into forthcoming projects!

A bigger, better budget. If your website was originally built on a shoestring budget, and you now have the finances available to create something better, the smarter choice is to invest in a completely new author website rather than renovating the old one. You can toss out those overused, standard website themes and opt for a completely customized website! Instead of sticking to basics, you can choose interactive design features like scrolling headers, oscillating color schemes, and more. And even better, you can now have someone else do all the work! Hire the professionals at Web Design Relief.

Reasons Why You Should Renovate Your Author Website (And How To Do It)

Update your color scheme. This is one of the easiest ways to update your author website and give its overall appeal a boost. The latest trends call for neutral shades with a vibrant pop of color, but play around with your settings until you find a color story that suits your writing style and genre!

Add or update your photos. Breathe new life into your existing website! Update your headshot and add some new accent photos of important events in your writing career. 

Social media integration. For a successful writing career, networking is a must. Add social media follow buttons to your header or footer (or both!) so readers and industry insiders can stay connected and follow you.

Your writing career is ever-changing, and your author website should keep up with current design trends as well as your latest writing news. If you’ve undergone a major change in your career, or your website is stuck in the wrong decade, it may be time to start from scratch. Or you may just need a bit of polish in order to shine. Need more tips on how to revitalize your author website? We’ve got you covered.

 

Question: Which feature do you like most on an author website, and which do you think are dated?

Why You Need An Author News Page On Your Website | Web Design Relief

Have you considered creating a News Page on your author website? Don’t be too quick to dismiss the idea, even if you’re not a famous writer (yet!). Web Design Relief knows that all writers—from newbies to best-selling authors—can benefit from having an Author News Page on their websites. But what if you think you don’t… Continue Reading

How To Start A Book Review Blog—And Score Some Free Books! | Web Design Relief

If you are a ravenous book reader, you may be able to turn your passion for the written word (and your love of sharing your opinion) into a rewarding book review blog. Not only do book review bloggers get the satisfaction of reading and critiquing, they also often score free books from writers and publishers… Continue Reading

How To Defuse The Negativity Of Trolls On Social Media | Web Design Relief

Once upon a time, trolls only existed in fairy tales, lurking under bridges and feeding on unwary travelers. Today they lurk on the Internet and feed on the conflict they create on social media. No online community is safe from the risk of being attacked by trolls. Web Design Relief knows the dangers and difficulties… Continue Reading


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