Author Archives: Web Design Relief Staff

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 more searchable by doubling the search engine optimization (SEO), but you’ll also increase your readership and visibility—and possibly sell more books! Here’s when it pays to juggle more than one author website.

Reasons For Having More Than One Author Website

You Write In Different Genres

One of the best reasons for having more than one author website is that you write in multiple genres. Fans of your children’s book series may not be in the market for your new bloodcurdling horror novel. This also applies to authors who write both books and short prose or poetry. And you may want separate websites if you write academic, scholarly, or journalistic pieces in addition to creative works. Having separate author websites lets you target each audience with a different site, allowing you to build your fan base in each genre.

You Use A Pen Name

Authors use a pen name for a variety of reasons. J. K. Rowling has written under a different pen name to separate her smash-hit Harry Potter series from her venture into the mystery and crime genre. If you write using more than one name, having author websites for your real and pen names will help all of your readers easily find you and your books. 

You Need A Website With A Specific Purpose

Do you want an author website that focuses on your blog, or one with the primary purpose of selling your books? Maybe you just want a website that acts as a portfolio to display your publications. Having multiple websites may be the best way to boost your reach, laser-focus your call to action, and make your information easy to find online. Web visitors will land exactly where they want to be, instead of clicking through page after page on one overstuffed website. 

You Have More Than One Writing-Focused Career

Many authors also moonlight as editors and proofreaders. Keeping your business side separate from your creative side helps you provide each audience with the information they are looking for. Literary agents want to know about your novel—not how much you charge to proofread a manuscript. Likewise, someone looking for an editor will want to know about your grammar skills and be less interested in your irreverent humor book series.

You’re Thinking Outside The Box

Marketing-savvy authors sometimes create websites specifically for a character or a significant setting in their books. This allows readers to connect with their stories on a more realistic level. A great example is John Watson’s Blog, written from the perspective of Sherlock Holmes’s assistant. 

You’d Like To Do Some Good

If your writing sheds light on an important topic, you might consider creating a website to increase awareness of a particular charity or cause. While your author website acts as your online business card, a separate website can focus on educating visitors and offering opportunities to provide assistance. Novelist, poet, and prose writer King Grossman has one website dedicated to his writing, and another for his foundation, Occupy the Word, which aims to support emerging writers.

Having more than one website can help you keep your message and call to action centered on the right audience. And the easiest way to create multiple websites is with the help of tech-savvy experts like the ones you’ll find at Web Design Relief. Contact us for a free consultation today!

 

Question: What writers do you know have more than one author website?

 

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… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading

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


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