Category Archives: Marketing And Promotion

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?

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?

7 Things Writers Think They Must Do When Building A Website Vs. What They Actually Need To Do | Web Design Relief

When it’s time to create a website, many authors aren’t sure what they should include—so they go above and beyond what’s really necessary. If you’re new to the idea of website design, you might think adding more-more-more is the best way to get your money’s worth. But at Web Design Relief, we know you don’t need to use all the bells and whistles to build an engaging, professional, and functional author website. In fact, focusing on clean and uncluttered design is the best thing to do when building a strong online author platform.

Here are some so-called author website must-haves vs. what you actually need:

Website so-called must-have: A costly, professional headshot from the lead photographer at Vanity Fair.

What writers actually need: A clear, good DIY headshot that could easily be snapped with a cell phone, tablet, or by your camera-savvy best friend. Play with the filters. Adjust the lighting and exposure. Wear something that defines your style. A combination of soft, natural light and well-chosen clothing can be an affordable alternative to an expensive portrait. So “say cheese” and learn how to take your own headshot!

Website so-called must-have: A complex, fancy concept with many moving parts.

What writers actually need: A homepage call to action that gets results. Successful websites are designed with clarity and ease of navigation in mind. This doesn’t mean your author website can’t be intriguing or eye-catching. But rather than focusing on flashy effects, put your most important content front and center. Make it easy for your visitors to move around on your website by providing links or buttons to buy your book, read your portfolio, or sign up for your mailing list.

Website so-called must-have: A page for every single publication credit you have.

What writers actually need: One page with a list of your publications. It’s very unlikely anyone will make an effort to scroll through multiple pages to see your published works. Consolidate your publication history into a single, essential page with external links to read or preview your writing.

Website so-called must-have: A forum, instant messaging, and a visible snail mail address.

What writers actually need: A dedicated contact form. When you have one safe point of contact for your visitors, it will limit confusion and increase the odds of getting—and reading—messages from fans, editors, or agents. It also protects your personal information.

Website so-called must-have: As many buttons and links as possible (aka the infamous bells and whistles).

What writers actually need: Social media and Buy Now buttons. A button is a very powerful design element, so save it for something you really want to direct your visitors to do—like purchase your work and connect and share your content on social media. Use hyperlinks for any other content you want to steer visitors to.

Website so-called must-have: Elaborate aesthetics and elements.

What writers actually need: An easy-to-navigate and mobile-optimized design. You may think having a website that looks like a piece of art in a museum will impress your visitors, but functionality and professional standards are what will keep your audience coming back for more. Web visitors will quickly bounce off your site if they can’t figure out how to find what they’re looking for, or if your author website looks all wonky on a mobile device.

Website so-called must-have: A cybersecurity team.

What writers actually need: A good hosting provider. While you don’t need the CIA to keep your website and Internet visitors safe, a good host is one of the best ways to secure your website. What makes a good web host? One that performs regular site backups and software updates, just like the tech experts at Web Design Relief’s hosting service!

It can be easy to break the bank and go overboard with your website. Remember, for a professional-looking, high-performance author website: Less is more! Find more budget-friendly website tips here!

Writer: Create Your Own Author Blog Editorial Calendar | Web Design Relief

So you have an author website and blog? Great! But are you posting interesting, new content on a regular schedule? Life can get busy: A few long days at the office, extra carpools to violin lessons and soccer matches, binge watching that show everyone’s talking about…and before you know it, you’ve neglected your blog. The… Continue Reading

10 Social Media Book Marketing Strategies Writers Should Avoid | Web Design Relief

These days, the life of an author is often divided between writing books and online marketing on social media. But do you know what kinds of posts and book promotions are unwelcome—or even prohibited— on social media platforms? At Web Design Relief, we know that even innocent efforts to attract new fans and friends may… Continue Reading

How To Create A “Book Me” Page On Your Author Website To Get More Speaking Gigs| Web Design Relief

Networking, shaking hands, and meeting new people is a great way to drum up interest in the speaking or book signing events you can offer as an author. But your author website can be equally effective at nabbing you some new invitations to speak—if you’re using it right. Imagine: You could be lounging around in… Continue Reading


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