Category Archives: Marketing And Promotion

5 Real-Life Elements That Will Make Your Author Website Appeal To Real-Life Readers | Web Design Relief

Rather than relying on overused marketing concepts, your author website should be designed with one goal in mind: to connect with the right audience for your work. At Web Design Relief, we know that once you’ve determined who your real-life readers are, you can then offer better, more targeted content. Don’t be afraid to share your personality with website visitors—they want to know more about the real-life YOU! (Discover your web personality here.) Sharing some personal details can help readers form a bond with you and keep them coming back for the long term.

How Featuring The Real-Life You Helps Your Author Website Appeal To Readers

Tell Your Story

Your author website is the best place to showcase your books, poetry, and short stories. But don’t stop there! When you also share personal moments, thoughts, and inspiration on your website (and your blog), visitors will see you more as an actual living, breathing person and less as an anonymous face on a book cover. Sharing personal anecdotes is one of the best ways to build your personal brand, create a following, and increase book sales!

Update Your Headshot

Standard headshots are often…well, standard! There is nothing wrong with a headshot that shows you in business casual wear in front of a plain background. But this is your author website, not your LinkedIn profile shot. Post a fun headshot, or even a series of photos that captures your personality. Website visitors will want to see your playful side, not just the let’s-get-down-to-business side. Help your audience connect with you on a personal level. If you write horror stories or serious nonfiction, you might want to choose a headshot that reflects your genre. But you can still crack a smile in another photo to show the person behind the pen (or behind the vampire fangs, if that’s the case).

Uncomfortable in front of the camera? Well, say cheese, because we’ve got you covered with Headshot 101.

Integrate Social Media

Do you often find yourself tweeting, scrolling through Facebook, or uploading your new selfie or food photo on Instagram? Odds are, your followers do this too! Integrate your social media into your author website through widgets and live feeds so that visitors can learn more about the real you and share your posts—helping to expand your reach with more opportunities to market your writing.

Share A Video

Clearly, your author website visitors love to read. But if you have a video camera, a GoPro, or a smartphone, you can also share a video on your website. This can be a vlog or welcome video, a guide to your writing process, a tour of your writing space, a reading of your favorite passage, and more. Your audience will feel more allied with you if they have a face and a voice to put with your words!

Write A Dear Reader Letter

If your website comes across as too generic or just the opposite, too over-marketed, maybe a Dear Reader letter is just what you need. This welcome letter can be the place to share insight into your writing process and/or what’s going on in your life in a personal, relatable way. For more tips on writing a letter that stands out, check out the anatomy of the Dear Reader Letter.

Don’t Overdo It

While sharing personal stories and information can be a great way to connect with your audience, don’t put every aspect of your life on display. It’s always best to keep your website tasteful and secure, and your identity safe. Here’s how to steer clear of getting too personal:

  • Don’t share anything you wouldn’t tell a stranger.
  • Don’t post photos while you’re on vacation, letting people know your house is empty.
  • Avoid the gross and grand aspects of your life (no pics of your recent appendectomy).
  • Details matter, but skip the second-by-second updates of your life (nobody needs to know that you are eating toast).
  • Never, EVER share your personal address or phone number, or email address (use a contact form instead).
  • This goes double for your social security and credit card numbers: Do NOT give them out.

Final Thoughts On Appealing To Your Audience With Real-Life Elements

Sharing some parts of your life with your audience is great! It shows that you are willing to connect with them as real-life people, not just as unknown readers or potential sales. Author website visitors prefer author websites that aren’t heavy-handed with marketing buttons and purchase links. Be smart about what you share with your visitors—but don’t be afraid to have a little fun either!

 

Question: Which personal aspect of your favorite author’s website do you most like?

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?

50 New Facebook Post Ideas For Writers | Web Design Relief

If you want to grow your career as a writer, you need to connect with your audience on social media. Posting on a regular schedule will help you maintain and even increase your social media following, but at Web Design Relief, we know that, after a while, it may become harder to come up with new Facebook post ideas to keep your followers interested so that they keep coming back. When you’re juggling a day job, sharing carpooling duties for the kids, balancing your checkbook, making appointments to have Fluffy’s nails trimmed—and are still trying to squeeze in some writing time—thinking up new social media posts can fall onto the back burner. Fortunately, we have some ideas that can quickly and easily be turned into engaging posts!

Social Media Post Ideas For Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, And More

Pets

  1. Post a photo of your pet “reading” a book.
  2. Post a photo of a pet sleeping near you as you write.
  3. Have some fun and upload a short video of you reading to your pet.
  4. Take your dog for a walk, post a photo, and talk about how the activity inspired your writing.
  5. Get cozy with a book, a blanket, and a cat in your lap and post a photo of this moment.
  6. Post a photo of your cat lying next to your book collection.
  7. Go to an indie bookstore that has a pet, take a photo, and post it. (Be sure to tag the bookstore!)
  8. Post a photo of your dog on National Dog Day (August 26).
  9. And post a photo of your cat on National Cat Day (October 29)!
  10. Tell your followers what your pet’s “favorite” book is, and then ask them to comment on their pets’ favorite books.

 

Books

  1. Talk about your favorite book and explain why it’s your favorite.
  2. Post a photo of the book you are currently reading.
  3. Take a photo of the stacks in your favorite bookstore to post.
  4. Ask your followers to sum up the book they are reading in a GIF.
  5. Read a book by a debut author and write a short review.
  6. Post a GIF that explains how you feel when you buy a new book.
  7. Post your favorite quote from a book.
  8. Ask your followers what their favorite book is and why.
  9. Remember to post about your love for books on National Book Lovers Day (August 9).
  10. Have your followers select your next book to read.

 

Writing

  1. Share a small excerpt of your writing with your followers. Caveat: Know what counts as previously published!
  2. Post a short video of you reading a selection from your recently published work.
  3. Post a writing prompt and ask your audience to follow the prompt with you.
  4. Announce how many words you have written in a day/week/month.
  5. Encourage your followers to spend twenty minutes writing and ask them to tell you their word counts at the end of that time frame.
  6. Participate in NaNoWriMo and update your followers on your word count at the end of the day.
  7. Post a GIF of what writer’s block feels like.
  8. What is your favorite part of writing? Brainstorm a bit and then post about it.
  9. When and why did you begin writing? Let your followers know.
  10. Ask your followers what genre they write in.
  11. Tell your followers which literary magazine is your favorite, and ask them to tell you theirs.
  12. Post your favorite writing advice.
  13. Ask your followers to tell you what they like most—or least—about writing.
  14. Ask your followers to give you a writing prompt, and then post what you come up with.
  15. Post a photo of the things you use to write (favorite notebook, computer, etc.).

Locations

  1. Where is your favorite place to write? Take a photo and post it for your followers.
  2. Post a photo of the place that inspires you the most.
  3. Post about your favorite reading spot.
  4. Where were you when you realized you wanted to be a writer? Tell your followers!
  5. If you do a public reading, be sure to post about it and tag the location!
  6. Go for a walk in nature and post a photo for your audience.
  7. If you travel, take a photo of you reading at your destination and post it—but be sure to follow these safety tips.
  8. Try writing in a new location and post about how it affected your writing (if at all).
  9. Post about a place you want to visit.
  10. Write a post about the setting of your story.
  11. Write a post about your favorite coffee shop to sit in and write.
  12. If you could live in another time period, when would you want to live? Write up a post about it.
  13. What does your ideal writing setup look like?
  14. Where is your favorite writer from? Post about how you think the location affects his or her writing.
  15. Post about where you would most like to do a public reading.

Question: What is your favorite type of social media post?

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

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… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading


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