Category Archives: Build Friends, Fans, And Followers

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?

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. 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… 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

Online Book Marketing Isn’t Working? Here’s What To Adjust | Web Design Relief

As a marketing-savvy author, you know building a social media platform is vital to your writing career. That’s why you post frequently, respond to all comments, and monitor your social media platforms throughout the day. But at Web Design Relief, our experts know that sometimes your online book marketing strategies don’t show any real results.… Continue Reading


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