Category Archives: Build Friends, Fans, And Followers

New Year; New You: How To Revamp Your Author Persona And Grow Your Fan Base | Web Design Relief

It’s the start of a new year! What better time to give your brand identity a facelift? The experts at Web Design Relief know that a fresh approach to your online author persona can help you achieve your goals as a writer, increase the size of your fan base, and find the right voice for your author website and social networks.

5 Ways To Revitalize Your Author Website And Online Presence

Make A List: Check out your favorite authors and how they portray their personas online; then create a list of the qualities you want to exemplify through your online activity. You’ll be able to use it as a reference every time you make a website update or put up a new post. This will help you maintain consistency and develop your author brand.

Watch Your Words: Because almost all of our online communication is through text on websites and social media, your words and phrasing are incredibly important. Whether you are trying to appear friendlier, more approachable, or dark and mysterious—adjust your word choice to uniformly reflect this and stay on brand. Your blog updates and social media posts should all sound like they were made by the same person. Here’s what Neil Gaiman has to say about writing in your own voice.

Change Your Imagery: The images you use to engage with your fans online are also key elements of your author persona. Consider Instagram: Successful Instagram accounts tend to focus on a theme. Your theme should relate to your books or the genre in which you write. Make sure your images embrace your overall author brand, are high quality, and are tasteful!

Engage, Engage, Engage: Any author who’s been reaping the benefits of online success is one who actively engages with fans, friends, and followers. Be sure to answer questions, respond to messages, and acknowledge comments so that your visitors and supporters feel heard. Keep all of your responses kind, courteous, and as interesting as possible. Remember to interact in the same way you’d want your favorite author to respond to you! An active social presence will keep fans and followers returning to your accounts.

And if you end up with a few trolls to deal with (it’s an unfortunate reality of the Internet today), here’s how to keep your cool and protect your online reputation.

Keep It Real: It’s vital to keep your online persona sociable and interesting, but that doesn’t mean you should over-embellish. Your fans will be able to tell if you are being inauthentic. Also, if you put on a performance or establish yourself as an incredible character, your marketing attempts might actually backfire and turn off your target audience. Instead, be the best version of yourself. By being genuine and thoughtful in what you share and write, you’ll create a realistic persona that can enhance your author brand.

Once you decide to revamp your online persona, be careful that you don’t overwhelm your followers with too many changes all at once. Gradually incorporate any new elements and strategies to your online usage, and success will follow.

 

Question: What is the most important element to update on an author website?

The Best Social Media Platforms For Building A Writer Fan Base | Web Design Relief

With the advent of the Internet, it’s become easier for a writer to build a fan base. Information about your work is just a click away for every prospective reader! But with this accessibility comes a tidal wave of options. How do you know which social media platform is best for building your writer fan base and brand? And which option aligns best with your online skills? The social media experts at Web Design Relief have put together a list of the most well-known brand-building websites and social media platforms and spelled out how well they work for writers.

Social Media Platforms That Can Boost A Writer’s Online Presence

Facebook: This social media platforms is probably the one most people think of first, and for good reason—the number of options on Facebook is staggering, including (but not limited to) the ability to post countless pictures and large blocks of text, host live events, create accessible community…the list goes on. Facebook has had a lot of time to perfect the art of getting in touch with people, so if you’re looking for the jack-of-all-trades, this might be a good place to start.

Instagram: Another very versatile social media platform, Instagram is more narrowly focused than Facebook. If you often find yourself wanting to use images to express yourself, Instagram may be the place for you. Its streamlined, efficient timeline lets followers stay updated on your projects. And if utilized well, Instagram can definitely increase your fan base. Instagram also allows you to post “stories” that disappear within 24 hours, so if you’re looking to give more off-the-cuff updates, it has that too.

Twitter: While Instagram relies heavily on images, Twitter opts instead to focus on words. Brevity is key on Twitter, and if you believe that the best way to get your thoughts across is via a few carefully tailored sentences, then this social media platform will work well for you. In addition, Twitter is incredibly fast-paced. Tweets reach a wide readership and are commented on almost instantly, which gives the platform a conversational vibe. Twitter also sees a vast amount of traffic and allows for cross-communication between users who have something to say and those who want to listen. For writers, it can also show off your writing chops; good tweets have the potential to go viral! Here are 11 ways to gain followers with a tweet.

LinkedIn: A much more niche platform, LinkedIn is still a good place to have a presence—especially if you’re building a readership for your professional endeavors. LinkedIn is entirely business-oriented; it lets you put your best foot forward by showing off your credentials and focusing on your skills and résumé. LinkedIn also enables you to make long-lasting professional relationships and plan ahead for future career opportunities.

Tumblr: Though its user base tends to be younger, Tumblr can still be a great way to get in touch with your readership. This platform supports all the typical social media options: text, photos, memes, etc.—but it features a progressive atmosphere filled with a lot of love for the arts. There’s also plenty of crossover between those who like to read and those who use Tumblr, so it’s a great opportunity to connect with like-minded people! Check out these tips for making Tumblr work for writers.

Pinterest: This is another wonderful site geared toward a more creative demographic. Pinterest allows you to assemble “boards” geared toward whatever interest you may have. For writers, it’s likely to be something along the lines of writing quotes, book covers, book recommendations, etc. The only drawback is the limited amount of user interaction; there’s no real way to connect with the people who post things on Pinterest, or to interact with viewers. However, it’s a wonderful way to compile some of your favorite images and maybe even get ideas for something new!

Snapchat: This social media platform is best utilized after you’ve built a presence and fan base on the more well-known platforms, as it’s difficult to start a presence here from the get-go. But if you’re a fan of quick, casual commentary and don’t mind being in front of a camera, Snapchat is a wonderful way to engage with a younger audience and make yourself seem more relatable at the same time. They’ve also got a host of  filters to try, so have fun!

Goodreads: This one’s a favorite of writers and readers! Goodreads can certainly function as a social media platform, but its biggest use is simply as a wonderful site for booklovers. You can peruse genres, authors, or specific time frames to find books you may be interested in reading. You can also read reviews by other bookworms! Goodreads is perfect for sharing the books that inspire you and to discover new books to read—after all, the best way to become a better writer is to become a better reader!

It’s best to use a mix of some (or all) of these platforms and websites to establish your author brand. You’ll reach the most people by being active on multiple sites and by cross-promoting your social media.

Keep in mind: Social media platforms can help you gain a following, but you’re still bound by the rules and parameters set up by the companies that control them. If a social media platform suddenly disappears overnight—so will all the followers you’ve carefully added. That’s why you should also have an author website and a mailing list that are yours and yours alone.

 

Question: What social media do you normally use?

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… Continue Reading

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


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