Category Archives: Social Networking For Writers

Pen Names And The Internet: 5 Writer Problems—Solved!| Web Design Relief

Many prolific authors use pseudonyms (pen names) in order to write in multiple genres without muddying brands. And some writers with long or difficult-to-pronounce names may opt for shorter, easier-to-remember monikers. Pen names can also be used to build walls between day jobs and writing ventures, or to provide a fresh start if a writer’s previous efforts have failed in the marketplace. But, while there are many good reasons why a writer might use a pen name, Writer’s Relief has discovered that using a pseudonym can also introduce problems—especially when it comes to author websites and social media.

Problems—And Solutions—When Using A Pen Name On A Website Or Social Media

Problem #1: Someone Already Has The Same Name On Social Media.

With billions of people active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, it’s no surprise that you may find a non-writer with the exact same name. So how are you going to distinguish your pen name profile from thirty other non-authors with the same name—without losing or confusing your readers?

  • Facebook requires you to set up a personal profile with your real name, but you can create an author page with whatever name you please. Consider calling your new page “Pen Name Author,” “Pen Name Writer,” “Pen Name Books,” or some other simple title. Focus all of your writing-related Facebook social media efforts there.
  • On Twitter and Instagram, you can set up (separate) accounts with “handles” that also incorporate “author,” “writer,” or “book.” Just make sure to note your writing career in your short bio so your readers can feel confident that they’ve found the real you.
  • To build authenticity, keep your social media name consistent across all platforms. Ideally, all of your pen name’s social media handles will be short, easy to spell, easy to remember, and contain your pen name, preferably first.

Problem #2: Which Name Should Appear In The Website Registry?

If you’re going to use a pseudonym online, you’ll need an appropriate domain name to set up a website. But who is going to buy that domain? If you buy it with your legal name, then your ownership of the pseudonym will become searchable in website registries—and thus available to the public.

  • If you’re not concerned about anonymity, then the simplest choice is to buy your domain under your legal name.
  • If you’d prefer to remain anonymous, but want to buy your pseudonym domain name under a legal name, consider purchasing privacy insurance for a monthly or yearly fee.
  • If you wish to ensure anonymity, consider adding a layer of privacy with several corporate or legal options. Some authors write under pseudonyms connected to a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or corporation. Others file DBA (“Doing Business As”) statements with their counties. If anonymity is the central reason why you’re using a pen name, you may want to seek legal help for your particular state, county, and situation.

Problem #3: Which Name Should The Website Copyright Notice Be Under?

U.S. copyright allows for the listing of both a legal and pen name. If you register your work under your legal name (whether you choose to include your pseudonym on the copyright materials or not), your book will remain under copyright protection for the author’s life plus seventy years. However, your legal name and your pen name will be linked and thus publicly searchable.

You do have the option of registering your book ONLY under your pen name, but if you leave off any record of your legal name in the copyright, you’ll run into two issues. First, you may have trouble proving the book is yours if you don’t take the necessary legal precautions. Second, the term of the work’s copyright will be changed. As opposed to the author’s life plus seventy years, the book registered under a pseudonym alone will be protected until 95 years from publication or 120 from the creation of the work.

An IP (intellectual property) lawyer can help you consider your options wisely.

Problem #4: What’s The Best URL?

If you’re writing under several pen names, you’ll be faced with the dilemma of how to design your website for multiple pseudonyms and determining what URL works best.

If the readership of your genres is quite different—you write both middle grade books and adult erotica—you may want to set up two separate websites so the two audiences never meet. In that case, your best URL for each website is the domain name of the associated pseudonym.

If you write in several subgenres under one strong brand, you may want to consider creating one branded website that has different tabs for each of your pen names. Each of the associated domain name URLs could be directed toward the one landing page.

A good website designer can help you choose the wisest course for managing pen names.

Problem #5: How Am I Going To Manage More Than One Writing Persona Online?

One of the biggest hurdles to using a pen name is the multiplication of social media accounts, and perhaps multiple websites. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when juggling more than one active pseudonym!

Fortunately, there are social media management software options like Hootsuite and TweetDeck that can make your life easier. And linking your pen name to social media profiles across platforms can amplify your efforts.

Writing under a pen name can sometimes be challenging, but with a little planning, smart website design, and clever social media time management, embracing a pseudonym can give you anonymity and the freedom to write what you want, and multiply your chances for breaking out in a new and exciting genre.

 

Question: In what situation would you choose to write under a pen name?

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?

7 Social Media Scams: Writers Beware! | Web Design Relief

Social media is a great way for writers to build their author platforms and connect with fans, readers, literary agents, and editors. But beware: It also puts your personal information and privacy at risk. A recent survey found that 22% of Internet users reported being hacked at least once. At Web Design Relief, we understand… Continue Reading

How To Defuse The Negativity Of Trolls On Social Media | Web Design Relief

Once upon a time, trolls only existed in fairy tales, lurking under bridges and feeding on unwary travelers. Today they lurk on the Internet and feed on the conflict they create on social media. No online community is safe from the risk of being attacked by trolls. Web Design Relief knows the dangers and difficulties… 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


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