Category Archives: Social Networking For Writers

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?

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… Continue Reading

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


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