Jul 23

The Author Website – 5 Top Tips to Optimization

Optimized Author WebsiteAt this point in time, with the internet an integral part of book marketing, EVERYONE knows that if you’re writing a book or have a book already done, you must have an author website. (If you fall into this category and don’t have a site up yet, get it started today.)

So what are the top tips for an effective author website?

Let’s start before the visitor is actually lands on your website.

1. You need an easy and readable domain name (URL).

Examples of good domain names for authors might be:

– children’s writer
– romance writer
– historical writer
– writing romance
– writing for children
– mystery writing
– suspense author

You get the idea.

The problem though is that most ‘good’ domains are already taken. So, what can you do?

Simply add your name to the domain:
karencioffiwritingforchildren.com

If you can’t find the perfect name for your site, just add your name to it.

Why this is effective is because although your name is in it, which has NO SEO value unless you’re someone like James Patterson, you do have the wanted keyword in it. In my case, “writingforchildren.”

Having a keyword effective domain name allows people searching for your niche to have a better chance of finding you. And, it lets the search engines know what your site is about. This is all good for you.

The following tips relate to when someone lands on your site.

2. One of the first things a visitor will see is your website title and subtitle.

This is where you can elaborate on your domain name. Using my website again as an example, my title is: Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi. To make it more effective, more optimized, my subtitle is: Ghostwriting, Rewriting, Editing, Freelance Writing.

This gives me great keywords that are relevant to my website and it also immediately lets the visitor know what my site is about. It also helps the search engines further define my site.

3. You want your site easy to navigate.

This means having a visible menu bar (navigation bar).

It seems every day people have less and less time to read what your author website is about. Count yourself lucky if a visitor stays on your site for 5 or more seconds.

Basically, you want the visitor to immediately know what you’re about and you want that visitor to be able to quickly find what he’s looking for.

Does he want to visit your resources page? Does she want to visit your testimonials page? Does he want to visit your books page?

Have the menu bar front and center. Let your visitors quickly find where they want to go.

The best place for the menu is just below your website header. People are used to seeing it there and it’s about the easiest place to find it and use it.

4. Your landing page content should be focused and easy to read.

From your landing page (home page) title to the heading to the content itself, let the visitor know what she can find on your site. Let her know what she can GET on your site. Let her know how your site can help her, enlighten her, amuse her.

Keep your site focused and tight. People don’t want to read 1000 words on a landing page anymore. They want to find what they want and get out lickety-split.

Keep it simple and easy to read. Use subheadings, bold, colored text, and even highlights to bring the reader to the important things quickly. Lots of readers are skim readers (I’m one) – they’ll appreciate the ease of reading.

5. Have a call-to-action (CTA) that works.

The first thing a visitor to your site will notice about your CTA is if its striking. Be sure the visitor can quickly find it too.

This brings up another point, the location. Keep the CTA, especially if it’s for a subscriber list, at the top of your sidebar. You can also put it in the content itself and at the end. Give your visitor plenty of opportunity to click on it.

If you have a website header that provides for it, add it to your header also.

There are also the slide-in or pop-up CTAs. I’m not crazy about these and don’t use them – I think they’re intrusive and annoying. But, if you feel you can get more conversion with it, give it a try.

Next, make the text in the CTA short and sweet and CLEAR (very easy to understand).

You want to make it motivating. It should also be actionable. Use action verbs with a time element: Download Now / Get Started Today / Buy Now.

You need to actually tell the visitor what to do. So, don’t use copy like, “Need Help?” Use copy like, “Get Help Today!”

Summing it up.

There you have it, five tips to help you create and/or maintain an effective author website as the foundation of your book marketing. And, aside from your domain name, you can tweak just about everything else on a website if it’s not working as it should – if it’s not getting conversions.

* Conversion is what happens when a visitor clicks on one of your CTAs. It’s a visitor taking action. This is a primary purpose of your author website.

WANT TO BE A CHILDREN’S WRITER?

Being a writer, like being any kind of artist who creates something from nothing, is an amazing ability. It’s almost like magic. And, you are in control. You decide what to create. The only limit you have is the cap on your imagination.

Check out my 180 page ebook that gives you all the basics of WRITING FICTION FOR CHILDREN, (including finding a publisher or agent, and marketing your books).

Articles on writing for childrenAmazon Author Central Page and Book Page – Make the Most of Them
Picture Books – Story or Illustrations, Which Comes First?
Writing – Showing vs. Telling

 

Jul 02

Amazon Author Central Page and Book Page – Make the Most of Them

Book PromotionYep. As an author, you need to promote your books. If you don’t, you won’t sell any. It’s all about creating visibility . . . after you’ve created a quality book.

A great place to generate visibility and SELL your books is Amazon. And, it’s probably one of the most underutilized pieces of online real estate that authors should be taking advantage of?

According to Statista.com, Amazon was the most popular online store in the United States in 2016.

And, according to a 2014 article in Forbes on Amazon vs. Book Publishers, Amazon’s annual revenue from book sales was $5.25 billion. And, that was back in 2014. Amazon sells a lot of books, so authors should have an Amazon author page and make the most of their book page.

But, how do you make the best use of your Amazon real estate? Your book page and Author Central page?

It’s all in the details for both pages.

– First thing is to have a professional book cover. This is probably the first thing a potential reader looks at.

– Next you need a killer description and be sure to make it keyword effective.

– Along with this, be sure to add your top reviews to the Editorial Reviews section.

– Then there’s your author bio. Make sure the reader knows what you’re about and what you can offer.

From the Author page, you can add lots of tidbits to enhance the page, like freebies, upcoming events, and more.

And, there are also things like keywords and categories that you should use to help make your book searchable.

The point is to take advantage of this great marketing tool. Amazon is powerful. You need to use every feature it offers to make your book visible to its customers and motivate them to buy it!

For a detailed article on how to boost your Amazon book page and author page, on how to sell more books, check out this article at Author Marketing Experts:
Sell More Books with a Kickass Amazon Book Page

Articles on writing for children
Picture Books – Story or Illustrations, Which Comes First?
Writing – Showing vs. Telling
Tips to Overcome Writing Procrastination

Need Help With Your Story

Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn your story into a publishable book that you’ll be proud to be author of.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

May 28

The Author Website – Do You Really Need One?

An author website is a mustThe idea of creating a website may seem overwhelming to many who are new to the writing arena. This may cause hesitation in regard to taking the website step.

But, don’t let fear or procrastination get in the way of your online presence. A website is a necessary online marketing tool that is at the foundation of your author platform.

Here are a couple of statistics to demonstrate the need for a website if you have any intention of building an author platform:

According to MarketWatch.com, there are 2.4 Million Google search queries made each minute. And, according to Quora.com, there are around 2 million blog posts published each day. This information is from mid-2016 statistics.

The internet is the place for people to search globally for what they want or need. Having a website allows you to be in on that action.

Your online home.

If you want to create visibility for you and your book, product, or service, a website is the initial spark that will ignite your internet presence. And, it will be the hub or central location where you will let people know who you are and what you have to offer.

To further cement the need for a website, it’s through your website that you will attract readers, get email subscribers, and sell what you’re offering.

An author website is your online home where people can come to visit and get to know you.

It’s a must.

There’s really no way around the fact that you need to create your author platform, and it should be before you are ready to submit your manuscript. This is according to Chuck Sambuchino, in his book “Create Your Writer Platform.”

The reason for this is that now having an author online presence and platform is a factor in whether a publishing house will say YES to your manuscript. And, the first step in creating that author platform is to setup a website.

It’s easy to see that a website is an absolute must. And, it’s not as difficult as you may think to create one. The first step is planning.

Plan Your Way to a Website

As with any project you undertake, the first course of action should be to plan out your course of action. This is usually considered a business plan or writing plan.

Your website is your online calling card or business card. It needs to be as professional as you can get it and it needs to have the necessary elements of an effective site.

So, if you’re not familiar with websites, one of the first steps in your course of action should be to learn about all the elements needed to create an effective website.

As an example, one of the first elements that you’ll need to work on is the domain name.

Choosing a domain name is serious business. It needs to be searchable, convey what the site is about, and relate to what you’re offering. It should be part of your platform, your brand. And, if at all possible, it should have your keyword in it.

Other elements of an effective website include: optimization, specific pages, posting fresh content regularly, an opt-in, and a lead magnet (freebie) to entice visitors to take action.

While a website is a necessity, it also needs to be effective. The saying, “if you build it they will come,” doesn’t cut it in the internet world. Your site needs to attract visitors, be engaging / informative, be reader friendly, and convert. It needs to be planned out and optimized.

Sources:
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/one-chart-shows-everything-that-happens-on-the-internet-in-just-one-minute-2016-04-26
https://www.quora.com/How-many-blog-posts-are-written-every-day

Writing for children tipsTraditional Book Publishing – Contract to Sales to Career
The Front Matter – Before the Story Text Begins
Balance in Fiction Writing – The Major Elements

NEED HELP GETTING YOUR AUTHOR WEBSITE UP AND RUNNING?

Create Your WordPress Website Today
No code, no technical stuff, no fuss

This 5-day e-class through WOW! Women on Writing will show you, step-by-step, how to create your own WordPress Website.

Get it started today. CLICK HERE for all the details

Simple steps to creating your own website.

Apr 23

6 Book Marketing Tips Sure to Boost Your Author Online Platform

Book PromotionSo, you’re an author. That’s great. But, just writing books isn’t enough – you’ve got to promote you and your books.

The first step to doing this is to have yearly, monthly, and weekly book marketing goals. With goals, you know where you’re heading and can work toward that end.
.
Marketing goals can be considered a marketing plan and it will have a number of steps or objectives that must be set in motion and accomplished.

To market your book. You need to generate visibility for you and your platform. Six of the bare basic online marketing strategies to increase you visibility are:

1. Create a presence and platform.

Creating an online author presence and platform is initiated by creating a website. First though, you’ll need to be sure of your niche because the domain name, site title, and content should reflect your niche and/or your area of expertise.

Remember, plan first. Choose a domain name and title that will grow with you. As an example, if you choose a site name, Picture Books with [Your Name], you’ve limited yourself. What if your next book is a chapter book or young adult, or other?

As part of your book marketing strategy, you should also create a ‘hub’ site that will act as the center to your offshoot sites, such as the individual sites for each of your books.

Leave room to grow; it’s always advisable to use your name as the hub site’s title, or part of it.

In addition, with today’s gone-in-a-second attention span, it’s a good idea to keep your site simple. Marketing expert Mike Volpe of Hubspot.com points out that it’s more important to spend time, and money if necessary, on content rather than a flashy website design; simple works.

Google verifies this ‘simple is better’ strategy and notes that milliseconds count in regard to your page load time. In fact, Google gives a ‘poorer’ score to pages that are slow to load.

Sites that take a few seconds or more to load may also cause you to lose potential subscribers and buyers.

TIP: You should have an author website up and running before you start submitting you manuscript to publishers or before you self-publish.

2. Increase visibility.

Writing content, blog posts, for your readers/visitors is the way to increase visibility – content is definitely still King. Provide interesting, informative, and/or entertaining content that will prompt the reader to come back and, just as important, to share your article.

Also, be sure your content is pertinent to your site, and keep your site and content focused on your platform.

3. Draw traffic to your site with blogging.

To draw traffic to your site, promote your posts by using social media. You should also include guest blogging. This will increase your visibility reach.

This is considered organic marketing; it funnels traffic back to your site with valuable content and free offers.

TIP: When using social media, choose two or three networks and ‘work’ them. It’s important to be active on the networks you promote your books on.

For more on using social media as part of your book marketing strategy check out:
The Social Media Marketing Smorgasborg

4. Create effective call-to-actions.

Your site must have call-to-action keywords that will motivate readers to visit and click on your links. Keywords and phrases to use include:

– Get your Free gift now for subscribing
– Free e-book to offer on your own site
– Buy Now
– Get Access Now
– Get Started Today
– Join for Free
– Don’t hesitate, take advantage of our expert services
– Be sure to Bookmark this site
– Become a better writer – tips right to your inbox
– Are you blogging wrong? Find out how to do it right!
– Know what email marketing is? Find out here!

You get the idea, motivate the reader to want what you’re offering and give him/her a CLEAR and VISIBLE call-to-action. Make it as simple as possible for the visitor to buy what you’re offering.

You can also check out this article from Hubspot for more ideas on CTAs:
Great Call-to-Action Examples

5. Develop a relationship with your readers.

It’s been noted that only 1% of first time visitors will buy a product. Usually, only after developing a relationship through your newsletter, information, and offers will your potential customer or client click on the BUY NOW button or other call-to-action you have in place.

While it will take some time and effort to implement and maintain these strategies, it will be worth it in the long run. Think of it as a long-term investment.

6. Create an ebook for increased visibility and opt-in enticement.

Another strategy is to offer your readers an ebook relevant to your niche. This will help to increase your usefulness to the reader and help establish your authority.

As an author, you might offer a chapter of your book in ebook format.

So there you have it – six tips that will help you generate visibility and boost your book marketing results.

Articles on writing for children

The Front Matter – Before the Story Text Begins
Building a Writing Career Takes Practice and Focus
The Author Platform – You Definitely Need One and It Should Have Been Started Yesterday

Be a children's writerDon’t have a children’s book yet?

Check out my 180 page ebook that gives you all the basics of WRITING FICTION FOR CHILDREN, finding a publisher or agent, and marketing your books.

Writing Children's Fiction

Mar 26

Do Book Back-Covers Really Matter?

Creating your book's back coverBeing an author is no longer just about writing. Now, you have to become savvy about marketing your book.

An important element of book marketing is the back cover. And, making it powerful does really matter.

In fact, aside from the front cover, the back cover is what will motivate the reader to buy your book. Anyone who picks up your book will look at and hopefully read the back cover after looking at the front cover.

A book’s back cover will usually have a brief synopsis (back cover copy) of the book. It can also have an illustration or a picture of the author with the synopsis. Some back covers have a brief bio of the author. Unless you’re well-known, you might want to go with the book’s copy rather than your bio.

You’ll have up to 150 words to fit comfortably on the back cover without it looking crowded. You have to make those words count.

Here are examples of back cover copy on some children’s books:

Chrysanthemum
Picture book

Chrysanthemum thinks her name is absolutely perfect, until her first day of school. “You’re named after a flower!” teases Victoria. “Let’s smell her,” says Jo. Chrysanthemum wilts. What will it take to make her blossom again?

Ivy & Bean – What’s the Big Idea?
Chapter book

It’s Science Fair time at Emerson School and the kids in Ms. Aruba-Tate’s class are supposed to find a way to cool down the earth. Some kids are making litterbug-eating robots. Some kids are hold their breath for a very, very long time. But what should Ivy and Bean do? Something with ropes? Something with explosions? Something with ice cubes? Or maybe something . . . different.

The Talented Clementine
Chapter book

When it comes to tackling third grade, Clementine is at the top of her game–okay, so maybe not all the time. After her teacher announces that the third and fourth graders will be putting on a talent show, Clementine panics. She doesn’t sing or dance or play an instrument. She can’t even hop with finesse. And as if she didn’t feel bad enough, her perfect best friend, Margaret, has so many talents, she has to alphabetize them to keep them straight.
As the night of the big “Talent-palooza” draws closer, Clementine is desperate for an act, any act. But the unexpected talent she demonstrates at the show surprises everyone—most of all herself.

Crispin – The Cross of Lead
Middle grade book

I kept asking myself if I felt different, if I was different. The answer was always yes. I was no longer nothing . . .
How odd, I thought: it had taken my mother’s death, Father Quinel’s murder, and the desire of others to kill me to claim a life of my own.


Back covers can also just have an illustration, no text, but I don’t advise this. You want to motivate the reader to take action with effective copy (a brief synopsis).

Then there are the back covers that have blurbs from influential sources, such as Publisher’s Weekly, the New York Times, and well-known people. If you have these types of blurbs, you’ll definitely want to use them.

Some back covers have reviews of the book from influential people. Some have a combination of elements.

Be Careful

Just be careful of how what you put on your back cover and how you organize it. The back cover is the second most important book marketing tool on the book. The most important is the cover illustration/design. You’d think it’d be the story itself. Ha.

To see more back cover copy and get some ideas, go to the library to see how major publishers create a back cover in your genre.

Articles on writing for children5 Must-Know Tips on Writing a Powerful Thriller (and most other fiction stories)
Characters or Story – Which Comes First?
How Do You Make a Good Story Worthy of Getting Past the Gatekeeper?

Let's talk about your children's writing projectLet me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn you story into a publishable book – one you’ll be proud of.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

Dec 04

Book Marketing and Landing Pages – 4 Questions to be Answered Quickly

The author website and landing pagesThe internet is teeming with information on everything you can possibly think of. This includes information on your business platform. But, with all this information available, there are still many who aren’t aware of the basics, the dos and don’ts of an online platform.

I recently came across a website on ‘article submissions.’ Finding it on Twitter and being interested, I clicked on the link.

It brought me to a site with articles on unrelated topics. There wasn’t an About page, or any information on what the site was about. And, there wasn’t a Contact or Services page.

This marketer/business owner was leading people back to his site, apparently for the purpose of selling something, but the site was completely ineffective. It was one of the most puzzling sites I’ve ever seen.

So, the question to ask is: If someone lands on your website, by accident, through a search, or through a social link, is it effective? Is it ‘visitor optimized?’

To answer these questions, you first need to know the fundamentals of a business website. And, a business website could be an author’s site, a freelance writing site, a home business site, or a small business site. The basics are the same for all websites that are trying to sell something.

To guide you in the right direction to creating a ‘visitor optimized’ website, let’s go over the very basics.

Online marketing 101 is to create a website that works, a website that converts visitors into clients/customer or a subscriber.

This is the foundation of your online empire. And, an effective website needs to answer these four basic questions:

1. Who are you?
2. What are you offering?
3. Why is what you’re offering worthy of the visitor’s time, money, or email address?
4. Is the path to what you’re offering, the path to the YES, simple? (The YES is the potential customer’s positive action, whether it’s opting into your mailing list or buying what you’re offering, or other call-to-action)

Let’s go over each element:

1. Who You Are

Make sure your website has an About Me page. In addition, your landing page should make it clear who you are. Don’t let the visitor have to hunt you down – don’t let her have to search through your site, just to find some information on you.

Tip: Keep the About Me content conversational, like you’re talking to a friend.

2. What You Have to Offer

Your landing page needs to quickly convey what you have to offer. To do this, you can use an image with content or a video. Video is highly effective – it is proven to increase conversion.

Tip: Keep the ‘key’ information above the fold. This means it must be visible upon landing on the page. The visitor shouldn’t have to scroll down the page to find it.

3. Why What You’re Offering is Worthy of the Visitor’s Time/Money/Email

Let the visitor know the value of what you have to offer. And, if possible, make it seem exclusive. Figure out a way to make the visitor think he can’t get what you’re offering anywhere else.

Tip: The visitor must perceive the value of your offer as higher than its cost.

4. Is the Path to What You’re Offering (the Path to the YES) Simple?

Marketers use the acronym KISS (Keep it Simple Silly) to emphasis the importance of simplicity. Your website should be easy to navigate, focused and clear, have a simple design, and it should have an easy path to saying YES.

Tip: To keep it simple, have only one or two steps to opt-in or to take some other call-to-action.

To further cement the ‘tell it all and tell it quickly’ website strategy, MarketingExperiments.com explains that you have only seven seconds to do what’s needed. That’s the length of time you have to grab the visitor, let him know who you are and what you have to offer.

Ready, set, go!

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

How Do You Build a Successful Writing Career? (3 Tips)
Had a Children’s Book Ghostwritten? Now What?
Storytelling – Don’t Let the Reader Become Disengaged

WANT TO MAKE YOUR AUTHOR / WRITER WEBSITE OPTIMIZED? OR, DO YOU NEED TO CREATE A WEBSITE?

You’ve got to check out:

Create Your WordPress Website Today
No code, no technical stuff, no fuss

This 5-day e-class through WOW! Women on Writing will show you, step-by-step, how to create your own WordPress Website. There’s video instruction, one-on-one with the instructor, and lots and lots of information and guidance. Create it in ONE day or take the FIVE days!

Simple steps to creating your own website.

Nov 20

Book Marketing – The Foundation

Book marketing starts with a quality productEvery author has thought it, said it, and heard it: promotion is the roll-up-your-sleeves and dig-in part of writing. It’s the much more difficult and time consuming aspect of writing that every author needs to become involved with . . . if she wants to sell her books.

To actually sell a book, you need to have a quality product. This is the bare-bottom, first rung of book promotion . . . the foundation.

The Foundation – Create a Quality Product

The very first step in book promotion is to create a quality product. Hopefully, you noticed I said create a quality product, not just a good story. What this means is that all aspects of your book need to be top notch.

A. The Story

To start at the very beginning, the first factor to be dealt with is to be sure your story has all the essential elements. According to Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, there are five major elements of a story: characters, setting, plot, point of view, and theme.

All the elements of a story should complement each other, should move each other forward, draw the reader in, and end with a satisfying conclusion. They should work together to create a story that will be remembered.

Suppose your story is action packed and plot driven, but it lacks believable and sympathetic characters – it will fall short. The same holds true if you have a believable and sympathetic character, but the story lacks movement. Again, it will be lacking.

As with all things in life balance is necessary, the same holds true when writing a story.

Here are four articles that will help you in this area:

Being a Writer – Learn the Craft of Writing
10 Rules for Writing Children’s Stories    
Writing for Children – Character Believability and Conflict
How to Write a Story

B. Join a Critique Group

Yes, this is part of creating a quality story.

Even experienced authors depend on the unique perspective and extra eyes that each critique member provides. They will help find: grammatical errors, holes in your story, unclear sentences and paragraphs, overuse of particular words, and weak verbs, among other elements.

They will also provide guidance and suggestions.

C. Editing

Yes, again, this is a necessary step to take to ensure your manuscript is in the best shape possible before it becomes a book.

Look for an experienced and qualified editor to help tweak your manuscript. But, before you send it off to be edited, self-edit it first.

There are a number of articles out there in cyberspace on self-editing. Take the time and read a few, then go over your manuscript.

D. Cover and Design

This step is more relevant to those who decide to self-publish or use a Print-on-Demand (POD).

The cover (including the back cover) is the first impression a reader will usually have of your book, next is the interior design. These aspects are just as important as the story itself.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the expression that you only get one shot at making a good first impression. Well, you can relate that to your book cover.

Don’t skimp on time, effort, or money when coming up with your book’s cover and design.

Tip: If you are writing a children’s book, do not do your own illustrations unless you’re a professional illustrator.

Let's talk about your children's writing project
Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn you story into a publishable and saleable book.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

Nov 06

Traditional Publishing and the Author Platform – Be Realistic

Traditional Publishing and Book MarketingBest sellers happen to unknown authors. Getting on the New York Times Best Seller list happens. Breakout books happen to new authors.

But . . .

Yes, of course, there’s a ‘but.’ Statistically speaking, about 80% or more of all books don’t succeed.

Every new author needs to enter the publishing arena with open eyes. She needs to be realistic as to what’s required of her and what her chances are.

So, how do you help increase your chances of getting your book to succeed? How do you create a successful writing career, even if you don’t have a breakout book?

3 of the Most Important Tips to Effective Author Platform Building and Book Marketing

Whether you landed a book contract or not (if you’re self-publishing these three tips are just as important, if not more so):

1. You absolutely need an author website. And, it needs to be optimized.

Optimization means having the right domain name, the right website title and subtitle, using keywords, optimizing your blog posts, creating the ‘right’ web pages, using optimized images, and so on.

Another key optimization trick is to keep your website simple: easy to read, easy to navigate, and uncluttered.

If you want to learn how to create an optimized website, or if you already have one but need to optimize it, you should check out this e-class through WOW! Women on Writing:

Create Your WordPress Website Today
No code, no technical stuff, no fuss

You can get your website up and running in one day or take five days. It’s got one-on-one with the instructor and video training.

2. You need an understanding of how to market you book.

According to the February 2013 issue of The Writer, “The slam-dunk team” article explains, “Publishing houses want a business partner, someone who’s going to work hard from the get-go, tirelessly promoting, working connections, and never saying no to an opportunity.”

Do you know how to blog effectively? Do you know about creating a subscriber list and using email marketing for more sales? Do you know how to work social media marketing to increase website traffic, boost authority, and boost sales?

These marketing strategies are all part of an optimized author/writer platform – they’re considered inbound marketing. While it’s all must-know-stuff, it can be easy to do.

There are lots of online opportunities to learn these skills. One super-effective and super-reasonable tool is this 4-week e-class through WOW! Women on Writing:
Give Your Author/Writer Business a Boost with Inbound Marketing

3. Put your website and new found knowledge to work.

It’s true there is much involved in building your platform and book marketing, but once you get the hang of it, it will become second-nature. Think of it like a puzzle. You have to put the pieces together before you get the results you want.

Have an optimized author website; create an Amazon Author Page; get book reviews; blog your way to traffic; use email marketing to promote new releases; and use social media marketing to widen your marketing reach.

Give your publisher what she wants: A book marketing savvy author.

4. This is a bonus tip:

According to just about all expert book marketers, including Chuck Sambuchino and Jane Friedman, you need to have all your marketing strategies in place before you even start submitting to book publishers or literary agents.

So, if you’re writing a book or you’re in the submissions process, be sure to get your author platform and book marketing strategies in place.

Be able to tell a publisher or agent that, YES – you can help market your book.

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Oct 30

The Author Platform – It Should Have Been Started Yesterday

Book Marketing TipsDid you ever hear the expression, “a stitch in time saves nine?”

Whether you’re an author or freelance writer, that’s how you need to think of your writing platform. Get it started first, as the foundation of your business. It’s much more effective than trying to play catch-up.

If you’re an author, your platform needs to be in place before you hit the submissions road (if you’re going the traditional route). And, it certainly needs to be in place before you self-publish.

If you’re a freelance writer, you need to have an effective website and marketing strategies in place before you offer your services online.

To reinforce this thought, let me tell you about my father. He was in construction – he built homes. The first thing that gets done, after the blueprints are drawn, is digging for the foundation. Then the foundation is created. Then the house is built on top of the foundation.

It’s the same when building an online platform. Getting a website is the digging part; the added content and optimization of the website is the foundation of your platform.

Still not sure if the need for an online platform (and website) is essential?

Let’s go over what three heavy-hitters in the book writing world have to say:

1. Jane Friedman, Virginia Quarterly Review online and digital content instructor

In a video interview with Orna Ross of Alliance of Independent Authors, The Business of Money, Writing & Publishing, Friedman said, “having your own website is Step 0 in your book marketing efforts.” (1)

2. Chuck Sambuchino, Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents

In his book, “Create Your Writer Platform,” Sambuchino emphasized, “If you don’t have a proven ability to promote your work and sell books, editors won’t even consider your idea, no matter how clever or timely it may be.”

3. Guy Kawasaki, author of a number of marketing books, including APE (Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How to Publish a Book)

In an article at PBS.org, Kawasaki explained, “The bottom line is that authors need to think of their book as a business — one that generates revenues and costs. It’s also one that the world doesn’t owe you success and sales. If you embrace the perspective of an entrepreneur with a new product, you’ll be on the right track to success as a writer.” (2)

There you have it. Three heavy-hitters in the writing and book marketing arena all contend that authors must have an online platform.

If you haven’t started your writing platform yet, get started today. If you have one in place, make sure it’s optimized.

References:

(1) http://www.karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com/2013/12/jane-friedman-talks-book-marketing-with.html
(2) http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2013/09/guy-kawasakis-6-entrepreneurial-tips-for-authors/

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Aug 28

Submitting Queries – Be Specific and Professional

Be specific and professional when submitting queriesAll writers face the dreaded query. Did I put enough information? Did I put too much? Did I have a great hook? Am I submitting to the right publisher or agent?

These are just a few questions that run through a writer’s mind when mailing or clicking the send button for the query. So, how do you answer these questions and the many others that go along with the job of crafting a query?

Well, the first simple response to this question is to READ the publisher’s or agent’s guidelines.
Okay, that’s not accurate-you need to STUDY and FOLLOW those guidelines precisely.

Items to watch for when reading those guidelines:

1. What genre does that particular publishing house, agent, or magazine publish?

2. Does the publisher/agent accept simultaneous submissions?

3. Is there a specific word count involved if querying for articles?

4. Does the publishing house accept unagented queries?

5. Does the magazine only accept specific themes, if so, is your article on target?

This list is not complete, there are obviously more items to watch out for. So, we go back to the main rule for querying: FOLLOW the GUIDELINES!

But, following the guidelines is just part of the querying process; you also need to know some inclusion essentials.

Six rules to use that will help you create a winning query:

1. Be professional. Writing is a business just like any other – it’s important to treat it as such.

2. Be sure to include your contact information: address, telephone number, email address and website.

3. If you were referred by someone, include it in the query. Every little bit helps, but be sure it’s a referral from someone the editor actually knows.

4. Write tight – be specific and jump right in. You want to provide enough information to motivate the editor to want more, but you need to keep it to one page.

5. The first paragraph is explaining that you’ve visited the company’s website and found they are accepting your genre. Or, you might simple state that you are submitting your manuscript for her review.

In this paragraph you can include the genre and the word count. And, it’d be a good idea to mention a published book that it might be similar to.

EXAMPLE:

Dear [Editor’s Name],

I’d like to introduce my 15,000 word fantasy chapter book, WALKING THROUGH WALLS, for your consideration. It is in the flavor of A SINGE SHARD by Linda Sue Park.

6. The second paragraph is the pitch. Within a couple of sentences you need to hook the editor or agent. Give a brief description of the story – just the essentials.

EXAMPLE of a first sentence for this paragraph:

In 16th century China, Wang works in the rice fields with his father, but this is not the life he wants.

In just one sentence, the time period is established along with the setting and conflict.

7. The third paragraph is about you. Again, keep it brief and include your credentials. Limit personal information unless it adds to your credentials as a writer qualified to write for this publisher or agent.

This is also the place you’ll briefly mention your marketing platform.

I had a client, who at the time she was querying agents, had around 45,000 Facebook followers and around 15,000 Instagram followers. She also had a website. These are things that are definitely worth mentioning!

Publishers and agents appreciate when authors already have an author platform up and running. In fact, if a contract is between ‘platformless’ you and another author who is equally qualified, but does have a platform in place, guess who’ll get that contract.

8. The fourth paragraph is your conclusion. Thank the editor/agent for his time and mention if you are enclosing a SASE (self-addressed and stamped envelope) and if the query is a simultaneous submission.

A good way to practice for queries and pitches is to write a one sentence ‘out of the ball park’ description of your manuscript. This will help you to think and write tight and choose the perfect words to hook the reader and convey the essence of your story.

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Is Your Manuscript Ready for Submission?

Need Help With Your Story

Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn you story into a publishable and saleable book.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

A version of this article was originally published by Karen Cioffi at:
http://EzineArticles.com/?id=3836899