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

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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:

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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.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Writing for Children – 4 Simple Tips
The Outline Method of Writing (Are You an Outliner?)
The Book Summary – Five Must-Know Components

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/

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Successful Writing Strategy – Know Your Intent
10 Tips to Hiring a Children’s Ghostwriter
The Book Summary – Five Must-Know Components

Aug 14

The Author Website – Keep it Simple and to the Point

Creating an author websiteAs an instructor of online classes that teach how to create and build an author online presence, of all the lessons, the most popular one, and the one that sparks the most questions, is how to create an effective author website.

While some marketers still lean toward the effectiveness of long copy, especially for sales pages, some heavy hitters like Mike Volpe of Hubspot.com say, simple works best. And, as time passes, this ‘simple’ strategy is gaining more and more ground.

Why is this so?

The answer is time.

Have you landed on pages, especially sales pages that go on, and on, and on? I have and it’s actually kind of annoys me. If it’s a product I’m interested in I’ll scroll down, skimming, looking for highlights and the price in particular.

Have you scrolled down these pages and not been able to find the price?

As crazy as it sounds, there are landing pages out there that you have to click on the BUY button to find out how much the product you’re interested in costs. This takes additional time. And, it makes the potential customers feel like she has to jump through hoops to get the product.

You and everyone else are strapped for time today. We live in a faster and faster and faster world, a world that never sleeps. This causes us to work more and more and at a faster and faster pace.

According to the latest statistics, you have around FIVE seconds to grab a visitor, to convince or motivate him to pause long enough to move past the title and read your first and, hopefully, your second paragraph.

Time matters. Give the reader what she wants up front. And, what does she want?

The visitor to your site wants to know who you are and what you have to offer. Again, give the reader what she wants.

Keep your site simple, easy to read, and with a clear and simple call- to-action. And, if you have a product or service for sale, make the cost visible. Don’t make your landing page a Hide and Seek game. The visitor won’t appreciate it.

Okay, now that that you have the reasons for keeping your site simple and your call-to-action simple, here is one reason marketers may use the Hide and Seek strategy.

There is a marketing philosophy that uses a succession of Yeses to trigger the mind of the potential client or customer. It’s to motivate him, to say YES to the offer. According to pro marketer Clay Collins, this is considered ‘micro commitments’ or the YES ladder. Each time the visitor responds to the request, the conversion possibility increases.

While this might be a useful strategy for high-end products, for lower-end products, like your books or products under $50, this strategy could back-fire, especially with time factored in the equation. It’s not a good thing to make visitors jump through hoops to get the information they need.

So, bottom-line, keep your author website simple and to the point.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

How Do You Build a Successful Writing Career? (3 Tips)
Ingredients for a Perfect Picture Book
Writing a Book – To Traditionally Publish or To Self-Publish

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