As most authors are self-publishing today, it’s important for authors to know about Amazon’s book categories.
When you’re uploading your book to Amazon, you’re able to choose specific categories for your book to be list under. This is something you need to take advantage of.
Do your research and determine which categories best fit your book.
If you’re having a service upload your book, you should make sure you know what categories the service is using.
Do you know what categories your book is listed under with Amazon?
It’s a crucial element of your book marketing and book sales, and you should use as many categories as you’re allowed. With Amazon, it’s currently ten.
But, for reasons unknown, it seems a while back, Amazon made it more difficult to see the 10 categories you listed your book under – they only visibly list the first three.
According to Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur, you can now only see 3 of the categories you chose when you uploaded your book.
According to Geoff Affleck, "selecting the best Amazon book categories is one of the most important and overlooked aspects of publishing and one of the easiest to do. Most self-published authors and professional publishers give little thought to the category placement."
So, what exactly do categories do for your book?
Think of them as a step above keywords. You might think of categories as the house that holds the keywords.
Suppose you’ve written a children’s fiction picture books that focuses on a child owing a pet – the responsibility and caring involved.
The categories might be:
Books / Fiction / Children’s Book
The keywords might be:
Caring for a pet
This example should help you get the idea.
While Amazon buyers don't usually browse books by categories, if you're book is selling well, Amazon takes note of the categories your book is in. Their algorithm will give you a higher ranking for that category which means your book will be suggested to more customers.
It's kind of a popularity contest.
This is why keeping track of your book's categories is important.
It shouldn’t be a create and leave situation.
Suppose a new category opens up that's more focused on your book's subject matter. You would not doubt want to swap it out for a category that's less connected.
Or, maybe you're keeping track of other books in your subject matter and they're doing very well; you might want to use their categories.
Knowing what categories are getting traction and visibility will give you the opportunity to use the categories to bring more attention / visibility to your books.
So to address the problem of only seeing 3 of your listed categories, Chesson suggests a free service from Nerdy Book Girl that allows you to see them all. All you need is to input your ISBN or ASIN.
While this article focuses on Amazon, you should follow the same marketing strategy for any other aggregator or distributor you list your book with.
As an author, it’s important to understand book marketing.
To understand book marketing, it’s important to understand the basics of SEO.
SEO may seem confusing and even a bit scary to some. But it needn’t be.
Just dip your toe in and learn the basics. It’s kind of common sense once you understand it’s purpose.
This acronym stands for search engine optimization and its fundamental purpose is to get you visible and build your authority through organic strategies (marketing strategies that are free).
This in turn will help you build your readership and help you sell your books and/or services.
And, it’s important to understand that having your website and content optimized isn’t only for the search engines; it’s also for searchers (the people using keywords/phrases to search for what they want), and visitors to your site.
Before I delve into SEO, let me talk a bit about author websites, as it’s a crucial part of online marketing.
You Need One
Every author and writer should have their own website. If you weren’t sure about this before, you can be now.
You can’t rely on social media networks for your only online address. For instance, having a Facebook author page is a good idea, but it shouldn’t be the only place people can find you for a number of reasons.
These networks are continually changing the game. Your organic marketing reach (the other users in your social network who actually see your posts) is shrinking more and more. To get more visibility you need to pay to ‘boost’ your post.
The last I read, organic reach for the average Facebook Page is below 5 percent. Roughly, this means that 1 in 50 connections will see your posts.
I think in some instances it’s even much lower. I saw the stats of an article I recently posted to Facebook and it reached 3 users out of around 1000 followers. Yes, only 3.
And, if a social network doesn’t like what you’re posting, they can remove it.
To establish a solid book marketing foundation, you need a website.
But, I’m getting off track here.
What is SEO?
SEO is kind of like a popularity contest. Certain actions by people can give your website a vote of confidence (authority). A few of these actions are:
Sharing your content (blog posts)
Clicking on your link that leads back to your website (this is considered an inbound link)
Staying on your site for more than several seconds
Linking back to your site from their website (this is considered a backlink)
Google considers these actions votes.
If a lot of people are giving you votes, Google will make your website and content more visible to people searching for keywords that are relevant to your site and/or article.
An Example of SEO in Practice
This site’s basic keywords are: writing tips, writing for children, book marketing, self-publishing, publishing
If my site and the content on it are doing a good job motivating people to take action with votes of approval, Google will list my posts higher up on its search engine results page (SERP).
This in turn will bring even more people to your website, giving us more votes.
How it works:
I write a post on book marketing. I share that post on my social network accounts. People see the post and click on the link back to my website to read the post. The visitors find the post informative, so they share it and maybe comment.
Then, let’s suppose Amanda comes along and wants to learn about ‘book marketing’. She puts that keyword in Google’s search box.
Google scours its millions or billions of tidbits of information and sees that Writers on the Move has an article that has gotten votes and is relevant to Amanda’s search keyword. So, Google puts the link to that article on the first SERP so Amanda can see it.
Amanda sees the title of the article and the brief description I included. She thinks it will be helpful so clicks on it.
See where this is going?
The more visibility, the more people come to your website. This in turn boosts your authority and ranking along with your chances of ‘conversion’ (turning visitors into customers, clients, and/or subscribers to your newsletter).
This is SEO.
Sharing and Commenting
Because of this cycle of sharing and visitors, and sharing and more visitors, it’s essential to get people to share your blog posts. It’s considered another vote.
Google pays attention to everything.
So, if you’re reading this post and find it’s helpful, PLEASE Share it. And, if time allows, please comment.
This post was first published at: https://www.writersonthemove.com/2017/12/seo-for-authors-series-basics.html
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Determining What Went Wrong to Get Future Marketing Right
Once upon a time, way back in the last decade, author and researcher Lisa Ann Hewlett’s publicity predicament illustrated to the world of books what we authors suspected all along: Huge amounts of publicity surrounding a release don’t necessarily translate into massive sales figures. I still remember it today and am haunted by it whenever a client tells me that her marketing isn’t working.
When a major publicity coup like Lisa’s turns out to be the most bitter dose of rejection we could expect to encounter, it’s an indicator that it could happen to anyone. That may happen even when the publicity is the stuff of which dreams—in Surround Sound and Technicolor—are made of.
It is reported (variably) that Hewlett’s Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children sold between 8,000 and 10,000 copies. Many authors would be ecstatic with sales figures that look like that, but everything is relative. It is believed that Miramax paid a six-figure advance for this title and projected sales in the 30,000 range for hardcover alone. Considering expectations for the book, the figures do appear dismal.
Therefore, smart people in the publishing industry searched for reasons for its less than stellar performance, especially with the kind of publicity this book received, and I mean biggies like Time Magazine (the cover, no less) and several “New York” magazines. TV shows like “60 Minutes,” “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” and “NBC Nightly News” lined up behind this book, for heaven’s sake. Even Oprah’s magic book-sale-wand was not effective.
Hewlett’s book made great news! It warned young career women that they have been mislead by petri dish miracles reported in the press. She pointed out that women have come to believe that they can put conception after career and be reasonably sure they can have still have both. She attempts to exorcise that notion in Quest.
So, just what did go wrong?
Many groused that the title was not scintillating nor was the book’s cover. Those in the know wondered if that influenced book sales. But that’s a huge burden to put on professionally produced book cover or title choice in a book published by an experienced, savvy and BIG publisher. Something else was clearly wrong.
My thirty-seven-year-old-daughter who had just returned to college to embark on a career in anthropology suggested that women don’t want to hear the dreadful news. She says, “I just flat out don’t want to hear this bad news in the middle of something rewarding, exciting and new! Why would I slap down the price of a book to get depressed?” Another unmarried friend who is also caring for an aging mother said, “I wouldn’t buy it. What am I supposed to do with that kind of information once I have it?” For women like them, delaying childbearing isn’t a choice. It’s a necessity.
All this searching for answers may reap results, may help publicists and publishers and authors determine cause and effect so that this syndrome can be avoided in the future.
The problem lies in the fact that this soul-searching and hullabaloo was misdirected. Even Hewlett says, “I don’t know what to make of this absence of huge sales.” One can see her shaking her head in disbelief. If someone with her research skills can’t figure it out, can anyone? It may be the economy, stupid. Or retailing. Or the book biz.
It’s surely something completely out of the author’s control unless someone had thought to run the idea by a focus group of career women the age of the book’s expected audience. In the publishing industry, the term “beta reader” is often associated with this kind of research, but it must be accompanied by hard questions posed to the readers and that seems to entail some notion of unforeseen exigencies.
That seems like a bit of a conundrum, don’t you think? To do that, a similar trial I might run for my The Frugal Book Promoter might miss the mark for brand new authors because a large percentage still might be operating on decades-old ideas of what big publishers will do in terms of marketing! If that hadn’t occurred to me or my publisher, we wouldn’t have asked the hard question!
But, I think the most valuable lesson that can be learned with the Quest kind of rejection—any kind, really—is that it is not personal, that it pays to search for the lesson even after the fact.
We must keep the faith, keep writing, and keep publicizing, because if we don’t, we’ll never know if a book—or a career—was given the best possible chance at success.
Here’s what I know for sure. I now fear publishing less. If my faith should slip a tad, I know it need not be fatal. I know those things thanks to Sylvia Ann Hewlett.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson is an award-winning novelist, poet, and author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers. She taught editing and marketing classes at UCLA Extension’s world-renowned Writers’ Program for nearly a decade and carefully chooses one novel she believes in a year to edit.
The Frugal Editor (bit.ly/FrugalEditor) award-winner as well as the winner of Reader View’s Literary Award in the publishing category. She is the recipient of both the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award and the coveted Irwin award. She appears in commercials for the likes of Blue Shield, Disney Cruises (Japan), and Time-Life CDs and is a popular speaker at writers’ conferences.
NEED HELP WITH YOUR CHILDREN’S STORY?
Let me take a look at your notes, outline, or draft. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. I can turn your story into a book you’ll be proud to be author of.
Send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org (please put Children’s Ghostwriter in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700
Let’s get your story in publishable and marketable shape today!
Whether you like it or not, as authors and writers, you need to write compelling, even persuasive content.
You might ask why.
Well, if you’re spending your time creating a book, magazine article, essay, blog post, or content for your website, you have a purpose in mind.
That purpose is to create and build visibility and sell what you’re offering.
This is where copywriting comes in.
So, what exactly is copywriting?
According to American Writers and Artists Institute (AWAI), “Copywriting is the process of writing persuasive marketing and promotional materials that motivate people to take some form of action, such as make a purchase, click on a link, donate to a cause, or schedule a consultation.”
Writing persuasive content helps you create and build visibility, and it helps you sell your books, your services, or your products.
Five tips to make your article or blog post more persuasive.
Here are three:
It’s always about the reader.
With all the content online, you need to grab the reader quickly.
Let the reader know what’s in it for her in the beginning paragraph.
Let her know how your article can help her.
An example: Last month, my article, The One Sentence Pitch for Your Manuscript, had the most pageveiws of all my articles. It was posted over five years ago.
Based on this information, I went back to the post to make sure it followed this advice. It did.
Within the first paragraph, I explain what a one-sentence pitch is. And in the next, I explain why it needs to be only one sentence.
So, my beginning content gives the reader what he’s looking for.
I did have to add an updated call-to-action which is why you should check on your older posts.
The So Whater.
This is a great tip and one that I learned years ago from children’s writer Margot Finke.
In children’s writing, the So Whater is about moving the character and story forward by continually asking yourself, so what.
Suppose Amanda gets a virtual reality headset. “So what,” says the So Whater.
Suppose the game she gets with the set is about scuba diving with sharks.
Again, the So Whater says, “So What?” And, she goes on to say, “So what,” every time you add something to the story.
Having to come up with answers for the So Whater motivates you to come up with what happens next that will make a page-turning story.
It’s the same with copywriting.
You have to think of where and when the reader may say, “So What?” “What’s in it for Me?”
Keeping this in mind helps you have the answer already in place to stop the So Whater before he gets started.
Make your call-to-action (CTA) work for you.
Your CTA needs to motivate the reader to click on what you’re offering.
It may be to buy your book.
It may be to attend a podcast, webinar, or other format.
It may be to sign up for your mailing list.
It may be to take a survey.
Whatever you want the reader or visitor to do, make it clear and enticing.
You might add a guarantee: You’re going to love this or ask for a full refund – no questions asked.
You might offer an additional helpful tool or PDF or other if the reader takes the action you want.
In my copy for Become a Power-Blogger in Just 4-Weeks, I include helpful bonus information.
Compare the price to something else, making it sound cheap compared to the other product or service.
The article at AWAI gave this example: For the cost of a Starbucks latte each day, you can be enjoying …
Offer a how-to PDF that will simplify the reader’s life.
I recently created a DIY Self-Publishing PDF as an offer to join my mailing list.
It takes the author from an edited manuscript to publishing an ebook or paperback. I know this is a valuable offer because I tried to find the information when I was self-publishing How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book.
Add testimonials or other social proof.
Suppose you have 100,000 subscribers to your email list. You could use that as social proof: Join 100,000 other subscribers. Or, something like, A 100,000 subscribers can’t be wrong – jump on board.
I have testimonials on my Home page of my website. Testimonials work. I’ve had clients tell me they hired me because of my testimonials.
Would you click on your CTA?
Once you have your article or content written and edited, read it as a visitor to your site or a reader. Then read the CTA.
Would the content motivate you to take action?
You might be thinking that all this takes time, and you’d be right.
But once you get into the routine of doing it, it will come easier and quicker. And more than that, it will work for you.
On top of all this, what you write online is there forever and reaches far. The internet is a crazy place; you just don’t know who will see that article, CTA, or other content you write.
It’s important to make your content effective. Make it do what you want it to, what you need it to do, to get the reader to click on your CTA.
NEED HELP WITH YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM:
Build Your Author/Writer Platform is a 4-week in-depth and interactive e-class I instruct through WOW! Women on Writing. It covers all the tools you’ll need to build visibility and traffic, and boost sales.
Keep in mind that you’re creating a brand that needs to be consistent.
I admit I didn’t take care when coming up with my social media usernames.
On LinkedIn it’s Karen Cioffi-Ventrice On Twitter it’s KarenCV. On Facebook it’s Karen Cioffi writing for children On Pinterest it’s Karen Cioffi
Unfortunately, once you create your username you’re stuck with it. At least that’s usually the case.
If I had to do it over, I’d be Karen Cioffi, Children’s Ghostwriter on everything.
Think it through before creating a username and be consistent throughout your branding. On mine, the only thing consistent is my first name.
My URL is the same for all networks.
C. Your profile picture.
You have a choice between your headshot and your logo.
I did a combination. I had a caricature done at a wedding and decided to use it as part of my children’s writing branding. The problem though is it’s not professional.
It looks pretty good, but he must have hiccupped when he came to my chin. So, I do need to get it touched up or get it professionally done.
Also, when using your logo, there will be instances when you need to use an actual headshot for interviews or joint ventures, so be prepared with a professional one. That’s something else I have to take care of.
Use whatever you’re most identifiable with or what you want to be identifiable with.
D. Your link.
This needs to be considered carefully. Where do you want to send prospects to?
You can send people to your landing page, your sales page, and opt-in page, or other. Whichever it is, it should be a page that will help motivate the visitor to take action.
I use my landing page as it’s kind of a sales page too and it’s consistent on all my networks.
Back to the webinar.
The summary or about information.
This is where you can go into detail – depending on how many words or characters you’re allotted.
LinkedIn gives you enough to get into it, so take advantage of it.
A lot of copywriters write their summary/about in first person and some make it more personal and creative than others.
This is the place to put keywords and address what the prospect needs to convince him you’re the girl for the job.
Benun also says to include ‘expert’ if you believe you are an expert in your field. She said it makes a difference.
I recently revised my profile on LinkedIn, but don’t remember if I used the word expert. I’ll have to check it.
Also, use call-to-actions. Tell the prospect what you want her to do. And, speak directly to your best prospect and use the word ‘you’ a lot.
And, be sure to include your contact information in the summary even if it’s not clickable.
Your background or cover image.
This is another important element of branding and it’s important for it to be consistent throughout your platform.
Below is my social media banner for all my networks. It’s an older version, but the colors and basics are all the same:
I chose the colors specifically and created the design with Laughingbird software. It’s pretty easy to use and they have lots of how-to videos and lots on what you can do with it. I’ve used this product for years and am an affiliate with them.
Your header, background image, and banner will tell a lot about your business. As of the writing of this article, the dimensions of a LinkedIn banner is 1400 x 425 pixels.
Don’t leave the social network’s default image.
Be active and post on LinkedIn.
I used to do this. I’d take an older article on my website and post it to LinkedIn or Facebook. But I ended up stopping. But, I’ll try to make the time to restart with LinkedIn.
I do post updates to LinkedIn through social media buttons on my site and I have a social media VA who posts my articles about 10 times a day, but it’s not the same as having a full article on LinkedIn.
Again, LinkedIn is a search engine.
Other places I post articles are to Google and AuthorsDen. I only do this once a month, but it keeps me visible and appearing active.
Share and Recommend.
Share the content of others on LinkedIn.
I do this almost every day whether on LinkedIn itself or if I’m reading an article on a website. If it’s valuable, I always share.
You should also recommend others, if you know the quality of their work. If you do, the person will most likely be willing to recommend you.
Why not go over all your social network profiles and make sure they’re up to date and working for you.
Authors rarely get the most of their reviews. Surprised? I think it’s either that they are so excited about the review or that the idea of extending a review’s value doesn’t occur to them. Or it’s because so many reviews these days come from readers. They aren’t professionals, so they have no idea how to distribute content beyond posting their review on Amazon.
One of the ways they can get more mileage from their reviews is to get them reprinted in more venues than the reviewer ever planned. Or you do it for them. And, no, it isn’t stealing or plagiarism if you get permission from the reviewer first. In fact, it can benefit the reviewer.
When you get further distribute reviews you already have, it’s like getting a little marketing bonus. Here’s how to do that:
If your reviewer doesn’t normally write reviews (these reviewers are often called reader reviewers), suggest she send her review or the link to her review to her friends as a recommendation.
If your reviewer lives in a town with a small daily or weekly newspaper, she could send her review to them. She may realize the thrill of being published the first time.
Ask your reviewer—even one who writes for a review journal—to post her review on Amazon.com, BN.com, and other online booksellers that have reader-review features. I have never had a reviewer decline my suggestion. It is ethical for a reviewer to do it or give you permission to reuse the review as long as she holds the copyright for the review. (Most reviewers do not sign copyright-limiting agreements with the medium who hires them.) Get more information on Amazon’s often misrepresented review policies in Chapter Eleven, “Managing Your Amazon Reviews.”
After you have permission from the reviewer to reprint the review, post it on your blog, on your Web site, and in your newsletter. Use quotations from the reviews to give credibility to selected media releases and queries.
Send quotations (blurbs) from the reviews you get to librarians, especially the ones in your home town or cities you plan to visit during book tours. Include order information. Try Midwest for a list of libraries.
Use snippets from positive reviews as blurbs in everything from your stationery to your blog. (Use your e-reader’s find function to search for other ideas for using your blurbs in this book.)
If your reviewer doesn’t respond to your request to post the review on Amazon, excerpt blurbs from them and post them on your Amazon buy page using Amazon’s Author Connect or Author Central features. They will appear on your Amazon sales page.
Include the crème de la crème of your reviews on the Praise Page of your media kit and inside the front cover of the next edition (perhaps a mass market edition like the pocket paperbacks sold in grocery stores?). See my multi award-winning The Frugal Book Promoter for the complete—and I do mean complete—lowdown on media kits.
Hint: Occasionally authors get reviews on Amazon that, shall we say…don’t thrill them. Reviews like that can be minimized by asking others for reviews. As new reviews are added, the old ones tend to get buried in the lineup of reviews. We can also (pleasantly!) refute a position a reviewer takes using the comment feature—or thank them for bringing something to our attention. We can also dispute their validity with Amazon, though that rarely works.
You can use some of these suggestions as part of your keeping-in-communication-with-reviewers effort after her review has been published.
Contributor Carolyn Howard-Johnson is an award-winning novelist, poet, and author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers. She taught editing and marketing classes at UCLA Extension’s world-renowned Writers’ Program for nearly a decade and carefully chooses one novel she believes in a year to edit. The Frugal Editor award-winner as well as the winner of Reader View’s Literary Award in the publishing category. She is the recipient of both the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award and the coveted Irwin award. She appears in commercials for the likes of Blue Shield, Disney Cruises (Japan), and Time-Life CDs and is a popular speaker at writers’ conferences.
NEED HELP WITH YOUR CHILDREN’S STORY?
Whether you need help with ghostwriting or rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: email@example.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700
Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!
A great way to get visibility, recognition, and validation is through writing contests.
When my middle grade book, Walking Through Walls, came out, I entered every contest I could and won three of them, including the Silver Award with Children’s Literary Classics.
Winning contests is great for book marketing.
I was contacted by an amazing writing contest, Page Turner Awards, and they asked if I’d be a judge.
Page Turner Awards is a yearly writing contest for unpublished and published authors. Submissions started January 20th and will run through May 31, 2021. The fee is only $27.50 if you sign up BEFORE February 28th. After that it’s $40.
Always thinking visibility for me, my books, and my ghostwriting service, I said yes to being a judge.
One of the reasons I agreed to be a judge was because of the other judges on board and the awards.
The 2020 wins were:
Three writers won a literary agency representation
Another four had their full manuscript requested by literary agents, which hopefully will lead to agency representation
Fifteen authors won an audiobook production
Five writers won a publishing contract with a digital publisher
Six writers been chosen for a writing mentorship.
These aren’t simple Gold or Silver award. Some of these wins were life-changing.
But let me tell you a bit about Page Turner Awards.
Page Turner Awards is focused on changing the lives of as many writers as possible. It gives unpublished writers the chance to enter unpublished fiction and non-fiction books, to be read by a carefully curated judging panel made up of influential players in the publishing industry.
And, published authors, traditionally published or independently published, have the chance to get their fiction story or non-fiction book recognized by successful authors, high-caliber industry professionals and film producers.
Even screenwriters are afforded the chance to showcase their screenplays to film producers and film production companies actively looking for scripts to produce.
Prizes span everything from mentorships to audiobook production and publishing packages.
Page Turner Awards has been dubbed the ‘Rolls Royce’ of Writing Awards.
There’s a difference between using social media as your everything and using is to generate visibility and website traffic, and sales.
Social media is a main source of visibility – it should be used to drive traffic to your website and to make sales. Marketing experts recommend choosing two social media sites to work.
It’s the adage, don’t go wide and shallow, go narrow and deep.
I would also recommend using YouTube. If you don’t have an account, simply create one.
Post weekly or bi-weekly videos centering around your book’s topic. Video is a powerful marketing tool. As you continue to post, you’ll eventually engage people and get subscribers.
Statistics vary on this, but according to Spark.Adobe, Instagram is the social media leader with YouTube then Facebook following. Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest follow Facebook.
To use social media properly, you need to post to your networks every day. If possible, multiple times a day. There are automated services to help you with this. You can post about your book’s topic, related interesting things, and about your book.
It’s important to remember the 80/20 rule, though. Give 80% entertaining or useful information and 20% promotion.
You should also share other users’ posts, and comment when time allows.
Create an email list.
Email marketing is how you connect on a more personal level with your readers. It allows you to tell them about your new projects, services, and books you have for sale.
Just as important, it allows you to offer tips and help to your subscribers!
A. Connect with influencers in your arena. Query influencers to get a guest blog post on their sites. Just be sure you know what they’re looking for and pay close attention to their guidelines.
B. Similarly, look for people who do author interviews and/or podcasts with authors. Chances are they’d appreciate having someone new on their blog or show.
C. Contact your local libraries and let them know you have a new book out. You can also contact your local newspapers and TV stations. They’re usually looking for new content, especially when it involves a local author.
Work on getting book reviews.
Book reviews help sell books.
Do some research on bloggers who post book reviews. Reach out to them and ask if they’d be willing to review your book. Just make sure your book is a fit for their site.
Most of my clients self-publish and I know they don’t realize they should have an author website.
Even if it’s simply a landing page, about page and book page, authors need a website.
And your landing page, as well as your entire site, should be focused on a specific keyword or couple of related keywords. This includes your domain name, the title, headlines, content, and so on. This allows for better search engine optimization and increases your online authority.
Do You Have All 10 Author Website Elements in Place?
1. THE HEADER.
Your header should be relevant to your site’s brand (it's content and color scheme); and it needs to help visitors quickly grasp what the site is about.
Along with this, the header should be professionally done.
If you use a theme that doesn’t allow for a header or has a very small header, you might not be able to take advantage of a professional header. If this is the case, it'd be wise to choose a different theme.
An example of this is my site’s header. You can see it at the top of the page.
It tells exactly what the site is about and it conveys my brand’s color scheme.
Interestingly, I’ve been wanting to change the look of my site, but I get clients who say they hired me because of it. So, for the time being I’m keeping it the way it is.
2. THE TITLE.
You need an effective, optimized title. Your title should be keyword effective and further cement the focus of your site to the visitor. As with any title, it should grab the reader and let him know what to expect.
Having an optimized title means to use words (keywords) that will tell the search engines and people what your site is about
The title can go in two places: in Settings in your WordPress dashboard, and in the Header Image you create or have created.
I mentioned it can go in both places but it doesn’t have to.
The title of my site is Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi, but in my header, which I created, I have Karen Cioffi, Children’s Ghostwriter.
While I have a lot of helpful articles on writing for children on my site and I post weekly to it, the main purpose of my site is to offer services. The title in the header reflects this.
3. THE SUBTITLE.
An effective subtitle is where you can embellish on the title and add more relevant site information.
My header subtitle is the same as it is in my Settings (the Tagline in the #2 above image).
It’s important to keep in mind that images have no SEO juice, meaning search engines can’t read the text in images. But you can add a title and description to the images in the Metadata area after you upload the image.
Any place you can add keywords or description in WordPress or any other Content Management System do so.
4. WEBSITE NAVIGATION.
This primarily pertains to your site’s menu. It’s what gets a visitor to your site from one page to another.
The navigation must be quick to see and easy to use. And, it must be above the fold. This means it must be immediately visible upon landing on the site.
Most sites have the menu just below the header, but there are some that have it on the sidebar. If yours is on the sidebar, it should be above the fold.
Your menu needs to be quickly seen and functioning properly.
5. ABOUT PAGE.
Every site needs this page. Visitors want to know who you are, what you’re offering, and why you’re qualified to offer it. Don’t make it a guessing game or make the visitor have to search to find out who runs the site.
To make the page friendly, keep the content on this page conversational. You can give some personal information, but not too much. The internet isn’t the safest place, so be careful.
6. CONTACT PAGE AND OTHER WAYS TO BE REACHED.
You need easy to find contact information on the Landing Page and all the other pages. A potential customer or client doesn’t want to search for information on how to contact you with questions or a project. Have your contact information on every page (on the sidebar and/or at the bottom of each page works well).
This is especially important if you offer services.
Aside from the Contact Page, I have my contact info on the sidebar right below my call-to-action (CTA).
I’ve used a contact form in the past, but it caused problems on my site (as told by Bluehost, my hosting service) so I removed it.
This is what I have on my contact page:
7. RESPONSIVE THEME.
With all the devices your website can be seen on, you need a responsive theme that morphs (automatically adjusts) to all formats: websites, laptops, iPads, Smart Phones, etc.
To check how your site looks on any device visit: http://ipadpeek.com. If your site doesn’t measure up, search for a theme that works.
Google actually frowns upon sites that aren’t responsive
You absolutely need an opt-in to your mailing list. The mailing list is considered ‘golden’ and is the marketing tool that will help you build a relationship with your visitors and readers.
It’s this ongoing relationship that builds trust, authority, and conversion (having someone take action – buy your book or hire you).
While you should have an opt-in for your mailing list, it may also be to bring a visitor to a sales page for your books or services, or to sign up for a webinar or eclass. Whatever you’re offering and want your visitor to take action on, use an opt-in.
The opt-in should be above the fold and in line with your color scheme.
My opt-in is at the top of my sidebar:
9. ETHICAL BRIBE.
The most effective tool to get a visitor to subscribe to your opt-in is the ‘ethical bribe.’ This offering should be something of perceived value to your target market that will entice visitors to sign up. The above image is an example of an opt-in freebie.
Your ethical bribe should have a clear call-to-action (CTA). You need to explicitly tell the visitors what you want them to do.
In the image above, the opt-in is for my mailing list and the ethical bribe is “How Do You Plan a Children’s Story?” The clear CTA is “Get Free EBook.”
10. FOCUS AND SIMPLICITY.
I mentioned focus earlier. Your site needs to be focused.
If your site is about writing for children, you wouldn’t write about romance novels or offer them for sale on the site.
Google pays attention to the focus of your site. If you dilute that focus with unrelated content and offerings, Google will most likely avoid using your site as the results for search results.
Notice how my site’s keywords are specific to children’s ghostwriting and writing for children.
This focus helps search engine spiders and visitors quickly realize the focus of the site.
The next thing is simplicity. People have super-short attention spans. You need to make things as simple as possible for the visitor to quickly know what you’re offering and how they can get it.
Are you thinking about writing a children’s book? Or, maybe you have one published already.
Well, unless you’ve written a book for ‘your eyes only’ or maybe your family’s, you’ll want to make your book visible. You’ll want as many people as possible to see what you’ve written.
This is especially true if you want to sell any of your books. You’ll want to actively generate visibility.
So, how do you do this?
Promotion, promotion, promotion…
Promoting your book is the only way to create visibility. And, as many have limited funds and can’t afford to pay a publicist or marketer, you need to look at strategies that are affordable or free.
In addition to the very basic strategies of creating a marketing plan which should include the book’s cover, how you’ll self-publish, and where your book will be sold, there are at least eight book marketing strategies that are free and sure to help create visibility for you and your author platform.
These tips are just as important if you’re traditionally publishing.
Eight FREE Strategies to Help Create and Increase Your Visibility
Before your book is even published, create an author website.
I realize a number of new authors don’t want to be bothered with a website, especially if writing books isn’t something you intend to continue. But it does make a difference. It makes you look professional and it’s the place you will lead potential buyers to.
Let people know what your book is about. Maybe put tidbits from the book or books. Write about your writing, publishing, and book marketing process and experiences.
Preferably you will want to post to your site regularly even if it’s just once a month. You want it to be active for the search engines and for those who visit.
For more on why you need an author website you can read:
This is where your website comes in handy. Post about your book and share your posts to your social media networks.
If you absolutely don’t want a website, at least post to your social media networks about your book.
Tip: If you use social media to promote your book, don’t forget to share other users’ content. Social media is about engaging others and making connections.
In addition to this, it’s a good idea to provide some useful information to users.
For example, my middle grade fantasy, Walking Through Walls, is based on an ancient Chinese tale. If I were to use social media just for promotion of my book, I’d post about things that relate to the book – maybe about dragons or the ancient Chinese culture of the time period of the book.
It’s about giving and engaging, not just promoting the book
Numbers 3-8 are tips for after your book is published.
3. Go to your local library and give the librarian a copy. Ask if she will carry your book. You can also ask if you can give a workshop or presentation on writing and/or on getting a book published.
4. Contact your local newspapers and ask if they will do a feature on you. Local papers look for local news. Having an author in the neighborhood is news. When my book, Day’s End Lullaby, became available, my local paper did an article on the book and on me. It was great exposure.
5. Join groups and forums that focus in the area you write. Social networking is a wonderful way to increase visibility. There are also many marketing groups you can join to increase your book marketing knowledge.
6. Post reviews of books you’ve read on sites such as Amazon, Goodreads, LibraryThing, and Shelfari.
This is another useful marketing tool that will increase your visibility and build your author platform.
7. Submit your book to reviewers. This is a great marketing tool. Having good reviews to post on your site, and sites such as Amazon, is an important aspect to selling books, and selling books is what book marketing is all about.
People are influenced by the recommendations of others.
There are also sites like The New Book Review to post your reviews to. Just read the guidelines.
Get your friends and family involved too – ask them to read your book and post reviews to the above sites.
Be careful with Amazon though. Sometimes they won’t allow the review if you’ve posted to a number of other ‘review’ sites. And, sometimes they may stop a review if the reviewer didn’t buy the book.
Ask the reviewer to include a simple note at the end of the review explaining that s/he received a free book and the review is completely impartial.
You might also keep up with Amazon’s guidelines.
8. Create a signature for your emails. This signature is another means of allowing your platform to take root and create visibility for your book. Include your website’s URL, the name of your book/s, and maybe the sales page link.
You might also include your primary social media tag or URL to help build your network.
Use these tips and get started making your book visible today.
Whether you need help with ghostwriting or rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700
Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!