May 02

Children’s Author – 5 Must-Haves for a Successful Book

There are a number of elements and strategies an author needs to write and publish a successful children’s book. This article covers five of them.

While success can mean different things to different people, to me a successful book is one that kids will love to read and hopefully learn from. A book that subtly leaves a lingering message which is considered the take-away-value. And, just as important, the book meets the standard industry guidelines.

A successful book is one that you’ll be proud to be author of.

Let’s go over the five children’s author must-haves.

  1. A quality children’s book.

Very first think is to write a quality book. But, how do you do you do this?

Anything worthwhile doing is worth doing right. So, to write a quality book, you should take the time to learn how to write a story.

There’s enough information online information, courses, and workshops to learn the process.

The basics are to be sure it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It should have engaging characters. The protagonist should grow in some way. And, it should have a take-away-value.

There’s also editing and proofreading. You can self-edit and proofread and/or you get it professionally done to make sure what you missed gets found and corrected.

One of the best ways to know if you’re on the right track is to read recently published books major publishers and in your genre. Dissect them. Figure out why they work.

Another aspect of a quality book is to have if professionally formatted.

  1. A great book cover.

The first thing a reader will see is the cover of your book, and it’s usually the cover that will draw the reader to the book. Along with this, it’s usually the cover that will motivate the reader to buy the book.

Don’t skimp in this area. Get a professional cover. It’s definitely worth the investment.

If your budget allows, look for a professional illustrator or designer. A professional cover can be anywhere from $200 to $450, possibly more.

There are also a number of publishing services that offer book cover templates and if this is all your budget allows, be sure you can tweak it to make it unique.

You don’t want the same cover that thousands of other books have.

If you’re traditionally publishing, you won’t need to worry about a book cover.

  1. Professional illustrations.

Have you seen self-published picture books and wondered how the author could use substandard illustrations? This goes for picture books, chapter books, and any other genre that you’ll have illustrations.

You can have an awesome story, but if the illustrations stink, you’ve degraded your book.

Ask around for qualified illustrators or do an online search. Be sure to look at samples and pay attention to the people.

I give my clients a list of illustrators who my other clients have vetted.

What I’m noticing lately is some illustrators are great at inanimate objects and animals, and even fantasy characters, but their people characters are poor quality.

They have the same positions or facial expressions with very minor tweaks. Or, the people characters will lack movement.

Be careful. Do your research and find a professional illustrator.

Good illustrations can run from $90 to $350 per interior illustration – sometimes more.

And, be sure you own the rights to the illustrations.

  1. The ISBN

You should have an ISBN if you intend to sell your book through retailers.

The International Standard Book Number is needed for print books and identifies your book. It’s required by most retailers.

It provides the retailers with the edition, the publisher, the format, and metadata for your book. This all helps readers find your book.

The 13-digit number is unique to each book and is placed on the back of your book by the book designer. It will be in the form of a barcode.

  1. The LCCN.

The Library of Congress Control Number allows libraries all over the U.S. to categorized your book, if they’re interested in it.

Having your book in the library system is a big deal, and getting a number is free. It’s kind of a no-brainer.

  1. An author website.

It seems a lot of new authors don’t think they need an author website.

Truth is, you do.

Think of it as your online personal address. Social media pages are not the same.

It’s where you’ll bring traffic to, and it’s where you’ll build your email subscriber list to help sell your books.

You can even sell your books through your author website.

To find out why the author website is so important, check this out:
The Author Website – Do You Really Need One?

There are other important must-haves for a successful book, but these are some of the basics.

And always remember to add metadata (descriptions, keywords, categories) where ever you can. Always think marketing.

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with children’s ghostwriting or rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.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!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

Social media sharing


Jan 10

10 Top Book Marketing Strategies

Top Book Marketing Tips

I say this a lot, but every author needs to know about book marketing, whether you’re self-published or traditionally published.

I want to bring this to every author’s attention, especially my children’s ghostwriting clients.

If you’re wondering if it’s really necessary to market your book, it is.

Well, it is if you want to sell your books. If you want to reach your intended target audience.

I would think most authors do.

According to Self-PublishingSchool.com, “Even if your book is the next Great American Novel, it won’t be a success if it doesn’t get into the collective consciousness of the public.” (1)

This means if people don’t know about your book, they can’t buy it.

Here are 10 of the most important tips to bring you and your books visibility and credibility, boost your mailing list, and boost sales.

Pre-Publishing Tips:

  1. Write a quality book.

This should go without saying, but with the ease of self-publishing it’s worth mentioning.

Do it right and write a quality story. Be sure to edit it and if at all possible have it professionally edited.

  1. Have an eye-catching book cover created.

Your book cover is the first thing a potential buyer will see. You don’t want it to look unprofessional.

Research book cover illustrators or designers. Check pricing and quality, and check their portfolios. Find one you like.

  1. Price your book effectively.

For this you’ll need to do some research to see what similar books in your genre are selling for. You don’t want to overprice yourself out of a sale.

  1. Use a ‘good’ book publishing service.

You want a service that will take your manuscript and cover and build your ebook and/or paperback files to be uploaded to aggregators (Ingram Spark) or distributors (Amazon).

Services like BookBaby.com and 1106 Design.com do all this. But you should do some research and ask around for other services.

Find one you’re comfortable with and one that’s within your budget.

Now on to actually marketing your book:

  1. You really, really, really need an author website.

A number of authors believe that having space on social media is good enough, but it’s not.

Remember when Google+ was around? How about StumbleUpon? What about Yik Yak and Vine?

Aside from this, new networks are popping up all the time, taking users from older networks.

You need your own author website as the hub to all your online activity.

And, you can create one for free.

Here’s an article that explains more the author website:
Why You Absolutely Need an Author Website

  1. You need to be on social media.

Ha, sounds like a contradiction, but it’s not.

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.

  1. 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!

For more on email marketing, check out:

4 Tips to an Effective Subscriber Opt-in

Email Marketing – 10 Top Reasons to BE Doing It

  1. Get attention.

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.

  1. 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.

Ask people you know for reviews.

There are lots of other ways to get review. A great source for this is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically by Carolyn Howard-Johnson. It’s jammed-packed with useable tips and advice.

Be sure to ask whoever reviews you book to put the review up on Amazon.

  1. Get into book clubs.

The more visibility your book gets, the more sales you’ll make.

A great way to boost your visibility is through book clubs.

The article below has great tips on how you can go about doing this:
https://selfpublishingrelief.com/2019/04/the-definitive-guide-to-marketing-your-book-to-book-clubs-self-publishing-relief/

  1. Bonus tip.

Keep writing books. Don’t be a one-book author.

And, to help you with your publishing journey, author and acquisitions editor Terry Whalin has a very useful book. I read it and it’s worth the investment: 10 Publishing Myths by Terry Whalin

I hope these tips help you get your book visible and selling!

Need help getting your author platform off the ground or taking it up a notch or two?

Check out my 4-week interactive eClass through WOW! Women on Writing, Build Your Author/Writer Platform.

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Jan 03

Author Website Must-Have Elements

Author Website

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
8. OPT-IN
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.
Whether you’re an author or freelance writer, Build Your Author Online Platform in 4-Weeks is something you should think about. I instruct this eclass through WOW! Women on Writing and has amazing testimonials. Check for upcoming classes.

You can find all the details at: https://wow-womenonwriting.com/classroom/KarenCioffi_AuthorOnlinePresence.php

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN AND BOOK MARKETING

Get Your Self-Published Books Into Libraries – 6 Must Know Tips

Selling Middle Grade

6 Must-Know Book Marketing Basics

Social media sharing


Jul 26

6 Must-Know Book Marketing Basics

Book Marketing

As a children’s ghostwriter, I’ve written well over 300 stories for clients.

The thing I notice is that most of my clients don’t realize that simply writing a book doesn’t guarantee any sales.

It can be an excellent, high-quality book, but there are just too many books in cyber-space to be noticed. You’re just a tiny speck in the cyber sky.

So, what are some of the basic ways an author can bring attention to her book?

Let’s go over 6 of the basics.

  1. The very first thing is to create a quality book.

This means the story, grammar, illustrations (if applicable), and front and back covers, must be quality.

It might be tempting to forgo editing or go with a less than quality cover, but if you’re investing your time and effort into a book, do it right.

You may need to invest some money to produce a professional looking book that’s a quality read, but it will be worth it.

You will want to be proud to be author of your book.

  1. You should have an author website.

It doesn’t have to be a elaborate site or cost any money. You can create one yourself for free with sites like, Weebly, WordPress.com, GoDaddy, Blogger, Yola, and Wix. You can also do an online search to find others.

You can think of your website as your online home. It will be the home of your book.

  1. It can be a simple website.

The site can simply have a Home page or landing page with your book, the book’s description, book reviews (if you have any), and an image of the book cover and possibly the back cover.

You’ll also need to link to where the reader can buy your book.

This is a super-simple site, but at least you’ll have an online presence for your book.

If you need help creating your site, look for a web designer just starting out or maybe someone you know of, or someone who does it in their spare time.

If you have multiple books, you’ll want to create a webpage for each one. So, be sure whichever website builder you use offers that feature.

  1. Share your website.

Create little blurbs about your book and share (post) it on social media, linking back to your website.

It’s also a good idea to include an image of your book in the social media posts.

  1. Videos are powerful.

Even if you have a one-page website, include a video on it.

A video helps people get to know you and your book. It can be a simple 60 to 90 second clip about your book, or why you wrote it, or if applicable, how it will benefit the reader.

You can use your webcam on your computer or your iPhone.

You might even upload the video to YouTube and your social networks.

  1. Get reviews of your book.

Reviews are very powerful. They let people know that the book is a good read (hopefully it is). People buy books based on book reviews.

To find out how to get book reviews, check out Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s book: How To Get Great Book Reviews.

Taking advantage of these tips will help get your book noticed. They don’t guarantee sales, but without taking some form of book marketing action, you’re guaranteed not to sell any.

Get your book marketing strategy started today!

NEED HELP?

Along with being a children’s author and ghostwriter, I’m an author online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing.

Build Your Author/Writer Platform

Karen Cioffi will show you how to build your author platform

This e-class is 4-weeks, in-depth, and interactive. It covers all the tools you’ll need to build visibility and traffic, and boost sales.

CLICK THE LINK BELOW to check out all it includes!
http://wow-womenonwriting.com/classroom/KarenCioffi_WebsiteTrafficInboundMarketing.php

If you want to check out other author platform classes I offer, check out:
https://thewritingworld.com/your-author-platform/

Writing for children tips

10 Tips to Hiring a Children’s Ghostwriter

5 Top Fiction Writing No-Nos

Writing – 6 Essential Steps to Publication

Dec 01

2 Book Marketing Must Do Elements

I’ve been reading a lot of articles on book marketing and this led me to think more and more about what happens to my clients when I’m done with the manuscript.

While doing-it-yourself on Amazon is an option to create an ebook, the majority of my clients prefer to have it done for them.

This means, after they’ve had illustrations done, they need to hire a service to publish and distribute the book.

After that, they’ll have an actual book or ebook.

But what’s next?

The next step should be to try to sell the book.

Let’s backtrack a bit though.

It’s been said by all book marketing experts that an author needs to start selling their book before it’s published.

Okay, what does that mean?

BOOK MARKETING 101

If you’re writing a children’s book or having one ghostwritten, you need to think about how you’ll go about selling it even before the book is done.

This all starts with creating an online presence and there are two fundamental elements to do this: an author website and a social presence.

THE AUTHOR WEBSITE

Before you get involved in social media marketing, you need a website.

But before you jump in, spend some time to think of what the name of your website will be – this is known as your website’s domain name.

Keep in mind the domain name should reflect what the website is about.

And, example of this is my group website Writers on the Move. The domain is: https://writersonthemove.com

Another is my children’s ghostwriting site (the one you’re on now): https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com

Free or Paid

You can go with free hosting services, like Blogger.com, WordPress.com, Wix, or Weebly.  

This means the website doesn’t cost you anything.

I don’t recommend using free hosting services because they don’t have the same features as hosting services like Bluehost, which I use.

You can get hosting through Bluehost for around $3-$4 per month with a two or three year plan and you get the domain name for free, the first year. Then the domain is around $15 per year.

If you’re thinking about getting an author site up, CLICK HERE to get started.

Bluehost has great customer service, so if you need help you can get it.

A SOCIAL PRESENCE

Think of your website as the foundation of your book marketing. It’s the hub of your online presence.

The idea is to get visitors to come to your website to see what books you have to offer.

This is where social networks come in.

You need to be on social media.

Pick two to three networks to join. I use LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, but there are lots of other networks to choose from.

How it works.

If you write a blog post and put it on your website, or you create a new webpage on your site, say for a new book, you will need to share that information.

Social share buttons are used to do this. The image below is what it might look like.

I use the free version of Sumo and it works great. Some share buttons may appear on the bottom of the page rather than the side.

The process is simple.

The first thing is to share your new content to your social networks by clicking on the buttons.

The when a visitor stops by and likes what they see, they can use the share buttons to share your content also.

Whether You’re Self-Publishing or Traditionally Publishing

These two elements are needed whether you’re self-publishing or submitting to traditional publishers and/or literary agents. In fact, publishers and agents usually want to know if you have an online author presence. They want to be sure you can help sell your books.

Most authors put time, effort into writing a book. If you have your manuscript ghostwritten or edited then money is included in the mix.

Do everything you can to help self your books.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM?

Check out my Build Your Author Platform 4 Week Online eClass through WOW! Women on Writing!

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need editing, rewriting, or ghostwriting, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.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!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, FICTION WRITING FOR CHILDREN.

Writing for children tips

Your Author Platform – Is It Every Too Soon To Start?

The Pros and Cons of Publishing with a Small Publisher

5 Things You Cannot Recover

Your Self-Published Book and the ISBN

Jan 14

Your Author Platform – Is it Ever Too Soon to Start?

Newbies to the writing arena have many questions about creating an author platform. And, the most puzzling one is whether they need a website before they have a book published or in contract.

In fact, I’ve recently been questioned twice about whether a newbie with NO book on the publishing horizon should bother to start working on a platform and more specifically on an author website.

Both individuals felt it would be like putting the cart before the horse.

It’s important to know that this though is far from the case.

Creating a website at the get-go is putting the horse before the cart. It’s one of the forces that will pull you forward and help you establish your online platform, your presence and visibility.

So, the answer to the title question is NO. It’s never too soon to begin your author platform or your author website:

– If you want to be a writer or an author,
– If you intend to submit manuscripts to agents and/or publishers,
– If you intend to self-publish a book, the answer is still the same.

The time to get your online platform started is RIGHT NOW. And, the foundation of your platform is a website.

Keeping up with Marketing Trends

When one author mentioned she was writing a children’s middle grade book and didn’t have a website, I responded that it was a mistake. I told her websites are an essential part of an author’s online platform.

Her reply caught me by surprise. She was advised by a well-known and respected educational site for children’s writing that she should wait until she received a book contract before creating a website.

If this were 10 or 15 years ago that advice would make sense. But, today, agents and publishers want to know what the potential new author’s platform is beforehand.

Please note that this revised article was originally written in 2013, hopefully the views of this site has changed.

The size or lack-of-size of an online platform can make or break a contract.

The powers-that-be expect you to have a website in place and be involved in social networks before you even submit a manuscript. They expect you to be a big part of the marketing involved in selling the book.

Jane Friedman, Media Studies instructor at the University of Virginia and former publisher of Writer’s Digest, says, “You must cultivate a readership every day of your life, and you start TODAY.” (1)

Why do you need to start your online platform TODAY?

In a single word, the answer to that question is TIME. Establishing an online platform takes time.

It takes time to establish yourself as an authority in your niche. It takes time to develop a relationship with your readers. It takes time to develop trust. And, it takes time to broaden your reach.

Real life example:

One of my former clients created a website. And, she created pages on two of the major social networks. She did all this way before she started to get her book written.

The results? She has thousands and thousands and thousands of followers on both social networks. I’m talking about well over 30,000 followers.

You can be sure I added this information when writing the query letter for her.

Do you think this will make a difference in a publisher or agent’s view of this new author?

You bet it will.

They’ll know she’s able and willing to help sell her books.

Since your website is the foundation of your author platform, it’s absolutely, positively necessary to get a website setup and optimized as soon as possible.

It’s from this focal point, your hub of information, that you will draw the attention of the search engines and readers. You may even catch the attention of a visiting editor, publisher, or literary agent.

Your website is also the place you will get readers to sign-up for your mailing list – further building your marketing reach. It’s the place you will begin a long-term writer-reader relationship.

Think of your author website as the launching pad of your book marketing platform.

Reference
(1) http://janefriedman.com
(Sorry, this was revised from a 2013 article and I can’t find the URL to the article.)

NEED HELP GETTING VISIBILITY AND BUILDING AUTHORITY FOR YOUR AUTHOR ONLINE PLATFORM?

Check out my e-class through WOW! Women on Writing:

Build Your Author/Writer Platform
More Readers, More Authority, More Sales

It’s a 4-week in-depth and interactive e-class through WOW! Women on Writing and covers all the tools you’ll need to build visibility and traffic, and boost sales.

Build your author-writer eclass

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 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

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 CREATING AND BUILDING YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM?

Build Your Author/Writer Platform
Basic Website Optimization, Blogging Smart, Email Marketing, and Social Media Marketing

This is a 4-week in-depth and interactive e-class through WOW! Women on Writing and covers all the tools you’ll need to build visibility and traffic, and boost sales.

CLICK THE LINK BELOW or the IMAGE to check out all it includes!
http://wow-womenonwriting.com/classroom/KarenCioffi_WebsiteTrafficInboundMarketing.php

Dec 04

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

The Author Landing Page

The 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 06

Traditional Publishing and the Author Platform – Be Realistic

Traditional Publishing and Book Marketing

Best 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.

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:
Build Your Author Platform in 4 Weeks

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.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR STORY?

Send me an email (kcioffiventrice@gmail.com) or give me a call at 347–834–6700.

Let’s discuss your project.

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