Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
ust a quick note this afternoon to inform all of you about a newly-launched site that may be of interest to authors (and many other creative types). It’s www.SelfEmployedCentral.com, and it speaks to anyone who is (or hopes to be) a writer, artist, freelancer, small business owner, or professional in private practice. And, I confess, it’s my baby I’ve been working on it for the last few months, and I’m really happy with how it has turned out.
I hope that SelfEmployedCentral.com will become a must-visit site for self-employed professionals — helping them stay on top of the latest news and expert advice having to do with small business funding, motivation, time management, the tax maze, finding health insurance, etc… I also hope it will be full of self-employed professionals sharing their own thoughts, opinions and musings on subjects relevant to them.
The site should be informative, controversial at times (don’t be afraid to debate the health care plan and it’s effect on freelancers), and also — hopefully — kind of fun.
If you want to become a blogger for Self Employed Central, just post a comment in the box below. There’s no payment (at this time), but it will afford you the chance to include your bio/photo/link to your website at the end of each entry. And if we start getting a lot of traffic, that could lead to a lot of business!
Please check the site out and join the conversation. Hope you enjoy it!
Good news for all the authors and aspiring writers who’ve been following our blog. We now have a handful of Smart Author Sites clients who are going to be blogging here as well.
They’ll tell their stories of getting published (or self-publishing), their writing strategies, and what’s working for them in marketing themselves and their books. This blog should become a must-read for all authors who are looking to be successful (and who isn’t!)
Kicking off our author writing is Michelle Herrera Mulligan (www.michelleherreramulligan.com). More announcements to come!
I came across a really interesting blog entry (and subsequent conversation) by Barbara Vey, a regular Publishers Weekly blogger. It starts like this …
Does the idea of Twitter cause you to tremble?
Is Facebook giving you heart palpitations?
Blogging becoming a four letter word?
If your answer to any of those questions is “yes,” then you’re not alone. In fact, you may also want to check out one of my previous blog entries: Getting the Introverted Author Out There
But back to Barbara’s blog … Barbara is speaking this week at a writer’s function in Washington and is looking for authors to chime in about how social networking has helped them, if it was worth their time, etc…
The responses are interesting. And I think it’s safe to assume that yes, social networking does work as a marketing tool for authors. Some of the more interesting comments (from authors, readers, book store owners, etc…) include….
I have to say that if it weren’t for Twitter and Facebook, I wouldn’t be reading some of the authors I do.
Owning a small Indie Bookstore, We have a store blog, I twitter and use FB. Authors on FB become a FAN of Indie Bookstores, we are good at promotion and getting your name out.
I’m a Facebook and Twitter newbie, but I must say, from the writer’s point of view, I’m enjoying Facebook particularly. Think I’m picking up a few new fans, or at least, people who seem interested in what I do!
Check out the whole blog entry and subsequent comments here.
But please do share your thoughts with us as well. How has social networking worked for you? Was it a challenge to get started? Do you feel like it’s gotten your name out there? Leave a reply below!
Too many people think that author websites are only for published authors. But more and more people have figured out how to use websites to actually get themselves published. Here’s how they’re doing it….
Why Build a Website
Odds are that you’re going to be submitting a proposal or manuscript to a publisher at some point. So how do you get yours to stand out from the crowd? A website is one way to do it. You can only get so much information into the envelope you send them, but you can do a whole lot more if you include a link to your website on every piece of paper in that envelope. It gives the publisher a chance to learn more about you, read your blog, see that people are commenting on your writing, and more. The message is twofold:
- You’ve already gotten a head start on marketing your book
- You already have people interested in your writing
What to Put on That Website
The most important thing that you can do with your website is this: Make it look professional! Don’t go with one of those one-page, build-it-yourself sites. Just think of how that would appear to a publisher. It basically tells them that you aren’t willing to invest very much in your book at this point. And if you don’t have much confidence in your book, how would they? So hired a design company — preferably one who specializes in author websites like we do — and build a website that will knock their socks off. Other elements that are musts at this point are:
- A blog where you can regularly post and take comments. Even if you just ask your friends to comment, this will give your site the feeling of “life”
- A newsletter sign-up box. Offer something special to people who sign up. And amass as large an email list as possible. Then make sure to put in the packet you send to the publisher just how many people have signed up for your email list. If you have a good number (over 1,000), it will be a huge selling point.
- Access to pieces of your manuscript. Allow a publisher to see your table of contents, read featured excerpts, etc… The more information you can allow them to view on your website (without giving away the farm), the better.
- Easy contact information. Have a call-out to publishers on your website. Make it easy for those who are interested in speaking with you further about the book to contact you via phone, email, etc… Don’t make them have to click around.
Now more than ever before, publishers are looking for authors who are willing to invest the time and money in marketing their own book. By building an effective, professional-looking website even before your book is published, you’ll be sending publishers a message that you’re aware of the commitment and ready to take it on. Essentially, that you’re ahead of the game.
A little off the topic of our usual blog entries, but I thought this might be a new and different way to say goodbye. One of the members of the Smart Author Sites staff, Stacey Elms, will be leaving us next month to go on to bigger and better things.
So I want to use this blog entry as a tribute to her and her work. If you’ve been one of the privileged clients who got to work with Stacey during her time with us, please post your goodbye message/thank you to her below.
Thanks for participating!
Many authors who are publishing their first book are still unsure as to whether their website should focus on them or on their book. Should it be JaneDoe.com or MyBookTitle.com? Should it look like the book cover or look like the author’s style?
In 90% of the cases I come across, I recommend that we make it an author website (not a book website). This means that the domain name should be some version of the author’s name and the design should focus on the author and his or her persona, rather than mimic the book cover. The benefits of having the site focus on the author are many, including:
- It will be easier to feature future books of yours on the same website
- You can promote your future books to a ready-made audience of followers
- Your author photos, bio, a personal blog, book signings, news you want to share, etc.. fit more naturally
- You can promote other things that you do, such as editing services, speaking services, etc…
Now this doesn’t mean that you should ONLY reserve your name as the domain name for your site. In fact, my recommendation is almost always that we have the author name as the primary domain name, but that we reserve the domain names of his or her book title(s) as secondary domain names and have them redirect to the area of the site that focuses on that book. That’s a win-win.
There are rare instances in which I recommend that you go with a book website. But generally that is only if:
- You are 100% sure you will not want to include other books in the same website
- You have no desire to get your name out there to publishers, agents, media, etc… you JUST want to sell books
- The subject of your book is compelling, distinctive, and engaging enough to attract visitors on its own
- You want the website to simply be an extension of the book
A few clients that I’ve recently done this with include an author who wrote a book about a tornado in the 1960s and wants a dramatic site depicting that tornado, and another author who has an extensive background as a journalist and is publishing a book (and corresponding website) chronicling previous columns and complimentary photos on one specific topic. This author already has a public name — separate from the book — and wants to keep the journalistic identity separate from the title.
But these cases are few and far between, and I encourage all authors to think long and hard before delving into a book website. Should you start working on any other titles in the future, marketing those books will be a whole lot harder without an author website already up and running.
The Lord of Death, by our own Eliot Pattison, was chosen as one of the Top 100 Books of 2009 by Publisher’s Weekly. It was one of only seven mysteries to make it.
Welcome to the new SmartAuthorSites.com blog! Here, we will keep you updated on the latest news regarding author websites, online marketing for authors, and how to turn your book into a bestseller through a comprehensive online strategy. We’ll also let you know what’s going on within SmartAuthorSites.com as we continue to grow and expand the company in exciting ways. We hope you check back regularly!