Posts Tagged ‘author interviews’
I know I’ve written about this a lot, but every time I see another expert backing up what I’ve had to say, I feel the need to post again on the subject.
Today’s post is in reference to an interview with Annik LaFarge on TheBookDoctors.com. Her bio there reads as follows: “Annik is the author of The Author Online: A Short Guide to Building Your Website, Whether You Do it Yourself (and you can!) or You Work With Pros. She also happens to have spent twenty-five years as an executive in the book publishing business, working at Random House, Simon & Schuster, Addison-Wesley, and Bloomsbury USA. She began her career as a publicist, and went on to become an associate publisher, marketing director, senior editor, and publishing director. And she was involved in the early efforts to create e-books and develop strategies for digital publishing. In the late 1990s, at the height of the dot com boom, Annik took a year away from publishing to join entrepreneur and journalist Steven Brill in the development and launch of Contentville.com, where she published an original series of e-books and oversaw the website’s bookstore. In 2008 she left publishing to start her own company, Title TK Projects, which specializes in website project management, editorial work, and consulting on digital strategy.”
I think we’d all agree Annik is quite an expert at what she does. And, with that in mind, here are some excerpts of what she had to say in the interview about author websites:
“Even in this age of social media, having a website is really, really important. A recent study by the Codex Group showed that that websites are one of the key ways people find out about books.”
“When you type in an author’s name, his/her website is first thing that comes up. To be the first result that pops up in a Google search is reason enough to have a website. This visibility gives you the opportunity to control your message and to craft the experience that you want that person who is interested in your work—that person who has taken the time to Google you—to see.”
“Your website also gives you the opportunity to capture people’s email addresses and to build a newsletter list. Your mailing list is extremely important, even if you’re a literary fiction writer. People who give you their names and email addresses are telling you that they’re interested in you and your work and want to know more about you; they want to be kept up to date. Even just a 100-person list matters because you can use it as a mini-focus group, testing book covers and plot ideas, and you can easily alert your fans about new releases.”
“You need to have a plan for your website—a monthly and yearly plan: what sort of content will you launch with? What will you add as time goes by? How frequently will you post new material? Enough to blog? If so, what will the voice of your blog be? What will be the first 10 things you write about?”
“I tell authors to plan for their website the way they do for a new book: write an outline, like a book proposal, that includes not only the ‘big think’ – the overall substance and point of view of the website – but also a list of all the different pages and what they’ll contain. Think of it as a business plan for your site. Or to put it in more literary terms, it’s like mapping out a long piece of nonfiction – for both the hardcover and the paperback edition.”
“For many authors a website is their beating heart in the public space. Creating one can feel daunting – anything more technical than Microsoft Word intimidates many writers – but it’s enormously empowering and creative, and the technology has evolved to the point where honestly anyone can do it.”
“My advice: start slow, be smart, have fun, and just get on with it.”
I agree completely with her advice. I work with many authors who are intimidated by the idea of creating a website. But with the right guidance, anyone can do it. If you’re ready to take the plunge, contact us today for a free consultation. It will be painless … we promise.
What’s the main purpose of author websites? It’s publicity! Which is why it’s so frustrating when authors make someone from another website or media outlet jump through hoops in an effort to feature them and their books. It’s like shooting yourself in the foot!
Case in point: A blogger who covers books stumbles upon an author website. He’s interested in reviewing the book on his website. But he can’t find a picture of the book cover that’s high-enough quality for him to use on his blog. Or he can’t find the author picture that’s usable. So he gives up and goes somewhere else in frustration.
That’s the last thing an author wants to have happen. You want to make it as easy as possible for someone to decide to highlight you or your book somewhere else in the media — be it in print or in cyberspace.
Blogger India Drummond, who has faced this type of frustration when trying to feature an author on her blog, offers these five tips to make things easier for folks like her.
- Write a bio for your website. If I’m going to review a book, I always try to find an author website to get more info on the author. You’d be surprised how many authors don’t bother to put anything about themselves on their blogs / websites! But if I’m going to interview an author, it really helps if I know a bit about their interests (beyond their own work) so I can think of some questions to ask. Info like day job, hobbies, family, pets, or even favourite books or movies can help me think of interesting questions!
- Provide (on your website) a photo of yourself and your book cover(s) in a large enough format that I can put one or both in a post and have them look good. A lot of blogs seem to use teeny tiny profile shots. Don’t make me hunt around the web to find your book cover. Sure, I can maybe find it on your publisher’s website or on amazon, but having to search for info like this is one one of the reasons it’s so time consuming to do a review post!
- If you’re willing to do guest posts, write some ahead of time! That way when I ask you if you want to do a guest post, you can reply saying, “Sure, I have three articles ready. Here’s the first paragraph of each one. Which would you like to use?”
- Make it easy to contact you. You’d think this would be a no-brainer, but I run into author websites all the time that have no contact method beyond leaving a comment on their blog! I recently wrote to an author this way, wanting to interivew her on my blog, and left my email address. When I hadn’t heard from her a week later, I went back to see if she’d even approved my comment. She had, and she’d replied there, rather than emailing me! She asked me to email her my interview questions, but there was no email address on her website anywhere! I moved on to easier pickings. Sorry, but there are a lot of good books out there, and I’m not going to work that hard to help authors who can’t be bothered.
- Have blurbs, exerpts, and review quotes on your website. Again, just to make life easier for those who want to write about you!
And I’ll add my two cents here as well … You should make all these things easy to find on your site. Don’t make someone go to the book page for the book cover photo and the bio page for the author photo. Instead, create a “Media” page or a “Press” page on your website, and amass all the information there that someone might need.
After all, something so simple could mean thousands and thousands of new fans. What’s to lose?
Ready to talk to us about building your author website? Click here for a free consultation!
When you look at other authors who write in your genre or on the same subject matter, you very well may view them as competition. But the purpose of this post is to convince you that those authors aren’t your competitors. They’re your potential allies.
First, when someone has an interest in a subject matter or genre, they don’t usually stick to one author or one book. They like to test the waters and read different viewpoints, different voices. So just because someone chooses to buy someone else’s book, doesn’t mean they won’t buy yours, too.
So that explains why other authors aren’t competition. Now it’s time to explain how they can actually be your allies.
In the world of internet marketing, there’s nothing more valuable than links to your website. Those links help in two different ways:
- They are found by people who are on other websites that cover a similar subject matter — essentially your target audience.
- They help improve your site’s placement on the search engines. The more links there are to your website, the more reputable the site appears to Google, Yahoo, etc…
What better place for a link to your website than from another author’s site? And that author may very well feel the same way.
Enter content sharing.
This can be done in a variety of ways. But the idea is the same. And it benefits both of you. You each offer some valuable site content for the other author’s website. That content, of course, includes a plug of your book and a link to your website. It enhances the site experience for readers who are already familiar with the site, and it helps them find a new author in a genre that’s of interest to them. A win-win.
Here are a few different forms of content sharing…
- Excerpts: This is the simplest way to do it. Just swap segments of your book with another author and offer each on the other one’s website.
- Articles: If you’re a non-fiction author, you may have already written a piece or two on your subject matter. Reach out to similar author websites and offer them the rights to publish your article free of charge (with a link, of course). And ask them for the same. Or write an original article that really suits the needs of the other author’s website.
- Guest Blogging: This is probably the option that I think is most valuable. Form a partnership with another author, and plan to regularly “guest blog” on each other’s websites. Guest blogging can be in the form of an interview with the author, a feature on the author, or just letting him or her post entries on your blog. This keeps both blogs updated, lively, and interesting. It’s great for authors who are sometimes at a loss as to what to blog about. And, again, it gets your name and website out there.
Want more ideas on how to drive traffic to your author website? Contact us for a free consultation!
Remember in the old days when authors used to go on book tours to promote their books? That’s sooooooo 20th century. Now, authors can accomplish the same goals without leaving their living rooms. Yes, book tours have morphed into blog tours.
So what’s a blog tour? It’s basically an author making the rounds among bloggers that speak to their target audience. Sometimes those are book bloggers (who are always reviewing the latest books). Sometimes those are bloggers who have a following in the subject matter of your book. For instance, if you wrote a book about real estate investing, then you might want to reach out to a real estate blogger. Either way, the whole point is reaching people who are potential readers of your book.
So what do you do on a blog tour? That depends. Some bloggers simply like to review books. In that case, you’d reach out to them and ask if they’d be interested in your book. If so, you’d send them a complimentary copy and hope they like it! Other bloggers like to do interviews, so they might post a blog entry to their readers introducing you and allowing people to submit questions to you about your book. Those Q&As would then appear as a blog entry on the date of your blog stop.
Some bloggers may ask you to guest blog for them. Others may want to have a contest offering your book as a prize. The options are endless.
But here’s a tip: try to vary what your blog tour covers. Because you might have people who follow you around from blog to blog, so it makes sense to offer them something new and different with each blog stop.
No matter what the blog tours involve, always promote each blog stop on your website’s events calendar, and always include links back to your website and/or to buy the book from each blog on your tour! After all, that’s your goal, right?
Here are a few other resources to help you learn more about blog tours…
Here’s another online author marketing tip from our friend Michael Volkin at Social Networking for Authors…
I have been getting better and better at creating author promotion videos to help authors have a professional presence online. Check out a couple videos I have recently created:
By and large the author promo videos I see on many websites do more harm than good. They are nothing more than the author sitting in front of a scratchy web cam bragging about the book. If you want to be professional, I would consider creating a high definition 3D author promo video.
The trick behind a quality video is your message and the effect. The message has to be a story, it has to invoke emotion. Books, by and large are an impulse buy. A customer will come across your book and find it interesting in 7 seconds or less. During that time, the customer will determine if he is willing to shell out 15 bucks for your book. These kinds of sales are best done when you can invoke some kind of spark or emotion from the customer.
As for the effect of a video, avoid using common programs like Windows Movie Maker (WMM). Sure, WMM is easy to use, but it’s too common. So common in fact, that the videos I have created by comparison make just about any WMM movie look cheesy. Invest a few hundred dollars in a quality program (or contract to someone who does). The extra money spend will make your video stand out from the rest.
I can create one (or more) for you. Not only will it help you sell more books, but a great video can get lots of hits on popular video sites like YouTube and Vimeo, you can actually capture interest in your book from people who would have never visited your website.
Michael Volkin is the author of Social Networking for Authors-Untapped Possibilities for Wealth, a new book that helps authors sell books online.
Another marketing tip for authors from Michael Volkin…
I can’t believe the number of authors I hear on the radio that get stumped by questions the host asks about their own book. Here is a tip that will not only make you sound better on the radio, but will make it easy on the press to want to pick you to interview as opposed to the hundreds of other books all competing for air time.
Write about 12-15 questions you would like the radio show host to ask you while on the air. After the questions are written, copy them onto a separate document and write the answers to those questions. Now you have two documents, one with questions and one with questions and answers. The one with questions will go to the radio show host (or other press) and the one with the answers will be your copy to have on standby during the interview. On the document with questions, put in parenthesis after each question how long the answer will take. For example: How long did it take you to write the book (answer takes 1 minute 30 seconds). This will greatly help the radio show host know how long each answer should take and helps the producer know long the interview will last.
Picture 50 books on a producers table, 49 of them are just authors looking for an interview. The host will have to read the books, develop the questions and make a timeframe for the interview. The other one is yours, with a list of questions and an exact time frame of the interview length. You are doing the work for them and they are more than likely going to pick your book out of the bunch.
To get some radio interviews right now, go to www.BlogTalkRadio.com and contact some of the hosts with your new list of questions and watch your book sales take off.
For more tips and tricks on how to sell a ton of books, go to Michael Volkin’s new website SellaTonofBooks.com and purchase Social Networking for Authors-Untapped Possibilities for Wealth.