What Your Author Website is Likely Missing

Do you have an author media kit on your Author Website?

Story Empire

BlogHi, SEers. Forgive me for being a hypocrite, but today’s post is going to be a do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do post. Remember, I used to work in corporate communications, so I know marketing strategies. (That doesn’t mean I use them myself; it just means I know them.)

Okay… Unless you literally just decided to become an author today, you almost definitely have an author website. Hopefully you’ve included the basics:

  • landing page to advertise news and collect email addresses
  • blog to share content, generate interest, and remain fresh in the minds of your fans
  • book pages so your work is well-defined and easy to find
  • about page to introduce yourself to new visitors
  • social media links so people can find you elsewhere online
  • contact page so your readers can reach you
  • platform-wide cohesion and pleasing design

Many authors stop there. Okay, let’s be honest—many readers fall short in some/most/all of those categories.

  • Their…

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9 Best Grammar Tools For Writers

9 Best Grammar Tools For Writers

Nicholas C. Rossis

You may remember Mary Walton’s recent guest post, 10 Proofreading Tools For Writers. This is another fine list of author resources compiled by her. Oh, and here is one of my favorite comics of all time:Grammar Cyanide and Happiness | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

9 Best Grammar Tools For Writers

The most interesting, fascinating book can fall down if the grammar is poor. No reader will want to continue if the book is too difficult to read. That’s why your grammar is so important in everything you write. If you find that you don’t know enough about grammar to skilfully edit your writing, you’re in luck. This guide will show you nine online tools that will really help you out when you’re in a bind.

  1. Academized: Invest some time in your writing skills and read this guide. It’s comprehensive yet easy to understand, making it perfect for writers. By reading it, you can get a good…

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Guest Post: The 10 Best tools for Bloggers and Freelance writers

Post Quote: “If you are a blogger or a freelance writer churning material for an income, you will likely face a basket load of productivity problems.”

Nicholas C. Rossis

Benjamin Chiang | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksThis is a guest post by Benjamin Chiang, an enthusiast of good advertising, deep thinking, labor issues, and chocolate. As a writer, his work has appeared on  www.fivestarsandamoon.com, Yahoo, Vulcanpost.com among others. You can find him at www.rangosteen.com or follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/brchiang

The 10 Best tools for Bloggers and Freelance writers

If you are a blogger or a freelance writer churning material for an income, you will likely face a basket load of productivity problems. These include:

  • Day-to-day journaling
  • Writing productivity
  • Organizing research
  • Graphic making
  • Collaboration

Here are some tools, both free and paid, that will help you meet your deadline!

Day-to-Day Journaling

In the old days, Hemmingway wrote on Moleskins and lugged them all around in heavy trunks (albeit heavy Louis Vuitton trunks). Though romantic to write in, you may find difficulty running a keyword search on notebooks. That’s why most of us…

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From Grammarly to WordRake: A Review of 6 Automatic Editing Tools

Writers check it out! Excellent editing tools for those self edits. Use them to edit your manuscript or blog post. But, as the article states,remember:

“An automatic editing tool doesn’t replace a human editor. Because language rules and elements of a good story can be so flexible, human eyes will always be superior to the rigidity of automatic tools.”

Colleen M. Chesebro

There are some great FREE editing tools here. Check them out! Just click the highlighted link at the end of this post to see the list. ❤

Which automatic editing tool is best for writers? We tested six popular options.

Source: From Grammarly to WordRake: A Review of 6 Automatic Editing Tools

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How Your Books Are Presented Matters Too – Tools You Can Use

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After posting my EC Quote Friday a thought struck me: “It’s not just book cover design, but even how your books are presented makes a big difference.” Here’s what I mean:

You’ve poured everything but the breath of life into your work. You’ve gotten it edited, formatted, converted, typesetting is tight, book cover is banging, everything. But what about presenting your book to the world? What about posting it online, presenting quotes, sample chapters, and all of that good stuff? Because I’m a person who strives for excellence, it can take me hours to produce just the right photo to post online. It can take me days to produce just the right image to parade up and down your social walls and timelines. Everything about writing to me, from penciling my soul into a blank piece of paper, to showing off my book cover requires the very best that I can give even if it doesn’t produce the result I want. At least then I can say that not only did I try, but I did and I did to the very best of my ability. Sometimes our books are not attractive to potential readers because we don’t take the time to put in the work that is necessary to produce our absolute best. Even sample chapters and excerpts should be presented a certain way. If you understand people, you know that we are, for the most part, lazy. A picture of a whole bunch of words on a screen is not exciting (Remember, less is always more). No, I’m not going to read your IG chapter post of 100 words screenshot from your smart phone. Boring. Below are some exclusive tips on how to increase your books online visibility by making sure the book looks as good as the writing:

  • Book Cover Design

So the most obvious thing here is to ensure you really do have an attractive book cover. If there is nothing else that you pay for in the publishing process, make sure it’s editing and book cover design. These are probably the two most important investments you’ll make. Not the only, but the most important. Plus, book cover reveals are fun!

  • Photoshop

Go to YouTube and learn how to use Photoshop to add special effects to those photos. No, seriously. I learned how to use Photoshop watching How To videos on YouTube. If I can learn, so can you. Then, go online and purchase Photoshop. This is probably your 3rd most important investment. OK well, maybe your fourth but you get the point. You don’t have to get the fancy versions either. I pay $10 a month to produce most of the images you see me posting, including the ones on this blog. Not bad for lunch money.

  • Subscribe

Subscribe to free mock-ups sites! What I love about technology is that you don’t have to be a professional photographer anymore. I do not, at this time, have a fancy camera. I want one but wants and needs are two different things. I’ll get one eventually. Until then, Book Mock-Ups are my best friends, especially when I find those people who are giving away free Book Mock-Ups. One person I absolutely love is Mark from Covervault. His book mock-ups are free and he always has freebies for those subscribed to his list. He also offers paid book mock-ups that are also off the chain. Because he does such excellent work, I would recommend supporting his paid mock-ups as well because he gives away so much for free. I would caution that in the editing phase, edit the mock-ups so that they’re original and uniquely you. One thing about Book Cover Designs and Mock-Ups is that, if they’re free it means lots of people are using them. To avoid having book twins, edit the mock-ups so they have your special signature. They’re editable so you don’t have to use the exact same format. However, Book Cover Mock-Ups is just a fraction of it. Subscribe to all kinds of mock-ups! Coffee, Computer, go crazy with it.

Photo Editing Websites

Don’t stop at Photoshop! Also look into photo editing websites. I like to combine more than one element to produce the best unique quality. Some you can explore are:

Remember, everything about your book, from the writing, to the editing, to the book cover design all the way down to how your baby is presented online, it all matters and shows readers the level of effort you are willing (or not willing) to put into your work.

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This is harder in heels

Writing 101 Step 1: READ

“You have to read widely, constantly refining (and redefining) your own work as you do so. It’s hard for me to believe that people who read very little (or not at all in some cases) should presume to write and expect people to like what they have written, but I know it’s true. If I had a nickel for every person who ever told me he/she wanted to become a writer but “didn’t have time to read,” I could buy myself a pretty good steak dinner. Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that. Reading is the creative center of a writer’s life.” – Stephen King

Self-Publishing – DIY Promo Tools

free_resources5With the ever growing sea of Self-Published books, it is easy to throw up one’s hands under the pressure. One of the most challenging aspects of the process is finances. Many Self-Publishers do not have the money to invest. However, with Self-Publishing being the desired avenue for most authors, it has become an industry of itself and as such, there are tons of avenues out there we can follow to ensure a professional product. There’s Fiverr for example, where one can purchase a book cover design for as low as 5-$10. There is low cost editing options and even people willing to do free book reviews. Below are 15 DIY tools to help Self-Publishers to promote their books for next to nothing by Tony Levelle. I don’t believe you’ll have to use them all or that they will all work for you, but I think this is a good start for anyone looking to Self-Publish: I intend on using some of these bullet points myself and so I just thought I’d share them:

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No matter what kind of book you’ve written (or plan to write) there are many ways to reach your audience. Each of the DIY tools listed here is low or no-cost, and each of them works in its own way. One or more may be perfect for you.

1. Start Early
The most powerful and essential steps you can take toward promoting your book begin long before the actual writing of the book. Three years before the book is published–if you can–start building a network of supporters and reviewers. Keep track of everyone you meet as you research and write the book. Pay special attention to, and make notes about, those who demonstrate a genuine enthusiasm for you and your project.

As the project evolves, keep in touch with these people. You might send them an occasional email or keep in touch via a social networking site like LinkedIn or Facebook.

For significant milestones–the signing of your book contract, the completion of the manuscript, the arrival of the galley proofs, and the arrival of the finished books–you might bring key people together for a house party. At the house party, you could read short excerpts from your book and answer questions about the project.

2. Contribute to Web Forums
Every field has at least one or two forums that people interested in your subject know and read. Find and join these forums.

Contribute to them freely. Give advice and reach out. Offer to help others. Put a link to your blog or website in your signature line. When you have a book contract and/or a book title, add the title to your signature line.

3. Start a Blog
Early in the process of researching and thinking about your book, start a blog. Add 120-130 words each day of helpful, inspirational information on issues in your field, which are related to the subjects in your book. Aim to create a genuinely useful body of knowledge over the following 12 months.

4. Write a Remarkable Book
Set out to write a remarkable book. If your book is not remarkable, keep working on it until it is. Give the manuscript to ten friends and ask for honest feedback. Find a brilliant editor (you can find such an editor at EFA) and pay him or her to edit your manuscript. Revise. Repeat. Don’t stop until your reviewers start saying things like: “I loved it! This book is amazing!”

A remarkable book will generate word-of-mouth publicity. One person will read it, and recommend it to his or her friends. They will recommend it to their friends. This is the best publicity you can get.

5. Cultivate a Positive Attitude about Book Promotion
Think of book promotion as storytelling. The story you are telling is why you wrote your book, how it can help others, and how the world will benefit from your book. If you can develop a positive attitude about book promotion, people will pick up on it, and tune in immediately. Some writers resent the chore of marketing. Their attitude seems to be, “I’m a writer. Marketing is the publisher’s job. Promoting my own book shouldn’t be my responsibility.”

Unfortunately–unless you are Stephen King or Malcolm Gladwell–the publisher probably won’t have the budget to market your book. If you don’t promote your book, no one else will.

6. Create a Media Kit
Your media kit should include:
* Professionally printed business cards with the book cover on one side and your contact information on the other side. Do not try to print them on your home printer. This is a time to invest in your product and yourself, not save money.

* A headshot by a professional photographer or a talented amateur. It should be well lit, with a neutral background. Your eyes should sparkle.

* A 100 – 150-word biography. The main purpose of the biography is to tell a reader why you are uniquely qualified to have written this particular book.

* A ‘one-sheet’ for the book: a single piece of paper with a glossy print of the book cover on one side and a one-page description of the book on the other side. Be sure to include a few short blurbs and recommendations from colleagues and friends in the description.

7. Create a Book Pitch
Consider writing at least three sales pitches for your book: 10 seconds, 30 seconds, and 60 seconds. When someone asks what the book is about, give them the 10-second pitch. If the person responds with interest, have a longer pitch ready! Practice your pitches on friends until they tell you the pitches work.

8. Build a Website
As publication day approaches, build a full website. The website should include:

* A book blog, in which you write updates, corrections, errata and respond to reader comments and suggestions. This book blog may become the basis for the second edition of your book.
* Sample chapters from your book
* A link to the Amazon page for your book, so people can buy the book online
* Your media kit (see step 5)
* Book reviews and blurbs.
* Your schedule of appearances, including bookstores, speaking engagements, and conferences
* Contact information.

9. Get Book Reviews from Individuals
Six months (nine if possible) before the book is due to appear in bookstores, start asking people for reviews and blurbs. Send reviewers a printed galley proof of your book. If you don’t yet have printed galley proofs, send a PDF containing the first two chapters, a table of contents and your bio.

Don’t be afraid to approach the ‘biggest names’ in your field. (This is important.) Ask for both reviews and blurbs. Busy people may only have time to write a few sentences. A word about PDFs: check with your publisher about their policies on review copies. Many publishers will NOT allow you to send out a PDF copy of the entire book. They are afraid the book will be stolen.

10. Write Articles
Every field has eZines, websites, and magazines that advocate or deal with the subject of your book. Find them. Once you know where they are, look through them and figure out which ones talk to the audience for your book. Contact those sites or publications and pitch articles that will be of interest to their readers. Schedule articles to appear around the time your book will appear in bookstores and on Amazon. For example, if your book is going to appear in bookstores and on Amazon in mid-June, schedule your articles to appear in July, August, and September. Remember to pitch articles early, because many magazines and eZines have a 3-6 month lead time. Mention your book title somewhere in the article. In online articles, link the book title to its Amazon page so readers can click over and buy the book.

11. Get Book Reviews from eZines and Magazines
Ask websites, eZines and magazines in your field to review your book. Some websites or eZines may offer to trade, to review your book if you write an article for them. For example, earlier this year I contacted Writers Store and offered to write an article about what I learned while promoting my most recent books: Producing With Passion and Digital Video Secrets. This article is the result of that contact.

12. Get 20 Amazon Reviews
Amazon reviews are amazingly effective. Everyone from book buyers to publishers reads them. Your goal is to get at least 20 reviews. Contact everyone you know and ask each of them if they would give your book an honest review. Let them know it can be brief. If they agree, send them either a galley proof, a promotional copy of the book, or a PDF containing a table of contents, two sample chapters, and your bio. Amazon’s Top Customer Reviewers are another source of high-value reviews. Find the reviewers who deal with books in your area. Write to them. Tell them you have written a book they might be interested in, and that you’d appreciate a review. If they respond, send them a galley proof or a promotional copy of your book.

 

13. Get Mentioned in email Blasts
Look for organizations in your field that send large-volume emails. Try to get your book reviewed in their email or newsletter. When the number of people receiving the emails is 100,000 or more it’s sometimes referred to as an email blast.

 

14. Speak at Conferences
As a published author, you have the qualifications necessary to speak at conferences. Contact conference organizers at least 6 months in advance. At first, you may have to register and pay a fee to speak. Later, when you become better known, conferences may seek you out, and may even pay you to speak.

 

You should be prepared to give a 45-minute presentation. A useful way to structure a 45-minute presentation is to speak for 30 minutes, and take questions from the floor for the last 15 minutes. Plan to take a few minutes after your speech to circulate with the audience. Have a table in the back of the room where you or someone on your team sells books.

 

15. Make and Post Online Videos
Make a few 5 minute videos (or a series of videos) of yourself talking about key issues in your field. Put the book title and URL on the bottom of the video screen and in the credits.

Post your videos on several of the many video sharing sites including sites like blip.tv, jump cut, our media, Vimeo, vSocial and YouTube. Embed the video clips on your website.
Plan on following your promotion plan–perhaps an hour a day–for at least a year. Resolve to do something every day on promotion. Remember – follow-up and persistence are the keys to success.

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I hope this list has been of help to you. In addition, if you’re a Self-Publisher and you are interested in letting me read a copy of your book in exchange for an honest review, please send me an email and I will give you the details. I will read your book for free and offer my opinion. Why am I doing this? Because as a Self-Publisher I know how tight finances can be and that every little bit helps. I have some time to read and would love to see what you have to offer.

Email: ahouseofpoetry@gmail.com