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Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Author Website? [Guest Post]

The following is a guest post by Nick Thacker of LiveHacked.

My day job involves working with churches and pastors on setting up their websites to attract visitors to their Sunday services.

It’s certainly a rewarding job, on good days, but one that also comes with its frustrations as well. Namely, I deal with a lot of people who just don’t understand the benefits—the necessity—of having a great looking, fully functioning website.

Their belief seems to be taken straight from the “Field of Dreams” doctrine—“If you build it, they will come.”

No, they won’t.

If you build it, actually, you and your grandpa (if he has Internet on the fishing boat) are the only people who will visit.

The scores of people out there who could actually benefit and learn from what you have to say, and could potentially love what your site has to offer, aren’t going to be “just stopping by” for no reason.

Visitors to your website are won, by strategic and tactical planning, designed to not only put your website’s best foot forward but to also reach them where they already are in your target market.Continue Reading

Grow Your Crazy-Dedicated Fanbase through Reader-Centered Book Marketing

This series has been expanded into a step-by-step eBook! Find out more about Building Your Fanbase: A From-Scratch Guide for Indie Authors.

For more on reader-centered book marketing, check out 11 Questions to Turn a Target Market into a Reader Profile3 Steps to Pinpoint Your Crazy-Dedicated Readers’ Favorite Hangouts and How to Engage Your Crazy-Dedicated Fanbase.

What are some of the biggest books in publishing today? Twilight, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games.

What do they have in common?

Well, yeah, the YA genre. And the fanbases transcending any one target market. Also the multi-billion dollar movie franchises. But what else?

Crazy, rabid fans.

These folks will fake engagements to try on Bella’s wedding gown, get a full back tattoo featuring Dumbledore and spend hours creating elaborate signs declaring their love for Peeta.

How would you like to have fans like that going nuts over your book?

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How Do You Use Your Author Website? [Discussion]

After spilling some lessons I learned after my first website failed miserably, I started to wonder about the websites of my indie author friends (that’s you!).

Think of the wide variety of authors in varying genres out there in indie publishing land — there must be just as many different approaches to their author websites. A thriller writer’s website would be way different from that of a historical romance writer, of course, but there’s bound to be a ton of variance even within genres.

So, if you would, please take a few moments and share the following:

  • How does your website appeal to your target reader (in terms of colors, design, layout, content, all of the above)?
  • Did you design your own website, use a template or have someone else design it for you?
  • Does your website use a platform like WordPress or is it static HTML?
  • Do you update your own website or does someone else make updates for you?
  • Does your website have a blog? How do you use it?
  • How do you feel about your website? Is there anything you’d change about it?
  • What advice would you give to other indies getting ready to create their author website?

I can’t wait to hear your responses! To join the discussion, please leave a comment below addressing any (or all) of the above questions. Also, mention the discussion to your indie author friends — we’d love to hear from everyone!

7 Lessons to Improve Your Author Website (or, Learn from My FAIL!)

Not sure how to set up your website? Check out Have a Beautiful Author Website for Under $20/mo (Even if You’re Not A Geek).

The website I had reviewed — scary, huh?

At the tender age of 14, I submitted my first website for a design review.

My masterpiece came together after only a few days spent tooling around in GeocitiesI thought it was awesome — it featured a sharp black background, electric green content table, rockin’ aLtErNaTe capitalization, and sweet graphics made in Paint Shop Pro. I even had a page where you could adopt a sunflower seed (the terrifying screenshot you see on the right).

The result? A total disaster.

I’ll give the reviewer a bit of credit — she could tell that I was young and doing my best, but that made her review no less scathing!

According to her, my website was cluttered, hard to read and had little to interest any visitor. In fact, she said most would click away with a major headache!

I was crushed.

From that web design kick-in-the-face, however, I learned valuable lessons about what works in web design — lessons that are still true today.

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Author Branding: 8 Observations from the Branding Match Game

Way back on Tuesday (it’s been a long week so it seems like eons ago), Toni and I decided it might be fun to play a game with you guys, to show the unifying elements of an author’s brand. We had a lot of fun pulling covers together from a wide range of popular authors and we hope you guys had fun trying to match the books that belonged to the same author. We gave out the answers yesterday and invited everyone to jump in the discussion about the ins and outs of author branding.

It was a learning process for us just like it was for you, and along the way we picked up a couple of observations we wanted to share.

1. It was hard to make this game challenging.

We purposely chose ten very commercial authors because we felt that most of our readers strive to be popular commercial authors. But that said, commercial authors have this branding thing down to a science, so trying to find two covers that weren’t obviously tied together wasn’t easy.

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