The Beginner’s Guide to Creating an Author Website on WordPress

The Beginner’s Guide to Creating an Author Website on WordPress

I can still remember my first blog. I set it up on WordPress.com which is hosted and managed by WordPress. You can tell because all addresses end with .wordpress.com and they usually try to up-sell you to their premium services.

I recall browsing beautiful websites that were created on WordPress and I couldn’t help but feel like I was missing something big. Turns out. I was! What I wanted was a self-hosted WordPress website. After I figured that out, my journey into building a brand on my website began.

Quick tips for creating an author website on #wordpress Click To Tweet

So if you’re a first time starter to building your own website, here are some quick tips to help you get on your way.

First, I’d like to clear up some misconceptions regarding WordPress. There’s often some confusion between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, with good reason!

WordPress .com versus .org

WordPress.com is hosted by WordPress and managed on their server. There are limitations to these kinds of websites.

WordPress.org is self hosted. You will need to purchase your own hosting and install WordPress. Don’t worry, this isn’t too hard because most hosting providers offer Managed WordPress Hosting that allows you to do this with a click of a button.

Benefits of Using WordPress

WordPress tends to have a much better setup for search engine optimization (SEO) and allows you install different analytics software so you can keep track of your website visitors and make improvements based on what visitors are clicking on and looking at.

WordPress also allows you to install different themes to drastically change the layout of your website. And if you absolutely hate coding, there are drag-and-drop themes that make it easy to get up and running in a few clicks.

There are a few technical details required with WordPress and we’ll drive into them right now.

Where to buy your domain

Before you buy hosting you need a domain.

Your domain is the name of your website. For example: angelajford.com

You can buy your domain from a site like NameCheap or GoDaddy. I recommend purchasing your domain from the same place your purchase your hosting to avoid dealing with redirecting your DNS and nameservers.

Where to get your hosting

You’ve probably heard a handful of names, GoDaddy, Dreamhost, Bluehost, Hostgator. My experience with these hosting provides is that websites built on them are a little slow and have memory limitations. You’ll have to do some extra work improving your site speed, so I recommend beginning with Siteground.

Click here to set up hosting with Siteground (I recommend the Startup package – you can always upgrade later).

Installing WordPress

Once you have domain and hosting, your next task is to install WordPress. Many domains make this easy. If you’re using Siteground navigate to Cpanel. Scroll down for WordPress tools and select the WordPress Installer. Follow the steps to set up WordPress.

Upgrade your site security

Once your website is up, I recommend that you go ahead and make your site secure. You’ll want to purchase an SSL certificate and make sure your website points to https versus http. This ensures that your website is secure and Google will rank your website higher in search engines. Plus any communication on your website will be encrypted. This is a requirement if you plan to have a shop on your website or accept payments.

Setting up a shop? Read this!

Finding a Theme

WordPress offers out-of-the-box themes you can install for free. If you like those layouts, go ahead and install them and add your content. I recommend writing you the contact and determining what you’d like for each page before choosing a theme. I also recommend taking a look at websites you love to see if the theme you choose will allow you to replicate the layout.

Theme Recommendations

Personally, I recommend the theme Divi by Elegant Themes. This allows you to do virtually almost anything you can think of. It has a drag-and-drop visual builder which makes it simple to setup your website. I also comes with hundreds of pre-made layouts, so you can simply replace the page with your image and text.

Divi is fantastic if you’d like to:

  • Run a shop and sell autographed books, book swag or other products
  • Focus on video including background videos and trailers
  • Highlight your podcast
  • Feature your blog
  • Include visual elements with animations
  • Conduct A/B testing
  • Have support for anything that might go wrong while you’re building out your website.
  • Build landing pages for selling books, adding offers, welcoming your email subscribers or upsetting them.

Check out Divi here.

All of my websites are build on Divi, and as you can see you have complete control over branding, fonts and layout.

www.angelajford.com
www.angelajfordmarketing.com
www.thefourworldsseries.com

Check out my website portfolio here

What pages do you need?

Let’s focus for a moment and say you have one book out. What kind of website do you need? Honestly, I think a landing page is enough. Your landing page should include a call to action to join your email list and links to purchase (or pre-order) your book.

Find out more about landing pages here.

If you are building out a full website here are the pages I recommend having:

  • Home
  • Books
  • About
  • Sign Up (email list)
  • Privacy Policy
  • Contact

Must-have Plugins for your WordPress Website

Learn more about these must-have plugins for your #WordPress #website Click To Tweet

Before we dig into the contact you need for your website, I want to bring up plugins. WordPress has thousands of plugins but there are a few I recommend installing and activating immediately.

CleanTalk – spam is everywhere and CleanTalk keeps my website spam-free. If you’re getting comments on your website or have the automated robots who hit your contact form, you need CleanTalk. It starts at $8 per year. Get it here.

Monarch – this allows you display social media buttons everywhere including follow and share buttons. I usually have a vertical line of social media share buttons on the left-hand side of every single page, and on my blog posts I have buttons at the beginning and end of each post. I also include social media follow buttons on the sidebar of my blog and footer of my website.

YoastSEO – if you want to improve your search engine optimization, use this plugin to ensure you maximize on-page SEO. YoastSEO offers quick and easy tutorials to help you start ranking on search engines. They also help you authenticate your site with search engines and ensure your sitemap is set up correctly.

GDPR Cookie Consent: If you are using analytics and pixels on your website, you need to let people know you are tracking them. GDPR Cookie Consent provides an easy popup that allows visitors to opt-in to tracking.

Google Analytics Dashboard for WP – Analytics are a must have for your websites. You need to know who is visiting and what pages they are looking at the most so you can further optimize for traffic. You can setup a free Google Analytics account at analytics.google.com and use the plugin to display your analytics details on your WordPress dashboard. I love using this so I don’t have to log in to Google Analytics to view my traffic every day.

Bloom – create beautiful email popups. I use bloom for the popups on my website inviting visitors to join my email list. It’s easy to add an image that increases conversions. I love that Bloom has analytics so I can track the conversions and determine how effective the popups are. And they work!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.”

Where to get images?

Now that you have your website up and running, it’s time to fill it with content and images. Visuals are important for websites, and if you don’t have your own branded images, I recommend these sites for free photos.

Pexels
Unsplash
Pixabay

How to set up integrations

Once you have everything setup, the final step is ensuring that all of your integrations are working. I usually integrate my website with my email marketing service (Mailchimp, Mailerlite, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit). Thankfully Divi makes it easy to setup up integration, often, you just need to find your API key and past it in. Most email marketing tools have a knowledge base that gives you a step by step guide.

How to setup your email

By the way, if you’re not already, make sure you’re using an email address at your own domain. For example, I use [email protected] instead of gmail for my emails. This does two things. It gives you an official business appearance and allows you to get approved for your email marketing service. Sometimes gmail goes straight to spam so I recommend upgrading to your own domain and telling your email subscribers how to whitelist your email address.

Use Google Suite Mail as an easy way to send and receive emails. You can set it up for a monthly fee here.

From there you need to log back in to your hosting and go to Cpanel. Find your MX records and there should be an easy checkbox to ensure everything is configured for Google mail.

There you have, the beginner’s guide to creating a website on WordPress.

Now, I do know that I’m super techie so if you need help from a pro? Stuck in any area? Book a tech call to help get you out of the weeds.

Blog Post_ The Beginner’s Guide to Creating an Author Website on WordPress

Share your thoughts:


1. What tips to you have for building a website?

Leave a comment below and then share this post with a fellow author.

Premade Landing Pages for Indie Authors

Premade Landing Pages for Indie Authors

Premade landing pages for indie authors are now available!

You know you need a landing page, but the cost and technical headache can make it tough. Especially when you have other things to focus on, like writing, coordinating with your editor, book cover design and book marketing. I firmly believe a landing page is essential, especially for list building, and there are hundreds of resources and articles out there that will concur. I also know the tech challenges can seem insurmountable which is why I decided to offer premade landing pages.

Ever since I saw premade covers come out for others, I wanted to do something simple but beautiful that would encourage authors to focus on having a gorgeous website and landing page, without spending thousands of dollars. (Unless you have thousands of dollars to dump into web design – go for it!)

What do you need for these landing pages?

  • A domain (you can get one from NameCheap)
  • Hosting (I highly recommend Siteground – you can buy both your domain and hosting from Siteground )
  • WordPress (It’s a free download and most hosting providers offer a free install)
  • Divi by Elegant Themes (it’s a premium theme but I’ll install it for free with purchase of a landing page)

Each landing page includes installation on your website and content updates. When you preview a landing page, you’ll notice it has demo images, text and links. If you provide your own, I’ll update your content with it.

Landing pages are built out with marketing psychology in mind. In fact, there are the 5 essential elements included in each of my landing pages. 

#1 – Sales

One of my goal is to sell more books, so I usually include a link to purchase the ebook from Amazon. Since I have an international audience, it’s important to include a universal link that automatically sends the visitor to their store based on their location. Click here or on the image below for an example of a landing page focused on generating sales.

mockup - romance landing page

#2 – List building

Usually when I send out an email, my book sales double, and that makes a massive difference in royalties! Hence, building up my email list is #2 on my priority list. I usually include an invitation to my email list high up on my landing pages and again at the very bottom of the page. The idea is, if someone isn’t ready to make a purchase, I can sell to them via email. Click here or on the image below for an example of a landing page focused on list building.

mockup - fantasy premade landing page

#3 – Gorgeous book covers

Book covers can make all the difference when selling books, which is why I pride myself on having absolutely drop-dead beautiful covers. I always make it a point to highlight the artwork on my website just because I’m so proud of it! In addition to book covers, high resolutions stock images will work well to capture the theme of your book.

#4 – Social proof

Reviews from readers are a great way to encourage others to pick up your book and read it. Reviews can be a mixed bag, I’ve recently found it really don’t matter how many reviews I do or don’t have on books, they seem to sell just about the same. Regardless, it’s important to have the social proof for your book.

#5 – About the author

One reason I like the internet is because it’s so easy to connect with authors and readers. So make sure you’re using that personal connection and sharing a little bit about yourself. Share the good stuff but also share the odd stuff that no one would think to ask! On my series landing page I share some little known facts about me, just to provide something personable for readers. See a preview of it here.

Blog Post_ Premade Landing Pages for Indie Authors

Share your thoughts:
1. What is important to you when it comes to building a landing page?
2. Do you have any tips to share?

Leave a comment below and then share this post with a fellow author.

7 Ways to Drive Traffic to your Author Platform

7 Ways to Drive Traffic to your Author Platform

You have a beautiful website or landing page but now what? How do you drive traffic to it? Build your email list or sell more autographed books?

Without a doubt this is one of the top questions I hear from clients. They have a great website and have completed all the right steps in building their author platform.

Curious about the steps? Read this post.

A huge influx of traffic is possible and often takes time to build. Here are the seven steps you can take drive traffic to your website, grow your email list and increase your book sales.

1. Advertise your catalog of autographed books

Fans love autographed books but it’s hard for them to buy if they don’t know where to get them! I have a store on my author website and I use three ways to sell autographed books:

Tell your email list – about once a month I let my email list know about autographed books. Since I have 8 books I feature an excerpt along with the cover and remind readers they can get some bookmarks with each order.

Use Facebook – Ads take a moment to understand but you can set up an Ad for $5-$10 a day and send people to your website to buy books.

Use Google Adwords – I target people who have visited my website and promote my autographed books to them.

2. Advertise your free reader magnet

One way to build your email list is to give away a free short story (reader magnet). I have a landing page on my website and I use advertising to send readers to the page. The page does the rest. Take a look at the landing page here.

3. Advertise your books and link back to your website

When running ads, it’s smart to link directly to the vendor sales page. For example, if you’re trying to sell more books on Amazon, link to your Amazon product page and thus forth.

But if you want to drive more traffic to your website, advertise your books and link back to your website.

If you’re using a pop up, this can help you build your email list.
If you’re using a Facebook Pixel you can build custom audiences and advertise to them.
If you’re selling autographed books this can increase your revenue.

4. Use a giveaway to drive traffic to your website

If you’re doing a giveaway, I recommend that you focus on giving away something readers in your genre will love. Generic giveaways tend to attract freeloaders who may not be excited to be on your email list – however, you don’t have to use a giveaway to build your email list, you can use it just to drive traffic back to your website.

What items should you give away?

  • Popular books in your genre
  • A kindle e-reader
  • Book swag

5. Host a group promo on your website with other authors in your genre

Bookfunnel and StoryOrigin are easy ways to create a promotion with other authors in your genre. Often the goal is list-building, but you can also create a promo to feature books on sale. 99 cent sales are recommended to drive traffic to your website and increase your book sales. Most promos I’ve been part of generate thousands of page views and sales. Here’s an example promo page.

6. Do a blog series

I have a short story that has ten chapters. To increase my website traffic I did a blog post for each chapter and told readers they could download the entire series for free.

I promoted the blog posts via Facebook and Pinterest to drive more traffic to my website and build my email list.

Pinterest is a powerful tool for generating website traffic and I usually using Pinterest Ads to promote my blog posts and gather more traffic.

See the first post in the series here.

7. Do a video series and repost them on your website

Read aloud, talk about your inspirations, or chat with another author. The sky is the limit on video and you can drive traffic a few different ways. YouTube, Facebook and Instagram TV are popular places for videos.

Post a preview of the video on Facebook or YouTube and link back to your website for the full video. Here’s an example of a video on a website.

Want more? Get more details by booking a 1:1 Book Marketing Call.

Blog Post_ 7 Ways to Drive Traffic to your Author Platform

Share your thoughts:
1. How do you drive traffic to your website?
2. Do you have a tip that wasn’t mentioned here?
3. What action will you take to improve your website presence?

Leave a comment below and then share this post with a fellow author.

Add Flair to your Fiction and Improve your Novel Writing Skills

Add Flair to your Fiction and Improve your Novel Writing Skills

What do you do to add flair to your stories and improve your novel writing skills?

For me, it all started with one-star reviews. They are soul-crushing. I pour my heart into my stories and it a vulnerable experience that leaves me feeling low and unlucky when the bad reviews come in. And trust me. They do.

In Spring of 2018 my box set reaching #157 on the Amazon charts which is the highest I’ve ever been. It was a miracle that brought in thousands of dollars and the dreaded one-star reviews. At first I ignored them, but they sat there like an inch that goes unscratched. So I read them. It hurt.

Some reviewers couldn’t get past the words I made up, others hated the story from the prologue, others thought it was stupid, the list goes on and on and on. While bad reviews are unavoidable and it seems like there’s nothing you can do about them, there is. Perfect your writing skills and hone your craft so the next book you write will be better than the last.

I’m not saying that I wrote a bad book, it was the best I could do at the time, but now that I’ve learned a ton about novel writing, I know I can do better. Will I avoid poor reviews? Probably not, it’s impossible to please everyone. But will I keep writing? Absolutely.

Click to Tweet: Add Flair to your Fiction and Improve your Novel Writing Skills https://www.angelajfordmarketing.com/add-flair-to-your-fiction-and-improve-your-novel-writing-skills/ via @aford21 #writingcommunity #amwriting

When it comes to novels, writing here are some pro tips that can save you time and energy and help you write faster!

I plan on releasing 5 books this year and I can do that because of the steps I take before I begin to write. Read on to discover all of my secrets.

Study the craft of writing

Story structure is easily learned after all what more could there be to it? A beginning, a middle and an end. But if you want to be an excellent writer you need to plan.

Word to the pansters – stay with me on this on! I’m not talking about a soul-crushing outline that will send you screaming. I’m talking about a plan. A plan will help you write an excellent story, write faster and avoid the dreaded writer’s block. I have to break it to you, a book goes so much deeper than having a brilliant plot and a diverse cast of characters. You need more than that which is why studying the craft of writing is so important.

There are a few ways to do it. I found the main things that really helped me to develop the craft of writing was reading books on the art of outlining, plotting and character development. I also discovered reading books in my genre to see how popular authors put the technical details of writing into practice helped me to see plotting and character development in writing.  two books which are quite similar. They have the same approach for the method of writing a novel but come from different angles.

The first book I read on writing has a more technical approach. It is called Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story by K.M. Weiland. Structuring Your Novel allowed me to see where the missing plots were in my novels and what I could do to fix them.

The next two books are quite similar. They have the same approach for the method of writing a novel but come from different angles. These two books are all about creating characters readers can identify with. I recommend that you purchase and study both books. But only if you are serious about improving your writing and becoming a better author.

The first book is Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author’s Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot, and Character Development by K.M. Weiland. In this book she walked through several components on character development which made me realize that pantsing is not the best idea. Have you ever written a book, finish it and realized something was fundamentally wrong? I bet it’s because you did not revolve around the three act structure with characters integrated within the plot.

K.M. Weiland writes about creating the character journey. Your character(s) starts out in one place and mentally (and perhaps physically) but by the end of the story has fought through a revelation that transforms them to their true self. They need to overcome something. Most stories center on the misbelief and the lie that the character believes about themselves. The character’s struggle, their highs and lows, the lies they believe about themselves, and how it affects them both internally and externally, are what makes a character come alive. But as I was reading the book, I found it to be a little too technical for my creativity.

Which is why I picked up the second book: Story Genius: How to use Brain Science to go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel by Lisa Cron.

This book is actually perfect for me because I’m not into outlining and I despise plotting more than one scene at a time. Don’t give me wrong, I always know the end goal of the story. But Story Genius appeals to my more creative nature. It really helped me to dig deep into the mental state of the character and the psychology of where they are now and where they will end up going.

Having a plan helped me create a much better novel. As I worked through my second epic fantasy series: Legend of the Nameless One, I was pleased and thrilled to hear the positive feedback from readers on how much my writing has improved. But that’s not the only thing that helped me change up my game, I also worked with an editor who pushed me to focus on my writing and figure out what’s wrong with it.

Most editors I’ve worked with copy edit my novel and send me a clean version to review. There’s nothing wrong with that method, in fact, it’s clean and easy and doesn’t force me to dwell on my mistakes and improve them. However, the last two editors I’ve worked with made a point in highlighting the mistakes I tend to make and helped me figure out how to fix them. Now I have a list of things to watch out. Are you making these mistakes?

#1 – Particle phrases

This is where two actions happen at the same time, something I did not understand I overused until an editor pointed it out to me. .

#2 – Overused Words & Lack of Variation

I have a list of words and phrases I use repeatedly. My list includes:

  • as if
  • as though
  • dancing
  • dark

I’m sure there are others, but those are the main ones I watch out for when writing. To combat this, I not only have my editor and proofreader watch out for repetition, but I also use a software called ProWritingAid. They have a feature that checks for repetition throughout your novel so you can fix those pesky words that dull down your writing before your readers begin to snooze.

I have a lifetime membership to ProWritingAid and I highly recommend it to supplement your self edits. But not, it does not take the place of an editor and proofreader. Check out ProWritingAid here.

I also made myself a list of items to keep track of doing the self editing phrase. It’s important to make the story as clean as possible.

#1 – Don’t state the obvious

#2 – Don’t repeat yourself.

I have a fantastic habit of saying the same thing in three different ways. When I see that happen in my writing, I delete the reputations that make little sense.

#3 – Show. Don’t Tell.

This is an old saying and one I’ve heard so often it’s easy to let it fly in one ear and out the other. But when you describe feelings such as anger, hate, jealousy, rage, exhaustion, make sure you don’t simply say: She was angry with her friend. Describe the anger, what did it feel like inside, how did it manifest externally? I use The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression to help me think outside of the box for describing emotions.

#4 – Use active not passive voice.

You can tell if you’re writing passive if you reach the end of a sentence and the phrase “eaten by dragons” makes sense.

I mentioned earlier that I don’t outline the entire novel all at once but I do take notes and plan out the highlights of the plot and character arcs. My planning helps me to write faster and avoid writer’s block even though all the twists and turns in the story don’t come until I start to write the actual novel.

Regardless, planning helps me know what is coming next and I can go back to my guidelines to re-read the scenes. Since I plan out my novels at bird’s eye view, here are the things I focus on.

Overall theme

This is usually something that comes through brainstorming. I jot down several keywords. For example, I’m working on a novel called Realm of Ice. Some themes include winter, ice, cold, life and death, shifters, ice kingdom and political moves. Writing it down helps me narrow down the theme of the book.

Introduction & Set Up

Many plotters call this Act One of the story. It’s where the key players are introduced, the setting and what a normal day in the life of the characters looks like. If I have several characters and points of view to go through, this can get rather long, but I keep the action going by having a key event (also known as the inciting incident or the hook) happen to each of the characters.

Hooking readers is critical, and if this is something you struggle with I recommend reading the book: Writing Dynamite Story Hooks: A Masterclass in Genre Fiction and Memoir by Jackson Dean Chase

Beginnings are rough for me. I end up going back and rewriting the first chapter a few times until I can nail the hook. During the first draft I don’t worry too hard about it because I know it’s something I’ll come back and rewrite after the first draft.

Rising Action

Also known as the midpoint, this is the biggest part of the story. According to K.M. Weiland it should include the 25% – 75% mark of the story. It is massive and includes the rising action—at least to the midpoint—and the rising action after the midpoint.

Act Three

I love digging into the make or break moment for the characters. This is the point where the reader feels like all is in vain and maybe the characters should give up because there is no way for them to win. Then suddenly, something unexpected happens and the hero rises up and wins the day. Everything comes together, loose threads are tied up and if there’s more, a door is open to the next book in the series. To boil it down, Act Three is one amazing ride until the final words, The End, are written.

Avoiding those pesky flat characters

Since I like to fly by the seat of my pants, I generally outline a chapter before I write it—however that does not mean I outline the entire book. Instead I go chapter by chapter.

Each chapter is their own mini-story and includes a beginning, a middle, and an end. Or, if you like, a hook, an action and a disaster. I really like to hone in a focus on my characters, the obstacles that stand in their way and how they will overcome the internal and external characters that keep them from getting what they want.

That sounds like a lot for one chapter, but it works out well with keeping the action going in the chapter and flowing smoothly into the next chapter.

After the disaster, the character needs a moment to react to what happened. This can be a form of introspection which I absolutely love and respect. In all honesty, I can go overboard with writing intense chapters that are extremely introspective. Having a plan helps me shorten the introspection and make sure that I have my characters reflect on the most important emotions that play into the ongoing story.

There are many elements that go into crafting an amazing novel, but at a high-level, these are the actions I personally take to improve my writing, and I make it my goal to focus on learning something new with every single story I write.

Blog Post_ Add Flair to your Fiction and Improve your Novel Writing Skills

As a recap, here are the books I recommend reading:

Share your thoughts:

  1. What revelations have you had about writing stories?
  2. What tips do you have for the first time (or old time) writers?
  3. What do you do on a daily, weekly or monthly basis to improve your writing?

Leave a comment below and then share this post with a fellow writer.

Persevering as an Indie Author – How to Stay Patient When It Feels Like Nothing Is Happening

Persevering as an Indie Author – How to Stay Patient When It Feels Like Nothing Is Happening

Today I want to talk to you about perseverance and patience even though things aren’t going the way you want them to.

It takes time to become a full-time author and reap the benefits of success, especially if you’re self-published and need to work on marketing.

It takes even longer to make a full-time income off of your work and it can be depressing when you see other authors making four, five or even six figures a month. What about you? When will your time in the spotlight come?

Here are some thoughts from my personal experience.

Success is different in each of our minds and it takes time and energy to get where you want to be.

Looking back, I realize it took me almost four years to become a full-time author and make enough to pay the bills, afford ads, covers, editing and everything else that goes with becoming a full-time author.

So I’ll share the tips that got me there, but the most important thing I want you to know is that it takes time.

When you publish your first book, you might not see the results in 4 weeks. You might not see results in 4 months. Each of us has a different story and we must remember to put in the work, day in and day out.

Put in the work when it feels like you can’t sell a single book.

Put in the work when it feels like you’ll never reach your target audience.

Put in the work when you feel like going home and doing something else.

It took me 5 books and 4 years to make my first $50,000 from publishing books.

It took collaborations and studying and marketing.

It took taking a risk and trying new things.

It took thousands of dollars.

And let me tell you, I have bills and loans and things to do with my life. But my desire to be an author is deep and passionate. And even when my books weren’t paying for themselves I worked three different jobs to make it happen. I saved up for editing and book covers; I studied marketing and took courses. It was a long road but looking back I can say it was worth it. So hang in there. Keep going.

Follow these tips to put you on the road to success:

Write your best story.

Writing a story is hard but rewarding work. While there are many different ways to write a book, it’s helpful to study story structure. One of the many mistakes authors make it writing something without regard for industry standards. While the work may be good, it might not be something that readers enjoy. Pacing, setting and character development are a combination which makes books delightful to enjoy. Here are some of the books I recommend to help you succeed with storytelling.

Read this blog post for more about writing.

Attractive cover.

I used to turn up my nose at pre-made covers, but not anymore! It’s important to have an attractive cover in your genre, and you don’t have to spend an absorb about of money to get it. Covers these days range from pre-made to stockphotos to custom illustrations. After writing and publishing seven books I cannot stress the importance of a beautiful cover that fits with your genre.

Read this blog post for more about covers.

Study marketing (free and paid)

As an indie author, book marketing can make or break a career. Personally I consumed as much free information as I could and spent time working with entrepreneurs to practice the marketing basics. Some of my favorite sites for resources include:

Read this blog post for more about book marketing.

Build and grow your brand grow your email list.

Building your brand is essential for forming a fan base. Even if it’s nothing something you’re excited about doing, you can build your empire on automation. The start up steps take the longest, but I highly recommend having a website or landing page to collect email address. If you’re not a fan of email, you can also use a messenger bot and use that as your way of communicating with readers. Focus on both organic and paid ways to grow your list. Many tried and true methods include writing a short story (less than 10,000 words) and offering it as a free giveaway. This serves to give people a preview of your writing before they make a monetary commitment.

Read more about email marketing.

Get help.

I remember releasing my first book, and trying to figure out how to get reviews. A few weeks after the release I booked a call with a book marketing guru to figure out next steps. A lot of people talk about launching a book but there’s so much more that goes on behind the scenes after release. How do you keep book selling? What marketing tactics should you use? Booking a call and getting help from other marketing gurus helped set off on the right path to success.

Talking to a marketing guru can be both good and bad, so I also recommend chatting with successful authors. Follow them on social media, read their emails and do everything you can to emulate (not copy) their success. I recall following some USA Today Bestselling Authors and the number one thing they did that I didn’t do was newsletter swaps. It was very eye opening because it opened up an entirely new way of reaching more people.

Aside from talking, it’s also important to do something actionable. Taking courses may not be right for everyone, but I love seeing video examples of what I need to do and following the steps to make it happen. A few courses I’ve enrolled in include a writing course, an Ads course and a few other marketing related courses.

Collaborate with authors in your genre.

One of the biggest mistakes I see authors make is collaborated across different genres. Someone who writes nonfiction will ask a fantasy author to promote them. Why is this a mistake? Because you’re not reaching the kind of people who read your book. It’s extremely important to collaborate with authors in your genre. It makes a huge difference in book sales if you are selling to the right audience.

Read more about author collaborations.

As a final note of encouragement, it’s possible to become a full time authors, but in most cases it takes more than one or two books to get there. So decide what you want from your work and get to work. Write your book. Read as much as possible. Save up for expenses. Take a risk. You’ve got this.

Want to chat further? Schedule a call with me.

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