Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Platform Pick-Up: Blog pt. 3

Your blog does so many things. Provide a home base for your readers, make you available to others, and...give your books a spotlight.

Yep, you want to make sure that visitors to your site know what books you have out and any that are soon to be released. 

What does that look like?

You need to have a separate page on your blog, just for your books. Include a cover image, a short blurb (on paragraph if you can manage it), and easy to find links for readers to buy. This should include all the major retailers. I would also recommend including a link for readers to leave reviews for your work on Amazon, Goodreads, or both.

You can't forget about Amazon

Speaking of Amazon, remember when I said that they give you a handy personalized URL for your Author Central page. This is where you want to put it. Right up at the top. Something like: Click here for a full listing of all of Sarah's titles in both ebook and paperback. No matter how you feel about the media giant, there's no denying they sell books. While you want to update your book page every time you have a new book, including this link ensures that all your books get in front of reader's eyes, even if you get a little behind.

Check your links

Even if you already have a shiny book page with all this information listed, now is a great time to check all your live links. The internet is wonky sometimes. It just happens. The last thing you want is a reader who's ready to buy your book, but can't find it because the link on your site is broken.

If you want to get fancy, you can create a separate page for each book or series. But keep in mind that simplicity is your friend. The more clicks a reader has to go through to find your book, the less likely they will be to keep looking. No matter how you decide to structure your book page, make sure it is easy to find, easy to read, and easy to buy.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Platform Pick-Up: Blog pt. 2

Your blog or website serves many purposes, but one of the most important roles is as a place for readers to find you. The question is, how easy are you making it?

Your blog needs to have a static place for readers, media contacts, reviewers and others to contact you. That means creating a clearly labeled place where folks can find all your contact information. For today's task make sure you have a contact tab/page on your blog with up-to-date information listed.

What to list

* Email - This is the most important contact information to have on your blog. If you have nothing else, make sure that you've got an email address. If you don't have one already, go get an email address that uses your author name. Not only does it look more professional than, an address with your name makes it easier for readers to remember.

* Contact form -  Some readers might be hesitant to email you. For some, they might think they are bothering you to send an email. Others might be concerned that emailing you will make their own email address more public and invite spam. Regardless of the reason, not everyone will be comfortable emailing you. For those readers, a contact form is a great alternative. Google Forms makes it easy to create a free form to add to your blog that auto populates a contact spreadsheet.

* Phone number - Some of you might be a bit squeamish about publishing a phone number, but you shouldn't be. I've had a phone number posted on my blog for over a year now. I have received a grand total of ZERO phone calls. No prank calls, spam texts or authors angry about a query rejection. So, please don't worry about a flood of phone calls. Also, I use a free Google number so that if there ever was a problem, I could simply redirect the number without having to change my actual phone number. So, if no one uses it, why have it. Most for media. If someone needs to write a last minute article and decides to feature your book, they might need to get in touch with you in a hurry. Listing a phone number lets them reach out quickly and shows that you are open to being contacted.

* Address - This is the one time when I would say be careful. I would not list your personal address here. Most folks would never cross the line, but all it takes is one to destroy your security. Instead, consider investing in a PO Box if you would like to have a place for readers and other to send you letters. Another option is to list your agent's address. Just be sure to check with them first.

* Social Media - You'll probably want to have your social media easily visible on the main page of your blog, but it doesn't hurt to include them here as well. Make sure you include links to your actual account and not just a list of where you are. Most readers won't take the time to search on FB or Twitter for you, but they will click on a link where they only have to click on button to follow you.

So that's it. Go update your contact pages and then come back tomorrow for the next task.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Platform Pick-Up: Blog pt. 1

We're halfway through the Platform Pickup! How are you feeling? I hope you at least feel a little more in control of your platform. Hang in there for a few more weeks while we tackle the rest of your platform and picture how accomplished you'll feel at the end of the month.

Today's task is an easy one, so when you're done stop over at the Make Me A Story blog where I have a guest post up on why you need a marketing plan. Also, I'm planning out the August newsletter and there is going to be another free download this month. If you haven't signed up yet, be sure to do that today. In addition to this month's resource, you'll also get my DIY Blog Tour Handbook.

Now, on to today. It's time to start tackling your blog. Up until now, we've been focusing on our accounts tied to social media. Now it's time to take a look at the platform we manage the most.

For today, go through your blog and make sure you are using the same photo, bio, and header/background. If you made a brand sheet earlier this month, double check your colors, fonts, and other visual aspects of your blog to keep your brand consistent.

So that's it, check your blog for brand consistency, sign up for the newsletter, and hop over to my guest post. Oh, and have a great Monday. :)

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