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Topics - RBC

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Howdy!

Doing research about author websites and looking for some inspiration and examples of well-executed ones. What author sites have you seen that look great? Or are very interesting? Etc?

Share cool ones, but let's not share our own.

RBC

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Writers' Cafe / How to Write Newsletters That People Want to Read
« on: November 07, 2017, 02:02:59 PM »
Hello!

Email newsletters can be tough. Some don't believe in them at all and many who try don't succeed easily. Question 'What to write?' is popular and can create writer's block... Here is a good post on why some great email newsletters succeed, showing few examples and analysis.

https://thinkgrowth.org/how-to-write-newsletters-that-people-want-to-read-caabba912bb9

Shortly:

1. Niche - write for certain person, not everybody. Write like you'd talk to a friend about a topic you like over a drink.

2. Curate - best newsletter provide value with curating good content and providing context (commentary and opinion). So for authors it's talking about books in the genres you publish and movies if you want. Throwing in other stuff like songs or entertaining articles too.

3. Context and Personality - don't be a wallflower, don't be a crazy person. Don't be dry and not sharing anything about yourself and life, but don't go overboard sharing your life. You don't have to share what you don't want, but something relatable is a must.

Have your 'voice' too. Maybe you're very direct and no-BS, blunt person with 'politically incorrect' opinions, maybe you're very sarcastic, maybe very pop culture oriented and like to discuss current news and have a very balanced views on life... however your 3-5 closest friends would define you in few words, write emails like that.

4. Emails don't have to have fancy design - keep it simple, good design doesn't have to be super colorful, with ton of elements and things. Minimalist is perfect.

These are from the article, I'd add that as a writer you have original and valuable insights so throw those in (it can be interesting to see the commentary from writers about story, structure etc, without being too dry/technical). Look at it as starting your own 'club'.

Personally, as a designer, I try to write emails that are educational, direct and to the point, and in a friendly (but not overly-friendly BFF way).

Check out the article. Hope it gives some inspiration and ideas for future emails and makes it easier to understand how to succeed with them.

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Hello!

Are you looking for an author website design that is affordable, modern, mobile responsive and visually editable? Done by someone who's been working with authors for a long time? If so, I can help. I can make you a website that will help you build your brand and build up your email list while making sure you don't look like an amateur author.

Why get a website? Because it houses your no.1 book marketing technique - Email List!

Email list importance has only grown. There were times when just putting up books on Amazon meant lots of sales and discovery. It grew the first crop of indies and started the craze. Now those days are long gone. It's harder and harder to stand out with so many people self-publishing. Which means email list importance is just increasing (and we all know how powerful is BookBub, which is just an email list too)! So why not build your own mini-BookBub? How much would having a nicely-sized email list would be worth to you?

That's where good author websites come in. They must have email list sign up forms, be fast (to rank high in Google as Big G now punishes slow websites) and be mobile responsive. Luckily, these days it's easy to get a website and maintain it. Wordpress enables indie authors have professional, modern and beautiful websites at the fraction of prices paid for Traditionally published author sites (which are in the thousands).

Pros and Cons of Author Websites:

Pros:


Makes author look professional and serious about the career
Helps to protect Copyrights (name, pen name etc) - if you own your domain name it can help in legal disputes etc
Builds up Author Platform
Allows to 'build/expand the world' - you can expand and create 'world' from books by having exclusive content which readers would love to read
Helps Readers discover your new books - whether through Google where they can find your website or by sending them to website from your Book
Fun - if you love writing and have lots of ideas for content and expression, your website is your home and place to share it


Cons:

It takes some effort to learn to use it (but it isn't about learning to code.. more like learning new software to use)
It takes some money (not thousands of dollars as big Publishers or businesses spend tho)
It takes time to write content (but on a good note, you write content once and it will stay on website forever and be read by multiple people over and over)
It takes some time to manage the website (mostly few hours a month to see if plugins need an update or content is too old etc)



What I'm Offering for KBoards members


$199 Custom Wordpress Website (3 Spots available for KBoarders, price going up to afterwards)
For comparison, just buying Divi theme on your own would cost $89 a year or $250 one-time payment. Other themes often cost $50-60 + support fees after first year. No such thing when buying from RockingAuthorWebsites.com.


How It Works:

1. We will have a conversation through emails about what you want and need for your website and come up with a plan
2. You will need to have Hosting and/or Domain ready (I can recommend some if you don't have it yet)
3. As we start working, you will need to start writing/collecting content for the website (About page, general introduction on homepage, some exclusive content for Books page etc, I can help with ideas but I don't write that)
4. I'll customise a Divi theme (one of the best Wordpress themes currently) to our plan (custom header, banners etc)
5. We'll do one concept of design for Homepage and if you approve will match other pages to that (if first concept doesn't work, I can do 2 more)
6. We'll do up to 10 pages for your website (if you got 10 books, I won't count them all as 10 pages used, only half of them)
7. I'll install plugins like Security scanning, Google Analytics, Contact Forms, Gallery (if needed)
8. I'll set up email newsletter sign up form (I'd recommend MailerLite for this)
9. We can brainstorm what to do with website in future and how to promote it
10. We can work on basic SEO optimisation for your genre keywords

This offer is perfect for someone who needs a simple, visually editable website that isn't hard to update and who doesn't need it to do much clever stuff like Ecommerce, Forums etc. Perfect for your first website for those who don't want to waste DIY'ing it.

Some of my current portfolio websites have been redesigned so I need to refresh it. Thus, I'm offering these very low-price websites for KBoards members.

Websites that I've done that are:

www.actionadventurebooks.net
www.opalmellon.com
www.edwardemerson.com
www.ascenderssaga.com

More samples of previous designs are available at www.RockingAuthorWebsites.com

If you're interested, contact me here on PMs or through the website.

Cheers!

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Writers' Cafe / Animated Book Covers - Anyone's Trying Yet? Any Results?
« on: August 13, 2017, 12:21:23 PM »
Hello!

I've been thinking about animated book covers and if they actually help. They do look cool (If well done) and logically, should be getting more attention. I've seen a few but at the same time it hasn't become a hot trend.

Has anyone tried them? Any results to share?

RBC

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Hello!

Recently found this group where designers post Premade covers for sale and authors can get them if it matches. Quite convenient if you use Facebook a lot. The group is not mine.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/591645390867936

So if you're looking for cover for low budget ($20-100) then this is a group that could be useful.

RBC

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Hello!

Found out about Tapas through Jane Friedland's site and since it's a reputable source, this looks like a great opportunity.

Tapas.io is platform similar to Wattpad to publish serialized work and readers read on mobile more. It allows to Unlock new chapters by watching ads etc and to tip authors. They use a business model which mobile games are doing really well with so this seems like a good thing.

Here are posts about Tapas.io from Jane's site:

Intro and Interview with Founder of Tapas - https://janefriedman.com/new-platform-serials/

Q&A with Few Authors who post on Tapas - https://janefriedman.com/tapas-author-qa/

Check it out! The biggest growth for authors come from times when there is a new platform with lots of readers and not enough supply, that's when they can get most promotion for free from the platform itself (like being featured in Popular section etc). Less noise, means more opportunity. That's how indies like Amanda Hawking rose (back when they were getting hundreds of thousands free downloads per book, not tens of thousands). etc.

That's why this is promising (like finding Wattpad before it was huge already).

Anyone's using it already?


P.S. On the skeptic side, what happens if this isn't great and it fails? Well, authors lose nothing by joining. Even if you just gain 1000 fans there you can still drive them to your website and email list from the end of the stories. This can be leveraged for exposure not just on the platform alone. ;)

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Hello!

I'm wondering what are authors currently paying for Illustrated covers and what it gets?

Those who've done them, mind sharing your cover and price (or at least price range)?

Cheers!

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Hi!

Found this interesting marketing advice, that is missing in many many cases for Creatives. It sounds logical but one of the things that we don't do:

Minimum Viable Personality - http://avc.com/2011/09/minimum-viable-personality/ 

The missing piece is your story as a writer. Not stories you tell, but what story you have and can it hook in the readers (can we relate, laugh, like or dislike). It's not enough to tell you're a writer (or designer like me), we need more things for people to get intrigued about.

When visiting author websites, it's very common to have boring 'About' pages, either written in 3rd person (lame) or just bland and boring. This short read gives a good example of how it can be improved (note the writing style and illustrations). Exchange word 'product' for 'book' and this fits.

And this is not about selling one book, it's more about making people relate to person so that multiplies the interest in all books.


Do you have writers you read because they have awesome writing and interesting/quirky/fun etc personality?

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Writers' Cafe / Is There AppSumo (Discount Deals) Just for Authors?
« on: May 27, 2017, 08:05:00 AM »
Hi!

So I'm a huge fan of www.AppSumo.com and their deals for Entrepreneurs&Freelancers, it's brilliant (like Scrivener deal or DepositPhotos.com deals etc). I wonder if I missed out on such website that is just for Authors?

If there is none, I'm up for making it happen. Would anyone be interested in using this?

RBC

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Writers' Cafe / Email List Building Myths... Debunked
« on: February 22, 2017, 11:06:07 AM »
Hello!

Found this great article about things that get in the way of authors building up their email lists, these are 13 myths that kill conversions from reader to subscriber, or prevent even starting to build a list.

Here are myths:

List Building Myth #1: Popups Are Dying Out
List Building Myth #2: You Can’t Collect Emails on Mobile Anymore
List Building Myth #3: Asking Visitors to Sign Up For Your Newsletter Is A Good Idea
List Building Myth #4: I Need to be Clever to Get More Subscribers
List Building Myth #5: All Popups Are Too Aggressive
List Building Myth #6: Popups Make People Leave My Site
List Building Myth #7: The Bigger the List, the Better
List Building Myth #8: List Building is Too Expensive
List Building Myth #9: I Need to Collect As Much Information As Possible When Someone Opts-in
List Building Myth #10: I’m Not Ready for List Building
List Building Myth #11: I Can’t Build My List Without Having Emails Already Written
List Building Myth #12: I Shouldn’t Make My Subscribers Confirm Their Subscription
List Building Myth #13: Any Traffic is Good Traffic

Here is the article link:
https://sumo.com/stories/list-building-myths

Check these out. These will help you build a bigger list!

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Hi!

So very recently, indie authors started this email service to make another Bookbub. It's indie authors themselves (like Michael Anderle of 20Booksto50k.com with others) and they are trying to build up another avenue for indies to promote books.

It's at http://reading-addicts.com and they are giving away 10 books by indies to everyone who signs up, so that's a good way to get subscribers for them and hopefully will build up fast.

They are looking for authors who could share the site to email lists or reader groups(like Wattpad or GoodReads) to build up more subscribers. I think this is a great initiative and this could grow into 2nd site after BookBub if all goes well. Seeing success of M. Anderle I think they are smart enough to make it work.
 
I would recommend to check this service out and spread the word. You can also sign up for their future releases (first email is on March 5th). They will promote Free books, 99c books and new releases.

Q&A for the sire is here: http://reading-addicts.com/questions/

Hope this works out!! Would be big boon for indies!

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Howdy!

I've just a nice small tweak that could possibly increase your book sales or increase your social media following count etc (basically your choice what). It's making your Thank You page (which is displayed after someone joins your email list, it's a Must Have) into a clear and concise page with good directions on what to do next. Often people who have the Thank You page just use it to say Thanks and that's it (or don't even do that and use boilerplate template from email provider which looks bad and has lame robot text).

Instead, this page text should be written strategically and after you thank person for joining the list, tell them what to expect next (Welcome Email) and then direct them to your Book page on Amazon or to follow you on Twitter/Facebook etc.

Here are some more examples of how business do it well and how it impacted sales (or soc. media growth for them):

http://www.sjo.com/thank-you-page-optimization-audit/

Give this a read and update your websites! I'm definitely adding this to my website (I have Thank You pages but no real 'offer' on what they can do next).
Adrijus

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Writers' Cafe / Another Way to Grow Your Email List - NoiseTrade
« on: December 27, 2016, 02:24:59 PM »
Hello!

I've recently found this website NoiseTrade.com which can be used to grow author email lists. It's a platform where you can upload a book and giveaway it in exchange for email address (or even a paid tip from people). It used to be music only site and now it's expanding into books too. I think it's a great idea and should be growing next year more and more.

Here is a good review of it (with Pros and Cons) and how author got over 400 emails from it:

http://www.sidehustlenation.com/noisetrade-review/

Check it out and try it out! If someone has experience with them, would be good to know.
RBC

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Writers' Cafe / Crazy Idea: 1 Million Words Club ?
« on: December 21, 2016, 09:40:25 AM »
Hello!

I've just had this crazy idea after seeing one author posting a goal to write 1 million words in 2017..

What if there was a challenge like that, ''1 Million Words Club''. Anyone can participate and people who actually finish and succeed get a prize. I could personally offer few winners book cover designs.. and probably organize more sponsors/prizes for it...

But in any case, it wouldn't mostly about the prizes but about big challenge and ambitious goal.

What are the thoughts? Anyone up to it?

EDIT: Tentatively, I already got someone good to give away their course about marketing with this... Might even start with simpliest way, KBoards thread and updates weekly - author just emails me their word count and I post them on the thread. So everyone can track general progress on Kboards and support each other.

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Howdy!

I've just found this cool idea that could be a great way to market books and get discovered by new readers - monthly subscription boxes. It's been a popular thing already but haven't seen it done in books yet. Basically, the idea is that once a month (or 3 months etc) people get a big box of goodies sent to them, it can be games, books, swag, foods, underwear, shaving stuff etc. People pay a monthly fee and get them delivered and businesses get their products into hands of new people.

One I found for our industry is www.fairyloot.com . Saw someone's unboxing picture on Instagram and people seem to love it...

Some previous boxes are shown here: http://www.fairyloot.com/past-boxes/

Now, not only suggesting to apply for it but maybe also make one happen. Genre specific or not.. possibilities are there. It may be a loss-leader tho as shipping and printing costs money but maybe it can be pulled off.

In any case, hope this gives ideas and maybe someone from KBoards get on FairyLoot (if they hadn't already).

Cheers

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I'm curious, what makes authors here come back to Kboards often? What's your fav part about this community?


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Writers' Cafe / Email Subscribers: How to Get More ACTIVE Subscribers
« on: November 09, 2016, 11:39:41 AM »
Hi!

Email newsletter building has been quite a popular topic here on KBoards, but one of the main issues with it is that not all email subscribers will be active ones. Usually, the more subscribers you get the lower the activity rates are (lower click-through rates, open rates etc). Just collecting more subscribers isn't gonna solve this problem.

What can help is fixing your email marketing funnel (aka email autoresponder sequence and content) so it works better and makes subscribers be more active and engaged. This article shares 7 mistakes that cost us more active subs and how to fix those:

https://thrivethemes.com/funnel-mistakes-costing-leads

Give this a read and check up your email autoresponder set up. Especially the Welcome email and Thank you page. Small tweaks could make big differences.

Hope this helps!

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Writers' Cafe / Updated 1000 True Fans Theory
« on: October 15, 2016, 11:42:30 AM »
Hi!

So some of you already know the theory of 1000 True Fans - basically, to live a life off of your passion work you need to have 1000 true fans (defined by them sending 100 dollars a year with you, or buying everything you release). It doesn't always is 1000 fans, this is just a round number used as example, it can be that you'll need 2000 True Fans if you can only get to $50 of books and merchandise sold per year per fan. It can be easier for musicians as they have more streams of income (mainly tickets and streaming in addition to album sales, not just merch and albums). So they can have it easier to get to that income.


 It's very inspiring and for those who aren't aware of it yet, here is an updated (just this month) version:

http://kk.org/thetechnium/1000-true-fans/

One good update part is this one, it actually advocates self-publishing (for writers and other creatives like musicians etc):

The truth is that cultivating a thousand true fans is time consuming, sometimes nerve racking, and not for everyone. Done well (and why not do it well?) it can become another full-time job. At best it will be a consuming and challenging part-time task that requires ongoing skills. There are many creators who don’t want to deal with fans, and honestly should not. They should just paint, or sew, or make music, and hire someone else to deal with their superfans. If that is you and you add someone to deal with fans, a helper will skew your formula, increasing the number of fans you need, but that might be the best mix. If you go that far, then why not “subcontract” out dealing with fans to the middle people — the labels and studios and publishers and retailers? If they work for you, fine, but remember, in most cases they would be even worse at this than you would.

It's definitely not easy but it is good thing to be aware of for every creative.



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Writers' Cafe / Tips on Getting Better at Facebook Ads Targeting
« on: September 09, 2016, 06:31:49 AM »
Hi!

Found this shortish, good guide on how to target people better with FB ads and different options they allow. This is good to know and not hard to understand. Check this out!

https://adespresso.com/academy/blog/reach-your-100-perfect-audience-with-facebook-behavioral-targeting

Hope this helps!

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Writers' Cafe / Romance Book Covers - What Sells? What's Missing?
« on: August 23, 2016, 08:18:56 AM »
Howdy!

I'm starting to design Premade covers for Romance and would love to hear some insights on them - what sells (not just in top 100, because they sell on the name alone, but in the mid-list etc), what kind of covers are missing (assuming it's diversity for race couple and more diversity etc)?

Also interesting tidbit would be to learn how many books a year are average romance authors releasing?

I guess other designers will like to see this too. So there should be more and more good covers coming in.

Cheers!
RBC

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Some good advice from AdEspresso.com about FB Ads fatigue (people seeing your ad too often) and how to prevent it. It helps lower the cost and save money by not showing it to the same people too much. Here it is:

https://adespresso.com/academy/blog/overcome-ad-fatigue-keep-cpa-down

I've always stayed under 2.5x frequency and stop the ads myself if it goes over that. Haven't been testing as much visuals as I could tho. Something to try next..

If you have other tips do share! ;)

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Writers' Cafe / Improving Facebooks Ad Making Process
« on: July 02, 2016, 07:46:50 AM »
Hi!

Jon Loomer wrote a great article about improving your FB ads process and getting more results from them. Good read that explains how to make different kind of ads and in what sequence and why the differences.

http://www.jonloomer.com/2016/07/01/facebook-ad-campaign-process-build-audience-leads-conversions

I'll be adjusting my strategy because of these and think this can be useful read for authors. Hopefully, saves some more money and gets more ROI!


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Writers' Cafe / What Do you See for Self-Publishing in 2017?
« on: May 17, 2016, 12:30:35 PM »
Where do Kboarders see Self-Pub going in 2017?

Will there still be ton of people coming in to publish or the there will be less newcomers (which can be good for discovery).. Will Europe start making more money for authors? Asia?

What do you think is next? Would be interesting to learn!

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Howdy!

I'm launching a new website specifically for book cover design critiques and am looking for 3 volunteers who would like to have their covers critiqued. These are perfect if you're thinking do you need a cover redesign/refresh or cover was DIYed etc.

Critiques are free for any author. The idea is to make a free resource for all authors where they can come and see book cover designs critiqued by a professional. The goal is not to make fun or insult (lousybookcovers.com kind of makes fun, it's not super educational) but show the difference in how designers see things and show where covers work or don't. Ideally, this will eventually host lots of critiques on all kind of book covers and will be very useful to all authors!

This probably won't be for all authors as some may not be comfortable getting critiqued in public so it's something that could be done by any designer in private emails (probably for small fee).. any designer would do it so if you have your favorite one, try and contact them if you don't want public critique but it's something that interests you in general.

First 3 volunteers would have their covers critiqued in next 7 days and shown on website as its launched (obviously, I'd email the critiques first to everyone too, to see things earlier).

How it works:

1. Author sends me the book cover, link to Amazon, competitor book covers and genre details.
2. I'll write up the critique in Google Docs and send it over (we can discuss things and follow up on questions)
3. Critique will be posted on the website

Anyone who is up for this, let me know here or in PMs! ;)

Cheers,
RBC

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Hello!

I've had this idea for a while now that could help authors find and hire the right designers easier, but have been hesitant (or scared..) to do it. It would be a marketplace where authors can come in and post their design needs and have designers bid to do them. Once winner designer is chosen the work begins and no payment is sent until it's done (except deposit). An option would be maybe some manual recommendations from marketplace (me at the start or other designer hired for it), basically 3-5 designer recommendations sent to you, determined by your criteria and book needs. If there is some dispute, me as someone with experience and understanding of both sides can solve it. It's a like oDesk (now Upwork) and Reedsy (which is moving towards working with Trad. Publishers and higher prices).

The general price range would be $100-500 per cover design project (limiting the bottom price at $100 to prevent bad designers, top end just an observation on most common rates, not a limit). This seems the most popular and best value price range where authors can find good up-and-coming designers and designers can make a decent living. Marketplace would take 5% fee from total order (from designers side). Otherwise, posting project would be free etc.

Edit: To prevent 'race to the bottom' of prices and low quality of designs, the designers would be picked and approved by someone who is actually a designer too and knows the difference in quality. Also, there would not be an unlimited amount of designers like elance.com or odesk.com had, there would be a limit of designers/illustrators to keep the competition healthy but not undercutting.

What do you think guys?

P.S. Designers do comment too!

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