article by Judith Briles
One of the website strategists and specialists I bring in to work with many of my authors is Amber Ludwig of NGNG Enterprises. In a special BookCamp hosted by AuthorU.org, Amber addressed six critical must-haves to make it in the authoring world.
As the principal and visionary of InsightfulDevelopment.com, every time she works with authors on websites and branding, she looks at these sparks to get them going:
- Branding and message
- Website dos and don’ts
- Content and blogging
- Building a dedicated and responsive following
- Product development
- Social media
Beginning with author branding, it starts with focus — what do you do and what do you offer? Woven throughout were:
- Defining and demonstrating a clear and succinct mission statement
- Creating a personal tag that others immediately connect with who you are and what you do
- Clarity on what you do for your audience
- Probing into uniqueness
Your website is critical to review. Anyone who says that websites are minor plays are ignorant in today’s online world — the website is now the hub of everything you do online — from capturing leads, to connecting with others, to selling your products and services.
What you put on your website is content — make sure it’s the right content to match your message and your brand. Amber engaged our campers in an excellent exercise on developing content, where the outcome would deliver blog post ideas, articles, and product development — all taking the author business to another level.
All authors want fans, and list building is critical. The concept of creating free, high-value information and replacing it often was explored. Identifying formats, topics, catchy titles, and implementation for rollout strategies were explored. List building requires email collections, and MailChimp was highly recommended over Constant Contact, which has become stagnate in what it offers to users. A key takeaway was that when list building, there must be a clear call to action on what to do next.
Books are products, and product development can start before, during, or post-publication. EBooks, multimedia, CDs, DVDs, teleseminars, webinars, home study courses, coaching, group coaching, inner circle clubs, conferences, seminars, and membership programs were all explored.
Lastly, social media — the top networks of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram were explored. Beginners start with posts for Twitter once or twice a day, then build; blogging must be consistent, ranging from one to three times a week. For Facebook, just do it! Emphasis was made on not commercializing/pitching on the personal welcome page… that goes on the business/fan page. Amber suggests using Facebook ads to direct attention to whatever products you want highlighted on your website.
When posting, keep this in mind: Is your post word-of mouth worthy? Is your post inspiring? Does your post have a call to action? Is your post interactive? Calls to action are critical. You need all six elements — the sparks to keep your author and book plugs in action. Don’t use social media in a lame manner. It’s an amazing and massive tool that has a variety of options to support you and your book. Start with the main players and dive deep into the one that works well for you. Get a website makeover if necessary. Start thinking “what else” — what other products can you develop using your expertise and book as the foundation? Work on building your crowd — fans are important. And keep building on your content.
Judith Briles, “The Book Shepherd,” has shepherded more than 1,000 authors and created 500 best-sellers and award-winning books. She’s knowledgeable and entertaining and has personally authored 35 books that have been translated to 16 languages, sold a combined 1,000,000 copies, and generated in excess of $5,000,000 in revenues from combined book sales and speaking fees. As an advocate for authors, Judith knows publishing inside and out from both the traditional and independent sides. She hosts the podcast AuthorU - Your Guide to Book Publishing and is the founder of AuthorU.org. Visit her website at TheBookShepherd.com.