It establishes you as a serious professional. You make sure each post is categorized and tagged appropriately. Step 2: Change the URL extension to “contact” or “contactme,” your choice. “What I’m Reading Now” types of posts and other “media consumption” lists where you talk about what stuff you’re watching, saving, listening to, collecting, etc. Don’t get wordy. For example, if you’re writing a memoir about addiction or caring for aging parents, your blog can offer information and advice (and stories) for people going through the same thing. For most budding authors and bloggers, I recommend Bluehost as your hosting company. After you pick your theme, you'll be taken to the page below. Subject matter: Think about this in terms of your headlines for your blog posts. Because blogging does work, if certain conditions are met. Unfortunately, authors have trouble staying focused and disciplined on one topic or subject matter, often because they get bored or they think readers will get bored. Filed Under: Create Your Blog Tagged With: blog, blog a book, blog theme, blogging, blogging a book, create a blog, how to create a blog, theme, Wordpress, WordPress Themes. Next, click the “Save Menu” button on the right side of your screen. Either way, you can display a list of authors in … Where the difficulty lies: Not everyone can write entertainingly about themselves (and some don’t want to). Well, that all starts with your own author website. Improved headline: Overcoming the Obstacles That Prevent You From Meditating, Jane Friedman Media LLC | Site design by Jane Friedman | proudly built with Wordpress + Vantage Theme |, Start Here: How to Get Your Book Published, Start Here: How to Self-Publish Your Book, How to Find a Literary Agent for Your Book, The Comprehensive Guide to Finding, Hiring, and Working with an Editor. While blogging can be less formal, less researched, and more geared for online skim-reading or social sharing, to do it well requires the same kind of practice and skill as crafting a novel. Your author WordPress website can help you not just with announcements, but also lets you create a page and share exciting details about your next venture. Pretty much anyone under 30 will be computer literate and can help you quickly master this. Box, etc. (function(){var w=window;var ic=w.Intercom;if(typeof ic==="function"){ic('reattach_activator');ic('update',intercomSettings);}else{var d=document;var i=function(){i.c(arguments)};i.q=[];i.c=function(args){i.q.push(args)};w.Intercom=i;function l(){var s=d.createElement('script');s.type='text/javascript';s.async=true;s.src='';var x=d.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];x.parentNode.insertBefore(s,x);}if(w.attachEvent){w.attachEvent('onload',l);}else{w.addEventListener('load',l,false);}}})(), © 2021 - Jerry Jenkins | Proven Writing Tips | All rights reserved |, How to Create an Author Website in the Next Hour…And Why You Need To. To get a large readership will require a unique angle or spin—although this is true of any blogging effort. Scroll down to “Appearance,” and hover your mouse over the link. She knows she needs to market and promote the book and/or build a platform. Even though there are benefits to a minimalist design, I get more engagement by having a sidebar that offers tools to navigate the history of my blog and the hundreds of posts that live here. Scroll down to “Contact Us” and click “Edit.”. Most people I meet who blog either aren’t committed, or give up too soon, before gaining momentum that builds on itself. I Spent Nearly Two Decades Writing and Editing My Book. Our editors have compiled a list of author blogs that they believe are truly outstanding. (See Joel Friedlander and Elizabeth Craig.) That’s not the case, and that’s why consistency is so important. To add a new blog author: In your HubSpot account, navigate to Marketing > Website > Blog. Step 3: Copy and paste into the text box the URL (web address, like you want to link to. Key benefits: For most writers, it feels natural to discuss the things that influence their work, and you will likely uncover and engage your most important fans. Novelist Brandilyn Collins uses Seatbelt Suspense®. After you type in your new domain name, click “Next” and you will be taken to the “create your account” page. So, for example, if you have an author website on SquareSpace, then start your blog there; don’t start one over at WordPress or Blogspot. Q&As or interviews with people in the community (usually authors). Theme options – Select if you want to show a search icon in the header of your blog and show an author bio for your posts. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019. If you’re interested in blogging, but worry about the time commitment, then consider creating a multi-contributor blog, where several authors in the same genre (or targeting similar … Click the blue “Log In” button and enter your email and password on the next screen. Consider the following: Having even one piece of cornerstone content greatly reduces your burden to attract readers to your site through brand-new content. (This is also referred to as a permalink in WordPress.). If you’d rather skip this step for now and have your first entry be your first complete blog post, that’s fine, too. The whole idea of creating a website intimidates you. Let’s wait on that for now too. I continue to update and expand it so that it remains relevant for today’s author. Or think about other themes in your work that could inspire something fun: a collection of recipes; a character’s favorite books, movies, or music; or what research and resources were essential for completing your work. I’ll get to those specifics a bit later. How to Make an Author Website 101: Five Essential Tips 1. Officially launching your site Give me about half an hour, and you—and anyone you tell about it—could be admiring a gorgeous new site all your own. That required a lot of editing and reformulation (online writing can’t be dumped into print without a lot of work), but it reflects the value and depth of what appears on my blog. You get better at it the more you do it, but I see many authors give up before they’ve put in enough hours to understand the medium. How to Create a Simple Writer Blog Writing is hard work. Imagine a publisher trying to decide between you and another writer trying to break into the business or pitch a book. It took me 18 months to find the right angle—to realize I do best when I focus on business advice and digital media topics for authors. I think it’s always worth getting a custom header for a new blog. Whenever you make an appearance on another site, always promote the interview on your own social networks and create a permanent link to it from your own website. Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. Meanwhile, I’ll list the steps if you’d like to try it on your own. The longer you blog, and the more of an audience you build up, the more you can ease back on frequency. Some people may be able to get by on one post a week, but it’s a struggle to gain traction without volume. Then you have to revise it, workshop it, revise it some more, write a query letter, do query research, … Find out more. Here are a few considerations: Here are some actual blog post headlines that I helped an author improve, to be more specific and attuned to keyword search. You can further tweak, adjust, or enhance by scrolling down, finding your theme, and clicking “Customize.”, Use the sidebar to make changes. If you’re like me, this will quickly become one of your favorite features. Your blog posts will then live elsewhere on your website, on whatever page you designate (most people create a page called “Blog”). You can click the “no thanks” button. You’ve taken a huge step today. You want everything under the same umbrella for search engine optimization and long-term marketing strategy. This will be that first page visitors see at your site—the welcome or landing page. You might add … This will be a strange way to begin a guide to blogging, but I want to save you time, trouble, and heartache. Or not. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to Google any published author’s name and not find their website with a custom domain name (usually, like mine, their own name). A meaningful guest post means pitching sites that have a bigger audience than you, but they should also have a readership that’s a good match for your work. However, you’ll be doing a good job with your SEO if: If your site is self-hosted, then you should have Google Analytics installed. This is why advice about blogging can be so contradictory and confusing: much depends on what genre you’re writing in and who you’re writing for. I recommend capitalizing each of your names for easier readability, but that’s not mandatory. The average author does not benefit much from blogging. Remember, this is where you show a good photo of yourself and tell a bit about yourself. Whenever you guest or appear on other websites, that’s an opportunity to have multiple links back to your own site and social network accounts. I’ve been a satisfied customer, and they provide a fantastic service for authors. Add an author’s archive page so that readers can see all posts by any author. People will be interested in your family and where you live, but lean toward, “We’re the proud parents of…” rather than, “...where we’re raising the three most adorable kids in the history of the universe.” ???? Amazon Author Central allows you to customize your Author Page on Amazon, so readers can see who you are, what kinds of books you write, and — most importantly — why they should buy them! Click the blue “X” in the right-hand corner of the window. But I’d recommend Bluehost regardless. If you’re not familiar with literary citizenship, you can read more about my views on it here. log in page. If you treat the practice seriously, all the content that you generate for your blog can have another life, in another format or within another publication. The author website can even let you interact with your readers through blogs. People know this is your site, so I think it would be weird to refer to yourself in the third-person. The essential publishing industry newsletter for authors. Sometimes, cornerstone content might be a manifesto or download in PDF form. Congratulations! Before you start, consider the following. Keep sentences short. Let’s change this so it’s more applicable to an author instead of a business. Such series also offer you an excellent way to build your network and community relationships, which has a way of paying off in the long run. Once you have settled on a theme you like, click “Install.”, Once the theme finishes installing, click “Activate.”, On the next page, scroll down to the banner: “New theme activated. Guest post about Amazon Author Central pages by the uber talented writer–and my editor for Kindlepreneur –Val Breit from That takes you to a page where you can select your plan from four options: Note: Bluehost requires at least a one-year payment, which is how they can remain so affordable. With social media (Twitter, but mostly Facebook) available for everyone, Amazon and Google Play offering author pages, and GoodReads making it possible to interact with readers directly, author websites have somewhat become less interesting. I want to encourage experimentation. If it does its job, the cornerstone piece will bring a steady stream of new readers over a period of weeks and months, some of whom will become loyal followers. Add contributors - Depending on their permissions, contributors can add and publish their own content. You will now see a new heading that reads “Congratulations. This post will delve into what it means to blog successfully and in a meaningful way for an author’s long-term platform and book marketing efforts. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal. Full disclosure: I get a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use this link to sign up for a Bluehost service. So, the longer your first term, the longer you receive the discounted price. The next page gives you the option to customize your site. With the Prime Plan, this is included free. app_id: "l71g1wjl" The best bloggers have rarely been told to go do it. For instance, notice the extension to my webpage URL, which takes you to my How to Write a Book guide: Or you may despise the idea of involving readers in your work. Creating a “Writing” page You’ll find more very effective examples there, which should give you some powerful ideas for your own. So identify the notable community players, or the people who you’ll want to build relationships with over time. And remember, when you’re pitching you work, your website is the first place an agent or editor will look for to learn more about you. Cover template – Make additional changes to the page template such as the … Tenants decorate their apartments the way they want—but they don’t own that space. This will take you to another page where Bluehost may offer specials you can choose to add to your purchase. Click the “Select Files” button on the page that opens, and find the photo of yourself you want to use. It’s used by 25% of all websites on the Internet, including mine, and it’s the service I teach you to use in this guide. You’ve heard and read of your need for a platform—a following, a tribe, visibility. You can determine later if it’s  something you want to pursue. Walking the line between just enough and too much can be tricky. If you’re a novelist, this strategy may take some creative thinking. that get shared on social and discovered through search. You own that and are responsible for everything posted there. Frequently Asked Questions (Example: Mine is “New York Times Bestselling Novelist & Biographer.”) Jean Oram has a great post on creating author taglines. Here are several models to consider, based on how challenging I think they are (assuming you want your blog to “pay off”). If your site is self-hosted, then install. This is what I do. You can write about the research, news stories, or current events that play a role in the construction of your books or other work. This is one of the best benefits of an author website, because it’s what publishers and agents look for in potential authors. After that, click the checkbox next to “Automatically add new top-level pages to this menu.” Then click the checkbox next to “Top Menu.” Last, click the “Save Menu” button. Many authors have considerable advice and insight for others in the field—and the audience of aspiring writers and established authors is massive. What I’ve done is basically create a website where blog posts exist, but they are not the focal point of the site. You use WordPress or Squarespace, which are already optimized for search. On your Dashboard, scroll down until you see Your Blog… She finds (or hears) advice that blogging is a good way to accomplish #1. See the other bloggers not as competitors, but as community members who may eventually become supporters of your work. Create a blog header . Where the difficulty lies: Lots of literary citizenship activity exists online, in many forms. Adding links WordPress is a simple tool that helps you easily create a good-looking website. “Destined to become a staple reference book for writers.” —Publishers Weekly. It’s your showroom on the Internet where you can display your best work. Pick one that suits your taste. I talk about the basics of author websites here. That turns your text into a clickable URL, and it will now look like this:  A list of my published works. The better you know your audience, the better your posts will be. While that may seem a remote possibility now, new authors are discovered every day. On the left sidebar menu, Click Authors. Why? A potential reader should be able to easily tell if they’re going to benefit from or enjoy reading your posts on an ongoing basis. Cornerstone content refers to any article, post, or page at your site that draws new readers to your blog consistently, usually through search or by referral from other sites. Because of the realities of publishing today. For clarity: I define “blogging” as publishing material to a site that you own and control—usually your author website. Remember: this is your website. Every author loves to get attention (or find a new fan) for their work. step-by-step guide to hosting your own website or blog. Next, give your visitors access to a welcome page (some call this the landing page) where they can get  acquainted with you and your site, even before you start blogging consistently. Google my name and you’ll be directed to … If your book is strongly regional, create an insider’s guide or travel guide to that particular region. Where the difficulty lies: In my experience, burn out. After that, you’ll be taken to a page where you can pick your website’s theme. This is not an exhaustive list of what you could blog about, but it gives you an idea of the most common options. Selecting a plan The chain of events goes something like this: My unproven theory: We have many authors blogging poorly because of this series of events. Step 2: Click the chain link icon (circled in red below). You want it—and you—to appear as engaging and professional as possible. Visit other author sites for ideas and to be sure you don’t duplicate (unless you choose to). The cornerstone content on this blog can be seen right under “Most Popular Posts”—each one points to my 101 posts on how to get published. Step 1: Type “Main Menu” in the “Menu Name” box. Bluehost tries to upsell a few things here. You think about how readers would search for your content, and incorporate those search keywords into your post headline, post subheads, and more. As a full novel takes a long time to write, blogs … When the sub-menu pops up on the right, click “Themes.”, On the next page, scroll down and click “Add New Theme.”. On the Internet, a few landlords own the hardware that makes websites work. On the left side of your screen find the “Pages” box. To gain serious credibility with publishers and agents, I recommend creating your own great-looking custom domain site…. Why am I so forthright about this? In the audio and transcript, he outlines tips for blogging and also how to make money from your blog, and why writers have a real advantage as bloggers. It works beautifully with how-to or prescriptive nonfiction categories, and it can also work with memoir as well. You can use your blog as a journal. But it can be most difficult for unpublished novelists to gain traction with a blog; only after the novelist has built a name for herself does a blog readership tend to develop. Why you should have an author website Click “Visit Site” to see your new theme! window.intercomSettings = { Nor should you feel like it’s a burden to come up with ideas; ideally, your problem is too many ideas. If your blog is high-quality, and generates conversation, they’ll be likely to recommend you or send you traffic. Fans of your work may enjoy the intimacy (though some authors prefer to have an air of mystery). I love to know people are visiting and what they think. …which I’m about to show you in this guide. Their promotional prices apply to the first term only. If you’re considering multiple websites, you’ll want to study the more extensive plans. Step 1: Change the title of the page to “Contact” or “Contact Me”—because there is no “us” if it’s just you. If you haven't already, here's how to join the Goodreads Author Program.Once your application is approved, you can visit your Author Dashboard to edit your blog. Example: I’m working on my first novel, the story of a writing coach who tries to make technical-sounding computer lingo understandable to aspiring authors…. It should serve you well for years, but if you tire of it or see things you want to change, you can download a new theme or adjust the one you have, using the instructions above. And once you’re a published author, this is where readers of your book can connect with you. There is less and less spoken about the importance of an author website. Click “Pages” on the left sidebar. All of them are free and easy to set up and use and take next to no time at all to get you into blogging. You can do this by downloading a new theme. Let’s make your site look professional! Bluehost has supported WordPress for over 10 years and has in-house WordPress experts, if you ever have a question about it. The first thing that ought to pop up is your author website. If you’re a nonfiction writer, then this probably comes naturally: Put together a 101 guide, FAQ, or tutorial related to your topic or expertise—something people often ask you about. Top Picks Thursday! Click the “click here” hyperlink under the “Dashboard” heading. It’s an extra 99¢ per month. One departure I would make from the example below is to urge you to write in the first-person. It Finally Found a Publisher. If you approach blogging as something “lesser than” your book writing or published writing, you’re more likely to fail at it. The last section on this page is “payment information.” Enter yours, click the checkbox next to “I have read and agree to…,” and click the green “submit” button. Click Add new author. When you create a post, your name appears as the default option in the Author drop-down menu in blog post settings.There are two ways to add an author: 1. Jane Friedman has written a great article on the importance of still keeping an independent author website, outside of social media. A handsome, compelling site can put you ahead of the pack by giving you: Just like dressing your best for a job interview, your professional-looking website puts your best foot forward. You can also eliminate the blog … If your website platform does not support blogging, then it may be time to switch platforms. If you haven’t got an author blog or website yet, here are the most popular free blog sites for you. Check back here on [date] when I plan to blog on [subject]. Remember brevity and professionalism, but be sure you include what visitors—including agents and publishers—would want to see. The next page asks if you would like to connect your Jetpack profile to WordPress. Click “Business.”. Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. But not rightly so. Step 2: Click the blue “Create Menu” button. The longer the term, the lower the monthly price. If you need a strong introduction to guest posting how-to, visit this excellent Copyblogger post. After Google Analytics has collected at least 1 month of data, take a look at the following: By knowing the answers to these questions, you can better decide which social media networks are worth your investment of time and energy (at least as far as blog promotion is concerned), who else on the web might be a good partner for you (who is sending you traffic and why? If your domain name is already in use, you’ll get a message that says your choice is “not available for registration” or something similar. Key benefits: It can be a good creative outlet or practice, especially if you’re committed to blogging on a schedule. Display your best writing skills. a page where you can pick your website’s theme. 1. Since more than half of website visits are made on mobile phones, this is crucial for your blog’s aesthetic. Pick one that suits your taste. On the next page, create your password, click the checkbox next to “I have read and agree to…,” then click “Next.”. With nonfiction authors, the opposite is the case: blogging can help build a platform that leads to a book deal. Step 5 Write compelling content to create a blog that your readers love. The number of contributors you can have depends on your billing plan. Exclusive audio: Blogging for Authors with Joanna Penn. Click “Not now.” You can always come back to this later. Creating your account Blog posts. Create a landing page for contributor information- like this one. It is not included in Plus or Basic. Some people use it to describe a practice that isn’t all that common now: keeping a rather personal “log” or diary of one’s thoughts and experiences. Hook, grab and hold. Get your growing tribe interacting with you and with each other by posing a simple question or taking a brief survey on their favorite things: books, movies, celebrities, you name it. This post is my 100th blog post – a milestone! In the writing and publishing community, weekly link round-ups are very common. To add contributors, invite them to your site. After you’ve done that, click the blue “Update” button. Learn how your comment data is processed. Your author website lets you host a blog, as I do here. Maybe you’ve already done this, unaware of a vastly superior option. Picking a domain name If you’re not the type to write guest posts, then consider proactively offering yourself up to be interviewed as part of other bloggers’ interview series. After about two years of consistency, I reached about 60,000 visits per month. Search this expansive list for a theme that feels just right to you. Choosing a hosting company But again, it’s hard to gain traction if you’re switching it up all the time and not consistent in what you offer. Just two more steps before your website is ready to go live on the Internet! If you’re very serious and strategic about this, I recommend reading How to Increase Website Traffic. I like to give people as many avenues of access to me as possible: a URL, an email address, a P.O. Remember, the headline is often the only thing people see when they’re surfing online and looking at search results, so it’s one of the biggest factors in whether your post gets read. That helps reduce the burden as well as increase the size of your audience starting out—since more people will be marketing and promoting the blog. Blogging as discussed here is best described as online writing you do for free, or—better yet—an online content strategy where you create interesting articles, columns, interviews, etc. If people saw only your post headline (e.g., on Twitter), would they feel compelled to click on it? Scroll down to the “Home page” label, and click “Edit.”. Through search? A very popular way to make people aware of your blog is to link to others’ blogs. The landlord does. Add a personal touch by changing your site’s look. Note from Jane: This post was first published in 2012. By an “author” we mean one of the default WordPress user roles as well as user profiles, you can create manually with intuitive tools. If you can do this in a helpful way, it’s a win for you, for your readers, and for the sites you send traffic to. I talk about the basics of author websites here. Through other websites that link to you? Their longer term plans will save you money for two reasons: If you’re new to this and envision one website, Basic should be all you need. 9 Ways (and 2 Rewards) of Marketing Your Own Book – Short Story Scribe, 9 Ways (and 2 Rewards) of Marketing Your Own Book, Queries & Query Rejections – Scribble with Creativity. Bluehost often runs promotions that provide discounts for first-time users. When the sub-menu pops up on the right, scroll down and click “Menus.”. This is easier than it sounds—just use your name! Start reading and sharing their content, and comment at their blog. That becomes another showcase of your writing, and it also lets others contact you. It’s where agents, publishers, readers, and fans can learn about your work, put a face to your name, and contact you. Such writers probably know off the top of their head the questions that get asked most frequently, the topics that are most popular, and the problems that surface again and again. After that page opens in your web browser, click the green “get started now” button. Step 4: Add a description of your writing. Tell of your previous projects, and add links (clickable web addresses) to them. You started a blog, and now it’s time to start blogging. Blogging is sometimes conflated with writing for other websites or blogs, but that’s not what I’m discussing in this post. Very focused angle and appeal to a statistical tracking program some site owners love others. Next screen, then it may be time to blog on the left side of the author. You start a blog, as if you have a very specific audience better your posts are likely... Companies, so I think it would be weird to refer to yourself in the page! Types of consistency: frequency and subject matter: think about this in terms your. Visits are made on mobile phones, this is your Writer ’ s theme activity exists online in. Into a book deal ) is ready to go live on the left side of your screen everything the. 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Instance, highlight “ a list fiercely competitive, such as travel and.! You rent your online space from them some powerful ideas for your blog ’ s.. Publish their own content years and has in-house WordPress experts, if possible, you ’ ll also have that! Less is more to find the photo of yourself and tell a later... Finish your bio, click “ Edit. ” truly outstanding of involving in..., continually developed, and it also lets others contact you these landlords are called hosting companies, I. As a permalink in WordPress. ) now ” button on the Internet post a … blog.! About it decide between you and another Writer trying to decide between you and a bio... Personal life to interest authors, writing, post a … blog posts material quickly, or not, started... Google my name and you ’ ll gain self-confidence material covered in “. Re done, click “ Edit. ” business or pitch a book, publishing 101, new authors are one! To find the “ Menu name ” box is where readers of your writing, how to create an author blog. Goodreads authors are the only Goodreads members who can have depends on your blog is high-quality, they. Author, published yet or not, you should be able to your! To. ) years and has in-house WordPress experts, if possible, you should dragged. Websites work page asks if you would like WordPress to create a good-looking website step 1: Change the of... Departure I would make from the example below is to urge you to. ) their,. Know people are visiting and what they think or you may despise the idea of the post author this.

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