April 2015 Writing Show – Author Websites

Thank you to James River Writers for inviting me to moderate the panel discussion on author websites.

Thank you to author Anne Westrick and Pubslush Development Director Justine Schofield for making my job easier by being engaging and knowledgeable panelists!

And thank you to all who came out to Firehouse Theater tonight to learn more about what goes into making successful author websites.

Writing Show panel
Author Anne Westrick answers my website questions while Justine Schofield of Pubslush looks on.

In the first half of the program, we covered domain names, free hosting, and examples of authors doing it right with their websites. And for those who do not know what Pubslush is, it’s a crowdfunding site specifically for authors. Justine took us through some of the projects getting funded and how the process works.

In Q&A, we covered search engine optimization, responsive web design, copyright concerns, and how much to put on your site versus saving it for publication elsewhere.

It was a privilege to be up there, as for the past seven (?) years I’ve been in the audience at the Writing Shows. I hope attendees found it worthwhile and that I get to do it again.

My personal view is that websites are crucial for any business. And writing is a business. Your site can sell you as much as it can sell your work. It’s open all the time, ready to serve your customers. It’s also a process. You don’t have to get it right when you first start. Trial and error are great teachers. Set goals and deadlines for yourself, then assess when you reach those milestones.

What do you think?

Moderating Panel Discussion April 29, 2015

James River Writers April 2015 Writing ShowI am grateful to James River Writers for inviting me to moderate their April Writing Show, “The Author Website: Build It to Build a Following.” Web programming is something I quite enjoy and I’m fortunate to be able to earn a living from it. (Now to be able write for a living, ah, that would be something! Unlikely: Most Authors Earn Less than Minimum Wage)

I look forward to seeing the Writing Show from this new perspective! I hope to see you there — if you do attend, I’d appreciate feedback afterward or here in the comments.

Thank you.

Book Trailers 101: Find the Hook for Your Book

Promote your book using book trailers. How? you may (and should) ask. Come to this month’s James River Writers Writing Show. The panel experts are all set to answer your questions on how to use trailers to promote your work. Read more about the event, and be sure to register for the event!

Thank you and see you there!

Writing Show: Social Media Do’s and Don’ts

This should have gone up sooner. Anyway, it was a packed attendance at last month’s Writing Show.

This should have gone up sooner. Anyway, it was  a packed attendance at last month’s Writing Show. Questions came up almost immediately, especially regarding Twitter, which was highly recommended by the panelists. Below is my review, published in the James River Writers newsletter, Get Your Word On. I’ll add that the discussion was mostly geared around Twitter, Facebook, and blogging, but that there are many other social networking opportunities. Consider MeetUp, Goodreads and LinkedIn. What do you think?

Social media do’s and don’ts for the smart writer

Suppose you have a finished manuscript, a connected agent and a savvy editor. Then all that’s left is to enjoy the launch party and take a long deserved vacation, right? Sorry, but this is no time to relax. It’s time to market your masterpiece, a challenging task that an Internet presence makes easier, said the panelists at the August Writing Show.

Kelly Justice of Fountain Books led the discussion before an audience brimming with questions. What is Twitter? Should I have a separate FaceBook account for my book? How can I make money on my blog? Editor Ron Hogan, “Book Lady” Rebecca Schinsky, and writer Joe Wallace provided the answers with humor, personal stories and cautionary tales.

Twitter is the little birdie telling people about the great novel that was just released. Simple and versatile, Twitter is a fun platform way to network 140 characters at a time. Wallace credits it for his success. Schinsky called Twitter the great equalizer for the way it puts you in immediate contact with other writers at all levels of fame.

Blogs and online journals  — two other popular ways to build an audience — are tools Schinsky knows well. Her blog’s success attracts not only paying advertisers, it also allows her to promote authors, booksellers and others in the industry. Reciprocity is key to all forms of social media: The more you give of yourself, the more you get in return.

Facebook falls between blogging and tweeting. It allows for quick communication and network building like Twitter, while being a central place for people to learn more about you in the manner of a blog.