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Writing and Publishing

Integrate Blogging With Your Author Platform

As the final post in this series on platform building, we’ll address blogging. Although blogging isn’t right for every author, it is something that warrants serious consideration. After all, you are a writer and you wrote a book, so blogging is a natural extension of what you do: using words to connect with your audience and build a following.

Your blog should be integrated into your website, not a separate, stand-alone effort. (Conversely, you can expand your blog to become a website.) There are two aspects of blogging: the technical part of setting up a blog and the writing part of producing fresh content on a regular basis.

In upcoming posts, we’ll look at both, starting with a series on using WordPress for your blog and website. This website, by the way, uses WordPress.

This series on blogging will be a great primer for those who want to start blogging, provide helpful tips for those already using WordPress, and may even inspire bloggers not using WordPress to switch.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

Six Tips on Using Social Media as Part of Your Platform

We’ve been talking about making your website the center of your book-selling, platform-building tool and not to depend on social media, which could change at any moment and thereby destroy your efforts. That doesn’t mean social media isn’t important, because it is. The point is not to make social media the star but instead, a supporting player.

1) Pick Social Media Platforms Carefully

Accept that you can’t be on every social media platform, or even the top five. No one has that much time. Pick a couple to focus on, and invest your time there. Choose ones you understand and like, but also look for where your potential readers are. It makes no sense to be active on Pinterest if most of your audience is on LinkedIn.

2) First Things First

Before you do anything, set up your full profile; don’t leave that for later, because if you’re like me, you may never get around to it.

3) Walk Before You Run

Learn how to navigate your chosen social media hangout. You won’t become familiar with everything until you actually use it, but proceed with caution until you feel comfortable. That way you can avoid rookie mistakes and look professional instead.

4) One Platform at a Time

With a good understanding of your first social media site, you may proceed to a second one, if you want. But don’t try to learn two at the same time. That’s just confusing and counter-productive. I know.

5) Include Links

Add links on your website to your social media pages. And most certainly, make sure your social media profiles point back to your website. That’s the main goal of social media.

6) Interact on Social Media and Redirect

Use your social media presence to engage people and then point them to your website, your primary online station, the hub for all your activity. Your website is home base for your platform, and that’s where you want everyone to end up.

Although an important part of an author’s platform, social media is a means to get there and not the end goal.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.


Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

Capture Email Addresses

A key to using your website as a book-selling, platform-building tool is to capture email addresses. You will use these email addresses to regularly communicate with your followers, such as through a monthly newsletter. Keep them up-to-date on your writing and share interesting or helpful content. Then, when your book is ready, let them know. They will be more likely to read your email because you have been in regular contact with them.

Offer Them Something: You can just ask for email addresses, but most people won’t share this information without receiving something in return, such as a free e-book or a subscription to your newsletter.

Provide Assurance: For those who may waiver, assure them you won’t misuse their email address. Let them know you will not share it in any way with anyone else, that you will not spam them with irrelevant content, and that they can unsubscribe at any time.

Follow Through: Provide what you promised (a free book or newsletter), when you promised (either right away or each month), and do what you promised (don’t share their email address or spam them; honor unsubscribes).

Logistics: When they give you their email address, have them sign up directly through your email platform. (I use MailChimp.) It will automatically handle the verification (that is, the double opt-in procedure), handle unsubscribes, and maintain the database. Use the final step in the sign-up process to provide a link to your e-book or incentive.

Example: You may have noticed, that I’m not following my own advice on this site, but I am doing it on my main website and blog. So check that out as an example – and feel free to sign-up for my newsletter and get my free e-book!

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.


Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

Three More Tips for Your Book-Promoting Platform

In using your website as the foundation of your book-selling, platform-building initiative, there are several key points to follow. The first three are to make it mobile responsive, remove clutter, and delete slow plugins. That is, to pursue a minimalist design; less is more.

Here are three more website tips:

  • Fix Broken Links: Broken links—be it internal links to other pages on your site or external links to other websites— are disrespectful to visitors. At the very least, broken links will frustrate them and at the worst, cause them to leave. Search engines also don’t like broken links. If they find broken links on your site, they will lower your ranking and thereby suggest your site to fewer people. Fortunately, there are programs that can search for and notify you of broken links so you can fix them.
  • Implement SEO Best Practices: Books have been written detailing search engine optimization (SEO), so a brief blog post won’t cover everything. But the basics are to use alt tags on your graphics, appropriately include your targeted keywords in your content, consider both people and search engines when writing your titles and include a good description and relevant keywords. Whatever you do, don’t try to game the system, because you will eventually be caught and penalized.
  • Keep Your Site Up-To-Date and Regularly Add New Content: Regular visitors (your biggest supporters) and search engines both like to see new content on your site. Keep them happy with regular posts. Also, be sure to remove outdated information so you don’t frustrate visitors.

That’s it for now. Next week, we’ll talk about the importance of capturing email addresses.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.


Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

Less is More in Website Design

In my post The First Step in Building Your Platform I laid out a number of recommendations for a website, as the foundation for a book-promoting platform. The first three were to make our sites responsive to mobile devices, remove the clutter, and delete slow plugins. In short, embrace the concept that less is more.

Minimalist designs are in; including every possible item on one page is out.

As more and more people access websites from smartphones, we want to make it easy for them to find what they want, access it quickly, and not introduce needless delays. By showing them less, we give them more.

A few years ago, I hired a website designer to provide a fresh and up-to-date look for my main website. Although pleased with the results, even from the beginning it felt a bit cluttered. Last month, I unveiled a new look for the site, embracing the less is more mantra. As a bonus, I retained all key information and simplified the navigation. Although I’ll never proclaim it as finished, I like what I see.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.


Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.