Publishing Confusion – Part Three. Building a Website
There was a bit of confusion on my first post. I’d like to say, this series of posts is aimed at writers who wish to be Authors and make an income of some kind or another. As an Author, you run a business. In business, NOTHING is FREE, most certainly not your TIME.
You’ve made your choice. You’ve written a few short stories and sent it out to friends and maybe family. The replies you get back are positive. ‘We Want More’ (Yes I know this doesn’t happen to all of us). Strangely enough, this is what happened to me, however, I also had a lot to learn about writing in the English of today. There are many changes since I was at school. A lot of stuff I didn’t understand, though with examples (like Cathy who write Word Wars) a lot was instantly understandable.
“You should write a book.” and this is when you start your research. Most writers don’t have a clue where to look, how to research, who to trust. However, it had improved in recent year with Facebook Groups, with saying this, there are still plenty of Scammers and Spammers in those groups. Many get removed and blocked when they are found. The first question I asked myself was “how do I connect to agents and publishers?’ I had no clue and I’d never heard of Independent Publishing back in 2012. It was a bit of a nightmare. Once I found an Agent, I found out they didn’t understand my genre. I still laugh about it. As for publishers…or editors, well they wanted things set out in a certain way or your email would go straight into a bin never to be seen by anyone.
What’s this got to do with Websites and Social Media you ask. Well as you learn how technology works, your start to realise there is more to writing a book than you thought. I’d never heard of AUTHOR BRAND back then, it wasn’t something I was even aware of. SALES and MARKETING can be done via your WEBSITE and SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS, though you need to have the knowledge to do this. You need to learn or find a tutor. A traditional publisher won’t touch you if you can’t format a document how they wish you to. They also prefer you .to have a following which helps to add up to SALES.
Where and how do I find or make a website?
A great question. We started our first one way back in about 2012/13 and it was a complete disaster. We didn’t have a clue what we were doing, though we were pretty good with technology, even with continual frustration. Where was our first website? WORDPRESS.
In 2014, we tried WIX, it was easier to use with a few learning curves to find out how to design and use templates. It was enjoyable to use. In fact, we still have an Author Website there, which needs updating. The thing with WIX we didn’t like was not been able to download our website content to take elsewhere if we found a better deal. By this stage we had a few author friends on Facebook and they suggested trying WORDPRESS again. One friend, Markie, helped us through the process until we knew what we was doing. It was great. WORDPRESS had lots of tutorial if you needed them. These days we’re happy helping others with WORDPRESS, however this year they’ve updated and though the basics are the same, the editing isn’t. It’s still annoying and post take a lot longer to produce.
Your Website on WORDPRESS
Due to knowing how to use WordPress better than any other I’m going to show you the ropes. Some simple steps. I’ve included images for those who have a hard time with technology. I know we all learn differently. The will also be a description for those with sight impairments or who are blind.
Below is a view of the page which opens up to create the first step of your website.
The first thing you need to do for you WEBSITE is pick a name for your Business or Author website. In the image below it will show you what is available. My advice…is to start with the FREE WEBSITE as indicated by the tabs circled in the image. You can always buy later if and when you can afford.
This next image looks a bit scary, though it really isn’t. It shows the pricing for the different types of websites you can have. However, right above those panels it says ‘Start with a FREE Site’ You need to click on this. I have drawn a circle around it so you can find it.
Now it’s time to build your website. You have a name and if you look at the image below…
As you can see it is straight forward. There is a bright pink tab saying GET STARTED in the middle of the page and on the RIGHT there is a list of things you need to do. As each one is done, they will get a GREEN TICK.
Also note you can go back and change your website at any stage if you find you don’t like something. It’s a good learning curve to be able to do this because you get to find your way around.
You’ve hit the GET STARTED tab and it takes you to a page to NAME YOUR SITE! Something you seriously need to think about. Remember this is part of your marketing and AUTHOR BRAND.
Is this site for a BOOK SERIES or for you as a writer? Is it for an anthology of multi-authors? The ideas for your website are endless though it is worth playing with different names until you find what is right for you, be it your actual name, pen name or book series name. Remember once you know what you’re doing you don’t have to stop at one website, however you do need to publish posts to each one at least once a week.
This image shows you where you fill in the blanks…Again…with your business name. As you can see on this sample, I am building a website for Jenny Raven Gifts, who has recently started an online business with recycled items and upcycled then into new items. Under her business name it asks for a TAGLINE. (something under discussion still for Jenny). This is another important part of your marketing. My own TAGLINE is – Building Books One Step at a Time. This shows that the Author Services we offer will help our client turn their manuscript into an professional book file for online distribution websites or local printers to where the client lives.
You have your website name and tagline, so what’s next? Continue to follow the list until you are ready to launch your website to the world. Play around and learn how it works. There is still plenty of work to do. MENUS, CUSTOMIZING, WEBSITE TEMPLATES…
The list includes, Updating your HOME PAGE, CONFIRM YOUR EMAIL FOR THE SITE AND CREATING A MENU (this is where your pages show and in what order). After you are happy with your website set up you can LAUNCH your website. This is great, you’ve done it. One last thing to remember BEFORE SHARING YOUR LINK…ASK A FEW TRUSTED FRIENDS TO HELP YOU PROOFREAD THE CONTENTS AND MAKE SURE ALL THE PAGES WORK.
The last few images are to help guide you around your website to make changes. You need to know about WP ADMIN. This takes you do a new page where all the things you need are listed in a black panel down the left-hand side of the website. Have a look through the list to see what you can do. The following two images are to help you customize and choose a theme. Once you open customize as shown on the image to the right of your screen, you will be able to change COLOURS, FONTS, BACKGROUNDS. You can add WIDGETS, SOCIAL MEDIA, PAGES and sort out your MENU and what order you’d like your PAGES in.
First you need to look for APPEARANCE, which opens a new list and you then click on CUSTOMIZE. The best way to learn is through PLAY, just don’t play for to long or you’ll get totally frustrated and none of us want that. If you still need ASSISTANCE, then ASK!!!
We know we haven’t shown you the CUSTOMIZE PAGE, we thought it would be fun for any of you making a website to have a look around on your own. LEARN BY PLAYING.
This image shows you how to find THEMES. It will take you to a page of TEMPLATES you can use for your website. There are a lot to try out. You can choose to PREVIEW them before you pick the one you wish to use. Take your time and find something that suits you, your genre and or book series.
Below is a screen shot of the TEMPLATES. You can do a SEARCH for what you want. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT NOT ALL THE TEMPLATES ARE FREE. MAKE SURE TO CLICK ON THE FREE TAB ON THE TOP RIGHT SIDE OF THE IMAGE.
Once again, choose wisely. We have updated my websites a few times of the years and we always use a template which shows WIDGETS down the right hand side of the screen. We also prefer the smaller Header Photos. This is of course a preference for YOU TO THINK ABOUT.
HOPING THIS HELPS YOU WITH YOUR WEBSITE AND BUILDING YOUR AUTHOR BRAND. PLEASE SHARE WITH THOSE WHO NEED A HAND WITH RESEARCH. THERE IS SO MUCH MIS-INFORMATION OUT THERE ALONG WITH SCAMMERS AND SO MANY STILL GET CAUGHT OUT.
PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH IF YOU WISH TO BE AN AUTHOR, AFTER ALL YOU CAN’T BE A CERTIFIED PLUMBER WITHOUT THE CORRECT TRAINING!!