Creating an Author Platform No 9

C Mead final logoCore ValuesHey there, well its been a busy week, with lots going on, including moving my website, so if you visited, and the site was down, then you probably struck at the moment when the move was occurring.  I apologise.  The reason for the switch?  I was on WordPress.com, and discovered that WordPress.org has the better options and features that I want to be able to include, so, with a little help from a wonderful friend called JJ McConachie over at NZ Booklovers, the site has been swapped over.

Yay!

So anyway, on with building our platforms.  I feel like I have quite a nice foundation going into this, and with Cursed Love back, all I need to do is edit it and get it rechecked, then find myself a couple of proofreaders!

Number 31 – setting up Google Analytics.  At present, WordPress have an awesome feature (Site Stats in the Dashboard) that allows you to see where your traffic is coming from, what they are searching etc, but Google Analytics gives you more.  Most of the people who come to my site are searching for are Life, Writing and Depression.  This can change from day to day, depending on where and when people are checking on.  I have had erotic searched on my site, only because I have it tagged.  So you need to watch what you tag  🙂

Number 32 Organise your email groups.  Not everyone will want to read paranormal romance.  Someone might want to read a science fiction romance, or fantasy romance.  Sorting my email groups into subgroups will allow me to do this.  Vertical Response allows me to name my list and allow people to sign up to it.  (By the way, I have one person signed up to my email group.  Yay!!!)

Number 33 – Throat Grabbing headlines.  Ok, so I am guilty of putting up bland titles like “When is it sleep time” and “Nothing to See Here…“.  If you want people to say “I just HAVE to read that article” then you need to have a “Jump up, grab them by the throat and shake them violently until they read it” headline.  Like – AphroInsomniac or Let’s play Blind Mans Bluff – with Swords!  Kim at Your Writer Platform suggests that you check out Jon Morrow’s 52 Headline Hacks.  There are some awesome ideas in there (yes, I have got my own copy) so watch this space.

Number 34 is Include a Call to Action at the end of your posts.  Get your subscribed members to do something – share an article, subscribe to your email list, leave a comment or question.  I have started doing this at the end of my blog posts, to see who (other than Zee and Cassie) out there is reading my blog.  But obviously I’m not asking the right questions.  Maybe I should put a post up full of errors and see who gets the most correct???

Seriously, let your subscribers to connect with you, either through comments or email, get them to share their enthusiasm for your work, because that is marketing your book.

Number 35 – Revamp your About Page.  This is one of the most visited pages on your website, or will be when you become published.  People want to know who you are and what you do.  As shown in my second Author Platform Post I have updated some information about me, but my about page looks rather… dull.  Fortunately, Kimberly has some awesome tips on her website entitled 11 Author Website Must Have Elements.  Go and check them out.

Next week, we will be looking into Share, Where, Fare, and Care  🙂  See you next week.

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Creating An Author Platform Part 8

Core ValuesTC Mead final logohis week we are looking at offline groups, social networking, and writing calendars.

Number 27 involves offline groups.  What the hell is this – some of you may ask.  Easy.  Join a group where you meet face to face.  Shock! Horror!  That means having to go out of the house and actually physically meet with people.  Yes it does.  And for a very good reason.

I am a member of the Romance Writers New Zealand, and we have a local chapter that meets once a month.  As a result, I get some inspiration, some laughs and encouragement from like minded people.  But I can do that online – yes, you can.  But you don’t get that feeling of camaraderie that you get when you meet face to face.  I also catch up with a couple of writer friends and have a write in.  We used to do this on the weekends, but now we have switched to a Monday at the local library, because it is quiet, has a nice atmosphere, and no one really cares what you are up to when you pull your laptop out.

Basically, meeting face to face gives you a chance to leave your house and have some human contact.

No 26 – Social media can be a minefield, but it doesn’t have to be.  In number 12 we were advised to get a social media management tool.  I have got hootesuite for my twitter account.  I use facebook all the time, so I will post in my authors page when I have something to say, and this posts onto my twitter account.  However I don’t use twitter – I barely go in there, except to retweet something, or thank someone.  Having Hootesuite, I am able to schedule tweets to come out around 24 hours, which is helpful when you consider that you are only awake for 16 of them.

You can get social media management programs that will schedule to facebook as well, and of course, you can set up wordpress (and I presume other blog sites) to post to your social media account.

No 27 – get business advice.  Yip, you are about to set up a business, so you need to have some advice from a business professional, be it a small business advice group, Citizens Advice Bureau, or an accountant.  It is important that you talk to someone so that you know what the expectations are, what the tax requirements are and any other details that may be required.

28 – Join LinkedIn.  This is a strange social media group – but since I have signed up, I have found that people have been requesting to make contact with me, because I have writer as one of my interests.  There are even groups on LinkedIn that you can join and connect with others who are in your interests.  I am on there as myself, so I might have to go in and create another account for Catherine Mede.

No 29 – Add to your list of influencers – not only your readers, but those who are big in the industry, other writers, reviewers.  Keep a list of them on hand, because you might actually need them at some time.

No 30 (because there is nothing like pushing the envelope) Create an editorial calendar.  This was something that I did the other day, with an old whiteboard I had.  I put the title of my story, where I was at (writing, editing, proofing) and when I expected to have it finished (end of August 2014, February 2015 etc.)

There is also a really cool website where you can download and write up your own calendar for your events – this can be found at Literautas –   You can create your own calendar there.  I also have a weekly calendar where I write down all those obligations that I have to do (work, volunteer work, appointments) and it allows me to see where I have gaps that I can write in.

We are nearly a third of the way through this exercise.  If you want to get ahead of me, check out Your Writers Platform for more details.

Creating an Author Platform #7

Core ValuesOK, we are trudging through this, but already I am starting to feel like I am accomplishing something.

Before we begin, an update on some  of the things I have been trying out.

Vertical Response is fabulous.  It is easy to use and looks great.  Can’t wait to start getting newsletters out there, but first, I need some people to sign up!  There is a gorgeous picture of a silver fern to the right of this post.  Click on it, and it will take you to the sign in page.  It looks awesome.

I have signed up to Hootsuite, only to be able to schedule my tweets.  I don’t use twitter much, but as I have big plans coming up, I really need to be able to have tweets scheduled for regular intervals, without me having to sit up half the night to do it.

So, where were we, oh yes, No 21 – become an expert in your field.  Now I know many writers, whom are published, but just don’t feel like they can call themselves authors.  Why not?  You wrote a book and it was published.  Someone liked it.  But you don’t have to be a published writer to become well known.  Offer to teach a class about writing.  I have done this on a couple of occasions at the local school now – teaching year 2 and 3 and year 5 and 6.  I got just as much out of it as the kids did.  It was fun to see them get what I was talking about.  The years 2 and 3, we talked about description – now these are 6 – 7 year olds.  We talked about hair colour, eye colour, then what superpowers their character would have – like laser eyes, ability to fly, able to breathe underwater.  The kids really got into it.

With the year 5 and 6 (9 – 10 year olds, ) we discussed editing, because it takes more than one draft to write a book.  I showed them some of my manuscripts with red scribbles all over it, and explained why changing things can make it sound more interesting, or powerful.

But you don’t have to teach kids.  What about adults?  How about guest blogging, talking about your writing processes?  Offer to talk to a group about writing.  Answer questions on other blogs and forums.  There are lots of possibilities out there.

Number 21 involves HARO – or Help a Reporter Out.  I guess this is an American thing, but does it hurt to try it here in NZ too?  Respond when someone needs a quote on your subject.  How about contacting a reporter about your local writing group – or a up coming seminar about writing.

Follow up on breaking news is number 22.  If a subject comes up in the media, an human interest story that you have written about, contact the local media and let them know you have written a book about it.  Why?  Why not?  It gets your name out there.  Just make sure it isn’t about violent crime or homicide – that would be rather tactless.

A pillar post is new to me.  Basically it is an article that orients your reader to what you are all about.  It reflects your core values or your author brand and answer a question or need.  This one I had to look up – because I really didn’t understand.  Doesn’t this come under the “About Me” part of my website?  Kimberly recommended that you visit Entrepreneurs-Journey.com for a definition, and I think he put it better than I can describe.

 

“Write at least five major “pillar” articles. A pillar article is usually a tutorial style article aimed to teach your audience something. Generally they are longer than 500 words and have lots of very practical tips or advice. This article you are currently reading could be considered a pillar article since it is very practical and a good “how-to” lesson. This style of article has long term appeal, stays current (it isn’t news or time dependent) and offers real value and insight. The more pillars you have on your blog the better.”

 

So basically, write a series of articles about – Writing.  Perhaps your writing process – how you come up with characters, how you write your dialogue, where you get your settings from, how do you plot your story.  All wonderful ideas that can get you going.

I have actually been thinking about this for a while.  Goodness knows I have started a few, but kind of withered off into nothing, because I don’t think I have anything special to share, but someone out there might just have a problem with picking names for a character – and I might just have the inspiration they need.

So next week, we look at offline associations, media scheduling, business advice and LinkedIn.

Creating an Author Platform #6

Hi de Hi campers!  Well, platformers anyway.  I hope that you are enjoying the series.  This week we are focusing on commenting, freebies, subscribing and Google Alerts.

Number 17 is commenting.  Comment on blogs.  Simple.  We all know how hard it can be to get comments on our blogs, so try commenting on those that you follow.  Ask a question, thank them for their blog post, especially if it touched you in some way, provide them with feedback.  Let them know you are following them.

I have two regular commenters – Zee and Cassie.  They are wonderful people who provide me with feedback.  Thanks guys.  I try and get out there and post comments on other peoples blogs.  The more comments you make, the more people will visit your own site, especially if it is insightful.

Create a freebie is No 18.  People don’t like handing over their email address for nothing.  So, give them something.  Give them a teaser, a taste of what you have to offer.  Make it something worthwhile for the subscriber, like a one of a kind story, only subscribers will get to see – helps them to spread the word when you do start getting a following.

Subscribe – get yourself on the email lists of other writers.  This is something that I have done, and I receive updates from Melissa Pearl, Nalini Singh and T G Ayer on a regular basis.  I also follow WPbeginner for tips and hints on wordpress, Your Writer Platform for information on author ideas and tips and hints, and Fiction University for a series of emails on writing problems.  I love being parts of these lists, because I get useful information, or first hand information – cover reveals, ARC’s, ideas and solutions to problems I might have encountered.

No 20 – Set up Google Alerts.  This is new to me, because I haven’t done anything like this before.  Google Alert is a free service that allows you to specify keywords or phrases that relate to writing, or romance writing and forwards the results through to you.  I set mine up for Romance, NZ romance writing, Catherine Mede.  Will be interesting to see what it comes up with.

Next week, to continue building our platform, we will focus on becoming an expert in our field, signing up to help out a reporter, following up on breaking news and pillar posts.

Creating an Author Platform Part 4

C Mead final logoWow, time flies, I am sure I had done a couple of these and scheduled them up!

Anyway, this week we discuss building an email list and social media.

No 9. is all about building an email list, which Andrea thinks is the most important element to building an engaged following.  I don’t believe that I have a following big enough, or enough to really say in an email list at this stage – I try and blog twice a week – three times at the moment, but I guess I could get super organised and email the coming week’s scheduled posts, or send an email a week later, linking people to the site.

So, email services, there are a few of them.  KiwiWriters uses Mailchimp, which is a nice looking site and easy to build a newsletter with.  Andrea recommends Aweber.  I have looked at this, but I found it a little confusing – it said it was free, but you had to sign up for an account and pay…

So, I decided to search for a NZ based product – and you know what – there is one!  Vertical Response.   It is free for up to 1000 contacts, after that you have to pay.  Since I don’t have anywhere near a thousand people, this looks like a great option, and they have some lovely templates.  So I have signed up.  Go and have a look for yourself.

No  10 and 11 is about Social media, so I have combined it.  It involves Twitter and Facebook, and now with the advent of Google Plus, you could include that here too.  I have a twitter account, but I am not a big fan of twitter – I guess I prefer to be more wordier than Twitter allows.  I have recently changed my username to @CatherineMedeNZ, to reflect and work with this website and my Facebook author page which is under under Catherine Mede.

I have my website linked to Facebook and Google Plus, and my facebook author page is linked to my twitter account, so anything I post here, or on facebook is sent through to twitter, so I am getting my stuff out there.

No 12 is getting a social media tool, like Hootsuite.  I have used Tweetdeck, but to be honest, I struggled with it.  I haven’t looked at Hootsuite yet, but I am going to look into it, because it isn’t just about Twitter, like Tweetdeck was.

Catherine MedeSo, my homework this week is learning more about Aweber and Hootsuite.

Next week, Google Keywords, creating a bio, photos, and making a list of authors, bloggers and leaders in your genre and review their sites.

See you next week  🙂

Creating an Author Platform – Part 3

C Mead final logoHere is a continuation on of my series, creating an author Platform, courtesy of Your Writer Platform

So previously, we have looked at why, where we want to go, your story, and researching your target audience and target market.

This week is about creating a professional looking website, tweaking your Tagline and getting business cards.

6.  It is important to have a professional looking website – and not one that says http://www.catherinemede.wordpress.com – as you can see above – I have http://www.catherinemede.com.  This came about because a friend – J C Hart told me about being able to purchase the option of having it as a .com rather than .wordpress.com and I thought that looked more professional.  Kimberly at Your Writer Platform suggests that you invest in your own self hosted website – because it doesn’t come free.  If you want to be taken seriously, you have to look professional – hence all the changes I keep making to my site.  An article on setting up your website can be found at Your Writer Platform.

7.  Tweak your Tagline – tag line?  Whoops – the only one I have is The Musings and Writing of a Wordwright.  If you can’t work one out – check out this site at Copyblogger.com.  While my tagline does say something about what I do, it doesn’t really draw people in.  So I need to work on this a little bit more.  Copyblogger suggests using your mission, your promise and your brand.  Since I have a logo, I have a brand of sorts.  Rich romance.  My mission, to write quality stories about paranormal or science fiction romance, mostly based in New Zealand.  My promise, to make it interesting and exciting and getting people back to read more.

This is much harder than I thought.  Bringing it all together, New Zealand Romance Writer, with a Twist of Speculative Fiction?  – Not sure.  Definitely something that needs more work.

8.  Business Cards – Yes, get them, and share them.  I had some made a while ago, but now that I have my logo, I need to get some new ones printed.  Why?  Because I have a brand and logo now, and once I have a tagline – I am ready to go.  You can put your facebook, twitter, email, tumblr, G+, LinkedIn, etc on it so that people can find you no matter where you hide.  I think it is a fantastic idea – especially if you leave them lying around in Cafe’s…

So, next week.  Building an Email List, Social Media and Hootsuite.  Looking forward to that one.

101 Quick Actions to Take to Create your Author Platform Part 2

C Mead final logoOK, there has to be a better title than that.  Surely.  How about Creating an Author Platform.  I think that sounds better.  I started this post last week – with Define your Why and Plan your Destination.

Today I am going to post about Storytelling Eliciting engagement, Researching your Target Audience and Researching your niche or market.

3 – Storytelling elicits engagement:  This is about marketing – hence I have put these three together.  Here Kimberly Grabas wants the author to create their own story – which I have already done, thanks to the 10 Week challenge Week 3 – and I have put it here to refresh your memory:

Catherine Mede lives in Rural New Zealand with her husband, son and two cats.  She works as a Teacher Aide at the local Area School.  When not writing, Catherine likes to read, draw and garden.

Having developed a love for writing when she was at High School, it wasn’t until she was in her thirties she decided to really get down and dirty with the words in her head. 

Romance is something that Catherine likes to write about because she understands the need to get lost in a love that sometimes seems mythical.  And adding Fantasy elements just fulfills her needs to be creative fanciful worlds to escape into.

Catherine has a short story published in a Masters of Horror Anthology and attends writing seminars and groups in her area.

When she is rich and famous, Catherine intends to have a large library which will double as her writing space.

You can contact Catherine Mede through her website www.catherinemede.com and facebookshe loves to have contact with her fans.

 

This is the official one, there is also an unofficial one – which is on my About Me page.

4.  Researching the Target Audience – this ain’t going to be quite so easy.  You see, I don’t see what I write as being New Adult and it definitely isn’t Young Adult either!  I want to cater for those in their later years, who are over the disillusionment of marriage and looking for some escapism – and don’t necessarily want to read about some 20 something doing it all night because they can!

Target Audience – someone who likes Romance with a dash of supernatural / paranormal and action.  It would also suit people who like to read about professional people.  Women, particularly, although some men might enjoy the romance – depends on whether the action will catch them and draw them in.  It is more focused towards women.  The fact the majority of the stories are based in NZ should help draw in NZ readers, as well as those who like reads from the antipodes.

5.  Okay – research your niche – your genre.  Here you need to study the competition and find out who you are comparable with.  H P Mallory seems to pop up a lot (Goodreads and Amazon search of Romance, Paranormal, ghosts or curses)  Another one that just struck me is Nora Roberts.  Hmm, imagine having my work compared to hers!

I think what makes my story unique is that it involves a curse, because Angels, Demons, Vampires, Shapeshifters are all being done a lot.  I didn’t want to go that way, I wanted something different, something more unique.  Hopefully it isn’t too unique.

Next week – is Setting up a professional website (done), tweaking a tagline, and getting business cards – oh yes, you will need those!