10 Ways to Boost Your Author Website

I’m a branding girl. If there is one thing my clients know it is that I believe in building a brand, and a platform for your work.

Yeah, but you can’t brand a person?!

Actually, you can and you should. It doesn’t matter that all your books fall under different genres. It’s about you, the author and the image that you are presenting to the world and to your readers. You are the company and your books are the product. So in terms of branding you need to think like a company and make your brand noticeable. Your brand may not be identifiable by a traditional logo, but your across the board consistency will.

What is your mission and your vision? Figure those things out and you can start building.

One of the biggest issues related to branding I have found (besides the poorly designed book covers) are feebly constructed websites. Would Nike throw together a web page to highlight their products in a free site with no identifiable markers? Nope. And neither should you. Don’t know what I mean? Check out John Grisham’s web page – now look at yours. Yeah he makes oodles of money off the sales of his books, but if you want to sell like a best-selling author, you need to act like a best-selling author.

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Here are some tips when building your author website:

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Now, you have an idea on how to setup your author website – get to work.

If you don’t know where to start and couldn’t possibly do it alone, please contact VMG Literary and we’d be happy to do if for you!

The Art of Picking a Great Beta Reader

[su_pullquote]”A beta reader (also spelled betareader, or shortened to beta) is a person who reads a written work, generally fiction, with what has been described[1] as ‘a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammar, spelling, characterization, and general style of a story prior to its release to the general public.'” – The Free Online Dictionary[/su_pullquote]

Everyone throws the term beta reader around. Goodreads, blogs, forums, you name it…people are always looking for someone to read their book and pass judgment. Except there is a key to picking the perfect beta and it doesn’t include expectations of edits and it certainly doesn’t mean they will or should blow glowing smoke up your perky backside. What a beta reader does is simple: they read and give critique, but they aren’t editors.

If you aren’t willing to hear the bad and the good, you shouldn’t publish, because even the most well received books have naysayers. To get a feel for what the critical mass is going to spout at you once you publish your baby and upload it on Amazon or Goodreads, or send out those query letters you should enlist a beta reader. They are the spotters of what you need to recheck, redo, and revisit and they (should) find pesky problems you may have overlooked.

[su_note note_color=”#66fff8″]BUT they are NOT substitutes for professional EDITORS![/su_note]

You don’t have to enlist professional writers, I don’t recommend friends (although friends can read your book, they will most likely give you biased feedback) and you should never count on just one reader to get a good feel for your work. Further, and I know I am beating the expired equine with this one folks, but you must never forego a professional edit in exchange for a bunch of unskilled, unpaid betas.

Now that I have listed all the “nots”, let’s move on to what you should look for in your testers. One, pull from a broad pool. You don’t want a mediocre book that only translates to people who like one specific genre. No, you want an exceptional book that appeals to the masses (or maybe not; it’s your bank account). So, in order for you to really understand what parts of your story translate and what parts are stale, you should find readers that love your genre and those that don’t. If the story reads well to both, you probably have the start of a good book on your hands.

Two, don’t just get writers to read your book, because often times they are competitive and extra critical just for the sake of pumping up their own skills. You should focus on book lovers who have a solid grasp on the basics of structure and syntax. They must understand what works and what doesn’t, but more than that, make sure they can explain what it is they find wrong. Just a simple, “yeah it was cool.” or “Wow! That super sucked.” isn’t what you are looking for. You need someone who can explain in detail why it was cool, or super sucked.

Old books, blue light backgroundThere are a couple of ways to go about this, but they require a little work from you (ugh, I know). First, you should set up a standard form that you give to every one of your testers. It must ask the questions you want them to answer. Guide them and their reading. Have them think about the book while they are in it, but also reflect upon it afterwards. Style it with checklists, ratings (1 to 5, etc.) and written answers. Then at the end ask them some broad and pointed questions, leaving the second side open for their own thoughts. Spend time on this part because it will be very important. You want to guide them toward an honest and fairly structured opinion. Tell them to make notes of any and all spelling/syntax errors they spot: repeated words; difficult names; dialogue that sounds forced; unclear sub-plots; distractions, etc.

Second, get on the phone with them (or Skype, or god forbid, spend time with them face to face). A lot of times there are elements that the reader noticed that they can’t put into words. Take them out for coffee (or send them a Starbucks GC and meet them online for a drink). Ask them questions and just discuss the book. It’s surprising what you can learn from someone just from a simple voice to voice conversation. Plus, it gives the reader a chance to say something they might have been afraid to put in writing for fear of a misunderstanding. And because tone is often lost in emails, you might have taken offense to something that the beta intended to be constructive, so use this conversation to clear up any misconceptions.

Talk! Use your mouth, not your fingers…please. There are so many things to glean from this experience and I urge you to make sure you get the most out of it. It is free after all and an invaluable tool.

[su_note note_color=”#66fff8″]If you’re interested in getting beta’s for your upcoming release, contact us! [/su_note]

Winners and a Warm Welcome!

Hello Everyone! So we have some major updates to bring to you. Since we’ve been on the road to Dallas for the Romantic Times Reader Writer Roundup, our announcement of the winners of the Blog Hop were delayed a bit. But don’t fret because we have those here for you today! We would also like to welcome our great friend and client author Tish Thawer to the family. She’s more than fantastic so please read all about her below.

Now for the winners of our Blog Hop:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t worry, we’ll be sending out an email to the winners! And congrats once again.

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Now let’s meet Tish.

[su_heading size=”22″ align=”left”]AUTHOR TISH THAWER[/su_heading]

 

1807916I write paranormal romances for all ages, including my new adult series’ The Rose Trilogy and The Women of Purgatory Trilogy, as well as my adult paranormal romance, The Ovialell Series, my upcoming new adult novel, The Witches of BlackBrook, as well as multiple young adult short-stories. It’s been said my magickal elements and detailed world-building are a welcome constant in every novel.

Before becoming a writer I worked as a computer consultant, a photographer, and a graphic designer. I also operate a custom glass etching business, in addition to being a wife and the mother of three wonderful children.

I have been a fan of the paranormal for as long as I can remember. Anything to do with superpowers, myth and magic has always held a special place in my heart. From my first paranormal cartoon, Isis, to the phenomenon that is Twilight, this genre has always been a part of my life.

LOOK FOR HER RELEASE OF THE WITCHES OF BLACKBROOK

paranormal romance. ~ 2015

WoBBThrough space and time, sisters entwined. Lost then found, souls remain bound.

Three sisters escape the Salem witch trials when the eldest casts a spell that hurdles their souls forward through time. After centuries separated, fate has finally reunited them in the present day.

One the healer, one the teacher, and one the deceiver.

Will their reunion return their full powers, or end their souls journey forever?

A Witches of BlackBrook novel.

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FOR INTERESTED READERS AND BLOGGERS BELOW IS A PREORDER FORM LINK TO ALL OF TISH’S COMING RELEASES.

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FOR ANY OTHER MEDIA REQUESTS FOR THIS FABULOUS AUTHOR PLEASE CONTACT US ANYTIME.