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!

Wait! You Said You Were a Book Publicity Company!

Promotion is such an important part of selling your art and without it your book sits alone on a virtual shelf waiting for readers.

You know this, yet you do the bare minimum to get your book up and running, or you do too much of the wrong thing, trust the wrong people and spend copious amounts of money with little result. You don’t need to work hard…well you do, but more importantly you need to work smart while enlisting help from people who understand how to navigate the tough, time-consuming work for you.

This is going to piss off a lot of bloggers but the truth is, writing a blog and hosting blog tours for authors does not a publicist make. There is a reason promotions and book marketing is a skill; it takes a tremendous amount of research, knowledge and knowhow to get the work in front of the right people. And NEWSFLASH! book marketing and book publicity are two completely different functions. Yes, blog tours work, as do cover reveals and giveaways, both of which fall under marketing, but remember it is all a numbers game and the winner is always the one with the growing bank account – usually the blogger who sold you on their services. However, that doesn’t mean it is all for not. I sometimes do virtual book tours, but I also focus on PR work which means finding a message and getting the world to listen via media outlets.

So who and what should you trust? And what should you do?

First, know the difference between marketing and PR. (See our marketing page for more info) Then do some research on a professional, someone who understands
the industry and reach out to them. Rather than just looking to save a buck by hiring a blogger who offers really cheap book blasts, hire an actual publicity company to get you what you need (like us – quick and dirty shameless promotion), or find a qualified person who is getting started in the industry and see if they can help with your budget. Yeah, it might cost you a bit more, but the results will be worth it. Have them work to get you interviews, schedule guest posts, handle your social media blasts and set up a fan page. They will talk to your local bookstores and work to get you signings, or perhaps get set you up on a tour of conventions. There are numerous ways to sell a book outside of the same old blog tours and cover reveals and although I recommend them as well, you should have someone out there pushing your story, your author brand and your book, because the more coverage you get, the more attention your work receives.

I have an article about branding coming soon but here’s a little bit on the subject because it’s key. Everything, down to your headshot and Twitter cover should be devised with care and consistency and a publicist or trained marketing/communication professional can assist. They know what works, what certain demographics are attracted to and how to communicate your messages effectively. For instance, most people don’t know how to draft a media kit; what true market analytics entail; benchmarking; proper website design (not from a web designers prospective but a marketing perspective); how to analyze the current platform and help you build one that will entice readers and eventually publishers. You need someone to help you engage your audience so you are a significant presence, not just some indie author that no one wants to review, because your cover is homemade and you have two suspect reviews on Amazon.

Lastly, there is a lot to be said for having solid representation. And beyond all of those previous points, you get time to write because you won’t have to spend all that time hustling your own book. I call that a win-win.

If you want to learn more about what an honest to goodness publicist or communications specialist can do for you, click on that little box that says “chat” or email us. We are happy to help, guide and assist in any way we can.

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]

FALL IN LOVE WITH BOOKS BLOG HOP!

Everyone at Voir media Group loves books and in homage of Spring and our authors we are holding a HUGE GIVEAWAY /BLOG HOP!

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WE WANT YOU TO BE A PART OF THIS FANTASTIC EVENT AND IT’S A GREAT WAY TO EXPOSE YOUR BLOG OR BOOK!

FALL IN LOVE WITH BOOKS

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Here is what you need to do.

  1. Sign up via the linky HERE:
  2. On the day of the hop (April 24), post a little something with a spring theme on YOUR page (i.e. cute love story, your favorite destination, summer reading recommendations, etc.) just make sure it has a spring(ish) theme. Tell people to hop over to all the other sites so they can get their chance to win in all the giveaways and Voila! you have some great exposure. 
  3. Hold your own giveaway – there are no restrictions here. (we will provide via email all the necessary instructions)
  4. Have fun and spread the word.

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And Now for the Grand Prizes!

GRAND PRIZE

Kindle Fire

Kindle Pre-loaded with tons of books

Paperback: Michele Wolfe, Jennifer Silverwood and Lauren Marie[/col]

SECOND PRIZE

15 Paperback books!

3 Digital Copies of various books[/col]

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Please contact us with ANY questions!

voirmediagroup.com

FACEBOOK | TWITTER 

INSTAGRAM @ VoirMediaGroup 

#BESEEN

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KIT MORGAN AUDIO BOOKS!

BEST SELLING AUTHOR KIT MORGAN HAS RELEASED THIS COLLECTION OF AMAZING NOVELS IN AUDIO BOOK FORMAT! LEARN ABOUT THESE AMAZING STORIES AND LEARN ABOUT THE VOICE BEHIND THE AUDIO.

[mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h2″ style=”true” color=”#393836″ size=”25″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”]PRAIRIE BRIDE BOOKS[/mk_fancy_title]

His Prairie Duchess, Prairie Brides Book 3

KitMorgan_HisPrairieDuchess_Audio-300x300Duncan Cooke had a problem. A really BIG problem. As the next Duke of Stantham, he would have power and position, a wealthy estate and the means to take care of his family for years to come. His father and mother could only dream something like this would happen to their eldest son and now their dream was a reality. So what was the problem? He had to get married in the next thirty-eight days or lose it all. Unfortunately, Duncan lived in Clear Creek. A place where there wasn’t a single female around for hundreds of miles.

Except one. Cozette Duprie could hunt, shoot a gun, and wield a bow and arrow like nobody’s business. Heck, she even helped her father take down a buffalo once. But the buckskin clad beauty had been living life disguised as a boy for so long, she had no idea how to be a girl. And worse, her father suddenly thought she ought to start living like one. But why? Why let everyone in Clear Creek know her secret? And if her father had any ideas of marrying her off, who on earth would want her? No one. For how could any man want a wife who couldn’t utter a word?

Would Duncan be able to beat the deadline and inherit the title and estate? Or be stopped by those wishing not only the title for themselves, but something much more precious?

Available Now on AUDIBLE | AMAZON | ITUNES

Her Prairie Knight, Prairie Bride Book 2

Her-Prairie-Knight-Audio-300x300Her Prairie Knight AudioNewly released from prison, the last thing Colin Cooke expected to see in Clear Creek was an angel. But there she was, just getting off the stage, and was of course everything an angel ought to be. Beautiful, of exquisite form, and with honey gold curls that bounced when she walked. Unfortunately, she walked straight into the arms of Mrs. Irene Dunnigan! The one person everyone avoided as best they could. At least until they needed something from the mercantile, then they had no choice. The self-righteous, cantankerous woman owned it! How was he going to get acquainted with the exquisite creature while Mrs. Dunnigan roamed about guarding her like some fire-breathing dragon? Perhaps with a little help from his brothers, he’d manage it. But the sort of help he got wasn’t exactly the kind he had in mind.

Belle Dunnigan hadn’t expected Clear Creek to be so remote. It was a far cry from Boston society and she soon learned how hard life out on the Oregon prairie could be. But it wasn’t prairie life that was hard. It was living with her Aunt Irene! The woman ruled with an iron fist and hated everyone. Especially the Cooke family. And unfortunately for Belle, the only decent men of the marrying kind within a hundred miles were the Cookes! With spinsterhood starring her in the face, what was she to do? Even worse, she was terribly attracted to Colin Cooke, the one man her aunt hated most of all.

Will love find a way? Or will it be no match for Mrs. Dunnigan? The bane of Clear Creek!

Now Available on AUDIBLE | AMAZON | ITUNES

 

His Prairie Princess, Prairie Brides Book 1

Prairie-Princess-Audio-300x300Prairie Princess AudioHis Prairie Princess (Prairie Brides, Book One) is the first in a new series about the town of Clear Creek, Oregon. One of the wackiest little towns in the old west! Enjoy this introduction to the townspeople of Clear Creek and come sit a spell!

When Sadie Jones, the daughter of cattle baron Horatio Jones, set out on her own in search of her dying birth mother, she got more than she bargained for. She never dreamed the stage would be robbed and she herself taken along with the rest of the loot! After all, being kidnapped was the last thing on her mind that morning. Unfortunately it was the foremost thing that afternoon.

Harrison Cooke, raised by his English mother to be the perfect gentleman, simply went to get the mail, not rescue a damsel in distress! But here he was, attempting to rescue the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, and of course, not get them both killed in the process.

But both Harrison and Sadie have a goal. She’s trying to rescue her mother. He’s trying to save his brothers. That’s a lot of rescuing going on. And in the midst of it all, can they rescue each other’s hearts?

Available NOW on AUDIBLE | AMAZON | ITUNES

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[mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h2″ style=”true” color=”#393836″ size=”25″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”]HOLIDAY MAIL ORDER BRIDES[/mk_fancy_title]

The Christmas Mail Order Bride, Holiday Mail Order Brides Book 1

Christmas-MOB-Audio-300x300The Christmas Mail Order Bride is the first in the Holiday Mail Order Bride Series! Enjoy these sweet romances as you read about characters falling in love during some of your favorite holidays!

Sheriff Clayton Riley asked for a pair of boots for Christmas, not a mail order bride! Unfortunately for Clayton, his brother and mother figured a bride would look better on him than a new pair of boots! After all, he’d been sulking around long enough after the death of his wife, and his family decided it was time to take matters into their own hands and see to it Clayton had a very merry Christmas!

Summer James was young, she was beautiful and an impoverished orphan. Who would want such a woman? Obviously no one. For here she was, 18 and now of age to set out on her own. But New Orleans was full of men with evil intent for one such as herself, and she saw no other choice but to take the only offer for survival she could find and become a mail order bride. What she didn’t count on was becoming Sheriff Clayton Riley’s Christmas present!

Now Available on AUDIBLE | AMAZON | ITUNES

The New Year’s Bride, Holiday Mail Order Bride Book 2

Kit Morgan delivers yet another fun romp through the old west! Enjoy this sweet, mail order bride story!

KitMorgan_TheNewYearsBride_Audio-300x300Sheriff Spencer Riley and his mother recently ordered his big brother Clayton a mail order bride for Christmas! Too bad neither one of them bothered to tell Clayton, so imagine his surprise, and Spencer thought it to be one of the funniest things ever…until it happened to him! “After all,” his mother told him. “If Clayton can have a mail order bride for Christmas, why can’t you have one for New Year’s?” So much for the annual scarf and mitten set she usually got for him this time of year! Just what sort of mail order bride was HE going to get?

Elle Barstow spent most of her life at Winslow’s Orphanage but now it was time to leave and either find a job (of which there were none) become a mail order bride, or take to the streets of New Orleans and hope for the best. Becoming a mail order bride looked like the safest option, but Elle soon learned things don’t always go the way we think they will. Unwittingly involved in a horrendous encounter before she leaves New Orleans, Elle can’t possibly marry her future husband when she doesn’t know if she’s considered guilty of murder! She figures her only chance is to avoid the law, not to mention her future husband, until she finds out what really happened. Easier said than done. Her future husband IS the law!

Now Available on AUDIBLE | AMAZON | ITUNES

[mk_font_icons icon=”moon-star” color=”#00a4db” size=”x-large” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”true” circle_color=”#f5f5f5″ align=”none” link=”URL”] MEET THE VOICE BEHIND THE PAGES

MICHAEL RAHHAL

MR-300x300Michael Rahhal has been a performer for his entire life. He has been performing, writing and directing comedy, theater, music and public or private events for the past 20 years. He has toured the world and collaborated with Blue Man Group as a writer, director and performer, founding members of The Wooster Group and as a writer, director, producer and performer for New Belgium Brewing Co.’s nonprofit touring bikes-and-beer festival “Tour De Fat”, where he helped raise over $500,000 for bike nonprofit organizations around the U.S. He also had his own hour-long solo comedy show at Caroline’s on Broadway, performed with Center Theater Group in Los Angeles and the Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts.

As an audiobook narrator, his credits include The Wicked Passage: A Blake Wyatt Adventure by N.M. Singel, Realms of Mystery: A Forgotten Realms Anthology, Dragons of Chaos: A Dragonlance Anthology, And the Girl Screamed by Gil Brewer, Kolchak’s Gold by Brian Garfield, The Two Faces of Tomorrow by James P. Hogan, and Rule: A Marked Men Novel by Jay Crownover. All of these titles are available on audible.com. He has also narrated feature documentaries, as well as various animated comedic shorts.
Since moving to Los Angeles, he has frequented the comedy lineups of “What’s Up Tiger Lily”, “Garage Comedy” and “The Tomorrow Show”, as well as “Hot Tub with Kristen Schaal and Kurt Braunohler”.
He also has been studying and now teaching Krav Maga, a self-defense system that is as fun and effective as it is easy to learn, for he believes all bullies, bad guys and would-be assailants deserve to get kicked in the groin several times for preying on us regular folks.