Focus on Authors

There are about 17 gazillion web creation tools out there these days.

blog-684748_1280There are options for nearly everyone.

  •  the super simple
    • Blogger
    • (the WP-hosted version)
    • Wix
    • Other “plug in some information and it will show up on a page” type tools
  • the content management all-in-ones that take a little more know-how
    • Joomla
    • Weebly
    • (the self-hosted version)
  • the social media sites
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Tumbler
    • Pinterest
    • Instagram
    • etc., etc., etc….
  • the build-your-own traditional website tools
    • Dreamweaver
    • Adobe Muse
    • Ummm… there are probably hundreds of tools and software packages out there

This site… surprise… is built on WordPress. WP is, in many ways, the gold standard. It’s easy to use. You can build a good-looking website very quickly. There are tons of plugins and themes so you can have a customized look that suits your needs.

But WordPress also has some drawbacks. One of the key ones is that updates to the framework have a habit of breaking plugins. Not cool. Seriously not cool if you have a huge, complex website and what breaks is a key component that is absolutely necessary to keep thousands of paying members happy. That actually happened to Holly Lisle, and she is still working out the long-term fix.

That fix will include getting off WordPress, which has broken for her more than once because of updates and plugin problems.

Personally, I’m not quite at that level of stress with WP yet. But as useful as WP is, I know it could be better, especially for authors.

There are a bunch of special/customized needs that authors have.

  • The ability to link to reviews
  • The ability to post new books easily along with sales links and images
  • The ability to stay connected with readers and fans
  • The ability to easily share posts on social media
  • The ability to easily share snippets of current writing without jumping through annoying formatting hoops

Lots more that I’m not thinking of just offhand.

The good news… I know of at least two systems that are coming.

The bad news… neither one of them is available yet.

One is called ReadershipPro. It will be an all-inclusive web site hosting service, specifically geared towards the needs of writers.

The other is being developed by Holly Lisle. She doesn’t yet have a specific site link for the project, but you can check this post if you’re interested.

Both of these are potentially awesome solutions for writers who want a one-stop means of self-promotion. As more information becomes available, I’m sure I’ll talk about it again.

Please note: links on this page may be affiliate links, or may confer some other benefit to the author. 

The view from orbit – a launch followup

You may have noticed, I’ve helped out a couple of cool people recently with launches they were doing.

First was Holly Lisle (affiliate link) who is a brilliant guru for fiction writers, and someone I consider a personal mentor. She is a great example of how to make a living writing fiction and helping others write fiction.

Next was Jeff Goins and his new book The Art of Work (affiliate link). He is a brilliant guru for bloggers and non-fiction writing, and a great example of how to make a living writing non-fiction and helping others do the same.

Why did I use my personal blog to do marketing for other people? There are a few reasons beyond just, “because I like these guys” and “because I can get paid a commission to do it.” Those reasons are enough for some people, and I won’t deny that they’re factors. But if that was all it was, I don’t know that I’d feel good about using my blog for promotion.

But I’m happy to use my blog for promoting the work of others, when it meets certain criteria.

I believe in the product

This one is key. I have to know what it is I’m promoting, I have to have used/read it myself, and I have to think it’s a product worth sharing with others. I have to think the person behind the product is worth sharing with others. You will never see me promote a book, course, or other product that I don’t have personal experience with. I’m not going to be that person who goes hunting for things on ClickBank or elsewhere and start selling stuff just to sell it.

  • I don’t need the money that badly. Don’t get me wrong–I can always find a use for a few extra bucks. But while I won’t hesitate to point you at things I’m familiar with and that I’ve found useful, It’s not my intention to just become a sales outlet.
  • I value your time and your wallet. I can’t in good conscience tell you to spend money on something if I don’t know what it is, whether it works, or whether the developer will respect you as a customer. Also, see the above bullet point – I’m not looking to sell you stuff just to sell it.
  • I value my own reputation enough that I would never want to promote something that might make you, my audience, think less of me. I expect that you will judge me based on what I think is important enough to talk about here. And while I don’t expect everyone to agree with everything I do, say, or share, I won’t risk my reputation on something I don’t personally believe in. I just won’t .

I want to show you my process

This, surprise, is my author blog. Part of my purpose here is to show you what I do, how I think, and what is important to me.  Giving you links and insight into products I use and why, books I’ve read and whether I like them, and people I follow who make me think differently… all that lets you get to know me a little better. and really, isn’t that kind of the point of a blog?

I want to help you out if I can

This goes back, a little bit, to my first point, but with a subtle difference. I use a lot of products, I play with technology and software, I glean what I can from other writers and gurus, and make a lot of decisions about what works for me and what doesn’t. If I can save you time in making some of those decisions yourself, I will. If I can encourage you to take a step at finding your own dream, I will. I know not every person who follows my blog will have a need or interest in knowing what I use behind the scenes. But for those that care, I’m willing to share. At some point I’ll probably build a page dedicated to pointing people at products, instructors, gurus, and other authors that I believe in, but right now it’s limited to occasional blog posts.

The selfish part of all this

If I’m going to be honest (and why wouldn’t I be?) I have to admit there’s a selfish side to this too.

Yes, I can get paid commissions, but that’s not really it. In fact, I didn’t actually make any sales on these two launches, so that means no commissions at all.

But, a big part of following other writers and helping with their launches is that it gives me a front row seat to what their doing. I get an insider view of processes they walk through. They will often discuss privately what worked or didn’t work during a launch in a way that will never be put out there for public consumption. I’ve learned that it’s often much more effective to watch what someone else is doing than it is to try to study what is said about a particular process. I’m a hands-on kind of learner. So when someone I already believe in gives me the opportunity to get up close and personal, I’m probably going to jump at the chance.

It’s not my intention to ever let other people’s launches and promotions overrun the other, more personal aspects of this blog. And I hope never to overwhelm or annoy you with things that aren’t important to you.

I just wanted to take a minute to let you understand why doing things like this is important to me.

Note: links on this page are affiliate links. If you make purchases on the sites linked to, I may receive compensation.