There’s been a lot of industry news lately, but some game changing developments that caught my eye were buried in a report under Joe Konrath’s deal with AmazonEncore. In a nutshell: Agents and bookstore are becoming publishers.
Scott Waxman, of Waxman Literary, has created Diversion Books, Read more →
This month I’m hosting two authors who are on blog book tours to promote their new releases. Mark Phillips, author of THE RESQUETH REVOLUTION (a book I’m proud to have edited) will be here on Tuesday the 17th to talk about writing action scenes. And JA Konrath, aka Jack Kilborn, will be here on the 27th to discuss his new release, AFRAID. JA also wrote an interesting post on blogging in general.
So blog touring has been on my mind, and I’m starting to plan my tour for this September when SECRETS TO DIE FOR is released.
The strategy for most tours seems to be: find blogs that relate to your novel and line up guest appearances every day for a month. (See the guru for more on this.) It seems straight forward, but hugely overwhelming to write all those Q&As and/or guest blogs in such a short timeframe and interact with guests every single day. Especially for authors who have day jobs. What I’m wondering is: How important is it to guest blog every day during a single month? Wouldn’t it be just as effective to guest blog every other day for two months? Or be on tour three times a week for three months?
I’m also wondering how many people actually follow an author on his or her tour, reading each blog stop on the way. And if you do follow tours, at what point do you buy the novel? Or do you already have the novel and are following just for fun? The real point of a tour is to reach new readers at every stop. In a traditional book tour, the author is on the road stopping at different bookstores every day because of the nature and convenience of travel. But from the comfort of your own home, couldn’t a book tour be more leisurely? Or does the everyday blogging in new locations actually build more momentum?
Tell me what you think. Are there other strategies I’ve missed?
I’ve been thinking about redesigning my website. When I first put it up I was in a hurry, needing a web presence ASAP to support various promotional activities I had going. A graphic artist/friend designed the pages—and I liked the look—but I didn’t know what I really needed or wanted at that point. So for the last few weeks I’ve been asking about people’s favorite author sites and looking at dozens of websites to see what design elements they have in common (and what they have that I don’t). Here’s my findings.
For crime authors, most sites have a black or dark grey background with white text and red accents. So in that regard, my designer knew exactly what she was doing. Good examples:
Most of the popular sites also have very little text on the opening page (or top half of the opening page). Instead they have vivid pictures (often changing) and book covers. About half of favorite author pages have their photo on the opening and half don’t. Examples:
Many of the informal-survey favorites have a blog built into their site and others have page that is distinctive to their site—Sticky Notes, photographs, Fan of the Day, character bios. Examples:
Almost every popular site I looked at had a row of clickable navigational links across the top of the design and often down the side as well. Many also had pull down menus from those tabs.
What they don’t have:
I was surprised to see that many author websites don’t have obvious BUY buttons. They may be buried somewhere but you have to search for them. And many do not have links to the home page on every other page. On some of the sites, I found it impossible to get back to the home page at all.
Overall, my favorite for design is Karen Olson’s. She hit all the right elements—clean gorgeous opening page, easy clickable navigation, black/white/red color scheme, access to the home page on every page, and big buy buttons. The only element she lacked that some others had was the unique page.
And J.A. Konrath gets honorable mention for having the most usable content and an easy to navigate structure.