Now that every Outskirts Press author (past, present, and future) receives a free responsive Author Webpage for every book you publish with us, it’s time to share some “best practices” for making that webpage all it can be.
A responsive author webpage is more than just a “pretty face” on mobile devices and desktop computers. It can also be a powerful sales and marketing tool; and you will increase your chances of getting the most out of your author webpage if you follow these 10 best practices:
- Be Loud, Be Proud!
Many Outskirts Press authors publish their books with our Private Label Imprint option. This means, we work our magic behind the scenes, and our publishing name is not on their book anywhere. Well, that’s all well and good, until it came time to use our “old” author webpages, which still featured our logo and our publishing name.
The NEW & IMPROVED responsive author webpages recognize our Private label authors. If you published under an independent publishing name, YOUR publishing name will be on YOUR responsive author webpage. Now you can proudly aim your customers to your author webpage with your publishing imprint on it!
- Add an Excerpt!
The “menu bar” along the top of your new responsive author webpage makes navigating to the individual sections a snap, and did you know the menu bar is dynamic? That means, if you don’t have content in a particular section, that menu selection won’t appear on the menu bar. This occurs most frequently with the “Excerpt” and “Media” sections, since those sections are optional.
But just because they are optional doesn’t mean you should ignore them. If you don’t have an excerpt on your author webpage, add one by accessing the “Sales Tools” of your Publishing Center. Around 250 words work best. Just cut-n-paste them into your “Excerpt” field.
- Format Your Excerpt!
Here’s an important tip for cutting and pasting your excerpt: Since your author webpage accepts HTML (to allow for colored fonts, image-insertions, etc.), you MUST identify paragraph breaks in your excerpt. There are TWO different ways to do this:
- Surround the contents of each paragraph with the <p></p> paragraph tags, by putting a <p> in front of the beginning of every paragraph and the </p> at the end of every paragraph. This will ensure that paragraphs don’t run together.
- Or, alternatively, you can add two line break codes <br><br> which is the same as “hitting the return key twice.”
By adding these simple codes to your excerpt you can make sure your words look just as good on your webpage as they do in your book.
- Format Your Synopsis and Biography!
See those formatting suggestions above, about adding line breaks or paragraph breaks to your excerpt? They work for your synopsis and biography boxes, too. Read your summary/details, your excerpt, and your author biography on multiple devices and make sure you’re happy with how everything looks. (Don’t forget to spell check your work!) If you want to add some line breaks or paragraph breaks, follow those rules above to make your webpage look as good as possible.
Suggesting HTML code is a double-edged sword. It can help make your webpage look great. It can also “break” your webpage if you’re not careful. So keep that in mind, as we list some other “codes” you might be interested in:
<strong>This makes words bold!</strong>
<em>This puts words in italics!</em>
<font color=”ff0000″>This makes words red!</font> (although WordPress doesn’t let me make them red).
<strong><em><font color=”ff0000″>Yes, you can stack them!</font></em></strong>
- Add Some Audio!
The other “optional” menu item is for the “Media” section, specifically book video trailers or audio excerpts. The audio excerpt is included with many of our packages, so if you have recorded your audio excerpt, it is available from your author webpage already. Check to make sure it is working correctly by visiting your author webpage from multiple devices (your phone, your tablet, your computer). Sometimes you might discover that your audio plays fine from a desktop, but doesn’t play at all from an iPhone, for example. Isn’t technology wonderful? If that’s the case, just let us know and we’ll fix it for you.
If you had the Audio Excerpt option but never took advantage of it, now’s the time. You’ll find the instructions in your Author Toolkit. Just find that option, click the “more” link and instructions for how to record your Audio Excerpt will open up for you. Read an excerpt from your book, or make a general comment about why you wrote your book. Buyers love hearing from authors, literally!
If your package didn’t include the Audio Excerpt option, you can always add it from the Marketing Options screen of your Publishing Center.
- Add Some Video!
The other multi-media component of the Media section is your book video trailer. This is a very popular marketing option that we offer, so chances are, your book video trailer may already be in your webpage’s Media section. If you didn’t order a book video trailer with your publishing package, you can add one now from the Marketing Options tab of your Publishing Center. In addition to being added to your author webpage, we will add it to our YouTube channel and other video distribution services. You will also receive the file for your additional marketing efforts.
But here’s a little known fact — if you have a book video that you did NOT order through Outskirts Press, you can still add it to your Author Webpage. Just contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org with the embedded code (or the YouTube URL), and we will be happy to add your independent book video to your author webpage for you.
- Work the Discount!
The hardcopy books (paperback and/or hardback) available for sale from your Author Webpage always have a 10% discount, to encourage your webpage visitors to buy your book. Don’t worry – you still receive your full royalty! But knowing about this discount may give you confidence to send customers to your author webpage instead of to Amazon or Barnes & Noble’s website (where your customers may or may not receive a discount at all).
Speaking of formats, make sure you’re selling your Digital Download edition at the proper price. If you have the Digital Download edition (and many of our authors do), and if you did not set a specific price yourself, our webpage will default to a price of $5.00. But the best practice is to match the price of your Kindle or Nook ebook editions (you added those formats, right?) You can modify your Digital Download price from same screen of your Publishing Center where you manage your author webpage.
- Like Your Book!
Your author webpage features a Facebook “Like” button under your book cover. Make sure you like your own book! When you do, you’ll have a chance to write a post on your Facebook feed. We recommend asking your Facebook friends to “like” your book, too. After all, your Facebook Friends & Family are the most likely people to click on your Author Webpage link and “like” your book, but they may only do it if you ask them to.
Speaking of Facebook, you HAVE a Facebook account right? If you don’t, go to Facebook right now and start one. Every author must have a Facebook account. It doesn’t hurt to have a Linked-In account, either. Those are the two “must-haves” for every author. If you’re more experienced with social media (and have a bit more time on your hands), you may also have a Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and/or Pinterest account. That’s great! And guess what? Your new responsive Author Webpage can link to ALL those social media accounts directly from your “About the Author” section — but ONLY if you tell your webpage how.
- Click on the “Edit My Profile” in the upper right-hand corner of your Publishing Center. Or, alternatively, you may have a “My Account” link.
- In either case, clicking that link will open up your Profile Page, where you can Edit Your Profile, provide Social Media Details, and set your Royalty Payment Details, among other things.
- You want to focus on the Social Media Details section, which looks like this:
- Enter in the URL for each of your social media profiles. The easiest way to do that is to go to each of your active social media platforms and go to your “home” or “main” page of your account, and then cut-n-paste the URL from the Internet Browser and place it into the appropriate field of this form. Don’t forget to save your changes.
- Then, when you re-visit your Author Webpage, your About the Author section will automatically add links to each of the social media accounts you added. Click on each one to make sure you entered the proper link. If it doesn’t go to the right place, make adjustments accordingly.
- Market All Your Books!
If you’ve published multiple books with Outskirts Press (and many of you have), then your Author Webpage automatically features an “Also by” section in which all of your other book covers appear, each of them clickable to their own responsive webpage. It’s a proven fact that readers of one of your books are more inclined to be readers of your others books, so be sure to publish multiple books to automatically add this cool section to all of your Outskirts Press author webpages. All you have to do is click this button…
… and, well… write the next book, of course. Here’s to your great success!