Category - Marketing

1
Why I recommend MailerLite for your email lists
2
Why you need your own mailing list
3
Using Facebook’s conversion pixel to track your mailing list signups
4
How to publish a book (and promote it!) for under $500
5
The author’s guide to building a kick-ass website in under an hour.

Why I recommend MailerLite for your email lists

When it comes to author mailing lists, there are two major programs that most authors seem to use: Mailchimp, and MailerLite. I have paid accounts with both.

Honestly, I’m a way bigger fan of MailerLite. It does have its drawbacks, but the bigger your list gets, the more it’s worth working around those limitations and sucking it up, because the pricing differences become massive.

 

Now, I’ll be totally honest here, Mailchimp looks like the more promising option when you’re just getting started. And to be honest, I think that’s how they get people.

With MailerLite you get your first 1000 subscribers for free.

With MailChimp, you get your first 2000 subscribers for free.

So at first glance, especially when you’re just getting started, I wouldn’t blame you for going “hey I’ll sign up with MailChimp. After all, it might take me a while to get to 2000 subscribers, that’s double the number of people I can have on my MailerLite list before I have to pay for it.”

But you pay a lot more in the long term. Have a look at MailerLite’s pricing:

Now compare that to MailChimp’s pricing:

5200 subscribers with MailChimp costs the same amount as 25000 subscribers with MailerLite.

You might not think 5000 subscribers is something you’ll ever get to, but believe me, it adds up faster than you might think, especially once you start actively building up your mailing list.

I also find the MailerLite interface to be cleaner, quicker loading, and easier to make email campaigns with.

Now, there are some major downsides to MailerLite though. For one thing, if you have multiple pen names, their list sorting options are very limited. You can split your subscribers into different groups, but honestly, their list sorting really leaves something to be desired. Until recently, myself and a lot of people I know would actually just start new accounts for each list since that was easiest, but MailerLite have decided they don’t allow that anymore. Huge bummer!

I personally still use them though. The list sorting is a bit of a pain, but it’s still manageable, and seeing as it saves me tons of money every month, I think it’s worth a little bit of hassle here and there.

So there’s my reasoning for going with MailerLite. It’s almost (but not entirely) price-based, but that makes such a major difference I think it’s worth it. Full disclosure: there aren’t any affiliate links in this post, I don’t get anything from MailerLite for recommending them. I honestly just find them to be the cheapest and easiest option for making my newsletters for my readers.

Until next time!

Liv

Why you need your own mailing list

 

So I know I’ve already written a post or two about mailing lists, but I’ve never covered the real basics: why you need to have your own mailing list in the first place.

In my opinion, there are three main reasons why as an author you absolutely, 100% need to have a mailing list.

  1. It gives you direct access to your customers
  2. Gives you a great marketing base at launch
  3. Opens a ton of doors with other authors in your genre

Now, let’s look at these points, one by one.

1. It gives you direct access to your customers

Right now, without a mailing list, how do you get direct access to your customers, your fans, the people actually buying your books? Sure, you might have a Facebook page, or an author profile, but if you’ve got a page then every post you write is only getting shown to a fraction of your fans (because Facebook want you to pay to boost them) and with an author profile there’s a chance your posts are getting lost in people’s timelines, and you’ve got a very limited scope of what exactly you can send them.

On the other hand, with an email list, you can land directly in your readers’ inbox. You can split test to see what kind of headlines and content get you better responses. You can make it a lot prettier, and include a lot more content than your standard Facebook post.

And more importantly, it lets you contact your fans directly, no matter what happens. You don’t need to depend on Facebook to show your posts to your friends/fans. You don’t need to depend on Amazon to email people who bought your last book about your new ones. Your email list gives you – the author – the tools to contact your fans, the people buying your books, directly. And that’s just so, so important. In part because…

2. It gives you a great marketing base at launch

The first 30 days of a book’s life are the most important at Amazon. In some genres, like romance, this is more true than others, but it generally applies to all genres. What’s the most important thing to make sure your book gets good visibility on Amazon? Also-boughts. And what do you need to get them? Sales. No one knows the exact number, but it’s suspected that in order to get the also-boughts to populate, you need at least 50-100 sales. Borrows don’t count. The faster you get those sales, the faster you’ll end up in other books’ ALBOs. By having a mailing list, when it gets big enough, you can make sure that you’re getting those sales pretty much straight away, and making sure that you hit the also boughts faster than lightning.

And here’s another trick: when you write your launch email, send your readers to your book, but also include links to similar bestselling books. That way, you’re increasing your chances of ending up on the also boughts lists of current bestsellers, which can only increase your book’s visibility.

3. Opens a ton of doors with authors in your genre

See the bit I posted at the bottom about the trick to send readers to other good books in the genre? Well once you’ve built up a good sized mailing list, you can get together with other authors in your genre with similar sized lists, and do a newsletter exchange. Meaning, you link to their book in your newsletter, and they do the same for you. Do that with 3-4 authors per launch and you start multiplying your reach like crazy!

Mailing lists are absolutely invaluable for authors. Every author should have one. I’ll put up a step-by-step tutorial on how to set up a MailerLite account in the next week or so, so if you haven’t got an email list yet, watch for that, coming soon!

’till next time, peace out!

Liv

Using Facebook’s conversion pixel to track your mailing list signups

If you’re getting people to sign up for your mailing list by advertising on Facebook and you’re not using a conversion pixel, you are absolutely missing out on some absolutely fucking incredible data.

It’s all good and fine to know what ads of yours get the most clicks, and the cheapest clicks, and are the most cost-effective.

But what if I told you that could you get all that info about people who actually signed up for your newsletter?

That’s right – using conversion pixels you can separate the wheat – the people who click your ad and sign up for your newsletter – from the chaff – the people who click the link and cost you money, but then go “ehhh nah” and don’t sign up.

Sounds awesome, right? That’s because it is. So let’s get right into things.

First of all, what is a conversion pixel?

Basically it’s a piece of code that you put on a certain page of your website. When a person goes to that page, the pixel “fires”, and counts a conversion. So what we’re going to do is create a page that everyone who signs up for your newsletter is redirected to when they click “subscribe”. We’re going to put a pixel on that page.

That way, whenever someone subscribes to your newsletter, they will be directed to this thank you page, and the pixel on that page will “fire”, which will register a conversion. Facebook then knows that that ad registered a successful conversion.

This gives you access to so much data.

You can see exactly which ads are getting the conversions.

You can see what age groups are converting best.

You can see whether you’re getting more signups from people using their desktop, their cell phones or Instagram.

This means you can start eliminating both the ads and the groups of people who are seeing your ad but not signing up, making your overall cost to convert cheaper.

Look at this example below. This is from a brand new campaign and I don’t have a lot of data for it yet so it’s not quite statistically relevant, but it still can give you an idea of just how much of a difference a different picture can have on ad results:

Right now, one of the images is costing me over $3.50 per conversion, while the other is at $0.65. If this holds up over around 100 conversions, I’m going to be killing that bottom ad, and keeping the top one for sure!

Without the conversion pixel I would know which ad generated more clicks, but this way I know how many people are actually signing up, which is much more valuable information.

And you can get the same information for your demographics, too:

The 35-44 year old age group is signing up (the blue line) in a much higher proportion to the reach (the green line) than any other age group. You can’t see the number in this screenshot, but while the average cost per signup right now is $0.98, for women in the 35-44 age range it’s actually only $0.68.

Again, this is data that I only have because I’m using a pixel to track actual signups, and not just clicks to my page.

Now that I’ve shown you why you need to be using conversion tracking with your email campaigns on Facebook, let’s look at the how.

Step 1: Create a thank-you page on your website and add the pixel

If you don’t have a website set up already, click here for my handy guide on how to do it quickly, without breaking the bank.

Now the first thing you need to do is create your thank you page. In your WordPress admin dashboard, go to Pages -> Add New.

I usually title mine “Signup Confirmation” and add a simple sentence of text along the lines of “Thank you for signing up to [author name] newsletter! You are now subscribed.”

Great! Now we just need to add your pixel code.

Go to your Facebook Ads Manager. Now, under tools, select “pixels”, the third option down.

Now if you’ve never used a pixel before, you’ll get a window pop up that will have an option to create a pixel.

Click that. Now, choose a name for your pixel. It doesn’t really matter what you choose, I just used my author name. As far as I’m aware no one can see what your pixel name is, but I’m not 100% sure on this.

Click “Create Pixel”

Then, you’ll have the option to “Install Pixel Now”. Click that. A bunch of code will pop up, that looks something like this:

Copy all of this code. Paste it into an empty Notepad file.

Now, go back to your WordPress admin dashboard on your website. On the menu bar on the left, go to Appearance -> Editor. On the right hand side is a list of files. Click on the Theme Header (header.php) file.

SUPER IMPORTANT: COPY AND PASTE EVERYTHING IN THIS FILE INTO ANOTHER EMPTY NOTEPAD FILE. SAVE IT AS HEADERBACKUP.PHP (or whatever) ON YOUR COMPUTER BEFORE DOING ANYTHING ELSE. SERIOUSLY. DO THIS.

Now go back to your first Notepad file, the one with your Facebook pixel code. Highlight all the code and copy it once more.

In the header.php file, scroll down until you see <head>

IMMEDIATELY AFTER the <head> code, press enter to get to a new line, and paste the pixel code. Press enter again for another empty line after the code.

Then, click “update file”.

Go to your site’s homepage to make sure nothing looks screwed up. If it does, copy all of headerbackup.php (this is why you backed it up!!) and replace everything in the header.php screen on your dashboard with it. Update again and everything should be back to normal. Then, try the pixel code again.

Now, let’s make sure the pixel we installed is working.

Go to the thank you page you just created. Then, click here (or go back to Tools -> Pixels in your Facebook ads manager). Your pixel should show as active.

If it’s not working, there’s a Chrome extension you can install by clicking here.  When you’ve installed the extension you’ll see this picture show up in the top right corner of your browser, next to the URL bar: 

Go back to your thank you page, and click that little </> image in the top corner. You should see something like this pop up:

If the pixel failed to load, the box will give you hints as to why that might be.

You can also look at this page for help:

https://www.facebook.com/business/help/218844828315224

Once you have your pixel loaded and working, it’s time for step 2!

Step 2: Change your mailing list form thank you page

Now, these instructions are for anyone using MailerLite, because MailerLite is awesome and I will always recommend them to anyone.

Go to your account, and select “webforms” at the top of the page.

If you don’t already have a form for your site that you want to use, click on “Add New Webform” in the top right. If you do have a webform that you want to use already, then simply click on that form to open it.

If you’re creating a new form, fill out the next box, making sure it looks something like this:

Then click “Save and continue”

Select a subscriber group (or “list”) and click Save and Continue again.

If you already have your form and simply clicked on it, you can keep reading again from here.

The first thing you want to do is turn off double optins:

I never, ever run my campaigns with double optin turned on. It’s just not necessary these days, and makes you more likely to lose subscribers.

Now, design your form however you want. BUT you need to make sure that the thank you URL at the bottom of the “details” screen is changed to the thank you page you made in step one:

Once you’ve created your form and saved it, make sure to record the Form Landing Page URL given to you by MailChimp:

Copy/paste that URL into an empty Notepad file (my favorite temporary storage solution, have you noticed that yet?)

Step 3: Register a custom conversion with our thank you page

Now, we need to set it up so that Facebook knows that whenever someone hits the thank-you page specifically, to register a conversion.

In your Facebook ads manager, go to Tools -> Custom Conversion (fourth option down)

Click the “Create Custom Conversion” button.

Fill out the form.

In this example, my thank you page might be: http://www.thewritersblueprint.com/your-thank-you-page

So I’ve made sure that only the thank you page will generate a custom conversion.

Then click “next” and give your pixel a name, then click “create”.

You’ll get a little box that tells you the custom conversion was created sucessfully. When you close the box, the manager will refresh and your new pixel will appear. The box on the far right, that says “status” will be red, saying “no activity yet”.

Go back to your thank you page and refresh the page. Then go back to your pixel page, and refresh that. It should turn green and say “Active” now.

Step 4: Make your ads!

Finally, a normal step!

Go to create a new campaign. But instead of choosing “clicks to your website”, click on “increase conversions on your website”

Paste your landing page URL into the box that comes up, then the pixel you created will automatically pop up as well.

Your screen should look something like this.

Then, press continue, and make your ad sets and adverts as normal!

Note: sometimes the continue screen blanks out like it is in the photo above, sometimes it doesn’t. If it does blank out for you, press the ‘x’ on the right of the conversion pixel (the bottom option) and then click that box and re-select the pixel. That seems to fix the glitch.

A second note: I always make sure that Facebook charges me per clicks to my website:

The default is to be charged per conversion, but in my experience Facebook is AWFUL at telling who’s going to convert. I’ve found that you end up paying a lot less by changing the optimization to link clicks to your site. Obviously you should test this yourself, since you might find your results completely different from mine, but it’s something to keep in mind for sure.

And so now you’re done! Your results will now be listed as conversions, or sign ups to your mailing list, instead of clicks. You’re now able to track your actual mailing list signups instead of just clicks, giving you much, much more valuable data!

Now if only there was a way to place a conversion pixel on Amazon’s site…

Stay tuned as I plan on doing a whole series of posts on everything to do with mailing lists, from how to create one, to how to set up an email address without using Gmail, and more! But that’s it for now…

 

How to publish a book (and promote it!) for under $500

I’ve seen way, way too many self-published authors spend thousands of dollars getting their books ready for publication. That’s just not necessary. Especially when, for most of those people, they’re never going to get that money back.

So if you’re one of those people spending over $500 every time you’re launching a book, and not getting any results from it, this is absolutely the blog post for you.

Basically, there are three main things you should be spending your money on as a new author.

#1. Editing

If your book isn’t well edited, well, you can expect some bad reviews. Every author should be paying for editing, especially given how cheap it is.

How much to pay?

For copy editing, which includes basic proofreading for spelling/grammatical mistakes, as well as watching out for plot issues, sentence structure, and a few other basics, you can usually expect to pay in the $200-$250 range for a 50,000 word novel (I look for a provider generally charging in the $5 per 1000 words range). I wouldn’t bother paying for line editing. Copy editing is fine.

You’ll notice that we’re spending a good chunk of our budget on editing. Well, editing is pretty important. You don’t want to skimp out on something that might end up giving you bad reviews if you’ve made too many mistakes.

If you’re looking for a good editor, try forums like kboards, where editors are listed. The most popular editors are usually booked up pretty early, but they’re popular for a reason. You generally want to stick with those. Whoever you go with, make sure they have good references, whether they be in the form of forum posts, or if you have to ask for them. If you become a member of smaller communities, oftentimes service providers there will offer special discounts to members of those boards.

I don’t recommend it, but if you absolutely, positively MUST self-edit, well I have one piece of advice for you: step away from the book for at least 48 hours. Give your brain some time to forget about what you’ve done for a little while. If you finish your book and immediately go to self-edit, you will miss major mistakes.

#2. Cover

Your cover is the #1 thing that’s going to make people click on your books when they show up in their search results. I’ve seen wayyyyyy too many authors ask me why their book isn’t selling, and then showing me covers that look like this:

badcover

Sure, this is an extreme example, but this is the cover of your book we’re talking about. No one’s going to click on that cover I posted above. They’re just not. It looks terrible. And unless you genuinely have years and years of experience with Photoshop, and you’ve spent hours upon hours studying your genre and what the covers look like, chances are a cover artist is going to do MUCH better work for you than you could do yourself.

This isn’t the time to get all insulted about not being a professional cover artist. You’re NOT a professional cover artist. At least, most of you reading this aren’t. Some of you might be. But if you’re not, then buy a cover. At least for your first couple of books.

How much should I pay for a cover?

You can get decent pre-made covers in the $40-$60 range. For custom covers, which I only recommend if you really, really can’t find anything pre-made that fits your book, you’d be looking more in the $60-$80 range.

Again, go to KBoards, or smaller writer’s forums related to your niche. You’ll find great cover artists there. And if you take your time and look around, you’ll find a deal. I’ve seen amazing pre-mades selling for $35 before. Start looking for covers while you’re still writing your book, or even before you’ve started writing it but after you’ve come up with the plot. If you’re not in a hurry to buy something, just being able to have a quick browse here and there can help you find great premades at excellent prices.

#3. Marketing

So now we have around $200 left from our initial budget. We’re going to spend that money on marketing.

Now honestly, depending on what genre you write in, where the best place to spend your money is is going to vary. What I would do, however, is focus on mailing lists. Honestly, I don’t recommend Facebook ads when you’re trying to really squeeze as much as you can out of every dollar. The Facebook ads market has become super saturated after a few courses have come out telling authors about how good they are, and I would personally spend the money on mailing lists like ENT, BookSends, that sort of thing.

I would spend most of the money on one big promotion (in the $70-$100 range) and then the rest of the money on smaller promotions on surrounding days. This is where you really need to find a forum with writers in your genre: they will be able to tell you what sites are worth the money, and which ones aren’t. I can tell you that in romance I’ve had good results with ENT, BookSends, My Romance Reads, The Naughty List, Shameless Book Deals and ExciteSteam.

This of course doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use free sources of marketing – submitting your books to Facebook pages, making sure you have a bunch of reviews, promoting to your mailing list, etc – but paid marketing, when done well, can go a long way towards making sure your book is seen, and it doesn’t need to cost a whole lot.

Watch for my upcoming post with more free promotion methods to get as many eyeballs as possible on your books without having to break the bank. As you can see, we just launched a book fully for under $500. There’s no reason to spend more than that, at least not when you’re starting out. You haven’t skimped on anything, and this way you’re getting your feet wet in the publishing world in a way that makes you more likely to make your money back and then some.

The author’s guide to building a kick-ass website in under an hour.

So you’re an author, and you don’t have a website. “Hey Liv, why do I need a website anyway? Isn’t that what Amazon’s for?”

No.

It’s so important as an author for you to have your own website, and why wouldn’t you? After all, the domain costs like $15 a year, and you can get hosting through the link I’m posting below for under $6 a month. So for under $90 a year you can look like a pro, have a bigger online presence, and give your readers a great spot to come and find all the info on your latest releases.

Not to mention, you should already be buying the domain name for your mailing list (having john@johndoe.com as your reply-to email for your mailing list will get you a much better inbox delivery rate than using johndoe@gmail.com), so really the only extra expense you’re paying for is the hosting.

Plus, it’s easy. I promise. Just follow the instructions below, it doesn’t take long.

“Alright Liv, you’ve convinced me, as always, because you’re amazing and you know everything. So how do I get started?”

First of all, you need to buy a domain name and hosting.

I always buy my domains from name.com. It’s not like they’re super amazing or anything, but I just started buying my domains from them and I like having them all in one spot. I’ve also heard really good things about namecheap.com.

If you’re really on a budget, you can also skip straight to the web hosting part of this tutorial. When you sign up for Dreamhost, they include free domain registration for the first year. I like to keep my domain registrations and hosting separate, but there’s honestly no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of Dreamhost’s offer.

Now, when you’re on the main site, you want to choose your author website name. The number one, 100% best name to get is authorname.com

Always buy a .com domain. Even if the .com is taken but .net is available, don’t. People are so used to typing .com now that they’re not going to remember that your website is a .net.

If johndoe.com is taken, try johndoeauthor.com. Or authorjohndoe.com

At least one of those three should be available. Click “Add to Cart” and then go to checkout.

Now, when you’re in your cart on name.com, you’ll notice that whois privacy has been added for $3.99. DO NOT TURN THIS OFF. You absolutely want whois privacy on all your domains, it hides the information of the person who registered the domain from the public. Basically, if you don’t have whois protection, anybody with an internet connection can look up your real name and address.

However there’s no reason to pay $3.99 for this. So click the button for Promo Code, and in the window that appears enter ‘PRIVACYPLEASE’ and name.com will give you the whois protection for free.

Then enter your payment info, and buy your domain.

When you’ve bought your domain, you should be taken to your dashboard, which looks something like this:

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Click on the domain that you just bought (ie. johndoe.com)

On the screen that opens, you want to click on “Nameservers”, the third menu option down the left hand side. Your screen should now look something like this:

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Click that “Delete All” button above the nameservers, then “Apply Changes”.

Next, in the “Add Nameserver” box, you want to write ns1.dreamhost.com. Then click “Add”. Then, in that same box, write “ns2.dreamhost.com”. Click “Add” again. Click “Apply Changes” again. Now, the screen should look something like this:

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Congratulations, your domain is now completely set up!

Now, let’s set up your hosting.

Dreamhost is the host I use, and I’ve been with them since approximately forever (2007 kind of feels like forever ago), since long before I got into self publishing. They’ve always been awesome to me. You can pay with PayPal or credit card, their customer service is top notch, and I’ve rarely ever had any downtime with them.

Click here to sign up and get $50 off your first year’s hosting with Dreamhost.

You need to use my link to get the $50 off, otherwise you’ll be paying the normal, full price. It is an affiliate link, but if I just linked to the normal Dreamhost site, you wouldn’t be getting the discount. I’m not recommending Dreamhost for the affiliate commissions, I’m recommending them because they are amazing.

Start off by creating your account with a username and password. Then, you’ll get to the domain page. If you have already bought your domain, enter it in the box, and select “I already own this domain” from the radio buttons below. If not, enter the domain name you want to buy.

Always buy a .com domain. Even if the .com is taken but .net is available, don’t. People are so used to typing .com now that they’re not going to remember that your website is a .net.

If johndoe.com is taken, try johndoeauthor.com. Or authorjohndoe.com

Your screen should look something like this:

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Then click continue. On the next page, you’ll be given three different plan options to choose from. Select the middle option (one year at $50 off). You can choose three years if you want, up to you. If you can afford the money right off the bat, it’s some good savings, but if you’re just starting out I’d go with the one year option. Then click continue once again.

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The next page will ask you if you want to set up a MySQL VPS. Leave the box unchecked (for ‘no’), and click continue.

Finally, the last page will ask for your payment info. Once you’ve entered it and paid, congratulations, you are all set up to build your website!

Let’s get this website rolling!

Now, when you log into your Dreamhost dashboard, you’ll see this menu on the left hand side:

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The two options that I’ve underlined in red are the only ones you’re going to need to worry about to build your site. First, start off by clicking “domains”, then click the first option, “manage domain” from the expanded menu.

Click the “add hosting to a domain/subdomain” option that pops up. If you registered your domain through Dreamhost I’m not 100% sure if you have to do this step. If you opened the page in “Manage domains” and saw the domain you purchased already listed, you can skip this step.

Now, fill in the info on the page listed. It looks like a lot, but there are only two things you need to fill out: your domain name, and the domain username. Everything else can be left as is. I’ve added a picture showing you what parts to fill out below.

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Then when you’ve done that, scroll past everything else until you reach the captcha. Fill it out and click “fully host this domain”.

Now we’re going to install WordPress

WordPress is basically a content management system that makes it SUPER easy for authors to set up really awesome looking web pages quickly.

Remember this menu, on the left hand side?

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Now, you’re going to click on “Goodies”. Then below that, “One click Installs” (the second option down).

Click on WordPress.

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The only thing you need to do in the window that pops up is choose your domain from the first drop down box (the one underlined in red in the photo below) and press “Install for me now”

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Now, this is the most time consuming part of the process. If you registered your domain through Dreamhost, you only have to wait about ten minutes before you get an email telling you how to set up your site. If you registered through another registrar and had to change the nameservers, you’ll have to wait a few hours for the information to propagate. Basically, when you get the email from Dreamhost, try clicking the link in it every hour or so until your website loads. I find it usually takes 3-4 hours.

When you get the email, this is what it will look like:

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You only really need to worry about numbers 1 and 4. Click on the link under number 1 to create your admin user. Choose your language first, then click continue. Fill out the information it asks for, then click install wordpress at the bottom.

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Once you’ve done that, follow the prompts to log in, and log in with the username and password you’ve just chosen.

Congratulations, you now have a website! If you go to yourwebsite.com, you’ll see something that looks like this. Now we just need to customize it and make it yours.

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Customize WordPress to make it awesome and your own.

The very first thing I always choose when I start a new WordPress site is a theme. There are literally millions of themes out there. Some are free, some are paid. Here’s a list of a few free themes that I think would work pretty well for authors:

Grid

Digest

Hitchcock

Pine

Portfolio

GK Portfolio

Now, you can use any of these themes, or any others. Have a look at what you can find on Google, and if you find a theme you like, go for it! For this example, though, I’ll be going through how to customize Grid, the first theme on my list. Begin by downloading your theme from the website, in .zip format. Don’t bother unpacking the files, just leave them in .zip. Grid has a free and a paid version, I’m just using the free version.

First, on the menu on the left hand side, go to Appearance -> Themes.

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Click on “Add New” at the top.

Now click on “Upload Theme” at the top.

In the box that pops up, choose the Grid zip file you downloaded, and click Install Now.

When the file successfully installs, click “Activate”

Now, if you go to your website, it’ll probably look pretty empty. Time to fix that! We’re going to add your books.

From the left side menu, click on “Posts”.

There will be one post listed, titled “Hello World”. Mouse over the name, and a few options will show up. Click on “edit”.

Now, we’re going to put your books here. If you have more than one book, start with your oldest. In the title, I usually put New Release: [book name]

Then in the description, I put the blurb, and links to buy the book.

Now, before you hit publish, though, you need to add your cover as the “featured image”. On the right hand side are a whole bunch of option. Publish, Categories, Tags, etc. The very bottom one is called “Featured Image”. Click “Set featured image”. Go to “upload image” and choose your file. Upload it, then in the bottom right corner choose “set featured image”. If you’ve done it right, your cover will appear in the “Featured Image” box on the main part of the screen. This is what your page should look like when you’re done.

(if you want to see the full-size version: http://i.imgur.com/OqJvZ6d.png )

Now on the right hand side, click the “update” button. If you visit your website now, you’ll see your book’s information:

How cool is that?

If you have more books, you can go to Posts -> Add New and repeat the same process until you’ve added all your posts to your website. Remember to go oldest book to newest book, so that your latest release will always be the first thing people see.

Here’s what your homepage will look like with a few books added to it:

Now that your books are up, let’s make an “About the Author” page.

On the menu on the left, click on “Pages”.

Mouse over the one that says “Sample Page” and click “Edit”. Change it to “About Me” (or whatever you want to call it!) and add in whatever text or images you want. Then, click update on the right hand side.

Now we’re going to change the logo. With this theme, the logo has to be 800 x 200 pixels. Either make your own logo if you have the skills to do it, or hire someone on Fiverr to do it for you.

On the left hand menu, mouse over “Appearance” and go to “Grid Settings”. The first option you have is to add your own custom logo. Click the “upload your logo” button just under the option. Select your logo file. When it’s uploaded, a thin white strip will appear under where you selected your file. On the far right of the white strip it will say “edit”. Click on that. In the new tab that opens, on the far right is a box titled “save”. In that box is a line called “File URL.” Copy the link in that box, and paste it into the “custom logo URL” box in your Grid Settings tab. Then click “save changes” and go have a look at what your site looks like now!

Pretty cool, huh?

I’m really not sure why the “About Me” shows up twice on the top of the page. Honestly, I might not have picked this theme if I knew that it was going to do that ahead of time, it might be a bit of a screw up in the coding, who knows.

But regardless, I now have a fully functional website showing off all of my books!

Now, just a couple more details to deal with before we’re finished.

First of all, hover over “Posts” on the left hand menu and click on “Categories”. Mouse over “Uncategorized” on the right hand side where the existing categories are, and click “Quick Edit”. Change the name to “New Releases” and the slug to “new-releases” and click update.

Then, mouse over “Settings” and go to “Permalinks”. Make sure the radio button is set to “Post Name” and click “Update”.

And lastly, mouse over “Appearance” and choose “Widgets”. Everything under “Sidebar” on the right is what will show up on the sidebar when people click on your books. You can click and drag different widgets to and from the sidebar. I personally recommend the following:

  • Search
  • Recent Posts (when it’s in the sidebar, click to expand it and change the title to “latest releases” or something similar)
  • Categories
  • Text

In the text box I like to put a button to Like my Facebook page. You can get the code you need to put in the text box by clicking here.

From here, please feel free to have fun with your site! This is just the absolute basics. If you’re so inclined you can add more pages to your site. Go nuts with it, have fun. You’ve just created a website from scratch, and I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty awesome. And I bet it wasn’t nearly as hard as you thought it was going to be.

 

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