I've spent the last four days developing and redesigning my websites. That's right, two of them. One from scratch, and a total revamp on the original. Why? For a few reasons.
First up, I decided it's high time Jacquie Gee have her own Romance Website separate from Jacqueline Garlick's Fantasy/Sci Fi one. Mixing the two was becoming uber confusing, not only to me, but to my readers. Was I a Fantasy/Sci Fi author or a Classic Romance Author? The answer is both. But people who love romance don't necessarily read fantasy/sci fi and visa versa, so...
Can you say ineffective?
Offering books from both genres on one website was like offering someone yogurt than fries with gravy. They just didn't go together. And since I'm a firm believe that an author's website is like their handshake, my website better reflect my personal greeting. But as it stood, my website was just a static place where people could go to find my books. It reflected little, if any, of my personality.
Ever shake someone's hand and their flesh and bones squish to mush in your palm and you think...hmmmm, dunno about this one? Yeah, well...that was the effect of my website.
It was definitely a problem and a costly one. Especially in today's overly-saturated, fast-paced world of Internet books sales, where those that stand out succeed, and the rest are forgotten. Not, that I was make money off my actual website. I don't. But I like to think of it as the gateway drug to pimping my books, so it needed to be the good stuff. No more confusing mishmash of available titles, I needed something clearer, cleaner, more simple, yet slick. Oh, yeah, and don't forget alluring. Kind of like going onto Pinterest. Which has made a multi-dollar business out of clumping together alluring visuals, surely to goodness, I could learn to cobble together a few.
But it's harder than you think, you know? There's colours to consider. And the actually visual themselves. Not to mention font selection. *Rips out hair.*
What I thought would take a mere few hours, stretched into days.
But, as my frontline in the battle to attract readers, I needed to spend the time to fortify its ranks. Cause as a self-publisher, I don't about you, but I don't do many in-person signings these days. My website IS my signing, my first point of contact, my first conversation with readers, and my one-to-one chance to greet them face to face. Currently, I wasn't dazzling anyone, and that needed to change.
Ever read a great book and immediately want to know more about the author? You Google their name and get all excited, and feel like you've hit pay dirt when you find more information about them. When you do that, what are you really looking for? Their stats? A lengthy list of their accomplishments/accolades? Hell no. You're looking for the person who wrote that excellent book you just couldn't put down.
You could give a shit if they went to Harvard!
It's taken me a long, long, time to get my head around that idea. Until I met this guy. Noah Kagan of okdork.com. (Shameless plug, and no, I don't get any kickback for this, just doing it because he's cool and deserves it!)
I stumbled across his podcast and in a matter of seconds, I understood the difference between my lame, non-personal approach to marketing, and Noah's.
He is great! I loved the guy! He's the kind of person I would gravitate to at a writer's conference. I was hooked and signing up for more information.
What? How did he do that?
He'd delivered a message I enjoyed, sure, but more importantly, it was the WAY in which he delivered that message that caught my attention. It was personable. It was smart. And a little bit zany. I liked that. It was perfect! Down to earth and really cool!
And all he did, was be him.
Suddenly, I realized what my website was missing. That little bit of pizzaz that is only ME! Though technically, it was well put together, it was dull and boring. It reflected almost nothing about who I am, or what I want readers to know of me- not about me.
THAT is the key.
I needed to change that shit and big time, STAT!
So, where to begin?
Well, let's suppose you're standing in line at Startbucks for another one of those frothy, fattening, peppermint hot chocolate drinks you love so much... oh, wait, that's me... anyway, you're there and a fan recognizes you and taps you on the shoulder. Once she stops gushing over you and your books, what are you gonna say to her?
What is your very important next move?
Seriously, what the fathom are you gonna say? What comes out of your mouth? Thank you, of course, but then what? What are you going share that'll move this person? What are you going to do to endear her? What lasting impression do you want to make? What's the visual? Finally, what important 'call to action' do you want her to respond to (if any)? These are all critical questions you must ask yourself when revamping your website.
What does your website say?
Below are the links to my new websites.
Drop your feedback in the comments, I'd love to hear what you think.