Ever wished you could get a cool looking 3D graphics of your book like other authors have?

I’ll create one for you for free, all you have to do in return is promise to help promote my latest book – The Bitch (now available at Amazon). ie: Tweet or post about my book on Facebook.

It really is that simple … email me at tracytegan@gmail.com and let’s talk.

Tracy Tegan Books

You help me (by promoting my latest romance novel) and I’ll help you by making you a cool 3d book cover for your book!

Some more samples that you can pick from

Absolutely Unforgivable

It seems the last year the buy-in scam has become far more common. Here’s how it works … you are invited to contribute a story or an essay to a compilation book. In return, you will be given a percentage of all the sales. The catch? They want cash up front. The amount they ask for can be anything from $100 to as much as $5,000.

Most recently one person was doing a complication of 100 chic-lit stories. All I had to do was give them $500 and they would not only publish my story but also guarantee me a percentage of sales.

A few months before that a publisher was asking only $3,600 from 10 different people. They claimed the money was for the marketing budget, and we would all be given a percentage of sales.

Before that was the 100 Halloween horror story compilation. All I had to do was give them $250 and they’ll publish by Halloween horror story and pay me a percentage of every book sold. The publisher gets $25,000 before the book is even out the door!

Is this a scam? ABSOLUTELY. You don’t need to pay to have your book published and anyone who tries to get you to pay is a scammer.

If you actually start looking into the books they’ve previously released (if they even have any) you’ll see their sales rank at amazon is horrible and that means nobody is buying the book. So you just paid money for a book that will never sell.

Why?

What does that do for you?

Don’t fall victim to the buy-in or co-publishing scam.

 

Piracy

Piracy may not seem like a subject that has much to do with book promotion, but you might be surprised.

Piracy

Usually, when people think of digital piracy, they think of illegal movie or music downloads. But it applies to photos as well and can be just as problematic for you if you are caught doing it.

I didn’t realize how rampant piracy was in the author community until last year when I decided to join some Facebook groups designated for authors to promote their books.

There are hundreds of these groups on Facebook, and some of them even have huge followings with tens of thousands of members. Sounds like a great way to promote your book, right? Well, it can be. Some authors say that using these types of groups can more than double their download rates.

But something else I noticed about these groups, was the increasing number of authors illegally using images they didn’t own.

It may sound harmless to some people, but if you get caught, it could cost the author $150,000 per offense.

That means if you do it just seven times, which is once a day, every day for a week, you’ve risked a possible default judgment against you for over a million dollars. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t have an extra million bucks lying around to pay out to the owner of the photos I was illegally using to promote my book.

And that’s just the default judgment, the company that owns the rights to that image you used, could very well go in and ask the judge for additional damages.

I decided to do a little research into the subject matter and contacted several of the authors that were doing this. Every single one of the authors I spoke with claimed to honestly have no idea what they were doing was illegal, nor did they realize that the copyright law protected the owners of the photographs with such a large default judgment, per offense.

Unfortunately for them, ignorance of the law isn’t an excuse for breaking it. And a new software is being developed every single day, that can go out on the internet to search for certain photos and when they find them illegally being used, they will go after you for a very simple reason. It’s easy for them to do and they are guaranteed a win; because you have no defense. You can’t say you didn’t know because not knowing isn’t a valid defense.

There are many companies dedicated to doing nothing but going after people who do this very thing and they are making an insane amount of money in what is known as ‘copyright settlements’.

I happen to know a guy who makes an incredible living doing nothing but going after people who are illegally using photos and video clips on social media sites, that they don’t own the rights to.

They will file against hundreds or even thousands of people all at once and then settle with those people for a smaller amount. In some cases, the companies will agree to settle the case with you for a few thousand or work out a payment plan with you where you agree to pay them $1,000 a month, every month over the next year.

Do you really have an extra $1,000 a month lying around to pay out every month for the next year or two? Even if you talked them into a smaller settlement, that’s still money you have to spend.

And just think, you could have avoided all of this if you would have just used an image you legally licensed in the first place to promote your book.

Think you can’t afford to license images? Then how are you going to be able to afford the money it’s going to cost you if you get caught stealing them? Think twice before throwing up an image of your favorite celebrity to promote your book.

Here are some sites where you can legally license images.

Today we are going to talk about theft and how to protect your work from being stolen.

It is virtually impossible to protect a popular book from being stolen and given out for free on the internet. But you have to try and chances are, you aren’t quite as popular as Stephenie Meyer, J.K. Rowling or Stephen King so it will be much easier to protect your work.

Let’s start with the simple way to start the process. Go to Google.com/alerts and enter your name where it says “Create an alert about …” but when you do make sure and enter your name in quotes like this … “Tracy Tegan”.

You want your alert to be an exact name match or you might get a lot of false alerts that will just be annoying.

Now you have told Google to alert you every time it comes across a new entry for your name and this includes when it finds websites offering your book illegally as a download.

Next, go to YouTube.com and search for your name or the names of your books. You might be surprised what you find there.  I found some jerk had taken all of the Thoughtless series by S.C. Stephens and illegally put them up on YouTube. They’ve been up for over 2 months and in that time thousands of people have listened to her audiobooks for free. She lost so many sales as a result. I mean why buy the book at Audible when you can just listen to it for free at YouTube, right?

thoughtless-stolen

So if you find yourself in this situation go to YouTube and report every video that is illegally streaming your books.  You can only report your own stolen books. So while it’s horrible that we found someone else stealing books belonging to an author we all know and love, but we can’t do anything about it other than warn her.

thoughtless-stolen-2

Once you click the REPORT button on YouTube, simply follow the stated instructions on the screen.

Now protecting your work on  YouTube is really the easy part. When you find your book on other websites it gets a little more complicated. When you find these you have to contact the site’s owner, and web hosting company and issue a DMCA takedown notice.

A DMCA takedown notice is a notification to a company, usually a web host or a search engine, that they are either hosting or linking to copyright-infringing material. It provides them notice to remove the copyrighted works.

If you want to find your book already being downloaded illegally search for something like “download YOURBOOK NAME” and then look for obvious offenders. Then you can send them your DMCA Take Down Notice. Here is a sample for you to use.

SAMPLE DMCA TAKE DOWN NOTICE

My name is INSERT YOUR NAME and I am the AUTHOR of INSERT BOOK NAME HERE. A website that your company hosts (according to WHOIS information) is infringing on at least one copyright owned by my company.

This was copied onto your servers without permission. The original BOOK, to which we own the exclusive copyrights, can be found at:
PROVIDE WEBSITE URL ie: http://amzn.to/1Sx1xL9

The unauthorized and infringing copy can be found at:
PUT THE URL OF THE WEBSITE WHO STOLE YOUR BOOOK HERE

This letter is official notification under Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (”DMCA”), and I seek the removal of the aforementioned infringing material from your servers. I request that you immediately notify the infringer of this notice and inform them of their duty to remove the infringing material immediately and notify them to cease any further posting of infringing material to your server in the future.

Please also be advised that law requires you, as a service provider, to remove or disable access to the infringing materials upon receiving this notice. Under US law a service provider, such as yourself, enjoys immunity from a copyright lawsuit provided that you act with deliberate speed to investigate and rectify ongoing copyright infringement. If service providers do not investigate and remove or disable the infringing material this immunity is lost. Therefore, in order for you to remain immune from a copyright infringement action, you will need to investigate and ultimately remove or otherwise disable the infringing material from your servers with all due speed should the direct infringer, your client, not comply immediately.

I am providing this notice in good faith and with the reasonable belief that rights my company owns are being infringed. Under penalty of perjury, I certify that the information contained in the notification is both true and accurate, and I have the authority to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright(s) involved.

Should you wish to discuss this with me please contact me directly.

Thank you.

YOUR NAME
Address
City, State Zip
Phone
E-mail

Now email this copy to the web hosting company. How can you find that out? Let’s take a look … it’s not always easy. If it’s from Blogger.com or Blogspot.com, then go here and simply follow the instructions.

http://rapidgator.net is a site that illegally hosts books. So what I do first is a WHOIS search. This will hopefully tell me who owns that domain name.

The first thing I noticed is that the site uses Domain Name Privacy protection, so I am unable to contact them directly.

Registrant Email: 54374c49q7mfir3i@5225b4d0pi3627q9.whoisprivacycorp.com

I will, however, attempt to send my DMCA notice to that address, but it’s not always successful.

Next, I look down at their name servers. This site has their own name servers. This is not uncommon when trying to mask your real identity or if they are a big company. Usually however with pirates, it’s to try and hide their real identity or who they really host with to try and avoid getting out of trouble.

Name Server: ns1.rapidgator.net Name Server: ns2.rapidgator.net Name Server: ns3.rapidgator.net Name Server: ns4.rapidgator.net Name Server: ns5.rapidgator.net

So what do I do now? I go to a site called http://www.whoishostingthis.com and I search rapidgator.net. This tells me that their hosting company is Netvillage. So if they don’t respond to my DMCA request I will go directly to their web host.

So next I go to the website rapidgator.net. This actually should have been my first step. I found a REPORT abuse link on their website, so I would fill out their form.

However, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes you have to find out who their hosting company is as a site like whoishostingthis.com and send your letters there.

I keep doing this for every single website I find illegally offering my book on their website. And every time Google sends me an alert letting me know of a new one, which honestly isn’t that often anymore, I repeat this process. I only takes a few minutes but it’s worth it.

Before I started doing this I found that over 20,000 people had illegally downloaded my first book Absolutely Unforgivable.

That’s 20,000 sales I’ll never get paid on and that’s not okay!

Stealing from someone is never okay and hopefully, now you understand how you can stop people from doing it from you.

By the way, if you like this article, please share it with your friends.

 

When reading a book we often form an image of the characters in our mind that often look very different from the actors or actresses cast to play those characters when they make a movie or TV show about the book in question.

Recently, a Brooklyn-based filmmaker and digital artist by the name of Brian Joseph Davis created a series of police sketches based off of the physical descriptions from the books.

When I first heard about the Kindle Scout program I spent hours reading every single article I could find about it. In the end I found almost every article was the same, providing almost identical information about what Kindle Scout is and what it offers. For those who haven’t read the 30,000 other articles like I have, I’ll just summarize it for you …  If selected I would get $1,500 advance plus they were willing to guarantee me $25,000 in total sales or they would return my rights to be in full.

Despite my best effort, I couldn’t find any article with actual valuable information. Everyone is quick to tell you about the $1,500 cash advance but how about the books that have been previously selected, but what did they do to get picked? What were their stats like?

Anything with actual information other than what was on the original press release about Kindle Scout just flat out isn’t out there.

When I first heard about the Kindle Scout program it sounded like a dream come true to me. For the first time in my career as a writer, I felt like I actually had a chance to get one of my books published.

I released my first book in 2013 and I currently have six books published – two of which are full length novels and the others are novella length which is basically 10k to 30k words. I know on my own how many books I can move and I know that to get me $25,000 worth of book sales, they are going to have to do some sort of promotion and that means that my other six titles are going to benefit as well. So I could easily be looking at double that amount in book sales.

The problem is, getting them to accept me. First and foremost I had to write a book that was at least 50,000 words in length and fit into one of their three currently acceptable genres – Romance, Sci-fi / Fantasy or Mystery, Thriller & Suspense.

As a romance author, obviously this was a no brainer for me. So I finished up my manuscript, created and then went to submit it. Next I had to come up with a cover. Anyone who visits the Kindle Scout website will quickly notice the quality of the book covers on the site are downright comical.

At the time of writing this article there are currently 15 books listed on the site and out of those only two have a somewhat professional or remotely decent looking cover. So in this area I knew I was pretty safe. I had a sexy cover for my book that looked like I spent a lot of money on having produced.

With that out of the way I pressed submit and waited. It took the Kindle Scout team a few days to get back with me and approve my listing. Once they did, they actually didn’t start it right away. Instead it was scheduled for several days out. The process for me began on June 2nd and would end officially on July 2nd at midnight.

I should note that unlike the normal Amazon site which runs based on PST, everything on the Kindle Scout site seems to run based on EST.

I pushed my book hard, harassing all my friends and followers on Facebook and twitter to please nominate my book. In the end I was able to generate 1.7k page views to my page and stayed hot and trending 60.5% of the time.

But was it enough? That I had to wait to find out. When my campaign ended, I was sent an auto-generated message letting me know that my book was under review for consideration for publication and that they would let me know in less than three business days. Of course it was a Friday when I got that letter so that meant I had to wait possibly until Tuesday of next week. Turns out though, I didn’t have to wait that long. At exactly midnight EST, two days later (Saturday night) I got a letter letting me know that they decided not publish my book. At the exact same time they notified all of those people who nominated my book letting them know.

I tried to find stats on other people who have used Kindle Scout but the information just flat out isn’t available. I hope that by sharing my stats, other authors will do the same.

  • 436 / 720 possible hours in hot and trending
  • 1.7k total page views

In the end I think that Kindle Scout is a good idea for independent authors that can’t generate at least $25,000 in sales on their own. Most independent authors find that they make less than $2,500 on their book. Honestly marketing a book on your own isn’t always easy and it takes time to build a platform. If you are a new author and don’t have a mailing list with 1,000 or more names on there, then getting Amazon to publish and promote your book can be a great thing.

However if you’ve been around awhile and can push your book to your legion of fans on your own, then you don’t really need Amazon or any publisher for that matter. Just publish your book yourself and sit back and enjoy the sales through your own marketing efforts. For the rest of us though, Kindle Scout offers some real possibilities.

While my book didn’t end up getting picked, I still think it has some great potential.

Waiting For You by Tracy Tegan

Now that Waiting For You is available at Amazon I thought I would try out some good old-fashioned radio advertising to promote it. I’ve never done radio advertising before so I’m not quite sure how it will work out for a book but I guess we’ll see. 🙂

In the mean time, I thought I would share the audio file with you and see what you think of my commercial. Let me know! I love to hear your feedback.

If the player below doesn’t work for you then you can click here to play it.

 

Waiting For You

 

 

If you read Stephen King’s book Under The Dome then one of the things you might have noticed were the unique names of each of his characters. There was Dale “Barbie” Barbara, Julia Shumway, James Rennie, Joseph McClatchey. Brenda Perkins, Frank DeLesseps, Carter Thibodeau, Phil Bushey, Dodee Sanders, Rose Twitchell, Alva Drake, Norrie Calvert, and Georgia Roxu just to name a few. Without knowing a single thing about any of these people, you know just by seeing their names that they sound like real people, not made up fictional characters in some book.

All to often when we are making up names for the characters in our books, we tend to name them things like Amy Adams, Tom Travis, Lisa Love.

People tell us that when we pick a name for our character it should tell them something about who they are, where they come from or where they are going. But that’s much easier said than done. I also think that’s totally stupid advice.

Let me ask you a question … what do you know about Phil Bushey from the Under The Dome story? His name doesn’t tell you anything about who it is, where he is from or that he’s some crazy meth chemist. It’s just a name, but a unique, real sounding one.

Giving your character a bad name can actually detract from your overall story.

So how do you pick a good name?

I use resources like baby naming websites, or websites like Name My Sim, but another great resource is your own family tree. Several years ago I began researching my family tree at ancestry.com. A family tree has a bunch of branches, that include a huge database of names, not just your mother and fathers.  You have your mother’s maiden name, your grandmother’s maiden name and then from there it just keeps branching out.

I have over 3,800 in my family tree and every one of those names is a potential new character in one of my books. I even added in my step-father’s name into my tree and started working on the branches of his tree, giving me even more fabulous names to pick from. “Errett Fox” … I mean come on, how great of a name is that?

So how do you create a family tree? Well before you visit a site like Ancestry.com you have some work to do. You always start a family tree with yourself. You can track this information using a spreadsheet.

Write down your first, middle and last name, your date of birth and where you were born at. Now do the same for any brothers or sisters you may have, as well as your parents. Keep in mind when it comes to your mother, you want her maiden name. Now Find out when your parents got married and where. If your parents got divorced find out when and where as well. ie: June 15, 1993, in Wise, Texas. Now it’s time to get the same information about your grandparents, both sets. If they died, find out when and where they passed.

Now that you have all of this information you can register for a trial account at ancestry.com and start entering this information. Once you have all of that put in, you’ll notice little hints will start to appear and you can use that information to find out more on your family.

 

My Top 5 SEO Tips for Authors

Now that you have a fabulous new website, it’s time to talk about getting people to visit it.

One of the ways people find your website is through search engines and you can improve the chance people find you through the various search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo through what it is called search engine optimization or SEO. In short, there are some things that people can do to optimize your site and improve your chances search engines will send your website visitors.

What makes search engine traffic so great is #1) it’s free. Who doesn’t love promoting their books to people for free? Why pay for ad space when you can just get it for free, right? #2) Search engine traffic is usually highly targeted and that means that it often times has a far better rate of success. What this means is, the person who comes to you from a search engine, usually is looking for what you are talking about – your books or you n general and targeted traffic statistically is more likely to buy your books than if you were to have gotten that person via a paid ad. This is why people love search engine traffic. If I happen upon a site about shoes that’s fine, I might look at them or if I click a Facebook ad for some pretty red shoes, I might or might not buy them. But if I go to Google and search for red shoes and visit a site I am by far more likely to buy them. So in the end, this is why it’s worth doing little fixes to your site, to make it more attractive to search engines. Long story short, this is all about getting you new fans to help you sell more of your books!

#1 Unique Titles

Every single page on your website should have a unique and descriptive title. If you have 14 pages on your website, then every one of those 14 pages needs their own unique title. No two pages on your site should have the same title, ever.

If you are using what they call an SEO plugin on a blog like WordPress that lets you define the titles of each post page, be descriptive and lengthy. For this post, my title should be something like Tracy Tegan – My Top 5 SEO Tips for Authors – Book Marketing — it’s my name, title of my post and the category of the post. The idea here is to make sure the title is unique, description and the appropriate length. A little bit longer is always better than just the title of your post.

#2 Tell Don’t Show

In writing, we are told – SHOW DON’T TELL, but when it comes to your website you need to do just the opposite and tell, don’t show. What I mean by this is that search engines aren’t able to look at any pretty picture you may post and know what it means because well … they are computers. They can, however, read any text you put. So if you have to choose between pretty pictures or lots of words on your page, always choose lots of words.

Computers may be getting smarter every single day but still the one thing they can’t do is guess what in the world some picture you’ve posted may say. Look at this picture below – sweet, huh?

love

The problem is, while your fans may love it, what about search engines? They have no clue what that picture says. Sometimes however you need (or want) to use a graphic like this. So what can you do? Use both! Show the picture and type up what it says below it. Now you’ve got the best of both worlds.

love

Go for someone who is not only proud to have you,
but will also take every risk just to keep you.

#3 Be wordy! No seriously, go crazy.

Don’t be afraid to be extra wordy when it comes to your post. Search engines love text and the more you can give them, the happier it makes them. While sometimes you just don’t have a lot to say about a subject and that’s understandable, but when you can, make your post as long as possible. Search engines give bonuses to websites whose posts are unique … that means you are writing your own words and not just copying something someone else has already said, and are long and insightful. So if you are writing about your new book and how you came up with the idea for it, don’t be afraid to go crazy and make the post 500, 600 or even 1,500 words. Doing so really may bring you in more new visitors to your site than you realize, especially over the long run.

#4 – Think before you speak

Let’s say I want to buy some new red high-heeled shoes. I go to Google and search what? I probably start my search off by typing in red high-heeled shoes. I don’t just type shoes or red shoes, I type in the full “long tail” search of red high-heeled shoes. Okay sure, some people will just type in red shoes, but the point I’m trying to make is, before you start typing up whatever it is you want to say to your fans or readers, I want you to think for just a moment about what it a person would Google to find that very article you are writing about.

Let’s say you have decided to do a free book giveaway and will be autographing a special copy of your next book. What would a person type into a search engine to find your post about that? Keep in mind they don’t even know you yet, they just happen to be googling something you happened to write about. I would say they probably would search free book giveaway or what about free mystery novel or top free mystery novels? Think about who you are trying to attract and what it is they may think of in their mind when looking for something on the internet. Now when you are typing up your post about how you are going to autograph a copy of your next spy mystery novel, be sure and use those specific words in your post.

Those words are called keywords. Here are some samples of keywords …

  • Shoes
  • Red Shoes
  • High Heel Red Shoes
  • High Heel Red Shoes with Open Toes
  • Free High Heel Red Shoes with Open Toes

The more specific you can get, the more you can tailor your post to a specific thing, the better. So in the case of the above example above, if I was giving away a pair of free shoes I would in the body of my post use the keyword phrase “Free High Heel Red Shoes with Open Toes”. I would also put that in my TAGS, and quite possibly even name my post “Free High Heel Red Shoes with Open Toes”.

So to be clear if I wanted to attract people to my site, I would write a post about how I was giving away a free pair of high heel red shoes with open toes. I would very clearly say those exact words in the body of my post. I would make sure my post was at least 300 words, make my title “Free High Heel Red Shoes with Open Toes”, and put in the tag “Free High Heel Red Shoes with Open Toes”. Now that’s about as targeted as it gets. Chances are, if I did all the other things I talked about in this post, I am going to attract the right people to my site – not right away, not this minute, but in time I’ll attract a steady stream of people looking for what I was offering and it cost me nothing but the time it took me to make that post. Who doesn’t love a free way to promote their book to people actually interested in getting their hands on it? 🙂

#5 Get links

And last but most assuredly not least, we have come to what is probably the most important part of your website marketing process and that is getting other websites to link to you. Search engines think that the more people who link to your website, the more important it is so the more people they will send you. So what you need to do is get every book review blog you can to review your book and in that review, link to your official website. I can’t emphasize enough how important this step is. It doesn’t matter what their review of your book is. Google doesn’t care about good or bad reviews of your book. What they do care about is that link that says the author’s official website is (YourSite.com). The more people who provide a link to your website, the more traffic you are going to get from search engines, it’s just that simple.

If you have 93 people who reviewed your books from 93 different book review blogs, make sure every single one of them – and yes I mean actually call or email them if you have to, make sure every single one of them provided a link to your website.

Search engines use a highly sophisticated ranking system and the more people that link to you, the more points (for lack of a better word) your website gets and the more points you have the higher rank your website is to them and the more traffic they will send you. So even if a book review blog called your book the biggest piece of poo they’ve ever had the displeasure of reading, you don’t care – okay, maybe you care, but what you really really want from them is that precious link back to your official website.

 

Create Your Own Author Website For Free

So you’ve written a great book, but now what do you do? Now you have to market it and that for most authors can be the hardest part of the job and it can definitely be the most time consuming.

I’ve spent almost two decades in online marketing so I thought that I would share some of what I’ve learned over the years with you, my fellow authors so that you can perhaps use this information to better promote your book. Today we are going to talk about your website. Every author needs a website and for some people, just the thought of that drives them bonkers. But it really doesn’t have to and it also doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money. In fact, you can create a website with everything you need for free at wordpress.com.

You don’t need a big fancy, $10,000 website to properly promote your book. Sure it would be nice, but so would saving all of that money and using it instead on something that will actually help you sell more books.

Don’t worry if you’ve never done this before because I’m going to walk you through it, every single step of the way.

Before we get started, I want you to know that for some people this can be overwhelming. Don’t let it stress you out. I am going to walk you through every single step and give you very specific examples (sometimes with pictures). So if you find yourself getting agitated or frustrated, take a step back – go take a break and come back to this later. You don’t have to do it all right now – or even all today. You can do all of this at your own pace.

Step 1: Go to wordpress.com

You now have two options – you can create a new account or sign in. If you don’t have a wordpress.com account click the get started button (it’s the big orange one) and sign up for your free account. If you already have a wordpress account then sign in.

website-step-1

Once you’ve signed in you have a big blue bar up top and it gives you a few options like Reader, Stats, My Blogs and Freshly Pressed. What you want to click is MY BLOGS.

Now you want to create another blog – click that blue button – it may say create a new blog or create another blog. Either way, click it.

Step 2: Name Your Blog

The first thing it wants you to do is create your blog address.

This is a very important step because the name of your website needs to be professional and easily identify you. A lot of people out there have websites already so chances are if you have a common name it’s probably taken but try variations like for example I would enter TracyTegan as my blog name (the free version so it would be tracytegan.wordpress.com. You don’t need to spend any money right now on extras. You can later on, but for now let’s just stick with all the free stuff. Trust me, it is all you need right now. If your name isn’t available try variations like AuthorTracyTegan or Tracy-Tegan or some fun variation thereof.

Once you’ve picked a blog address, the next step is to name your blog. The default is “My Blog”. You want to change that and put in your name. So in my case I would change My Blog to say Tracy Tegan.

The next question is will ask you is about privacy. Leave it at I want my blog to be viewable by everyone.

Now select the free version and click CREATE BLOG.

Great job! Now you’ve taken the first major step, you’ve established your blog which we are going to turn less of a blog and more of a full site all about you and your book.

So let’s continue ….

Step 3: Setting up your settings

Once you’ve clicked the create blog button, wordpress will tell you congrats and take you to a page that says congrats, blah blah (see graphic below). Now what you want to do is click on the link that talks about changing your blog description or permissions. Don’t worry we’ll get to changing the theme (how your site looks) later on.

website-step-2

Once you click that link you are taken to your general settings page. Notice the left hand side of your screen – that is your main menu. I’ll refer to it a lot from now on. But for now let’s continue on with setting up your general settings.

I know it can get boring and tedious filling out all of this stuff but it is important you fill out every bit that you can. All of this stuff may not seem important but believe it or not, it can help you sell more books because if you do it right, people can find you via search engines. So let’s get down to it.

  • Site Title: This is your name. It’s important you use your full name. In my case I would put Tracy Tegan.
  • Tagline: The default setting is something silly like – This WordPress.com site is the bee’s knees. What you want to do is put a short description about you or what your site is about. I put The official site of author Tracy Tegan. You can however put anything you want. Just remember it should be short and sweet. This isn’t your bio, it’s just a tagline of what your site is about – like a newspaper headline.
  • Timezone, Date Format and Time format don’t really matter. Put in what you want there. I use my own timezone obviously, but as far as date and time format go, it’s really just personal preference. Use which formats you like best.
  • Week Starts On: To many people a week starts on Monday, to me it starts on a Sunday so I always change that setting to Sunday. Really it’s up to you. It only matters with the way the site displays your archives so whatever you pick is no big deal.
  • Language: select English.

Now click SAVE CHANGES.

Oops we forgot to set your blog picture  – your icon. Click that little upload image button and add a nice picture of yourself.

Once you’ve done that, click SAVE CHANGES yet again and we can move on.

Once you are sure you’ve clicked save settings, look at the left-hand side of your screen – to your menu bar. Down towards the bottom, there is SETTINGS and under that, there are the following options …

  • General
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Discussion
  • Media
  • Sharing
  • Polls
  • Ratings
  • AdControl
  • Email Post Changes
  • OpenID
  • Webhooks

You’ve already completed General and there is really nothing under Writing or Reading that you need to change but you can look through the options if you want.

The part we want to focus on now is DISCUSSION. The settings here are basically where you give instructions on the website about what you want it to do in terms of notifications.

  • Default Article Settings: I leave those as they are.
  • Other Comment Settings: Look where it says “Users must be registered and logged in to comment”. Make sure that box is checked. You don’t want just anyone posting comments on your website. This will help you, later on, fight stupid spammers.
  • Email me whenever: I un-check all of those because I personally hate email notifications. I check my blog daily so I don’t need these email updates. I get enough email so getting email notifications for me is just a hassle, but you can set those to whatever works best for you.
  • Before a Comment Appears: This one is important. There are two boxes there – make sure that “Comment must be manually approved” is checked. You don’t want some crazy person out there posting junk ads on your site. With that box checked, the only way a comment will appear is if you approve it.

Now scroll down to the very very bottom of that page and select SAVE CHANGES.

Again making sure you saved the changes you just made before you move on, it’s time to select SHARING from the main menu to the left. This is a big part of marketing and with this, you will integrate your social networking profiles with your website.

At the top of the SHARING page (under settings from the main menu) you first have the PUBLICIZE section. If you click CONNECT to Facebook then every time you post about a new book or some news story about your book, it will post a notification on your Facebook page automatically for you. This can be very helpful so you don’t have to log into all of your social networking accounts to tell people to visit your site to read your latest news or contest or book review. Connect to all the social networking accounts you work with – I personally only use Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, but some people also use the others. Connect to whatever accounts – as many or as few as you want to.

Next, there is a section specifically called Google+ Profile. It wants you to sign into your Google+ profile from this page. What this does it … if you log into your Google+ account on that page, every time you make a post on your website it will display a button encouraging others who read that page to follow you on Google+. Click that image below and you can see a real example of what that looks like on my own page.

website-step-3

Notice the other buttons above the Google+ following one … The ones that say twitter, Facebook Google? These are what they call your social networking sharing buttons. Under the Sharing Buttons section, you’ll see a ton of options. So you know exactly what I’m talking about click on the picture below.

website-step-4

See those buttons under where it says available services? Drag them down under ENABLED SERVICES.  See the little Pinterest box? Just put your mouse over it, click and drag.

Again click save changes when you are done to make sure everything you just did is saved. Now you are done with your settings.

Let’s do something fun like decide how you want your new website to actually look!

Step 4: Picking Your Website Theme

Everyone has a different style and the great thing about using a platform like WordPress to run your author website is that you can easily change the look and feel of your site on a whim and for almost no money and in many cases, for free. Today, as I said before we’ll only be going over the free option, but again you can upgrade to fancy premium themes later on if you so desire.

If you look at your main menu you’ll see that above SETTINGS is an option called APPEARANCE and an option under APPEARANCE called THEMES.

Once you select themes, you’ll find you have a few bazillion choices to pick from. Top right you’ll see three categories of themes, ALL, FREE and PREMIUM. Premium means you have to pay money, so let’s just select FREE.

Now scroll down and find a theme you like. Pick any one – it’s really up to you.  Some are very simple, some are kind of fancy but it doesn’t really matter which one you pick, that is totally up to you.

Once you find the one you like click it and then select the button that says ACTIVATE and WordPress will automatically update the graphics and make them live on your website.

Step 5: Setting Up Your basic pages

Now before you get all excited and start making all these crazy changes and adjustments, let’s continue on setting up your website first. As an author, you are going to need a few basic pages. First, you need an about you or biography page.

From the main menu (to the left) look for PAGES and click that. You’ll find PAGES on the main menu below where it says LINKS and above where it says COMMENTS.

You’ll notice there is already a page there called ABOUT. What you want to do is mouse over that and then click EDIT.

Type up a short bio, tell the world about yourself. Well, it doesn’t have to be short … go crazy and tell whatever you want about yourself there. When you are done click the UPDATE button to the right.

When you are done with that click pages again and then time ADD NEW.

Name this page CONTACT or CONTACT ME or CONTACT YOUR NAME – ie: Contact Tracy Tegan.

Under there click the button that says ADD CONTACT FORM. Once you’ve added the contact form, click PUBLISH (to the right).

Now your new website has two pages on it, an about us and contact us page. So far, so good!

Next, you want to click PAGES – ADD NEW PAGE again and call this page SOCIAL MEDIA or your name social media – ie: Tracy Tegan’s Social Media Pages. On this page, you want to list off all of your social networking links.

Here is what I say but you can say it any way you want … it is after all, YOUR WEBSITE!

You can follow Tracy Tegan on twitter @TracyTegan, via Google plus at google.com/+tracytegan and keep up with her latest work on Facebook Facebook.com/TracyTegan and on YouTube by clicking here.

Don’t forget to click PUBLISH when you’ve added in everything you want to say about your social networking profile pages so that your work is saved and pushed live – this means that others can now see it when they come to your site.

Step 6: Posting About Your Books

Now that’s you’ve setup the basic pages about you, let’s talk about the whole reason we created this website in the first place and that is YOUR BOOKS!

On the main menu, I want you to look for POSTS – this option is above PAGES, towards the very top of your menu bar to the left.

Posts work a lot like pages in how you create them, but when you start posting about your books you want to use POSTS instead of pages. You do this because posts offer far more options for you and this is important for search engines and in setting up the navigation of your site. With a post, you put them into categories and throw in some tags.

So let’s create your first post. Click POSTS from the main menu to the left and then ADD NEW. First, what we want to do is title our post. Post titles should be like newspaper headlines – description but short and to the point. So what do you want to post about today? What is it specifically you want to share with your fans?

How about letting them know that you are writing a new book?

So the first thing you do is give your post a title. ie: My New Yet To Be Titled Mystery Book

Next, in the big white box, tell your fans and readers about what you are writing and some plot elements of your new book. How much or how little you tell them is totally up to you. You can write 100 words, 1000 or heck, even 10,000 – just write what you feel is appropriate.

When you are done look to the right-hand side of the page … notice where it says categories? There is a box there that is unchecked called Uncategorized. That is the default category and any post you make that you don’t assign a category to, will automatically be placed in that category. Please do yourself a favor and never make a post without giving it a category. Click ADD NEW CATEGORY and then add in a name. You could call it books or new books or writing … whatever you want really.

Next, you see under CATEGORY is a section called TAGS? Tags are like category but more marketing specific. So let’s say you wrote a post about a new mystery book you are writing. I would put in tags – Tracy Tegan, New Book, Mystery Novel, Book.

Any short words that would describe what is in the body of your post add them. Don’t be afraid to add in a ton of tags – tags are great for marketing. Just make sure the tags you add are appropriate and actually apply to what your post is about.

Now click PUBLISH and you have your first post. Congrats! This is a huge first step in creating your official website.

Now feel free to go write several more posts telling your fans about how they can buy your other books, where and maybe tell them about some character ideas you have. Talk about book reviews or just whatever you want to share with your fans.

Good luck and have fun!