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Named to "Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites," this #SharingwithWriters blog is a way to connect with my readers and fellow writers, a way to give the teaching genes that populate my DNA free rein. Please feel free to add to the conversation using the very tiny "comment" link. For those interested in editing and grammar, go to http://thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com.

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Make People WANT What You're Giving Away Free

Many thanks to Karen Cioffi for today's guest post.  Too many of us forget to explain the benefits of the services we offer and we're even more lax when it comes to letting our visitors know why we're the one with the credibility to help them.

Shout Your Author-Writer Qualifications
on Your Email Opt-in Landing Page

 By Karen Cioffi

All writers, including an author and writer, must have a Web site. It’s just the way it is. Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, you still need a Web site.

Everyone from Writer’s Digest’s Chuck Sambuchino to Jane Friedman (formerly with Writer’s Digest, now an editor for the Virginia Quarterly Review) to agents to publishers, adamantly proclaim the need for an author Web site, even before your book is published.

While a Web site is mandatory, another must-have is a separate landing page to entice visitors to subscribe to your mailing list. Many offer a freebie to entice them to do so.

Having a separate landing page for your email opt-in offer is a good marketing move. The primary purpose of this separate page is to avoid visitor distraction. On a regular author Web site or freelance writer site there are usually too many options and that translates into distractions for the visitor.

Think about it.

Do you have a Home page, About page, Reviews page, Events page, Awards page, Excerpts and Illustration pages? Audio? Video? Do you have ads or other sidebar content?

These are all distracting features. They may have their purpose, but they are counterproductive in regard to focusing in on building your subscriber list.

When it comes to building an e-mail list, your site must be focused – NO distractions – No visitor anxiety. It should have clear call-to-action content with a simple opt-in process.

This page should fully explain the benefits the potential subscriber will get if he opts in, and it should also include what your qualifications are for offering this particular information, for claiming to be an authority in your niche.

Let Your Qualifications be Known

People need to be persuaded into subscribing to yet another mailing list and into buying what you’re offering, so you need to make the YES decision and process as easy as possible. Conveying your qualifications for writing your book and the book’s merits are part of this process. For example, if you write fiction:

·       Do you have a ‘big name’ publisher?

·       Did your book win any awards?

·       Is your book a best seller?

·       Do you have positive reviews and feedback?

·       Are there book illustrations you can share?

·       How about a brief excerpt?

·       Do you have a book trailer?

·       Do you have good sales numbers?

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, the Frugal Book Promoter, suggests you also “include a pitch or logline for that piece of fiction that will intrigue your Web site visitor” and “include praise (blurbs) for it.”

Even your social networking numbers matter (e.g., number of Twitter followers, number of Facebook connections, and so on).

Getting a bit more specific as to your actual qualifications for writing the book, particularly if you’re writing nonfiction, or for offering freelance writing services or products:

·       Did you take special training (e.g., classes, ecourses)?

·       Do you have a degree or certification in the topic?

·       Do you have ‘good’ clips?

·       Do you have great testimonials?

·       Have you won awards?

·       Do you belong to relevant groups/clubs?

·       How in depth was your research?

·       Do you teach the topic?

Whatever gives you authority in your niche, whether fiction or nonfiction, be sure to include it in your list.

Sites claiming to be an expert in a particular niche are a dime-a-dozen. Let the visitor know you and your book are the ‘real deal.’

Karen Cioffi is an author/writer online platform instructor and provides Web site critiques and optimization services. Take a moment and check out what she can do for your site:

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .

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