Today IWSG has the amazing Derek Murphy to share some excellent tips for Indie Authors.
It's great to have you here today, Derek. So let's just hop right in with a central question. What’s your best advice to authors about creating author platforms?
Derek: Design is important for trust and credibility, but nobody will visit your site unless you are writing about the things they are interested in (using keywords they're searching for). So worry more about the content and getting backlinks from more established sites, than site design. You can always fix it after you get more traffic.
You have to crank up your audio for Derek's video. But how kind of him to take the time to create this just for IWSG readers.
What should authors consider when setting up their websites? (This probably ties in with #1, but I thought there might be some specific details about what to include and what to avoid in this piece of the platform.)
Derek: I use wordpress because it's easy to change later. Don't throw in a ton of everything. Focus on the user experience and getting them to take action, so you can measure it. You can't improve what you can't measure.
100 visits a day = 1 optin? Can you get it up to 2 or 3? Can you boost traffic?
You offer a course called Guerrilla Publishing. What can an author expect from that course?
Derek: Guerrilla Publishing is the basics of publishing quickly and launching well. I have other courses that cover a lot more, but I've found authors need less, not more. A simple plan that works. there's still a lot to do, and it can be exhausting, but if you set things up right and launch well, you can focus on the next book right away, instead of always trying to promote the first.
As a cover designer, among other amazing talents, can you tell us what the cover should do for a book?
Derek: The cover gets the right readers to read the description of the book - most authors' covers fail because they aren't attracting the right audience, either because they just aren't attractive and professional, or because the authors tried to do something unique and different for their genre-bending book. You must decide which market you're shooting for, and it should be a pretty big market, and then the cover should look like what readers expect from that market. They won't read the description to figure out what the book is about if the cover hasn't already sold them on the genre.
Tell us about your dream of a writers’ retreat in a European castle.
Derek: Still a dream, but it's something that inspires people - we rented one last year and will probably rent a castle every year for nanowrimo, but buying one is probably impractical - it was much harder to get people to take a month off and join me in europe than I'd thought it would be. I can find 10 or 20 a year, but to fundraise to buy a castle I was thinking I needed about 1000 people to buy some time to fund it. Now I'm thinking of making a writer's colony or camp in Oregon or Washington.
I want to write in a castle! Anyone out there who'd like to have that kind of experience?
Thanks, Derek. Really appreciated your participating in this interview for IWSG and sharing all your great information with our members.
Renting a castle! Now that sounds cool.
The right cover for the right genre is so true. As a reader of science fiction and fantasy, I expect those covers to look a certain way and it's definitely what draws me in to read the blurb.
Thanks for joining us today, Derek.
Such great advice on focusing on the content of your site. That's so true and something we can control. And how awesome to rent a castle. I've always been fascinated by them.
The right cover sure can make all the difference indeed. Would be neat to write in a castle, not sure I'd ever want to buy one though.
I'd love to write in a castle! Excellent advice. I do agree some authors try to do too much when simpler is better.
Yup, I think I could get into writing in a castle. Covers a so important, but I'm finding that more and more they are all starting to look the same. Is that just me, or are others noticing that too?
A solid cover is so important now since that's the first thing people see online. It needs to be unique while still fitting the genre and theme. So many use stock photos which is a shame.
I want to write in a castle! If only I could afford that month away. I trust my publisher for my covers and most of the time I'm pleased.
Much to do and much to know to do things right. So many know the way.
Have a fabulous day. ☺
I'm ready for a castle retreat any day. Thanks for the great advice, Derek.
Wonderful interview. Enjoyed the video very much. Great information.
' Juneta @ Writer's Gambit
What a wonderful post Lee. Great interview with Derek and thoughts about renting a castle though I would personally be lost in a castle on my own.
Have a great week.
Fantastic points. I'll have to double back to watch the video for when I have sound, but I must say that I adore the whole 'rent the castle' idea. Wish I had the time and money for that. haha
Good points. I love that you rented a castle! That sounds like an awesome place to spend nanowrimo. If only we had castles for rent closer to home. I couldn't afford to take a month off or travel there, but I love the idea.
Hi Lee and Derek - yes I think keep side bars easy and simple ... and tabs easy ... and concentrate on content ... I hate flashing thingies too ...
The idea of a blogging castle for this group and friends of the group - that means me! I'll join at some stage ...
Great video from Derek - such wise words ... cheers to you both - Hilary
A writers’ retreat in a European castle? Sounds idyllic.
Excellent advice, Derek. I would love to attend a retreat in Europe. Thanks for sharing all of this.
SIGN me up to write in a castle. That would be AMAZING!!!! As a cover designer, I KNOW the importance of an amazing cover. It draws your reader in. That's the first step. Then the wring clinches it....
Great idea, I'm sure this article can inspire a lot of people to start doing something like that. In general, we all need to constantly improve and learn constantly something new. For example, not so long ago I learned to do cool business presentations for my working project thanks to this article https://academicsavers.com/blog/how-to-create-a-powerpoint-presentation/ and now I can work much more efficiently.
I agree that book covers are really important! I usually will pass over a book if the cover is too cheesy or too boring!
Great post! A lot of thanks.
Loved the vlog. I thnk going to a castle-based writing retreat would be awesome ... however, it's a bit out of the budget for me at the moment. :)
I appreciate all the in-depth tips on cover design and building a platform. I started checking out creativeindie, and wow - lots of information. Thank you.
The WA/OR writers' camp has my interest. That's my neck of the woods!
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