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.