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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Tips for Authors

Using Tech for Book Marketing

Kate Gingold from Sprocket WebsitesKate has been building websites with her husband Don since 1996 for all sorts of clients, including authors.

Kate regularly writes about online marketing for Sprocket Websites and provides tips and techniques for entrepreneurs and small-business owners. Since being an author today is not really different from being an entrepreneur with a small business, most of those tips are just as useful to authors.

Kate is an author herself. She writes books on local history, including the award-winning "Ruth by Lake and Prairie," a fictionalized account of the true story of Great Lake pioneering to the shores of Chicago and beyond to found Naperville, Illinois. 

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Ruth By Lake and Prairie

Author Tips and Tales

It’s time to Make Shoes for this Shoemaker’s Child
Kate Gingold Host
/ Categories: Author Tips

It’s time to Make Shoes for this Shoemaker’s Child

My husband, Don, and I met in college. He was one of their first computer science graduates. I graduated with double majors in painting and creative writing. Guess whose career was more lucrative? 

In the late 1990s, we launched our own business, Gnu Media Design Company. Gnu Media was mainly a marketing firm serving other small businesses by creating print material, cd-roms, and this new thing called a “website.” Before long, Gnu was making websites almost exclusively. 

In 2010, our small web company partnered with another small web company. The resulting business, Sprocket Websites, focuses on creating the sites as well as optimizing them for better search visibility. 

You’d think that with all this in-house expertise, I would have the latest and greatest in author websites, but if you know the saying about the shoemaker’s children, you know that clients’ needs take priority over mine.

I do have a website already. In fact, I have had several over the years. Way back in the day, I started with a couple of BlogSpot accounts for some of my writing. In 2016, Don built a website for my first book and later he built another couple for the next books. That got unwieldy, so we combined everything under kategingold.com, but I never really finished cleaning it all up and now it’s very overdue for an update anyhow.

Even though I market other people’s businesses all day long, it’s somehow harder to market my own. We’ve all been taught not to toot our horns too loud, but in the marketing world, if you aren’t tooting on a regular basis, no one knows you even have a horn. So I need to get tooting.

With this new book wrapping up, putting off the website revamp is no longer an option. When I coach new authors, I always tell them to have that marketing machine up and running long before the book is launched and I should be following my own advice! To get started, I’ve been looking at other authors’ websites for ideas and going through lists like “The 30 Best Author Websites.”

It’s been interesting to view these sites through different glasses. Certain sites appeal to me as a Book Reader, while many others just really annoy the Website Professional in me. The Author Me is trying to balance the two to take advantage of the marketing opportunities while still providing a satisfactory “customer experience.”

For instance: pop-ups. As a Book Reader, I really hate pop-ups. However, marketing statistics show that they do work to get people to respond to your Call To Action. I’ve worked with clients who hear the statistics and then still say “Nope,” probably missing opportunities for fear of irritating their audience. I’m seeing more pop-ups than expected, like John Grisham’s to sign up for his mailing list. I suspect that marketers Penguin Random House put his website together rather than Grisham himself. 

Nina de Gramont has a more low-key approach to her website. She’s using the Divi theme with WordPress, which my website will probably also be built with as it’s Don’s current fave. The site design credit goes to a small organization that doesn’t even list web design as a service they offer. Rather, it’s a bunch of interesting articles on writing and publishing. Authors, you should check Melbee Academy out! De Gramont doesn’t seem to have anything like a newsletter so she doesn’t ask for an email, but she does have a form on the contact page as well as links to her Twitter and Instagram account.

Instagram? Oh, dear! I suppose I’ll have to think about getting better acquainted with that as well. But first the website. If you have visited an author website recently that you really loved, pass the URL along. I sure could use the encouragement to get this job done already!

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Full disclosure:  Writing for Sprocket Websites is my day job, so if you have questions about digital marketing, I'm happy to help!

 

Marketing Author Interview

Following a presentation for In Print Professional Writers Group, Kate's husband (and publisher!) Don was interviewed by author Louise Brass for WBOM Radio. During the conversation, Don shared many of the marketing tips from his presentation. You can listen to it online here.

The Sprocket Report

The Sprocket Report is published every other week with Internet marketing tips, tools and techniques. The archive features articles from 2011 up to the present. You are welcome to read how business owners are using technology to market themselves and apply those tips to your author business.


 

 

Get a Book Siging Checklist and our Sprocket Report

Kate will be happy to send you her brief Book Signing Checklist. Treat your book promotion like a business - because it is!

AND, since much of your efforts will be online, she'll also enroll you in her Sprocket Report, an email newsletter sent every other Tuesday, that includes 2 Internet Marketing tips and a post from a guest blogger on related business.

No worries! She won't use your email address for anything else, and you can unsubscribe from the newsletter anytime, but the checklist is yours to keep.

Any questions of Kate? Leave them in the message field and she'll get back to you ASAP.

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