At the end of May, Section 101 participated in BOOK EXPO AMERICA at the Javits Center in New York City. We had a booth because we have an amazing new Do-It-Yourself website platform for the book industry (more on that later), and we wanted to meet all the people we’ve been speaking to over the past few months. We DID meet a lot of great people in the publishing industry, as well as the media that were covering the event at our “Press Only” presentation. It was a really great experience for us, and one we hope to replicate next year.
We spend a lot of time at the conference just talking to people, and learning about what was important to them for their website. Many writers acknowledge that having an online presence is necessary, yet they haven’t dipped their toe in the water yet. There are also some authors who have websites they’re not quite happy with, but are nervous to make a change, afraid of the time and the cost it would take to ‘upgrade’ their website. While we agreed that it is great to be visible on social networks, you need your own website – as we like to say, a home on the Web - to be successful.
Section 101’s best-in-class author websites come pre-loaded with all the tools needed to market and sell books. Our Author websites come with built in options such as the ability to preview book pages in different formats [written- digital-audio], simple to implement text samples, the capability to create trouble-free banners to promote different works, social media engagement, seamless commerce integration with Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Audible, and unique design options to choose from. Section 101 is the only website platform to offer these features to the publishing industry.
Once we made the decision to have a presence at Book Expo America, our goal was to help people in Publishing get started with their own website, or show them how they could make their existing one better, whether they became a Section 101 client or not. Along with running tutorials while we were at BEA, we put together some tips for all the folks who stopped by our booth (below) that we thought would help any person with an arts based website. The bottom line is your website is your online calling card. It’s the first thing a person should see when they Google your name, and it’s important for it to look the best it can, and give the User the best experience so they want to come back again. Section 101 is here to help you do that!
I] COME ON, GET ACTIVE!
You want people to not only visit your website, but to come back again and again. The best way to do this is to give them a reason - and there’s no better one than interacting with your fan base. Some good ways to do this include Contesting on your website, where you might give away a signed book or an opportunity for a fan to speak to you; Polls, wherein you ask your fans to give you some feedback on a book cover design idea or their favorite font, and then let them know what you ultimately chose with their help; and Comments by asking them what they think when you post a new blog or excerpt from your soon-to-be-published book, and then make sure you acknowledge what they had to say.
II] NO TWO SNOWFLAKES, OR SECTION 101 AUTHOR WEBSITES, ARE ALIKE!
Section 101 offers authors, journalists and writers some great templates to choose from when they’re building their website. From fonts to graphics to layout, no two Section101 sites are the same because you build it to your specification …and if you don’t like it, it super-simple to start again or make a quick change. Other ways your author website can stand it is with photographs to illustrate a scene in your book, posting audio passages of your novel or publishing some excerpts before the book is available It’s also a good idea to make sure to include your social media feed on your homepage because what you have to say is really what makes you, and your online properties, unique!
III] YOUR STUDENT ADVISOR WAS RIGHT, GOALS ARE IMPORTANT!
1) Draw attention to your work: If you’re self published, having a website helps get the word out and allows you to not only capture email addresses from interested people, but also build a community. Fans now have a central place to go to learn more about you and your work.
2) Sell your books: having an online web store, or links to your book on retail websites, is a good way to help people buy your book. You can use the link from your website on social media and spread the word
3) Keep an archive of your writing: This is especially important If you’re a freelance writer and work for many different outlets. A website helps direct Editors to one place where they can see all the recent, and archived, pieces you’ve written.