Wednesday, May 6, 2015

IWSG: Ask PZM revised July 2010 Website Elements

It's that the first Wednesday of the month, which also means it's Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thanks to our noble Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaughit's time to share our fears and insecurities, or support and assistance. Doesn't matter which.

If you'd like to join Insecure Writer's Support Group, click hereBe sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Our hashtag is #IWSG

Your awesome co-hosts for the May 6 posting of the IWSG will be Eva Solar, Melanie Schulz, Lisa-Buie Collard, and Stephen Tremp!

Please stop by and thank them for their time. Yay co-host/minions!

Ask PZM:

Q: What are the most important elements for a book author website?

The most important element of all is the ability for you the author to make changes yourself at a moment’s notice.  If you have an unexpected book signing come up or a fabulous book review that you want to post asap, then you need to be able to do that.

This ability in the past was usually out of the question for people who didn’t know website coding (or whose spouse, child, parent, etc. didn’t know it).  People had to wait on – and pay – their website builder to make even the simplest changes.

In recent years the ability to use (known as just WordPress) for both a blog and a website has changed the landscape so that the power can now be in your own hands. 

Once a WordPress self-hosted site is up, you can make changes as easily as you make changes in Word.  (Of course, there is a similar learning curve as with Word.)

First, a clarification.  I am NOT talking about, which is a hosted site the same way a blogger site is a hosted blog site.

Second, you still usually need a web person to set up your self-hosted WordPress blog/site before you take over the management yourself.  And what’s more, just any WordPress website isn’t necessarily ideal for your purposes. 

You need a site created by a web person who understands search engine optimization, keywords, etc. as well as arranging user friendly navigation on the site.

Third, your website address (the URL or domain name of the site) is important.  When you use your website address on social media sites, you want it to reflect what your site is about.  If you want to use a book title as a website address and the book title is not very specific, such as the imaginary “Having Fun,” you might want to get an URL that includes “thebook” as part of the domain name.   

(All is not lost if you have a site now without an effective website address.  You can get a better URL and have it redirected to your site.)

Another consideration before choosing a book title as your website address: If you have written or are writing more than one book, perhaps it would be better to have one website with your author name as the address rather than individual websites each with a specific book title used as the website address.

I learned this the hard way because I started out with a book title website for my first self-published book, MRS. LIEUTENANT.  Eventually I added that site to my new author site of and then redirected the website address to the book’s page on my author site.

Fourth, of course, you want to make it very clear where someone can buy your book – and make it very easy for people to do so. 

For example, you do NOT want to give a link to the home page of Amazon.  After all, when people get to the home page of Amazon, they can get easily distracted and forget what book they are looking for or actually try unsuccessfully to find your book.

Make sure that the link to purchase your book is directly to the book’s page on a site and make that link very obvious.  Have the link near the top of the page and not where people have to scroll down to find it.

Fifth, make sure that people coming to your book author site know exactly what is on offer.  Is the book fiction or nonfiction?  The first of a trilogy?  An award-winning book?  And the cover of your book should be featured prominently. 

Here are examples from my author website – I have a fiction tab and a non-fiction tab on the nav at the top of the site:

Sixth, if at all possible, have a blog as part of your website (using WordPress for a site automatically includes the opportunity to have a blog as part of the site).  A blog is usually the best way to continually add fresh content to a website, and search engines love fresh content.  Thus fresh content on a blog can help your site rank higher in the search engine results.

Also, have a sign-up on your site so that people can automatically get your new blog posts either through email notification or through an RSS feed. 

In addition, while the above are what I consider the most important elements for a book author website, a bonus element would be offering a free gift in exchange for having people join your email list (different than your blog feed signup) so that you can keep in front of your potential fans through email marketing. 

This email list should be run through an email marketing service rather than you adding people to your own email account.  Two main reasons for this:  An email marketing service helps get your emails through the spam filters and an email marketing service looks much more professional than sending out a group email of your own.

And, finally, remember to periodically review the content of your website.  Make sure that the event information is current, for example, and that all the information and links are still accurate.

© 2010 Miller Mosaic, LLC

Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the author of fiction and nonfiction books.  She blogs about book-related topics at  

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Hank Quense announces a Kickstarter Campaign

 Our friend, Hank Quense (of Faux News Network fame) has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to publish his next novel, Moxies Decision. Why?  Hank says he has two reasons: because the world needs more parody stories and books are expensive to publish.

The Kickstarter Campaign will run from May 1 to May 31. Here is the link to the web page:  You can support the Kickstarter Campaign by making a contribution or by spreading the word about Campaign and sharing the Kickstarter link.

The campaign offers a variety of rewards for contributors.  There are ebooks, print books, ebook packages, print book packages.  There is also a unique series of rewards involve one-on-one lectures covering fiction writing self-publishing and book marketing topics.  All these lectures can be provided via Skype video calls or other means.  Another reward offers short story critiques.

Moxies Decision is the second book involving the title character, Princess Moxie.  The first is called Moxies Problem. 

You dont have to read Moxies Problem to enjoy Moxies Decision.  Both books are standalone stories.

Here is a brief synopsis of Moxies character arc. 

Moxie is an obnoxious teenage princess who has never been outside her fathers castle until the beginning of the Moxies Problem novel.  She quickly learns that life outside is dramatically and dangerously different from life inside the castle.  Moxie also learns that she hasnt been trained to do anything with her life.  She realizes she has to get a life and after a bit of reflection, she decides to become the queen after her father dies.  But Moxie has no inkling of how to rule.  She realizes she has to learn how to become independent and to gain self-confidence.

That is where Moxies Problem ends and the new book picks up.  Moxies Decision will continue her adventure to become strong enough and decisive enough to rule a kingdom.  This second book is the conclusion of Moxies journey from an obnoxious teenage princess to an independent, decisive young woman.

Both novels are set against a backdrop of Camelot.  But its not the traditional Camelot.  This Camelot is in a parallel universe.
Visit to learn more.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Today I'm at our IWSG website adding the challenge for the letter X. Hope you can drop by.

X is for the X Factor. And you have it.

Meanwhile, don't forget May 6th is our monthly Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. If you haven't signed up, you can do so here.

In Ask PZM for May, Phyllis returns to add revisions to the answer from July 2010: What are the most important elements for a book author website?

Since comments aren't required for this post, I've turned them off.


Happy Reading.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Head's Up

I'm over at IWSG's webpage today doing the V challenge. Hope you can join me. And do hang out and see what my other IWSG admins are doing.

Friday, April 17, 2015

FNN: Transforming America

A spokesman for Ted Cruz, the candidate for President, said that the Senator's platform will transform America.

By the end of his first term as President, American citizens will no longer have medical care unless they are very rich.  Everyone, rich and poor, will pay the same taxes.  America will continue to enjoy freedom of religion as long as the religion is the Christian religion. 

 No longer will the State and Federal Governments reach into the lives of the citizens to tell people what they can do and not do, unless the citizen is pregnant woman.  Americans will once again become the rugged frontiersman and independent individuals their ancestors were.

President Cruz looks forward to transforming America into the newest and biggest Third World Country.

Hank Quense is the author of 50 published short stories along with four novels and three collections of stories. All of these are humorous and/or satiric scifi and fantasy. In the non-fiction area, he has over a dozen articles published on fiction writing and he's the author of the Fiction Writing Guides series and the Self-publishing Guides series. Both series consist of a number of ebooks. The Fiction Writing Guides and the Self-Publishing Guides are an outgrowth of his lectures on both subjects.
Strange Worlds OnlineHank's Amazon PageHank's Blog PageSelf-publishing Guides
Hank's fiction works