VERLA KAY’S WORKSHOP – PROMOTING YOUR BOOKS USING THE INTERNET
I was particularly interested in this workshop as I wanted to know how differently authors promote themselves in USA versus how they do things in Australia.
Verla is the award winning author of nine books and her website has twice been named one of the 101 best sites for writers by Writers’ Digest and her message board has around 2000 members and gets about 1 million hits per month.
She had heaps of useful information about improving your website.
VERLA’S CRITERIA FOR JUDGING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF YOUR WEBSITE
- Can you quickly change information on your website without major effort?
- Is it professional looking?
- Do images load fast on pages
- Can visitors navigate easily through your website
- Are your pages too busy?
- Are your colours hard on viewer’s eyes?
- Does your site welcome visitors?
- Is it hard for viewers to navigate?
THINGS TO ENHANCE YOUR WEBSITE
- Does your website have a theme?
- Librarian information
- Writer and/or illustrator information
- Children’s activity or fan club pages.
- Information helpful to teachers and/or pages containing lessons
- About the Author pages for kids doing school projects
- Addictive fun games or videoes etc – something people will want to come back to again?
- A subject that ‘matches’ your book
AUTOMATIC ACTIVE CONTENT
- Constantly changing content will create pages that people want to visit multiple times
- Some pages can change or be active without requiring a lot of effort
- Have an on-going monthly contest with fun prizes (can’t give things away for children under 13 or let them go in comp)
- Activity page for kids with games, puzzles, colouring pages
- For kids over 13 an interactive Fan Club Page
- Get teens to create book trailers and link to it – have fun comp.
- Get trailer made by kids
VERLA KAY’S BLUEBOARD
Verla Kay is probably best known in the writing and illustrating community for her Blueboard. She set it up as “A safe, friendly place where children’s writers & illustrators could share information with each other”.
Since Verla started her Blue Board it has expanded rapidly and now has 4 administrators and 12-15 moderators. There are more than 1500 active members, and over 13,400 people have registered since its conception.
The site attracts 800,000 to 1 million hits every month
- Search engines are vitally important to you
- You need your site to show on search engines
- Effective use of meta tags will get your site linked to as many other active sites as possible
- websitegrader.com – tells you what weaknesses on website are
- bloggrader.com tells you weaknesses on your blog.
- Link to as many other sites as possible. This helps bring your site to the top of the search engines
After a big day, there was a showcase of the amazing illustrator portfolios. This year there were around 190 entries.
It was time for the Pyjama cocktail party where there were some very inventive costumes. Everything from pink rabbits to a flock of around 20 sheep.
After another big day I crawled into bed around 11.30pm