Ron’s Lit Tip Website

Featured

10 15 2020

Welcome to Ron’s Lit Tip. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I will share a tip with you.

You’ve worked hard on writing and getting your book published. But what do you do next? Do you have a website where potential readers can find you? If not, you need to consider having one. Below I will discuss different types (type names are products of my imagination). Let’s begin!

Starter Website

Many people who’ve never built a website before have to begin somewhere. I call this type a Starter Website because this is probably their first and they will eventually move to more complicated websites.

Basically, a Starter Website consists of about three pages: Home, About, and perhaps a Product Page. The last one may vary according to needs. This type is rarely an Ecommerce site. It most likely is a beginner, but it could also be a site that directs people to a store. This has value for the store because potential customers can learn about them, their location, their hours, and their products.

Next Step

I call this Next Step because an entrepreneur who wants to succeed will quickly discover that the Starter doesn’t meet the needs. In this phase the entrepreneur may add additional pages such as more product pages, biography of owner, Question & Answer page, and other general information. At this time there is no activity such as eCommerce. In other words, it is still basically an ad.

Pre-Ecommerce Website

This is a site that authors should consider.

If you are an Independent Author, but don’t want to be involved with credit card transactions, and such, the Pre-Ecommerce site may fit your needs.

As an example, I will use our website at https://RFrederickRiddleBlog.Com. While I once owned an Ecommerce site for an online store I operated, that store no longer exists. My site is the home of my blog and the home of T&R Independent Books. By the way, I built that website using WordPress and have been very happy with it.

It is a website designed to inform people about our products (books) and services (TR Writing Services). One of our pages is a Catalog which lets readers search through it for our books with the purpose to buy. Here we show all our books, both mine and my wife’s. Each book’s cover is shown with a brief description and a link to their Amazon page where they can purchase the book.

Amazon takes care of all transaction details, including shipping, tracking, and delivery. This relieves the Independent Author of a great deal of stress and work, enabling the author to focus on the writing.

In our case, TR-Writing Services provides the would-be writer the opportunity to contact us and learn more about our services (beyond what they see on the site, which is a lot). If we approve of a request for our services, we will email a link to an order page that links to the PayPal System. Again, just as Amazon above, PayPal handles the order, processing of the payment, and notifies us of the transaction.

Ecommerce Website

This is structured similarly to the Pre-Ecommerce Website. The major difference is that the site provides the means to purchase right there. For you, the author it means you must have an ecommerce financial source.

Shopify, Wix, and others provide you with all the tools you need. You will want to be able to accept major credit cards like MasterCard, Visa, Discovery, and others. You will absolutely need a Privacy Page (good idea for your Pre-Ecommerce site as well).

In this type of website, you will be responsible for the order fulfillment, which includes packaging, shipping, tracking, delivery, as well as returns. When I owned my online bookstore, I was able to handle that, but the financial transactions were handled by a bank. And, most important for a writer, I was still able to have time to write.

So, which Should I have?

I indicated earlier that I think the Pre-Ecommerce site is ideal for an author. You can have unlimited pages (depending on the hosting plan) which allows you to put your products out there to be seen. In fact, you can do everything you feel capable of doing except the Ecommerce.

Grading Your Website

There are a lot of tools available for you to build a website. One tool you might want to check out is a website grader. There are free online graders, such as the one Hubspot.com provides. These will examine your website and grade it. The higher the grade, the better.

I use the one provided by Hubspot.com and it will tell me of any shortcomings my site has. I am then informed how to improve it with or without their help. I find it a helpful tool.

Tip: Check with various hosting plans for the type of website you want. Then go for it.

Get free Guide to Writing at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

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For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Ron’s Tip of the Day Promotion

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Throughout the week I will share a tip with you. Today I am looking at Promotion.

What is Promotion?

The term promotion means different things to different people, but the simple understanding is doing whatever it takes to get your book the attention it deserves!

What Works Best?

While that is a good question there is no absolute answer. I believe in absolutes. For example, it is an absolute truth to say people are saved from their sins by trusting in the shed blood of Jesus Christ and asking Him to save you. That is absolute.

But success in life, especially marketing, has no absolutes although some marketeers will absolutely declare they have the perfect solution. Promotion has many tools, and some are better for some people, while others are good for someone else.

Tools

Promotion tools can be any or all of below or others not listed:

  • Author Book Signings
  • Author Interviews
  • Blogging
  • Bookstores
  • Book Tours
  • Press Release
  • Radio
  • Reviews
  • Social Media
  • Television
  • Trailers
  • Videos
  • Website

In Conclusion

The truth is that promotion must absolutely be done, but the most effective way for you may be entirely different than someone else.  Become acquainted with different tools, but a word of caution. Don’t become tool crazy. It can overburden you. Find what works for you.

Once you find something that works, slowly build upon it. And remember, this is a long-term effort. Don’t go down rabbit trails, stick with what works and cautiously experiment.

Tip of the Day: Experiment with different promotion tools and find what works for you.

Get our free Guide to Writing by contacting us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We will send you our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Ron’s Tip of the Day Customer Service

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Throughout the week I will share a tip with you. Today I am looking at Customer Service.

I’m an Author, Why Should I be Concerned About Customer Service?

Do you sell directly? For example, you let someone know you have written a book and they want to purchase it right now. Now, you can tell them that they need to go to the Internet or you could carry extra books with you and sell on the spot. If the person is a friend or relative, you can offer them a Friend & Family Discount.

That person is now a customer. In fact, he or she became a customer as soon as they showed interest in your book.

So, What Kind of Service are We Talking About?

That can vary, but offering discounts is customer service, personal delivery (if you offer it) is a service. Basically, it is whatever you do to make and keep your customer happy.

Another example is if you have a website where you either sell your book or you provide a link to a sales page such as Amazon, then you should have customer service available.

I Don’t Have a Website.

Then get one. In this day and age, a website is important whether selling nationwide or locally. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to set up even if you are internet challenged.

Don’t Forget the Proper Attitude.

Remember that the customer is always right even when they are wrong. Be gracious and try to solve whatever problem they have.

Sometimes you just can’t please a person. In that case, be polite, apologize if necessary, and move on. Being polite and helpful doesn’t mean letting them take advantage of you.

Tip of the Day: Consider having a Good Customer Relations reputation.

Get our free Guide to Writing by contacting us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We will send you our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Friday News : A Christmas After Thought

Welcome to Friday News. Every Friday I share news with you; primarily about writing and sometimes about life in general. This week it is about: A Christmas After Thought.

To begin I hope all of you had a blessed Christmas. Teresa and I were privileged to watch 1777 A Colonial Christmas. This story takes place in Valley Forge at a low time in the war. It was an excellent cantata that included choir and amateur actors who performed exquisitely!

On Christmas Eve, after getting home from the cantata, Teresa and I continued our tradition of our version of the 12 days of Christmas. In our version, we each give the other a list of 12 or more items and where located to each other. Then we take those lists and buy 12 gifts. It’s a wonderful way of giving the right gift and receiving the right gift. We do allow each other to stray from the list which sometimes tickles our imagination and we are reminded of other things our mate loves.

We exchanged six gifts on Christmas Eve and the other six Christmas morning. But in the midst of all that, we also were reminded of why Christ came: He came from Heaven and was born as a Baby. He came not be worshiped as a holy Baby, although He certainly was holy. He came to go to the cross as the pure Lamb of God, to take our sins upon Himself and to die for us! Thank You, Jesus!

We are now in recovery from eating so much. And, since I requested candy treats, I have a bit of sweat treats to eat. It has been a bright spot in a year of trials. But those trials dealing with cancer have also drawn us closer together. Moreover, we have grown closer to God Who has provided for us throughout the year. His provision has simply been amazing!

2019 has also been a transforming year for our business. It started out by tweaking our website. But as time went on we moved our website to this domain so that our blog and website are all in one location.

That has been exciting and it is still a work in progress, but take a look and see if we are right in being proud. The site is easy to navigate and we are constantly adding material.

Then we discovered SCORE. Score is a voluntary organization that provides workshops for small business where featured speakers are themselves small businessmen and women. It also provides mentoring which has been instrumental in shifting our focus from the national and world to the local market. That doesn’t mean our products are no longer available nationally. It means our primary focus is now local with an eye still on the national scene.

Another exciting event in 2019 has been my wife’s (alias, Tess) writing career. Despite battling cancer she has been busy writing her first novel. The first draft has been finished and gone through an initial edit. Her next step is to make any corrections needed and send it back to me for editing. She may be working on it right now!

Finally, as a service of T&R Independent Books we founded TR Writing Services as a department. Our motto is ‘we edit, proof, and publish the book within you’. The idea for the service came from a friend who’d asked me to help publish her mother’s book. Her inspiring praise when combined with my own remembrance of how difficult it was for me in my younger years to write and get published resulted in starting TR Writing Services.

I hope 2019 has been good to you and pray that the New Year 2020 will be much better. Teresa and I thank you for your interest and for following this blog.

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We have a Free booklet telling you about our services. And we are upfront on our prices (all are low).

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), Black Death (Book Four), Rise of I.C.E.S. (Book Five),  or Battle at Proxima Centauri (Book Six). I value your reviews.

If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or Epub).

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition, he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Ron’s Tuesday’s Tip: What is a USP?

Welcome to Ron’s Tuesday’s Tip. Every Tuesday I will share a tip with you. This week is about: What is a USP?

A USP is a Unique Selling Proposition.

Today we are taking a quick look at a USP. In a future blog we may revisit this and go deeper.

In some ways the USP resembles your Elevator Speech, but it is different. The Elevator Speech has its own criteria and is usually longer. But both share the following:

  • Memorable (something your prospect should remember)
  • Repeatable (something your prospect can repeat to others)

For example, when I am talking to anyone, prospect or not, I can insert the USP into the conversation. The idea is to give them a concept of my business that will stick with them, which is the memorable part. The repeatable aspect would be repeating back to me, telling someone else what I do, or telling someone why they are using our service.

The USP should be:

  • True representation of the business
  • Brief
  • Catchy
  • On point

True Representation

This is your reputation. Don’t promise what you won’t or can’t do. So make sure it is accurate.

Brief

The USP should be very brief. Why? Because you will want to include it on all your website pages, Business Cards, and other marketing material.

Catchy

It can be a jingle, but I’m not talking about that. By catchy I simply mean that it can be easily memorized and inserted into your everyday conversation.

On Point

This is related to true representation but relates to what you want your prospect to know. It must be true but it is very important that it conveys what you do. Perhaps it meets a need or provides something rare or embraces a ‘value’.

Below you see our USP which says, “we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”. This may change, but it imparts what we do and its benefit to you. It is also brief, easily memorized, and repeatable.

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We have a Free booklet telling you about our services. And we are upfront on our prices (all are low).

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), Black Death (Book Four), or Rise of I.C.E.S. (Book Five), I value your reviews.

If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

I Need Your Help!

For a variety of reasons I have begun working on a new website for our T & R Independent Books. The current website is located at tr-indbkstore.com. It has served us for awhile now.

The new site is right here at rfrederickriddleblog.com. I have been working on it and would like to know your opinion.

The purpose of this effort is a general feeling of discomfort with the current site, plus a desire to cut costs. Using WordPress as the home for my blog and my website brings everything under one roof.

Please give me your comments.

Thanks for your help. I am going to go with WordPress.

Responding to Major Roadblocks

Albert Einstein defined Insanity as: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Sometimes we writers get into a rut. Whether in writing or marketing we have discovered what we believe is the right way to go and we stick to it no matter what. Christian authors are just as guilty as any other writer of this unhealthy attitude.

After all we have prayed and sought God’s advice and implemented what appeared to be His answer. But there is the crux of our problem. Maybe it wasn’t God’s leading.

If that is where you are at then it is time to re-evaluate what you are doing. Take a step back and take a hard look at what is happening. Seek God’s leading and listen carefully!

If the problem is about your writing, revisit it and look for ways to improve. Ask yourself questions, especially as it concerns your cover, story line, and structure. Does the story move along at a good pace? Does it hold interest?

Don’t be afraid to change the story! Neither change just to change.

As for marketing you have a great many areas to look at. For example, do you frequently update your website or is it stale? Google and other search engines like fresh material and may downgrade your site if it is not updated.

Also take a look at your advertising. Especially paid advertising. You can waste a lot of money if you’re not careful. Frequently I take a look at where my money is going. And sometimes it means I shut something down and start something else. Recently I closed an email and domain account for three reasons: 1) there was a monthly cost, 2) the domain was not working like I wanted it to work, and 3) I could substitute a free email account for the paid account. The immediate result was a savings of money, but it also caused me to refocus on both the business and personal side of my writing career.

Did I just arbitrarily do that? No. I prayed to God for His leading. And it took weeks, perhaps months, before all of this was accomplished. It required me to look at everything and ask if I was just following popular opinion or was I doing things God’s way? It is not always an easy question to answer.

What is too easy is to follow the crowd. We are beset on every side by ideas and methods that are popular and successful. But worldly success doesn’t always translate to Christian success. God has a plan for us, and our goal must always be to conform to His will. It always requires us to spend time with Him and in His Word. It also requires us to compare the tactic or plan to God’s Word. Does the tactic or plan violate God’s Word?

In conclusion, we want to evaluate our work on a regular basis. Ask yourself the tough questions and early seek God’s leading. I believe that God has a plan for every Christian and He wants us to succeed within that plan. So the most important thing you can do is to trust Him and constantly seek His guidance.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

Five Important Website Issues

Perhaps you are a new author and have decided to build a website or you have one up and running. There is much advice floating around about website design. Some is very good and some not so much. After fourteen years of working my own website, I have identified five critical website design issues.

You may have additional ideas and I welcome your comments. But here are mine.

The Home Page

This is regarded as the most critical page because this is where your visitors will most likely land. And this is true whether you have one or more home pages.

More than one?

Yes. As an Independent author I am also an independent publisher. Therefore, I have designed my website as a publisher’s site, and every author (all two of us) have their own Home page, plus more.

The Home page is where you want your usual visitors to come to. Therefore, you will have most or all of your marketing linked to that page. If the visitor Google’s your name (author’s name) it should bring the potential customer to your Home page.

On this page it is always wise to employ good SEO practices. As you build your site you may want to see how well you are doing. I recommend Website Grader, which you can use for free.

The Url

The Url is critical. Put a lot of thought into this. Among the things to consider is whether you are a one book author or you have or will write more books. If you write multiple books, you will want to use your author’s name in your url. The exception would be like a publisher’s site. But even then you want a url that goes to the author page, such as r.-frederick-riddle-books.html. If you are doing your own publishing don’t forget the primary site. Click on the link above to see the full url.

Most of you will have your own personal site. You might wonder why it has to be your name and not the name of a book. Simple. As you write more books you want people to know your name. People may seek a particular book title, but as your name recognition grows they will seek your name.

The About Page

The About page is very important because you want the visitor to know as much about you as you can reveal. How much you reveal is up to you, but a variety of experts say we should include our bio (of writing career), education, awards (if any), and a peak into your personal life.

Only reveal that which you want people to know. And please don’t include your Social Security Number or other potentially vital information.

The Store Page and/or Book Page

A Store page is very important if you sell on site. I would recommend that you also have a Book page where visitors can learn about your books. If not selling on site, it is important to have links from each book to the site(s) where it is sold.

A Book page should include a Cover photo, a description of the book, important stats (such as publisher, author, title, ISBN, and ASIN) and, of course, the links.

Media Page

Aside from potential buyers, you also want the media (newspapers, radio, tv, etc.) to also visit. This page is designed to provide them as much information as possible without their having to search the site. Some of the things included is a listing of every book you’ve written, a photo of you (a professional photo is recommended), links to any blogs you may have written, links to such things as Press Releases and other marketing sites where you are active.

Contact Page

Even if not selling directly, you need this page. It provides an opportunity for your visitors to talk to you. Perhaps they have questions about you, your books, or even an opportunity for your book to be marketed or turned into a movie.

These are only five ideas, but you might want to also include a Blog page (assuming you write a blog). But the five listed above are absolutes. You need these. Seek expert advice and don’t be afraid to visit other authors websites. This will combine a visual with the technical advice available all over the web.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

Are you a Real Author? Part II

This four part blog asks you four questions and addresses each. Here is the second question:

DO YOU HAVE A PLATFORM?

Different people have different ideas about what a platform is. Here is my definition: A platform is a website, a blog, and social media.

A Website

I’ve talked about this before, but it cannot be overstated. An author needs to have a website. And not just any old website. An author needs to own a website.

Now this can have different connotations, so let me be specific. An author should have an website that reflects who they are. This can mean:

  • A website that reflects the book you’ve written
  • A website that reflects your name or alias
  • A website that reflects the you as an independent author.

For example, a website that reflects your book’s name will work if you have written only one book and won’t be writing new books. But if you write more than one book, such a website would be poor. Instead, you will want the website to reflect you as an author. By reflecting I mean both the domain name and the content would emphasize you as an author. I have used RFrederickRiddle.com as my website name.

However, when we founded T&R Independent Books and I decided to set up a new website, I created a typical publisher’s website where the author has his or her own pages. My former website RFrederickRiddle.com redirects to my author’s pages on the publisher website.

The important thing is that you want critical information within the domain name. In my former website it included my name and my new pages also include my name. This is a very important consideration, so if you have not done so yet, seriously consider it.

For more indepth wisdom check out my blog article, Hosting Your Website.

A Blog

As you know my blog’s url is RFrederickRiddleBlog.com. It tells the potential reader who I am and that it is a blog.

Your blog does not have to be about writing, but it should be about something you know and can be passionate about. And it should interest readers.

Social Media

You need to have a social media presence. While you don’t need to use everything that’s available, you should certainly be on at least two social media platforms. I use Twitter and Facebook, plus Goodreads and Bublish. Some authors also like LinkedIn, although that is primarily aimed at business to business.

It is not necessary to spend every minute of the day on your social media, but you should be active.

Why Is Having A Platform So Important?

Because people want to know about you and your book(s). And you want people to know about you and your books. Social Media provides excellent opportunities to self promote both yourself and your book.

Take a moment or two and tell us about your platform.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

His eBook Perished: The World That Was (Volume 1) can be found on Amazon Kindle. The paperback edition is found on Amazon.