Building a Platform

Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and promoting your book on the Internet
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Transitoria
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Building a Platform

Post by Transitoria » December 4th, 2010, 12:24 pm

I started a website, www.TammySetzerDenton.com, last May where I posted an excerpt of my novel, MAN OF THE HOUSE. Since then, I've received more than 7100 hits. I started a Blog on that website this past week in order to strengthen my platform. However, I need some comments. Please visit and let me know what you think and how I can improve. One post has the pitch for my latest work in progress which is lacking a title. I'm hoping someone can send me a good title. I'm also looking for something better to call my blog.

I currently have sent out 16 queries and have had two requests for partial manuscripts and one request for a full manuscript. Even my rejections (four) have been quite positive.

Thanks,
Tammy/Transitoria

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lyndoncr
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Re: Building a Platform

Post by lyndoncr » December 5th, 2010, 2:32 am

Grats on getting as far as you have!

I had a quick look round your site, my two main gripes would be that the home page needs links within itself, not just words telling you to click over there. People on the net are lazy bastards I'm afraid. The other is that Papyrus font, it's kinda hideous.

Love the layout and look of everything else though. I also had a read of your excerpt (just the first chapter so far) and I really liked it, I look forward to seeing it on the shelves. :D

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J. T. SHEA
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Re: Building a Platform

Post by J. T. SHEA » December 5th, 2010, 4:09 pm

I am very impressed by your site, Tammy. I even like the Papyrus font! Like they always say, there's no accounting for taste.

I was also very impressed by your first chapter when you posted it on these forums, notwithstanding the Monty Pythonesque debate about Norwegian Rats that it provoked! Likewise the next three chapters on your site.

Transitoria
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Re: Building a Platform

Post by Transitoria » December 5th, 2010, 4:53 pm

Thanks for checking out the website. I will add some links to the main page. I like the Papyrus font, but have had one other person complain that it's difficult to read. Do you have any suggestions for a name for the Blog?

Louise Curtis
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Re: Building a Platform

Post by Louise Curtis » December 5th, 2010, 4:57 pm

Transitoria wrote:Thanks for checking out the website. I will add some links to the main page. I like the Papyrus font, but have had one other person complain that it's difficult to read. Do you have any suggestions for a name for the Blog?
I've talked to a few people about platform stuff, and one should always use one's own name - it's the "brand" that you want people to know. if they can't remember the name in a bookshop, your platform fails.

Sadly, my own blog isn't under my name yet. It will be, when I have an offer for publication and can excuse buying it.
Louise Curtis
Twitter Tales @Louise_Curtis_
Writing Tips, Steampunk, Baby Talk, and Daily Awesomeness http://twittertales.wordpress.com

Sommer Leigh
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Re: Building a Platform

Post by Sommer Leigh » December 5th, 2010, 6:04 pm

Congrats on the website! It's a great step and not an easy one to make. Making a visual location to represent who you are and what you're all about is not as easy as it looks and that's not even taking into consideration having to learn how to build a site and buy a domain and the best ways to drive traffic. Good luck on your journey. It'll be both fun and challenging!

The first thing I like about your site is that it is very clean. I like sites that are easy to navigate without ads and graphics and link lists everywhere. Your site is very easy to navigate and as a reader I appreciate that.

Like the other comments, I am not crazy about the Papyrus font. It is hard to read on my laptop, but better on my desktop. Building a website is tough in that depending on how you're viewing the internet (internet explorer, firefox, etc) and the type of computer being used can really change the way you intended your site to look. A good rule of thumb is that the simpler the text the better. If you look at any blog service like Wordpress, Blogger, or Livejournal, their default font size and font types are the best viewing and reading across the board. That's a good place to start.

I like the font you have your excerpt in. And I really like your excerpt!

One more think about font and font size - consistency. You have a separate font for your main page, your excerpt, and your completed works. The font sizes go up and down, and Events/News looks like it is bolded. I would choose just one size, one font, one style, and keep it similar across all pages.

The best advice I was ever given about building a site/blog, and now the best advice I can give out, is to start going through websites/blogs done by people like you (other author sites), and find things about them you really like. Look at their use of color, the fonts, how they use pictures, what their layouts look like, how they categorize their blog posts, and what extras they keep handy that you as a reader appreciate. Look at who they publish their sites through (usually found at the very bottom of the front page) and look at who designed it for them. That's how you'll find the best look for you with the best service for you.

I don't know how familiar you are with web design and driving traffic, but if you aren't familiar with it you might consider keeping your blog on a blog site like Wordpress, Blogger, or Livejournal to name a few. They offer a lot of excellent options and design help, they create an RSS feed for you, they allow friend connect widgets that help people follow blogs they love, but the best part about them is they are already tied into a network of other blogs. Blogger is very popular and easy to use, Wordpress has the most options, and Livejournal has the strongest community. Going through a blog service makes it easier to find and keep readers. This is just an idea I thought I'd throw out there.

Manning Krull designs websites and has several author websites he's done. The websites I've seen him make are fantastic, well thought out, fun, and really represent the author's personality and the personality of their books. I've used his designs for inspiration on layout and structure (though I am no where near talented enough to do the cool things he can do. ( http://www.manningkrull.com/ )

Dreaming Blog Designs does quite a few book blogger websites I've seen. They tend to be very whimsical and inspired my own site. ( http://www.dreamyblogs.com/ )

VLC Photo does not do websites, but she does design marketing material for books as well as book trailers. She has some EXCELLENT blog posts on design. ( http://www.vlcphoto.net/ )

I hope this helps and good luck! Once you have had your site around for a while, the readers and the comments will come. It will take time though, and often blogs have to show they have been around a while and produce consistent, interesting, useful information before readers will stick around. But give it time and they will come. You are off to a really great start. Keep us posted on how things go!
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

Transitoria
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Re: Building a Platform

Post by Transitoria » December 7th, 2010, 12:13 am

Louise and Sommer,
Thanks for the advice. I'll keep plugging away and will incorporate your suggestions. Every time I post something here, I learn something new.
Tammy

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