1. Get your photo redoneYou know what genre you write, what “feel” your website should have, what colours you’re going to use. Now get an author photo that reflects that. No sunglasses (unless your novel is set on the French Riviera in the 1960’s and you’re going for the Jackie O look), and no selfies (unless you’re thirteen). A professional photographer is recommended, although I found a teenager with an iPhone can do a competent job.
2. Sign up for Canva’s Design SchoolThe Canva Design School is a free 30-day challenge that will teach you the basics of design using the free Canva design tool, which will enable you to design your own blog graphics and memes. I’m a convert—mostly because of the design school.
But Canva isn’t the only free graphics program available. Others include BeFunky, PicMonkey and Pixlr.
3. Organise your social media profilesUse Canva to design your perfect profile photo, cover photo and/or header for each of your social media outlets (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest). You may also want to develop a website logo (try 500 x 100 pixels). Then upload.
The beauty of using Canva you don’t need to know the perfect size: Canva has them as preset options. As a bonus, your Twitter header can also be used on your website.
Also remember other profiles, such as Amazon, Goodreads (and any other reader communities you’re a member of), and photos on websites you contribute to, such as group blogs. Get them all looking up-to-date, and consistent.
4. Develop your opt-in giftThis isn’t compulsory, but it’s current recommended best practice: to offer something to entice potential readers to sign up for your email newsletter (as discussed last week). You can design your opt-in gift in Canva, then save as a pdf file.
This could be:
- The first novel in a series
- The second novel in a series (e.g. if the first is already available as permafree)
- An exclusive novel or novella
- Some content related to your book (e.g. recipes)
- Your 20 favourite Bible verses
- Your 20 favourite inspirational quotes
- A monthly giveaway of a novel in your genre
- A free video training course
Note that you can’t give away any book currently enrolled in KDP Select.
What's my opt-in gift? I've got two
- At www.iolagoulton.com, I've got a list of my 50 favourite Christian novelists
- At www.christianediting.co.nz, I've got a guide to 90 publishers who publish Christian fiction and/or fiction from Christian authors.
Feel free to check out one or both of my lists!
5. Sign up for Shannon's free WP-BFF 5-Day Website Challenge
This free video series takes you through loading and customising your own WordPress website click by click using the free Make theme. Her recommended approach does use two paid products:
- The paid version of MailChimp to deliver the free opt-in gift, although you can continue to use the free version of MailChimp if you're not offering an opt-in gift. If you want to sign up for the paid version of MailChimp, use this affiliate link and we'll both get some Monkey Rewards. Or sign up via Shannon's website, so she gets the MonkeyRewards.
- The Bloom plugin from Elegant Themes, for designing an opt-in form (also an affiliate link, or use Shannon's link if you prefer). If you don't want to go the paid route yet, SumoMe is a free alternative (although you'll have to work out how to use that one yourself!)
The challenge does assume a level of knowledge of Canva, so you might find it easy to complete the Canva 30-Day Design School first. However, completing this challenge will be quicker if you’ve taken the action steps outlined in over the last few weeks (as I found one of the most time-consuming elements was coming up with my colour branding and fonts). And at the end, you’ll have a ready-to-go website!
Note on affiliate links: Using an affiliate link doesn't affect how much you pay, but it does mean if you use the affiliate link, I will receive some commission (or Shannon will, if you use her links). I'm only using links to products I use myself and recommend.