|Angela D. Meyer|
Angela D. Meyer
Even if you didn’t watch the Lego Movie, you know there are two different types of Lego builders. The plansters and the pantsters. Kind of like us writers. When it comes to stories, either way can work. But when it comes to building our platforms, it’s best if we have a plan and the right tools. If you’re like me, it’s hard to muddle through the techie side of plans and tools when we really just want to connect with our readers.
Three years ago I signed my first book contract. I was at ground zero with techie knowledge. I was an HTML-button-pushing- mess-making-phobic. But desperate times called for desperate measures. I asked my teenage son for help. You can imagine how that went. He rolled his eyes and said, “Mom, Google is your friend.”
I took him at his word. Between blog posts, tutorials and a lot of trial and error, I taught myself what I needed to know. Because I realize how much hair pulling, nail biting and keyboard throwing can be involved in learning the techie side of marketing, I like to help other authors be successful DIY Techies. It all starts with the goals we set and tools we choose to use.
|There are two different types of Lego builders. |
The plansters and the pantsters. Kind of like us writers.
There are four basic goals each of us, as authors, need to have for our platform foundation. Once in place, they make the rest of our marketing easier. And using these basics as a sort of filter to guide our choice of projects can help stem the tide of overload that comes from trying to do too much at once. If a project doesn’t fit with current goals, we can bookmark it for later.
Build a welcoming home base. Our website is our home on the web. We need to build it so that when our readers stop by, they feel comfortable hanging out a while, find it easy to get around, discover information that is interesting to them, come back and bring their friends.
Build an email list. When people give us their email, they are giving us permission to contact them. This is our most valuable asset. Facebook might close your account, Twitter might crash, but if we have our reader’s emails, we can contact them from anywhere and share our writing. The best way to build our list is through a newsletter.
Make it easy for people to connect. We don’t need to be on every social media outlet there is, but we do need to find out where our readers are and establish a presence there. Then make sure to have links to all those places visible on our website and on each SM profile.
Make it easy for people to share our content. Word of mouth is the best advertising that money can’t buy! We want people to pass on our information. Share buttons, click to tweets, pin it hover buttons, and memes are ways to make it simple for our audience.
Goals in place, its time to choose our tools. Most of us probably have a few of these already in our tool kit, we just need to take them out and use them. There are 5 tools I have found to be critical in my DIY Techie life.
Attitude. Pace ourselves to avoid burn out. Don’t compare or we’ll easily get discouraged. Be fearless and try something new. If it doesn’t work or we don’t like it, delete and start over. Approach it like a professional. Do our best work. Believe in ourselves. We can do this.
Google. Look at what others have done on their website. If we like something and it fits with our now goals, look it up. There is a free tutorial or blog posts for just about anything we would want to do.
Images/Graphics. These are a necessary part of our online presence. Keep the appearance consistent with your online personality, a cohesive look between SM profiles and always use quality images. My 4 favorite places to find images are: my own photos, Free Digital Images, Graphic Leftovers, and Dreamstime.
A quick note about images: Images are copyrighted just like an author’s writing. We can’t just copy and paste an image we find into our blog/project. There are some public domain spots, but typically you will need to pay for an image or at the very least post a photo credit. Check for attribution requirements when you find the picture you like. You can avoid these issues by using your own image.
Photo Editing. Whether designing a meme, blog posts, badge, button or book cover, the image will most likely need to be cropped, sized or adjusted in some way. While there are a lot of choices out there, here are a few options I like.
|Gimp Free Photo Editing|
Gimp. If you can’t afford Photo Shop but want to try your hand at it, check this software out. It’s freeware similar in scope to Photo Shop. Lots of tutorials are available for this.
Canva is a free online editing choice. Simple to use. Nothing to download to your computer except your project. Templates make it easy to size your project correctly. You can save your projects in Canva if you choose.
Photobucket is also a free tool. There are some basic editing tools, though not as extensive as Canva. This is a great spot for hosting images when you need to do so for buttons and badges.
Fotoflexer is a free online tool. Very basic but quick and easy for simple projects. Nothing to store on your computer and the site does not store your projects either.
MailChimp. Free for up to 2000 subscribers, it’s a great place to start building an email list. They have tutorials that are easy to follow and implement. Once your email list is created and your newsletter designed, create your sign up forms and make them extremely easy to find. You can build your form in Mail Chimp or go to SumoMe and try your hand at something a bit more eye catching. It’s free and the tutorial makes it look super easy.
Someday, I do plan to set aside my DIY techie hat and pay someone to do it. Once I’ve sold enough books. Until then, I’m keeping my goals in mind and my tools sharp and encouraging others on this DIY marketing journey. While I keep working on my next story, of course.
My gift to each of you:
DIY Project List with Clickable Links -includes links to all the places I mentioned in the post and more. PDF: http://bit.ly/1FmJKdy
For those of you just getting started: 52 Platform Foundation Laying Prompts PDF: http://bit.ly/1M4Z5oD
|Where Hope Starts|
What have been some of your DIY techie challenges?
What tips and tools have you found useful?
Join the conversation for a chance to win a copy of my book
Where Hope Starts
In a city full of dreams, Karen Marino’s life is a nightmare. The New York City restaurant manager is a professional success, but her marriage is in shambles. When her husband, Barry shows up drunk at her restaurant, she loses both. She flees The Big Apple and returns to her Midwestern home to sort through her options. But instead of answers, she finds an old boyfriend ready to rekindle romance, a family full of secrets and an angry brother bent on revenge.
Still in New York, Barry fights his own demons. He knows he messed up, but is powerless to stop his rage and addictions. A fistfight on the streets of the city lands him in jail and forces him to face the possibility of a future behind bars.
Karen knows holding onto her bitterness won’t repair her marriage. But how do you forgive someone when you don’t feel like it? As she searches for the answer, she uncovers the family secret that threatens to tear them all apart. Can she find her way back to the place Where Hope Starts?
Find Where Hope Starts on Amazon
Angela D. Meyer is the author of Where Hope Starts, a finalist in the 2013 Grace awards and the first in the Applewood Hill Series. The second book in the series, Where Healing Starts will be released early 2016. She is also a contributor to the devotional collection The Benefit Package. You can catch Angela on social media encouraging women in their faith journey. She is active in Wordsowers, her local Christian writers group.
Angela lives in Nebraska with her husband and has homeschooled both of her kids most of the way through school. She enjoys the ocean, good stories, connecting with friends, taking pictures, quiet evenings and a good laugh. On her someday-to-do list, she wants to vacation by the sea and ride in a hot air balloon.
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