In Part 1 of this series I explained that the landing page is an effective tool authors can use to pitch their books. It allows you more time and space to make a solid pitch than say, Twitter. One of the important keys to a landing page is what is known as a 'call to action.' While Twitter may no longer be a good forum to scream 'buy my book,' the landing page is. The purpose of the landing page is to call readers to action, either to purchase your book, or if you have a series you might consider using the page to offer the first book for free.
Author Michael R. Hicks has some very effective landing pages offering free downloads. In fact, he is one of the first successful authors I noticed who employed a landing page.
The screenshot above doesn't do him justice, but in it he's offering readers the chance to try three of his novels for free. In his own words: There aren’t any catches or gotchas, you don’t have to fork over your email address or anything else. Just click on the link for the format you want and grab ‘em.
notice the 'buy button' below each book
call to action
Michael's is a straight forward, no nonsense pitch. That's one of the things I like about using a landing page. It allows you the time to make an honest pitch on why a reader should try your book. Has your book won any awards? Brag about them on your landing page. If you have 1500 reviews or just 15 reviews, use what you've got to persuade readers why they should click on your offer. There's a lot more you can learn from author, Hicks by clicking around his website GO HERE. And while you're there, please take the time to download one of his amazing books.
Ready to build a landing page? Let's get started. One of the things I'm going to tell you right now is that your books must have an eye-catching book cover. A large part of the pitch is visual, and you'll need a great cover to make that work. For my landing page I chose a Blogspot or Blogger blog template. A Wordpress template is better for a number of reasons, but for those of us who aren't savvy in doing things on the internet (me, me, me), blogger is easier to navigate, and I built the rudimentary form of my page in less than an hour. And if I can do it.. you know how it goes.
Before you begin there's one more caveat. If you're not good at writing ad copy, surf around looking at ads and book pitches that you think deliver the kind of message you'd like, and COPY that pitch. Copy it, and then tailor it to your message. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Take the time to imitate successful authors like Michael R. Hicks. Your pitch is just as important as your visuals and your call to action. You need all three working together to have a successful landing page.
I had my book cover designer design a header that I wound up using for my landing page. The header makes my page look professional and not the DIY page that it is. If you're paying a graphic artist to design your covers, negotiate a header into the price so it doesn't cost you any more. My designer threw it in for free. My designer is Adara Rosalie. Here's a screenshot of my header. Notice that you can tell before you begin to read that I've written a series and not just one book. My pitch has begun visually.
Now that you've got a kick-ass book cover and have tinkered around with your copy, go to blogger, choose the perfect site name and begin. And if you're handy with Wordpress, by all means do it there. I chose Incrediblereads for my site name. I also bought the incrediblereads.com domain. I'll tell you why I made this choice in the next post.
Once you've gone through the blogger basics, it's time to choose a template. click on 'template' in the left hand sidebar. I chose an 'awesome' template. For color I chose black, but I must tell you, I've been told you should always choose a white background, but right now black works for me (my blog is white on black). I think it makes my colors pop better than white. After you've chosen your template, you can begin writing your copy into the landing page, just as if you were writing a blog post. At this time you should also begin to add all the goodies on the sidebars like I have on mine. You do this by clicking on 'layout' in the left hand sidebar menu just above template.
Getting my page to where it is today took a lot of trial and error working in the layout--much more than an hour. I'm no expert, so I can't even tell you how I did it. But blogger has incredible tutorials to walk you through getting your book covers where you want them and even how to have your series covers fade-in like they do on my landing page. One more thing, I disabled comments, followers and all things blog related that I knew I wouldn't use. You should do the same. Your page needs to look like a landing page and not a blog. The page you create is going to be the only post.
Play around with it, and don't hesitate to come back to this post and ask me any question you might have (even if it's a year later) about landing pages. I check my comments on all my posts regularly. Even if I can't answer it, I'll comment back. And finally, don't get frustrated. If something isn't working, put it aside and come back to it with fresh eyes. Just like you do with your writing.
In part three of the series I'm going to share with you why I think you should always offer something for free ,along with where to prospect for new readers to send to your kickass landing pages. Until then...