A letter to myself inspiring me to achieve my romantic dreams - for the Dear Me Contest
Twenty-twenty-one is the year you’re going to get rich. You'll build a successful business that enables you to quit your day job. Then you can live out your remaining days on a sunny Caribbean beach.
Let's backtrack a little to the genesis of this dream. A short while ago, you saw Guerrilla Publishing advertised in a WDC newsletter. Curious, you purchased and then read this little self-help book. It advised you to increase your web presence if you want to publish a novel. In particular, it mentioned starting a website.
However, you’ve never run a website before, let alone set one up from scratch. You have no idea how to do it. Plus, what's the point of creating an author’s website before you’ve even published a book?
(Please note that buying Guerrilla Publishing through this link will benefit WDC, not Bob Baker!)
In the twilight days of 2020, you came up with a novel idea. You love reading. You love creative writing. Your day job is writing content for websites. Why not draw on this hard-earned experience to establish a website about books and how they are created?
With your content writing experience, you know a blogging website is best for both generating an income and gaining an internet presence. You also understand a niche website has more chance of success. Because you have a series of romance novels already outlined in your head, you decided to set up a romance-themed, book-blog website.
You wanted to call your new website The Romance Guy. Sadly, that domain name had already been claimed. As an alternative, you purchased the domain name The Romance Bloke. At least it sounds British.
The Romance Bloke Website1
The Romance Bloke is a website that enables romance authors to reach a larger readership. You set up the bare bones of the site in the dying days of 2020 while on holiday from work, but it is during 2021 that you will add flesh to this fledgling project.
You joined the Amazon Affiliate’s Scheme, which enables you to monetize your website. If website visitors click on an Amazon link and buy a book, you’ll receive a commission. Even if you don’t make much in commissions, the website will provide a great platform from which to launch your planned novel series. (If you ever get around to writing it!)
The Website & Novel Publishing Business Plan
To achieve success with your website and publication dreams, you need a solid business plan. This involves:
* recruiting romance authors,
* making better use of social media,
* increasing your website's Domain Authority (DA),
* utilizing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques,
* creating engaging content,
* polishing your romance novel manuscript,
* publishing your novel, and
* becoming a bestselling author!
Recruiting Romance Authors2
Every website must have a gimmick if it hopes to become successful — something making it stand out from the crowd. There are many book blogs around, even other romance book blogs. Yours must be unique.
To achieve this, you will invite published romance authors to contribute to your website. You envisage the authors benefiting from this arrangement because it provides a platform to publicize their latest books. Your website benefits from expert-written articles that you hope will interest romance readers.
During January, you will approach published romance readers and ask… plead… beg them to write for your website. You believe success will breed success. Once a few romance authors have contributed articles, others will perceive the potential benefits.
By the end of January, you want to have at least five romance-author-written articles live on your website. This will prove to website visitors that you are serious about romance fiction. While many book bloggers just regurgitate the dust-cover synopsis and hold out their hand for affiliate link money, you want to provide an authoritative and informed platform.
You will create a Write For Me page and a Request A Review page on the website. When romance authors visit your website, hopefully, these pages will encourage them to contact you and contribute to your site. The more authors get involved, the more they will benefit from an increasing readership.
Utilizing Social Media
Another suggestion from Guerrilla Publishing was increasing your social media presence before you publish your book. The same advice applies to making your website a success. A greater number of friends on Facebook3 equates to more website visitors.
You must ask your friends for help. Social networking may make the difference between a book blog nobody reads and one that becomes a frequently referenced resource. Your more experienced SEO-writing friend, Krysha4, called this creating an author’s platform.
At the moment, you only have one friend on your “Robert Baker” Facebook profile. That won’t help you to market your new website or sell any books. By the end of January, you must have at least a hundred Facebook friends. By summer, aim for five hundred, and a thousand by the end of the year. The more Facebook friends, the more people you can ask for help to promote your website and future novels.
Also, Shaye5 informed you that Twitter6 is an important social media site for romance novels. Except for entering the WDC Tweet contest run by Sally7, you have never written a tweet in your life. It's time you learned!
Obviously, you have zero followers on Twitter right now. By the end of January, you must have at least fifty. And by the end of the year, five hundred. The greater the number of followers, the better your author's platform.
Increasing the Website's DA
Domain Authority (DA) is important to marketing on the internet. A few years ago, you’d never heard of it. Since becoming a content writer, it has become essential. DA is a quantifiable measure of how much a specific website is respected on the internet within its sphere of influence.
So, for example, the book blog website Geek Galaxy8 currently boasts a DA of twelve. This is a fantastic DA for a relative newcomer founded in late 2019. In comparison, Waterstones9 (a long-established British bookstore chain) has a DA of seventy-six.
The higher a website’s DA, the higher its articles will be listed by internet search engines. Appearing near the top of search engine lists enables you to reach a wider audience. This translates into more potential commissions through Amazon Affiliate links. It also means a broader author’s platform for those elusive future romance novels you’ll publish.
Increasing your DA is difficult. Part of it is based on a website's age, which is why Waterstones boasts such a high score. However, having actual romance writers contribute articles to your website should help with “authority”. Shared links on social media also improve your DA score. You’ll have to work hard over the coming year to add high-quality articles to your website to improve your DA score.
DA scores range from one to a hundred. Your website has only just launched, so its DA score is only one! By the summer, you must have a DA of at least five. By the end of the year, you want to catch up with Geek Galaxy and achieve a DA of twelve.
Search Engine Optimization is one way to improve your website’s DA score. You already know about integrating keywords and phrases into articles and writing them in a way that appeals to an internet audience. However, you don’t yet understand the search engine algorithms behind this.
Over the next three months, you must learn more about the internal workings of SEO. In particular, you must learn how to generate your own keywords in order to improve the position of your website’s articles in romance readers’ internet searches.
There’s no point in having a high DA if there are no articles on the website for people to read. This means you must post interesting and engaging articles that appeal to romance readers and keep them coming back to your website.
You intend to have four kinds of content:
* Romance Author Articles,
* Bob’s Articles,
* Book Reviews, and
* Bob’s Blog Posts.
Although you won’t write the Romance Author Articles yourself, you must work hard to recruit contributors. You need a minimum of two romance-author-written articles each month to make this website work as you intend.
Bob’s Articles will explain to website visitors how romance novels are created. You’ll write authoritative articles about subjects such as sympathetic characters, plot structure, conflict, and romance sub-genres. You hope these articles interest romance readers so they visit your site often to learn more.
Your Book Reviews will provide in-depth reviews of classic and contemporary romance novels. You hope published romance authors will request reviews of their books from your website. However, even if they don't you won't run out of reading material. Shaye kindly mentored you in the art of obtaining free advance copies of romance novels to review.
Bob’s Blog Posts will allow you to write articles that are not directly romance related. Some of these articles will be about your daily life. Others will be about non-romance genres or poetry. The more fresh content you have on your website, the higher the DA score will rise.
Successful affiliate marketing websites often hold as many as a thousand articles. To gain a high position in search engine rankings, you'll need to create a lot of content. This may take years. To begin with, write at least two book reviews and one informative article every week, and one blog post per month. Aim to have at least two hundred articles on The Romance Bloke website by the end of 2021.
Polishing & Publishing your Romance Novel Manuscript
Once you’ve reached a point where author-written articles are rolling in and your DA score has risen above five, you must polish your "Low Expectations" manuscript and prepare it for publication. The novel is already complete, you just need to finish your edits.
Since your son is studying Creative Writing & Illustration at the University of Worcester, ask for his help in designing an attractive romance book cover. The authors you meet through The Romance Bloke are sure to offer useful advice with the publishing process. It will be easy to publish Low Expectations on Kindle Direct.
With an established author’s platform, there is a much higher chance self-publication will be a success. You can become a novelist like you always dreamed!
Becoming a Bestselling Author
Okay, you may be slipping into the realms of fantasy here. However, if you do make a few dollars from Amazon Affiliate Links and sell a handful of your own romance novels on top of that, you may benefit financially from this grand plan.
Whether or not the website and your novels are financially successful, you will certainly benefit from what you are doing. You will gain valuable experience in establishing and running a website. You will learn more about romance novels. And you will make lots of new friends from all around the world.
What could go wrong? The unicorns have your back!
Bob, it really doesn’t matter if your website fails or succeeds. Your life won't be over if your debut novel bombs in the charts. Life is not about the ending. It’s about how you get there.
This year, you’re going to have lots of fun with your new “toy”. Just roll with the punches and enjoy the ride. This time next year, you’ll either be a millionaire or own a wealth of experience.
I remain, as always, yours faithfully (unless chocolate sharing is involved),
WORD COUNT: 1995