Writing tips for your novel's website:
POV, POV, POV (point of view)

This web page promises writing tips. They're coming . . . but first, congratulations are in order.

You've written a novel. Great. That's step 1.

Step 2? Now you need a website to let others know about your work. But what if you're not a website designer . . . nor a web technician?

In many ways, the outdated technologies I learned as a printer’s devil were much harder to learn than the skills I used to build this website, using Site Build It! (SBI!). Those folks have a lot of writing tips that have helped me optimize my site. All I really needed to know was how to read, write, point, click, and follow some easy directions to present myself and Soda Springs on the Internet.

This is an aside...if you know something about anything and you can write, you don’t have to spend lots of money to hire someone to put up a website for you. SBI! offers writing tips and behind-the-scenes knowledged that can help you build recognition for your writing – or even a profitable business around some other hobby or passion. I highly recommend it.

Back to your website: so you want to create a dynamic website that will grab millions of readers and deliver them to your work, right?

Me, too. But I'm a fiction writer building a website for my novels and short stories. I . . . and you . . . must operate in a whole new genre. The old writing tips don't apply. How are we . . . you and I . . . to survive in this foreign land where . . . ye gads . . . we have to write in keywords . . . in HTML . . . in elipses . . .

I'm still perfecting these pages, but already I've learned I can't simply:

  • spend big bucks on a pro to bang out a flashy website
  • put up a sample chapter or two
  • add a bang-up synopsis and clever bio
  • sprinkle in a few glowing testimonials
  • tack on an order form and wait for the orders to roll in

A website like that may dazzle your Facebook friends, but it probably won't rake in eager buyers clicking onto your site like lemmings.

So, how to write web content? First, honor these two key guidelines:

Forget your familiar fiction writing rules:
We're in a new genre here.

When people land on your website, they're skimming. They're looking for something specific . . . a keyword they've typed into their browser. You have seconds to deliver . . . or . . . click . . . they're gone. They're not looking for riveting action . . . witty dialog . . . character development . . . or scintillating prose.

They want easy-to-skim text . . . headlines . . . bold, italic, and colored words . . . short sentences and paragraphs . . . bulleted lists . . . lots of white space. So here's web writing tip #1: keep it short.

Build your site on info your readers want:
Don't hit them with a sales pitch.

Why? We browse the web by typing in a specific name of something we want. Chances are unless you and your book are widely known (John Grisham comes to mind) that specific something isn't your name . . . or your book.

So how do readers find you if they don't know your name . . . or the name of your book?

Frankly, it's a tough sell.

You start by shifting your point of view . . . think as a reader, not an author. Ask yourself, What is my reader looking for when she types in her keywords? What can I offer her that meets her needs? Not . . . How do I build a website that convinces people to buy my book?

You do that with carefully chosen keywords. Writing tip #2.

Now, on to our instant classroom:
Critique this website

The point of this website is to show how you can use my novel, Soda Springs, to improve your own fiction writing. How? Let me illustrate with a short course . . . use my website as a test case. Try these 3 writing tips

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