Sunday 5 April 2020

The All Important Call to Action

Web site review

When we publish a new author we go through a series of certain marketing routines. One action is the offer of a web site or blog review. One glaring era we see on many authors’ sites is a lack of call to action.

What is a call to action?

This is the means by which you make it easy for your readers to act on what you’re telling them about, so it might be:
A link to your book on Amazon or similar
A link to where people can download a free sample of your work
A link to an event you’re holding

How does this square with avoiding ‘buy my book, buy my book, buy my book’?

First of all, I personally have no objection at all to people putting direct links on social media or their sites to their book on Amazon or somewhere else where you can buy it. If it’s a book that sounds interesting I’ll buy it. If it’s not the type of thing I’m into I’ll just not click through. I can still appreciate that the author wants to let us know about their work. If I’m not sure, I’ll click through anyway and read a bit more about it and perhaps look at a few reviews.

But here’s the thing - if I’ve got to go and look it up myself, well I can’t be bothered.  Life is too short.

I actually find many of the books I end up buying by reading about them on Twitter or Facebook.  

I post links to my own books and other books we’ve published on social media too  but keep strictly to the 20/80 rule. Only 20% of what I post on social media should be direct calls to action. In fact it’s probably only about 10% though I do ads for our books that haven’t cleared their set-up costs and stories on CafeLit that haven’t had at least twenty hits.

Bios on CafeLit

I’m always a little puzzled when authors on CafeLit don’t provide a bio. Is it shyness? Do they expect me to dig out an old one?

Well they shouldn’t be shy. If you’re a writer, you’re running a business. We don’t offer payment for stories that appear on the daily postings though some will get into the Bet of book and receive royalties. We do offer authors the right to shout out about themselves and their achievements. Why shouldn’t they? People don’t have to follow the links if they don’t want to but it can be frustrating if they would like to know more and there’s nothing there.
No, I’m not going to dig an old one. I don’t have that sort of time. Besides we all move on. Pretty well as soon as you’ve written a bio it’s out of date. Bios anyway can be post specific. If you’ve written a story based on potholing something about your experience of potholing might be interesting. But not if you’ve written as story based on skiing. Our submissions guidelines specify that writers should provide a bio and whilst we don’t preclude people from being published by us if they haven’t followed the guidelines to the letter and their submission is the best on the day but if we have two equally good ones and one has all the components we’ll go for the more complete one.  

Our magnet book

This is a major call to action. We’re giving away a splendid selection of many of our authors in exchange for folk joining a mailing list – a mailing list that is GDPR compliant and which they can opt out of at any time. We’ll mail out to people on that list news of our new books and of offers on our backlist.

And guess what: within the pages of the book are other calls to action which take reader to more works by an author they’ve enjoyed.

If you’re in the book, or even if you’re just published by us, because you will still benefit form that mailing list, do feel free to use the image and the link to create a call to action on your own site. Or just copy the concept to make your own call to action.     

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