5 Secrets Set The Stage for Success

A young writer emailed me the other day. In answering her, I offered a bit of advice that I think is worth passing on to you. So here it is:

5 Secrets Set The Stage for Success.

Be Smart

When writers, or other small entrepreneurs first start, they set up a website and a blog because that's what they've been told they need to do. Writers probably have a book -- usually one one -- to sell and a small retailer may have only one or two handcrafted products to sell.

In just about every case, the small entrepreneur sets up their website and/or blog to promote the product, not their name. They think their brand is the product or the book, but what they don't yet realize is that they're selling their name.

An author needs to establish their brand as quickly as possible, and so does an artisan selling knitted caps or whatever. What does a book by this writer give the reader? What does a knitted scarf by this artisan give the consumer? In both cases, the reader, or consumer, wants to know what they get in terms of  design, convenience and ease of sale, satisfaction, and some other esoteric elements.

Begin the Right Way

If you expect to have a long career in writing or in producing widgets for sale online or whatever, start right. Set up your website and blog to brand you, not a book or other product. The website/blog URL should be your name, not the name of a book or series or product. The website/blog title should be your name.

The banner image should represent you and your brand not your first book because, hopefully, there will be other books to follow this one. Your website and blog should always reflect you, the brand you are establishing, and should promote you.

Every time someone visits your site, they should focus on your name and brand -- not the title of a single book or product.

My banner image here on SlingWords is a picture of a woman on a chaise, drinking coffee, and writing on a laptop. That is so me! My banner image on my website is a graphic that appears to be the luxurious folds of white satin. That's a subtle reference to romance.

Create Great Content

Use the sidebars for your book images, review quotes, etc. Make the majority of your blog content about other things, not just one constant advertisement for "buy my book." Web visitors won't return to a site that's only a long infomercial.

Maybe once a week write something with a link to your book, but make it fascinating. For example, 9 Facts About Black Wool with a picture and buy link for the black wool shawl you knitted. Or, Does Cinderella Myth Fuel Shoe Envy? which I'm writing to promote my new book Cinderella Blue.

Always create content that pulls readers in. Choose carefully what you put on your sites.

Blog, Blog, Blog

Be generous and offer to Guest Blog for others. Most blogs, including mine, host writers for either a guest post or interview. Don't be shy. You need to get your brand out, and one way is to be a guest on another blog. Remember, don't make your guest post nothing but "buy my book" because that's a sure way to turn readers and your host off.

Learn From Others

Take advantage of the wealth of information online. I offer hundreds of articles in the Archives of SlingWords about Internet Success, eBook Success, the Writing Biz, etc. Read widely -- how to articles as well as in your chosen genres and in other genres.

Learn from authors who have spent years in the trenches. Chances are they've made lots of mistakes because, face it, that's where wisdom comes from. Learn from their mistakes. Learn from the things they've done right. Always be a sponge, soaking up knowledge.

Takeaway Truth

Most successes don't happen overnight. It takes years of persistence and hard work. Be patient. Work hard. Work effectively. You'll get there.


  1. Joan, a sixth secret would be to follow you, because you give such great advice!