A Guest Post by Linda Fulkerson
My writing journey began with a song, which makes sense, because I was a Music Education major. I literally woke up one night and began scrawling down the words. The song shared the story of my life, a story of hope and reconciliation. I was a prodigal daughter, and God had shown me the way home many years before.
As this song sprang to life, I performed it at several local events and festivals. Without fail, at least one person would approach me and ask if the song was based upon a true story. Whenever I shared how God had given me the song, and that, yes, it was based upon my life, that person would typically wind up in tears, because they had a prodigal in their life who needed hope and reconciliation.
Soon after, my mother told me I had a responsibility to share my story in a way that could reach many more people. She said I needed to write a book. Writing a book can be a daunting task. Even with many books under my belt today, I still get a flutter in my stomach when I start with a blank page or screen.
I researched how to write a book. A friend of mine invited me to attend a workshop about writing one’s first book, so I went. My book was nonfiction, and this workshop was for fiction writers, but it introduced me to the wonderful world of writing workshops and conferences. I never knew such a world existed!
After my book was written and edited, I found a great agent who helped me firm up the manuscript. He spent a year shopping it and told me it was well-received by the publishers he’d pitched it to, but because it was a memoir and I was an unknown, no one was willing to take a risk. The time had come to dissolve our agent/author agreement. His parting advice to me was, “Go get famous. Then, try pitching your book again. Or you can always try self-publishing.”
That was in 2002, and self-publishing was a long, difficult and expensive path at that time. I was pretty naïve, so I asked him, “How does one get famous?” First, he suggested getting some speaking engagements. Then he asked if I’d ever heard of blogging. I had heard about it, but didn’t know much about it. By this time, I had a small network of writing friends. None of them know anything about blogging either. (How things have changed!)
Getting speaking engagements wasn’t too difficult, but there was still that other part of the “get famous” equation—Blogging. So, being half-research junkie and half-geek, I set out on a learn-how-to-blog quest.
Fast forward a few years. Now my author friends were calling me. Publishers and agents were telling them to start blogging. But again, few people knew much about it in the first decade of this century. By this time, I had taken many online courses about blogging and digital marketing from professional bloggers—not authors. These guys were making a living online. I learned a LOT about how to structure a website, what platform to use, search engine optimization, getting traffic to a website, and even how to monetize a blog.
I was spending a lot of time pacing around the house on a portable phone—before we had cell phones—explaining to my author friends about blogging. My husband finally said, “Why don’t you just write a blog about how to blog?” And I did. That was ten years ago. I no longer maintain that blog, but I kept it going about three years and learned a lot.
My expertise evolved from blog coach to digital marketing consultant to website builder and graphic designer. I’ve always been a do-it-yourselfer, so whenever I needed something done, I researched and tested until I figured it out.
Since 2003, I have built dozens of websites. I launched my own digital services company in 2013, and today I only take on clients who are authors, writers, or speakers. Throughout my career, I’ve developed a list of what I call “Must-Haves” for author/speaker websites. These items help ensure an author website is professional in appearance, that it complies with regulations, is secure, easy to update, and that it earns its keep as a marketing machine for the author’s books and/or services.
Linda Fulkerson became interested in writing while working as a copy-editor and typesetter at a small-town weekly newspaper. She has since been published in several magazines and newspapers, including a two-year stint as a sports writer. Linda is the author of two novels and seven non-fiction books, four of which are coloring books for writers.
Her first book, The Prodigal Daughter (Petit Jean Press), was published in 2003. At that time, Linda was introduced to the world of book marketing and blogging. She soon became a blog coach and marketing consultant, launching the popular instructional blog, On Blogging Well.
While living in Texas, Linda was the online editor of the Killeen Daily Herald and director of digital services for the largest media group in Central Texas. Soon after returning to her home state of Arkansas in 2013, she started her own digital services company which focuses on helping authors, speakers, and small business owners develop an effective online presence.
She and her husband, Don, live on a ten-acre plot in central Arkansas. They have four adult children and eight grandchildren. When she’s not writing, Linda enjoys photography, travel, and spoiling her two dachshunds.
Linda speaks to small business owners and writers’ groups on a variety of marketing-related topics, such as blogging, social media management, and website development. To learn more about Linda, visit her website at LindaFulkerson.com.
15 Must-Haves for Author/Writer Websites
To be competitive, today’s authors must have a well-thought-out, professional-looking site that introduces agents, editors, and prospective book buyers to their writing.
However, while most authors and writers realize the need for a website, many are at a loss as to what to include when it comes to developing a site. Some website elements are nice to have. But others are essential.
This presentation will cover 15 must-haves for author/writer websites. Attendees will learn how to ensure his or her website is secure, compliant with government guidelines, competitive with search engines, engaging for readers, and that it builds one’s author platform, increasing the ability to sell books, products, and services.