34 – Creating Detailed Personas


Download Valerie’s Persona Spreadsheet

On this week’s show we get into the nitty gritty of developing personas. We are continuing our discussion with Valerie Francis, author of the Masquerade series, about developing and refining the personas who represent your target readership. She shares about the demographic and psychographic information that is compiled for each persona, to such intricate detail as their typical celebrity crush! We point out the importance of knowing who exactly you are writing for and bounce around ideas around for gathering information about this market segment. We explore the possibilities that podcasts offer in getting you connected with the right people and how it only takes a few crucial connections to boost your product. We discuss the reward of continuous marketing, effective ways of learning a habit and the process and skills involved in outreach. Finally, we look at different aspects of Valerie’s website and how she can improve it to reach its goals. For all of this and more, be sure to join us!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • How Valerie went about setting up her spreadsheet of personas. 
  • Using demographics and psychographics to differentiate personas
  • How Seth Godin’s books helped her. 
  • Profiling your potential readership or audience. 
  • Why you need a clear mental picture of who you are trying to talk to with your writing. 
  • Finding your target readership’s online hangout spots.  
  • How to gather information about your target readers 
  • Why marketing should be a habit.
  • Implementing the tiny habit principle. 
  • The process and skill of outreach. 
  • What works and doesn’t work about Valerie’s website. 
  • The importance of having specific goals for your website. 
  • And much more!

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Tim Grahl — https://booklaunch.com/ 

Tim on Twitter — https://twitter.com/timgrahl

Valerie Francis — https://valeriefrancis.ca/ 

Valerie on Twitter — https://twitter.com/valerie_francis 

The Story Grid Editor Roundtable Podcast — https://valeriefrancis.ca/podcast/ 

Running Down a Dream — https://www.amazon.com/Running-Down-Dream-Winning-Creative/dp/1936891557

Seth Godin — https://www.sethgodin.com/

Your First 1000 Copies on Amazon — https://www.amazon.com/Your-First-Copies-Step-Step-ebook/dp/B00DMIWAIC

Diana Gabaldon — http://www.dianagabaldon.com/

Sex and the Cityhttps://www.hbo.com/sex-and-the-city

Grace and Frankiehttps://www.imdb.com/title/tt3609352/

Ladies, We Need To Talkhttps://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/ladies-we-need-to-talk/

Liane Moriarty — https://lianemoriarty.com.au/

HBO — https://www.hbo.com/

Netflix — https://www.netflix.com/za/

The King’s Speechhttps://www.imdb.com/title/tt1504320/

Colin Firth — https://www.britannica.com/biography/Colin-Firth

Fifty Shades of Grey — https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2322441/ 

L. Marie Adeline — http://www.secretnovels.com/

Bradley Cooper — https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0177896/

Goodreads — https://www.goodreads.com/

Bravo — https://www.bravotv.com/shows

Bitch Sesh: A Real housewives Breakdownhttps://www.earwolf.com/show/bitch-sesh/

WTF Podcasthttp://www.wtfpod.com/

Marc Maron on Twitter https://twitter.com/marcmaron

Dr. BJ Fogg — https://www.behaviormodel.org/

Oprah — http://www.oprah.com/index.html

USA Today — https://www.usatoday.com/life/books/best-selling/

Masquerade Part Onehttps://www.amazon.com/Masquerade-Part-Robin-St-Croix-ebook/dp/B01LYUZBZV

Robin St. Croix — http://www.robinstcroix.com/


[0:00:00.3] TG: Hello, this is Tim Grahl and the Book Launch Show. This week, I am talking to Valerie and we are going over her personas and we talked about this a couple of weeks ago about the importance of personas and I don’t think I’ve had anybody come at it quite like Valerie has come at it and it was really good for me to see, you know? A lot of times, I feel like I teach this stuff and I put out in the world and it’s hard for me to kind of see what people do with it and so to have her come back and really dig deep into these things was really good and to hear her feedback on it.

Make sure, after you listen to the episode that you go and find the show notes for this episode and look at the spreadsheet that she created for this because I think it will give you a lot of ideas for creating your own personas for your books and your podcasts as well.

This podcast is all about marketing, launching your book. But if you’re an author and you have a book, book coming out, book already out, you’re doing something special, you’re doing something that most people are afraid to do in my opinion. They’re actually going after that thing that they want. Everybody says they want to write a book, you’ve actually done it, you’re actually doing it, what that means is that you have a dream that you’re trying to accomplish it.

You have this idea, the kind of writer you want to be, the kind of life you want to live, the kind of artist you want to be. I wrote my book Running Down a Dream: Your Roadmap to Winning Creative Battles for people just like you. Based on my last decade of overcoming my creative battles of being stuck in the mud, stuck feeling like I’m always going to be a failure, stuff feeling like this thing that I want is stupid and never going to happen. 

I wrote this book to share the true journey of what this looks like, a lot of self-help books, a lot of books about creativity, they kind of share, “Ah, what was really hard and then look at all the awesome stuff I learned”. This book is different. It will walk you through what I think the real story of running down a dream really looks like. I put everything in there and on top of that, I put the tools I learned along the way. If you know anything about me and my work, you know I can’t help but be practical.

I took that story off running down my dream, of chasing what I wanted in life of overcoming creative battles and I broke it down into really practical tools that you can apply to overcome your own creative demons. Running Down a Dream is out now to Amazon and all the other different places that you can buy books. It’s available, audiobook, e-book and paperback. 

Check it out, buy a copy, share it with a friend and it’s a great way to support this show, thanks.

[INTRO]

[0:03:00.1] ANNOUNCER: Welcometo the Book Launch Podcast, helping authors launch and market their books.

[EPISODE]

[0:03:07.1] VF: Hello, Tim. How are you this week?

[0:03:09.4] TG: I’m getting over a cold but otherwise feeling okay.

[0:03:12.8] VF: You caught my cold all the way from another country.

[0:03:15.2] TG: Well, it sounds like you had it a lot worse. I just feel a little run down but not bed ridden.

[0:03:21.3] VF: Good. Okie-Dokie. Let’s start with catching up on some of the homework I didn’t get done last week. We were talking about a couple of things. Developing three or four personas and also revamping my website. Let’s start with the personas. I sent you, basically what I did was create a spreadsheet which I sent to you and in the first column is the demographics and the psychographics and then I have four other columns, one for each persona.

I wanted to get your thoughts on this to see, am I on the right path, am I wildly not on track, what do you think?

[0:04:05.6] TG: No, in fact, you sent me this a few minutes before we recorded so I could look at it and I looked at this and thought, you know, first of all, I hope you share this with all our listeners because this is probably the best thing I’ve ever seen when it comes to personas. Of just how in depth it is. I know you don’t have everything filled out for every person which is totally fine. 

I don’t think you have to. But you even incorporated some stuff from Seth Godin’s new book in here. Yeah, I think this is great. I mean, how do you feel putting this together?

[0:04:41.8] VF: Well, it felt really good to capture it in one spot, because this takes a lot more thought and consideration than I realized to be honest. No, you know, I know you just can’t pull it out of thin air and slap it on a piece of paper. When I had to define four different people and I had to look at all of the different aspects of their life. For example, when you’re writing a novel, your characters have to all be distinct.

Such that, if you took all the dialog tags out of a conversation, the reader can still tell who is talking because the characters are so different. That was my goal here, to have four distinct people coming at this from four very different world views. It took me a while to wrap my head around how to capture all this information. I started with the demographics.

I’ve got – yes, I’ll share this, no problem, with the listeners, just so people know what we’re talking about now. I’ve got categories like age, education, profession, income, marital status, whether they have kids or not, where they live, whether they live in the city or the country, hobbies and so forth. 

I did list hobbies but then I also wanted specifically to list whether they’re in a book club or not. Because that makes sense. Hobbies, I don’t have any of them down here I was reading because it’s understood but I thought about it after why I should put it in there. Assume nothing.

Then, under the psychographics, I have the questions that came from Your First 1000 Copies that we talked about last week, but I also thought we should probably add a couple of other categories like financial mindset. Because some people come at life with a real idea that money is scarce and you have to hang on to every penny. Other people are like, I don’t know where it comes from but it always comes. I seem to be able to cover my bills.

I wanted to have a category that talks about their general state of mind and their prevailing emotion like Mary who is the oldest of my four is, she goes through life thinking well, don’t’ make a fuss, don’t raise your voice. If she went to a store and they short changed her, she wouldn’t say anything. If she bought something and it was faulty, she wouldn’t go back with it. That kind of stuff.

I did all of these things and then I realized that I was missing the key aspect of my books that we talked about a couple of episodes ago. When you ask me, well, what are your books about who would read your books? What type of person would approach your books and because I’m writing about women’s issues, I need readers who are interested in women’s issues and are comfortable talking about them?

Because not all women are and that’s fine. That’s totally cool. But here I have four personas who have different approaches like, Karen, for example, is very vocal. She doesn’t mind talking about women’s issues, she has no problem with women’s health, women’s sexuality, sexual health, she can just talk about any of it. Mary was raised to never talk about it.

Although she’s interested, she will read material secretly, quietly whereas Karen will read Diana Gabaldon, I never knew how to pronounce her name, she watches Sex and the City, you know, all that kind of stuff. Grace and Frankie which is great, I love that show.

[0:08:21.7] TG: Yeah, my wife loves that show. 

[0:08:23.8] VF: Yeah. I needed to have that in there because it’s really important. Then of course, I have— this is marketing, Seth Godin’s marketing book, and in the end, he’s got what he calls a simple marketing worksheet. I don’t have any of those categories filled in yet but they’re not necessarily different than what I have above, but there are different ways of looking at the same issues.

And of course he talks about, who it’s for, what’s it for, what’s the world view of the audience you’re seeking to reach, what are they afraid of and so on. When I finally figured out how to capture this information, it became easier to fill in the columns. You know, I’m not there yet, you know, I still have as you can see, I’ve got blank spots in some of the columns but that’s okay, I’m really starting to get an image of who these readers are.

Because all of them will come, all of them are my readers and one of the things that Seth Godin talks about is like talking— people who leave one star reviews for instance. Who don’t like a story because it was never for them in the first place. Well, they’re not wrong, it’s just their opinion, right? It’s not for them.

My four personas are people who would like my book. I didn’t include anyone who would read this and say, well that’s not for me.

[0:09:50.6] TG: Right, yeah.

[0:09:51.7] VF: Right? I thought that was important. How is it for them? How are they coming at a book about women’s issues? Makes sense?

[0:10:02.1] TG: Yeah, well, because I mean, do you remember like what this is for?

[0:10:08.3] VF: This is so I can find these people and do my outreach activities.

[0:10:13.4] TG: Exactly, you wouldn’t want to spend time profiling people that won’t like the book anyway. You know what I mean?

[0:10:21.7] VF: Right.

[0:10:22.6] TG: Your instinct was correct on that.

[0:10:26.4] VF: It’s nice that I have some marketing instincts. Sometimes I really wonder. Some of these personas were a little easier for me to get my head around like Karen who I said is 45, went under the, what kinds of stories do they consume and I’m including TV, film and novels.

You know, I’ve got Ladies, We Need To Talk which is a podcast that we mentioned before. Sex and the City, she would read Liane Moriarty, Diana Gabaldon. She watches Grace and Frankie, she’s the type of person who is going to watch shows that are on HBO and Netflix because they’re more liberal programming, right? They get into much deeper topics.

She loves The King’s Speech or anything with Colin Firth in it. That’s kind of her, as supposed to Jenifer who is in her 30s who would read more like Fifty Shades of Grey or L. Marie Adeline, she likes the romance novels with you know, the shirtless guys on the cover and she loves movies, anything that Bradley Cooper is in.

These are— because those are two distinct people. Would they get along at a cocktail party? Yeah, they’d have lots of things to talk about but they’re still really different people, right? This was— I think, a very valuable exercise. Challenging because it requires a lot of thought and I think even when I finished this and we put it up in the show notes, I’ll probably still come back to it even after that as I, as more things occur to me as I get more ideas, as I’m able to refine or I might add a whole other persona, I don’t know.

I think this is a living document.

[0:12:12.9] TG: Yeah, for sure. I mean, now, I mean, the whole point is to now think okay, you know, where can I find these people? That’s now the next step in that. This is great, I mean, this is a great exercise, I’m glad to see you kind of went all in on it because again, I’ve walked people through this before and it’s usually much more high level so it was like, I opened the spreadsheet and I was like, my gosh, wow. She wasn’t playing around with this.

Which is good, I mean, it’s good that you put a lot of thought into it because I feel like, you know, one of the things Shawn says all the time about story is specificity breeds universality. I think that applies to marketing too. Where the more specific the picture of your ideal reader is in your head, the more likely you are to find them and then the more likely you are to have more people resonate with it, right?

A lot of writers early on, myself included, write a bunch of vague stuff because they want it to apply to everybody. What happens is it ends up applying to nobody and so I feel like the same thing where, the more that you’re able to focus in and say this is the exact person I want to talk to, you’ll end up finding a broader audience doing it that way, it’s very counterintuitive, it’s the same thing with niching but in business, you actually get more business and often a wider variety of business by niching down and saying I only work with these people.

I think the more clear you are on that, you know, it also helps with the whole kind of getting bound up because you don’t know where to start, that runs,  it’s so often what happens in marketing is people, it feels so big and so vague that it’s hard to know where to go. Having an extremely clear idea of this is a type of person I want to talk to, now I can go on the hunt for where I can talk to those people.

[0:14:18.6] VF: As you’re saying that, I realized I’m going to have to add another line in here because I have not yet included where do these people hang out online, I haven’t put that category in and I need to add that category. Okay.

[0:14:31.6] TG: Yeah, I mean, for sure, but I think the exercise of just getting really clear of your mental picture of who you’re trying to talk to is the first step and you’ve done that.

[0:14:43.1] VF: Cool. Okay, the next step is, where do these women hang out online. How do I figure that out?

[0:14:54.1] TG: Well, there’s lots of different ways. One is to just think through yourself. Like you already know a few podcast that they might listen to, right? Then it becomes, what else is in that vein? Especially with podcast, this is really easy if you go into iTunes and you go into a podcast, a specific podcast, it gives you other podcast that are like that podcast.

I often just start there, the other thing that I like to do that’s really straightforward that I always learn interesting stuff is, I ask people who are like the embodiment of my persona. People you’re friends with on Facebook, you can even go into like other books that they would read, right? 

You have a row for that. Go into the reviewers of those on Goodreads and message them and say, look at other books that they reviewed and start getting a wider sense of what they’re into. Then you can look at, those are the authors I should be connecting with. One big one I always start with that I’d already mentioned is just find the people that are the embodiment of your personas and just ask them, what sites do you listen to, what forums do you read, what movies do you look at, what podcast do you listen to, what blogs do you read, what magazines do you read?

Where do you consume content and just start getting a sense of that and that will often highlight places that you could be going, right? Because now you have a hit list of podcasts and other media that you could go after to write for, to be guest on and so forth. The other thing is to, well, one is to start mining those things and the other is to just start asking, I think we’ve talked about this before but asking for referrals from places you’re already connecting.

Let’s say you go into the one podcast, women we need to talk or girls we need to talk, is that the one?

[0:17:10.6] VF: Ladies, We Need To Talk, yes.

[0:17:12.6] TG: Okay, you go in and you say, you look at other recommended podcast that are attached to those, you make a list, you start reaching out to them, to have you as a guest on the podcast and after 10 tries, you finally get one that says yes. Well, once you’ve been on that show, you can follow up with them and say, “Hey, what are one or two other podcast that you think I should be on as a guest or what are one or two other websites that you think I should guest post for, that would be interested in what I’m doing and what I’m talking about”.

They will nine times out of ten give you a list of people that you can reach out to that you now have warm leads. You can reach out to those people and say, “Hey, so and so, Ladies, We Need To Talk said that you might be interested in having me on your show. 

This is how a lot of times you only need to find one or two in a given niche and it becomes really easy to kind of spread out from there. 

[0:18:12.0] VF: Right. I’m looking for a crack, right? And then I can mine that avenue.

[0:18:19.7] TG: Right, yes. That’s where I would start is one, just doing straight research based around things that you already— you know, for instance, my wife loves The Housewives franchises from Bravo. She’s an avid listener of the Bitch Sesh podcast which is this like quasi-famous actresses and comedy writers.

That have an entire show dedicated to discussing what happened on The Housewives franchises.

[0:18:58.3] VF: Okay.

[0:18:59.1] TG: Right? You start seeing where like, maybe there’s not a lot you can do with Bravo’s Housewives but there’s all these media that is created around this bigger thing that is much more accessible. Does that make sense?

[0:19:16.0] VF: Yeah it does because even if I come up with a podcast that is not interview based and that I wouldn’t be able to tap into, that will give me other similar podcasts that people who listen to that podcast listen to. I might find interview-based podcasts there that I can contact.

[0:19:36.2] TG: Yeah, I would even email the first podcast and say, “Hey, this is what I’m trying to do, I realize you guys don’t usually have guest but are there any podcast that you think would be a good fit for me?” And just start asking. I think one of the things to get in the habit of that, even I did it today. I’m looking to start a new podcast because I don’t have enough going on in my life and I want to have like a producer for this one that helps me book guests, manage the schedule, do all the production, all of this stuff and I was trying to think like, should I be offering to just like pay them as a contractor which is fine or should they be more involved like almost like a partner in the show?

You know, I listen to the WTF Podcast with Mark Marin and he always talks about his producer and how they started the podcast together and now it’s this really popular thing and I just was like, you know, I’m just going to email him and say, you know, what do you recommend for setting up a relationship with a producer?

You know, I may not hear back, I probably won’t hear back but I’m going to ask. Shooting off an email hurts nothing. And so I just tried to constantly be in this— I realized a long time ago, you get more of the things you want when you ask for them and if you just assume that everybody else, they’re adults and they can either not respond or they can tell you no if they don’t want to do something and so I just constantly ask for what I want and of course, you know I get ignored. Most people don’t say yes or whatever but I also get a lot of cool opportunities because I at least asked. 

So I think just being in the state of constantly like, anytime you can connect with anybody and ask them on their opinion of something, who else should I do, who else should I reach out to, what authors I should connect with, what are B-list authors that— you know, Liane Moriarty is super famous, right? So she probably won’t be in the market to help you but if I am a fan of hers, what other books would I read from authors that aren’t as well-known as her or are self-published authors like, maybe I should be reaching out to connect with those authors, does that makes sense? 

[0:22:16.7] VF: Okay, it does and the thing that is occurring to me is this is going to take a lot of time. So my mind is already spinning on how to fit this research into the workflow. Like I have heard you say before to make marketing a habit. Now it is not a habit for me yet. It is something I have to consciously remind myself to do and I mean I have said to you before, I had to actually create a podcast with you to get my ass and gear on this stuff. 

So I am now thinking to myself, all right I am going to have to set aside a block of time each week to do this research. 

[0:23:03.3] TG: So what I would start doing, have you heard me talk about tiny habits?

[0:23:08.5] VF: Yes. 

[0:23:09.6] TG: Okay, so I should explain it because this is a podcast. 

[0:23:12.7] VF: Yes, you should explain, yes.

[0:23:13.8] TG: Yeah, okay. So this is an idea from Stanford professor BJ Fogg and it’s called tiny habits, and he talks about he’s done all of this research and stuff around how to create new habits and to create a new habit, you need to do three things. The first is to create the tiniest version of that habit, right? So the classic example is if I want to start flossing my teeth every day, I start with not flossing all my teeth, just flossing literally one tooth, right? 

Or if you want to write every day, you don’t try to write 2,000 or a 1,000 words every day, you try to write one sentence a day. So you pick the smallest version of whatever it is that you are trying to do and then you attach it to a habit that already exists. So if I want to floss my teeth, I floss one tooth every day right before I brush my teeth or I write once sentence every morning while the coffee is brewing, right? I already make coffee every morning, or what BJ did is he wanted to start doing pushups. 

And so every time he went to the bathroom and peed, he would come out and do two pushups. So you attach it to a habit that already exists. Then the third part is you have to celebrate. So you have to do something that celebrate and it has to be audible. So it has to be like, “I am awesome!” or you’re like, “You’re the best” or like, “Woo-hoo I did it” right? It is super corny but you have to do it. So the idea here is that in order to create a new habit, you know we have all done the thing where we decided: 

“I am going to change my life, I am going to start writing 2,000 words a day or I am going to eat right for the next year” and it doesn’t take long for that to fall apart and so what we want to do is the opposite. We want to do the smallest version, attach it to something we already do and then we celebrate. So what I would say is, you should start doing this every day. Not once a week, you do it every day but for five minutes. So you get the outreach spreadsheet, you sit down and you do it in some way that’s totally normal for you. 

Maybe it is like when you first get your cup of coffee in the morning or maybe it’s at night like as soon as I get into bed, before I read I am going to set a timer and I am going to do research for outreach for five minutes or it is right after I am done writing for the day, for five minutes I am going to do research and that will actually help you create the habit because what I try to do from my own stuff is I just do it literally like 10 and 20 minutes at a time. 

I will do a bunch of research, throw a bunch of ideas for podcast, I can be on a spreadsheet and then I am done and then a day or two later, I’ll come back and I will just run through that list and just email five people asking to be on their podcast and then I am done and so it’s this constant drip-drip-drip as oppose to trying— you know I was talking with somebody who is in my mastermind two days ago and he was talking about all of this stuff that he has been working on for six months. 

All of it came together this week and he’s crazy busy because all of this good stuff is happening but it is stuff he’s been working on for months and that is how outreach works. It’s like nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing and then all of a sudden ten opportunities land all at once and some of them you have been working on for two weeks and some of them you have been working on for nine months and they all hit it at the same time. 

So what my thing is I used to be super cyclical with this stuff where like I would get really excited, I would do a ton of work and then I get burned out, not see any results and then I would stop and then two and three months later, all of that work paid off and then all of sudden all the stuff happen, I get really excited go out and do a bunch of work, get burned out again because nothing was working and then I’d stop and then two or three months later a bunch of stuff happened because of all the work I did. 

And so I found if I just get into a habit of literally doing 5, 10, 20 minutes, four to six times a week, it is amazing the kind of steady stream that is happening after you do that for a while to where a lot of times you end up only dealing with stuff that is coming in by itself. You don’t actually have to go out and generate much. 

[0:27:56.7] VF: Okay, it is the flywheel example again, right? 

[0:28:00.9] TG: Yeah and it is a learned skill right? So this is the skill of doing outreach. I am always surprised by this. It is much more similar to something like learning the guitar than you would think. It is an art form to doing it and there is a rhythm to it that you start feeling and so, it is better again, it is better to practice the guitar for 5 to 10 minutes every day than it is to practice for four hours a week, right? You’ll make— 

[0:28:32.9] VF: It’s consistency over time again.

[0:28:35.1] TG: Exactly.

[0:28:35.6] VF: That is the least sexy strategy in the world, but it is also the most effective right? 

[0:28:41.8] TG: Yeah, I spoke at Jeff Goins’ mastermind last week and that kept coming up over and over. It is like, it is all this stuff that works the best, is a slow grind that never ends and if you can get in that mindset it’s great because everybody wants the quick sexy thing that you do once and then you’re done, you know, “I made it on Oprah” but even the people that make it on Oprah, like or when Oprah was a show and that mattered more, like it was just like they’ve realized it was awesome. 

But they still had to write their next book and their next book wouldn’t automatically be picked up by Oprah, right? And almost I have talked to people that it almost became an awful thing that happened to them because they can never reproduce that thing but what we are talking about, you can reproduce this forever and ever and ever because it is just constantly drip-drip-drip-drip. 

[0:29:45.1] VF: Well speaking of a constant grind that never ends, let’s talk about my website. 

[0:29:51.0] TG: Okay. 

[0:29:53.1] VF: You know Tim, websites are the real reason that writers drink. I am convinced. It has nothing to do with the actual novel. It’s all this other stuff. So way back when I said something ridiculous to you like, “Well if I just block off the afternoon, I can get all this stuff done”, oh how naïve I am. So I have been working away at— because I had to create some new pieces like I needed a new cover for my book with my name on it as supposed to my pseudonym and that kind of stuff. 

So this week, I went in to make the changes to my site and long story short, the company who did my template was bought out. So I had to install a new template which didn’t play nicely with the old template, of course. Yes, I invented some new swear words this week. So what happened, all my content is still on the site but it looks abysmal. So I basically had to start from scratch to rebuild every page on my site. So if you look at— just look at my landing page for now because every other page is a nightmare.

[0:31:13.7] TG: Yeah, I have it here. 

[0:31:14.8] VF: If you look at the home page right now, I mean there’s still elements missing like it is the wrong photo and that kind of stuff, notably missing is the book. I have a designer working on a banner for me and I popped a draft of the banner, I sent that to you a little earlier today. It needs some changes but you can see that it’s got a 3D image of the book, the title of the book and a quote that I have from a USA Today bestselling author. 

So that has to be finalized and out on the site. Assuming that that picture of the book is, pretend that it’s already there. What is working well, what is not working well?

[0:32:03.4] TG: Yeah, I think overall it works well. One thing I love about it is it’s super focused. It is really obvious you are trying to get people to join the email list. It is pretty obvious what they get when they do. Once you have a picture of the book that will be much more helpful so I think that is great. The one thing that I think you’re missing is a tagline that lets people know, like, what did we come up with, something about fiction for women— 

[0:32:32.8] VF: I forgot about my tagline. 

[0:32:34.4] TG: Yeah. 

[0:32:34.8] VF: Love stories for busy women. 

[0:32:37.0] TG: Yeah, put that at the top, add a picture of the book and I think you’re ready to go. 

[0:32:42.4] VF: Yay, that makes me very happy!

[0:32:45.0] TG: Yeah this is great because what I am looking at is at the top is a picture of you and really big letters, “download Part One of Masquerade” and it’s an email signup and then under that is your video trailer for Masquerade and then under that is blurbs and Amazon reviews and under that is one more ask for people to join the email list to get Part One which is super straight forward. Very clear what you want people to do. 

The only thing that is missing is one, the book, clear that they are getting a part of the book and you could do that with a picture and then very clear like, I wouldn’t look at this and immediately know who it’s for, right? So once you have your tagline up there that’s very clear about who the site is for, I think this is a great home page. I think it does everything you needed to do. 

[0:33:35.7] VF: Hooray! That makes me very happy. 

[0:33:40.7] TG: Yeah and don’t— so get those things up and then don’t fiddle with it anymore, you know? 

[0:33:46.6] VF: Oh, I am very happy to not fiddle with this anymore.

[0:33:49.0] TG: Yeah because now, do you want me to talk about your navigation and stuff or are you still working on that?

[0:33:54.4] VF: No, talk about my navigation. 

[0:33:56.2] TG: Well right now, you have four, eight, ten items in your navigation and you have Robin St. Croix which I am sure is going to go away. You have Editing, Podcast, Client Portal, Blog, Appearances, Media Kit and Contact. So like home and books is fine, we’re going to get rid of Robin St. Croix, what is the podcast? Is that this podcast or just something else? 

[0:34:24.8] VF: Right now it is just the Roundtable Podcast but I was going to change that to podcasts and then I can have, what do they call like, child pages or something? So if you select Podcast you’ll get two options, right? Or it might have on my page, I will give you a quick podcast right now, you could see it is just the Roundtable Podcast. 

[0:34:45.2] TG: So first of all, I think you should put everything that is not about your fiction under one thing, you might even call it Non-writing or you can just call it Editing Services, but under there should be your editing, your podcast, it should probably be on the bottom because people aren’t coming here to find the Roundtable Podcast, you know? Your client portal should maybe be in the footer or not on the site at all. Is this where clients can log in to get stuff? 

[0:35:17.7] VF: Yes. 

[0:35:18.6] TG: Yeah, so they should already have that link so I would put that in the footer and just hide that completely, depending on what you do with your blog, have your blog, don’t have your blog, put Appearances under About. Are you doing a lot of appearances? 

[0:35:35.9] VF: Those are the Fundamental Fridays post that I have done. They’re podcast interviews and so forth and of course, now as I start to implement my outreach strategy, there should be more and more appearances right?

[0:35:47.7] TG: Yes, so I would again move all the editing-related stuff to one page and then yes, under Appearances that is fine. If you want to have, maybe call it Media and just have everywhere at the Media but fiction related and then move your Media Kit like, I usually don’t even put my media kit on the site because that is just something I am sending to people that might want it. So there’s no reason for that. 

[0:36:13.0] VF: Okay or it could go in the footer. If I wanted to keep it, it could go in the footer right? 

[0:36:17.2] TG: That’s right, that’s fine but this should be four or five items in the top here, Home, Book, About, Editing Services, Contact and maybe Blog or something, but it should be very simple.

[0:36:35.1] VF: Oh, okay I didn’t even know that. 

[0:36:39.5] TG: So the whole – let’s again shelve all your editing services stuff. The whole site has two goals, one, get on your email list, two, buy a book. So literally everything on the site should be targeted at reaching one of those two goals. The only reason you want people to read your About page is so they can find out more about you so they can sign up for the email list. Like you should have an email list on the About page, sign up and email list sign up. 

So the website is the same thing as everything else where a lot of the times people do a lot of stuff because that is what they see other people doing but they don’t really know why they are doing it. So your website has goals and everything should be bent towards those goals. 

[0:37:33.9] VF: Yeah, I am going to have a banner I think, maybe a banner across the top of every page for signing up or does that matter or should it be – I thought my view then on the top would be better than one on the bottom. 

[0:37:45.6] TG: Yeah, I agree. 

[0:37:46.8] VF: Okay, it’s just not there yet. 

[0:37:49.1] TG: But that should be, as you go through the site, that should be your test. It is like, “Do I need this? Is this important” you know? Because everything that you have on your site takes away from everything else, right? So 10 top level items is really hard for people to figure out what they want and where they should be looking and so you want to make it really simple and make it really clear what they should be doing on the site. It shouldn’t be confusing. 

[0:38:23.0] VF: Okay, so I am going in the right direction, but there is work to be done. 

[0:38:27.6] TG: Yeah, home page looks great and really it is just about simplifying. Simplify what you have there and the way that you simplify is by testing everything against your goals for the website. Why do I have this website? I don’t maintain a website because I find maintaining websites enjoyable, right? 

[0:38:48.9] VF: God no. 

[0:38:49.8] TG: Right, so why do you have a website? I have a website because I want people to buy my books and join my email list. Okay, so if I go through your website, is it really clear on every page that that’s why that content exists is to get me on your email list or to buy a copy of your book. If it doesn’t, you need to think really hard about whether or not it needs to be on the website. 

[0:39:14.0] VF: Okay, okay.

[0:39:15.8] TG: Right? Like if you go to booklaunch.com, it is really hard not to end up on the email list. You know I have tons of content. I got tons of stuff there but you can tell if you look at it with that mind, you can be like, “Okay, this guy, the only reason he has this website is to get people on his email list.” 

[0:39:35.9] VF: Okay that makes sense. So I have to do an audit of my site now. 

[0:39:41.7] TG: Yeah and again, my thing is it should simplify it, right? So now you don’t just have a bunch of random stuff because that is what you feel should be there. You can just start saying, “Well I don’t need that or I don’t need that or I am just going to shove that over here and never touch it again”. 

[0:39:57.7] VF: Okay, I can do this. This is coming together nicely, yay.

[0:40:01.9] TG: Great. 

[0:40:02.5] VF: All right, so I will finish my personas this week and I will finish this website this week and we’ll regroup next week. 

[0:40:11.5] TG: Yeah and start to do a little bit of, even if it is just two 5 to 10 minute sessions, do a little bit of research on where you think you should be doing outreach so we can talk about that too. 

[0:40:22.7] VF: Okay that makes sense. 

[0:40:24.3] TG: Okay. 

[0:40:25.0] VF: All right, thank you Tim. 

[0:40:26.5] TG: All right, thanks. 

[END OF EPISODE]

[0:40:27.8] TG: Thanks for listening to this episode of the Book Launch Show. For all the past episodes, the show notes, or to connect with me, you can go to booklaunchshow.com. I have dozens of free book marketing resources and articles that you can access at my website booklaunch.com. Lastly, if you like to support the show, you can do that by telling another author about the show and by visiting us on Apple Podcast and leaving a rating and review. 

Thanks for subscribing and being a part of our work here at booklaunch.com. We will see you next week.

[END]

Tim Grahl
Tim Grahl
Tim Grahl is the author of Your First 1000 Copies and the founder of BookLaunch.com. He has worked with authors for a decade to help them build their platform, connect with readers, and sell more books. He has worked 1-on-1 with over a hundred authors including Daniel Pink, Hugh Howey, Barbara Corcoran, Chip and Dan Heath, Sally Hogshead and many others. He has also launched dozens of New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post bestsellers.

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