Over the past month I’ve been writing about my plans for revamping my self-publishing approach in several ways, including rebranding and creating an author website more suited for serious self publishing. What you see above and around this post is a big part of the result, although there’s a lot more going on as well. So what do you think?

For starters, you’ll notice that this blog isn’t on the home page any more. That’s because my old platform was primarily a readers’ and writers’ blog site focusing on the realities and challenges of self-publishing, based on my experience in creating, self-publishing and promoting my first book, The Alexandria Project. Since this site is intended to be a promotional platform for my existing and in-process books, I’ve moved the blog off of the home page.

As you can see, the new site does a number of other things differently as well:

  • It attempts to establish a more serious publishing image by departing from standard WP themes (although the site is still hosted by WP)
  • It makes use of the home page primarily to feature my books rather than to serve multiple competing purposes
  • More generally, all elements of the site (except this author blog) are now dedicated to the single purpose of promoting my books and building a base of readers with an ongoing interest in my books
  • It provides multiple means of engagement for readers: two blogs, links to Twitter and Facebook (coming), ability to get email notice of new posts, an opt-in newsletter list, and the ability to become a “Friend of Frank”
  • It allows me to establish a direct communication route beyond the site itself to those readers that opt in to a newsletter
  • It launches the opt-in, passworded Friends of Frank program with multiple benefits, which I hope to use to build a community interested in buying future books and spreading the word about my books
  • It moves the author blog to a separate tab, labeled “For Authors,” so that it doesn’t distract from the major purpose of the site

I’m still working the bugs out and making minor changes and additions and refining the content, but I’d be grateful to receive any and all comments and suggestions that anyone might have.

At the same time, I’ve also done the following:

  • Reclaimed my first book from the original publisher so that I have more freedom to update the files and run promotions
  • Added a new cover to my first book for consistency with the second
  • Added new promotional back matter to both books (principally sample chapters of the other book and “buy” iinks)
  • Taken the second book out of the KDP Select program so that I can “go wide” with it
  • Signed both books up to Draft2Digital so that I can have fewer sales dashboards to bother with (CreateSpace for print sales through Amazon; Kindle for eBook sales through Amazon; D2D for all other eBook sales; and IngramLightningSource for print order sales from bookstores and libraries)

Once everything is finalized, I’ll begin a new promotional campaign that I’ll describe in a future blog post. As part of kicking off that effort, I’ve hired a freelance publicist to design and carry out a brief presidential-election burst of promotion to reporters, political podcasters, and book reviewers and several other categories of contacts in connection with my second book, the plot of which centers on a hacked presidential campaign.

None of which, of course, will automatically result in increased sales of my books. But you never know until you try.

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