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marketing ploys are not really successful unless you have the kind of base that will buy anything when it's ready. She prefers a soft sell, an engaging tone, just talking about stuff, and oh, by the way, if you want it, it's here.

She recommends using a newsletter service to save time and gain access to their templates and analytics. “Another nice thing about using one of the providers is they have figured out the spam filter problem,” she said.

Providers frequently used by authors and publishers include MailChimp, GetResponse, VerticalResponse, AWeber, and Mad Mimi. Constant Contact seems to be less popular due to pricing, she said. Do not use MailChimp if you have affiliate linking in your newsletter, she warned, since that service doesn’t allow it. She noted that a workaround would be including a link to a “buy” link on your webpage.

Definitely use analytics, she said. “Analytics are this: Did it rock or did it suck?” Key analytics are the open rate or click-to-open rate, she said, that is, the percentage of subscribers who open the email. She suggested using that data to cull subscribers who never open the email. Another cost-containment strategy is to create a “kind of interested” list for those who haven’t opened it in two or three months and use that list for special announcements.

“You should never be afraid to drop a bum customer. All it does is cloud your data and the data is so helpful, you want to keep it really tight and pristine,” she said.

Think About Mobile

Maverick cautioned authors to keep in mind the increasing number of people reading newsletters and browsing on their phones. The best newsletter for mobile is a single column that’s not too wide. She suggested looking for templates that use responsive design, i.e. the page layout adapts to the device, and noted that some Wordpress templates include responsive design. However, she cautioned that the software guesses as to which element is most important and which appears first or more prominently on the page and you might not agree with those decisions.

Ninc 2012 Conference

Tricks of the Trade: Optimizing
Your Website for Better
Search Engine Rankings


Speaker: David Wind

“No matter what anyone says, content is king,” according to David Wind, an NJIT-certified Webmaster, published author, and president of, Inc., a full service Web Design and Search Engine Optimization firm. “If you have good content on your pages, the search indexes will look at it.”

However, he cautioned that the content needs to be considered from the reader’s mindset, not the author’s, and that relies on an understanding of how readers search for books and how they find your books.

Keywords should by typical of what readers would use to search for a book. Terms such as “whimsical” and “mayhem” are not good keywords for mystery novels.

Wind said an author website needs a home page with strict adherence to protocol. That is, it follows the layout structure that search engines use, which consists of text that includes plenty of keywords and key phrases your reader would use to look for you and your books in the search engines. Letters to fans, letters to the public, recipes, etc., should appear on special pages, not the home page. If placed on the home page, these features can stop your website from reaching its intended market.    

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