Have you visited your website today?

By heather at 3:17 am on Friday, October 28, 2011

I had the pleasure of receiving the news that another one of my children’s books won a Mom’s Choice Award (will keep you in suspense as I get more details!) Shortly afterwards I started to receive emails from Terry Doherty, Director of New Media & Alumni Marketing, with tips on how to promote our books. This one focused on how accessible and up-to-dateyour online presence is.

The first thing Terry asked was “Have you visited your website today?” I hadn’t …being on maternity leave it isn’t high on my priority list between changing diapers and answering the non-stop questions my 3-year-old rattles off to me during the day!

But Terry, whose job was to connect my online presence with theirs, went on and wrote :

“Sometimes I get lucky and I find the buttons that will take me to other platforms, but I would have to say 70% of the time I end up having to log into each of those programs separately to discover that yes, you are on Facebook, use Twitter, have a YouTube channel, or have a blog.”

Several “observations” were also offered in this email… but I think they are more accurately described as big, black holes! The tips are so good I’ll quote them here :

  • • “Check your dates. Website copyright dates of 2009 and “coming fall 2010” for your next book send the message “this website isn’t maintained.”
  • • Check your links. If you’ve changed your website or blog host, make sure your links still work and that your RSS feed goes to the new blog.
  • • Check your message. Do the blurbs about your product say different things? Does the data on your website match up with the details on a seller site? is your message consistent?
  • • Connect with your partners. Do you have links to the website and/or blog of your collaborators or producers (e.g., publisher, illustrator, manufacturer)? Do they work?
  • • Is your news up to date? If the last “public event” on your website calendar is a year old, but you’ve got an event next week, who’s gonna know?
  • • Ditto interviews and special features … people want to see reviews, interviews, demos, etc. that are recent.”

Terry finished with a statement that made me set aside the last hour updating this blog…

“It is my job to do that legwork and dig down into the pages of your website and search your name, product name, producer, and collaborator on every platform individually. It takes me about an hour per honoree to do that. Do you want your potential customers to work that hard? “

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Happy Halloween! (free colouring page)

By heather at 9:32 pm on Thursday, October 27, 2011

heather castles imagezoo halloween seasonal illustration trick-or-treat watercolour colouring pageHas been a while since I’ve posted… still loving being off on maternity leave, my kids are keeping me busy! Halloween is around the corner… paper bats, kleenex ghosts, and paper mache pumpkins adorn our windows… and here in South Australia spring has sprung and the birds are singing, the flowers are budding, and the leaves are GROWING BACK! So it’s a bit weird having Halloween in the spring, but hey, we’ll have fun anyway!

Had a little time to turn one of my watercolours into a colouring page for Hera, thought I’d share! (Just right click to view full sized image, and save from there to your desktop.) I enjoyed using my ipad to vectorize (digitally trace!) this illustration in InkPad using my new rubber-tipped stylus I picked up for 50 cents on eBay.

(Please keep in mind this colouring page is for personal use only, the original illustration is from my royalty-free seasons collection and is available at Imagezoo.com.)

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