Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Family for Leona - reprint of blog post by Aidana WillowRaven

A Family for Leona ~ cover art and design for Beverly Stowe McClure (@beverlymcclure) and 4RV Publishing (@4RV)

I'm so excited to talk about today's book and cover. It was so much fun to do. A Family for Leona is a middle-grade historical fiction novel that all ages will love, even when they're crying. In true Beverly Stowe McClure style, this story runs the gamut of emotions while exploring an amazing story.
I met Beverly early in my career. I was still a new Art Director at 4RV Publishing and I fell in love with Beverly's book Just Breeze.
Since then, other 4RV books we teamed up on, Life on Hold and Star of the Team, have been Silver and Gold Winners in the Children's Literary Classics Awards (2013 and 2015, respectively).
Needless to say, I love working with Beverly and her characters. I can't wait to see what we are doing next. 
For A Family for Leona, I wanted a vintage look that also expressed apprehension, sadness, hope, and wonder. With any luck, some of that come across in the cover, enticing people to first read the blurb and second, grab a copy of their own. Myself? I already put my order in for a hardcover tomb.
Blurb for A Family for Leona ...
Ten-year-old Leona Chapter doesn’t understand why her papa left his six children at the Brooklyn Home for Homeless Children after their mother’s death in 1921. Each day she prays he’ll return and take his children home. God, however, isn’t listening. Her brothers and sisters are either adopted or run away, leaving only Leona and Baby Mildred in the orphanage. Leona promises she and Mildred will be together for always. A promise she cannot keep, for Leona, along with her friend Noah, who she defends from the bullies Hiram and Jehu, and several other orphans, are soon on a train headed to Texas, while her sister stays at the orphanage. Leona vows she’ll go back to Brooklyn, the first chance she gets.

Be sure to visit the 4RV Publishing website and bookstore (in the nonfiction section) for your discounted copy today. Also available on Amazon at a slightly higher retail price. (Bulk and wholesale orders must be made through 4RV directly.)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Email Marketing and Your Opt-in Landing Page - It's All About Focus

By Karen Cioffi

Landing pages have specific purposes. One page might be for sales and another might be for your email opt-in box and copy. Whichever it is, a landing page is a specific page that is intended for a specific purpose and draws targeted traffic. The traffic is drawn to this page to take a particular action . . . to say YES to your offer or opt-in.

One of the most essential landing pages’ is your subscriber or email opt-in page, and it should be designed specifically to garner email addresses. 

The reason a separate opt-in page is crucial, as with any landing page, is to eliminate distraction.

While it’s a good idea to have a subscriber opt-in box on your website’s sidebar for stray visitors and those who find your blog through a search for a particular keyword, you need a separate page to lead your targeted traffic in from your inbound marketing strategies. These strategies include, blogging, submitting to article directories, guest posts, joint ventures, and video marketing. They are the strategies that need a resource box, bio, or tagline that will direct readers to a page designed to let the reader know why she should give you her valuable email address.

The Email Opt-in Page Gives the Details

It’s on this page that you can fully explain the benefits the reader will get if he opts in. He may get: relevant information, tips, tools, reviews, news, etc. You also have the space to list the title and description of the ebook you’re offering as an ethical bribe. Or, maybe the freebie is a one-on-one free consultation, or an instructional webinar, or and e-course. This opt-in landing page allows you to fully answer the reader’s WIIFM (what’s in it for me) question.

In addition to the WIIFM information, you can include what you’re qualifications are for offering this particular information, for claiming to be an authority in this niche.  

Lack of Distractions Works

Due to its focus and lack of distractions, your email opt-in landing page allows for a higher conversion rate. This means a higher percentage of visitors will follow your directions and say YES to the action you’re asking them to take.

Just remember that simple always works better in regard to websites and landing pages. You don’t want to make it feel or look busy, or give confusing or complicated steps for the visitor to take action.

To emphasize the ‘simple is better’ strategy, Google’s company philosophy is “Simplicity is powerful.”

While it’s in a writer’s nature to usually write more than is necessary and an individual’s nature to make things more complicated than necessary, follow Google’s lead and keep it simple. Keep your email opt-in page to the essentials, and learn how to write effective copy for it.

For an example of an email opt-in page, check out: http://thewritingworld.com

Karen Cioffi is an author, ghostwriter, and online marketing instructor. If you need to create a website or need to tweak an existing one, check out her e-class through WOW! Women on Writing:

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