Gaya’s Project

 PROJECT STATUS:

  • Project is currently live at www.thepicturebooklab.com, and has an active blog.
  • Am using the Elegant Themes Flexible theme currently, and adding certain features as and when I get content.
  • Pivoted from a portfolio, brand site (as I previously blogged about) to a site focussed on my experiments with picture books and news and events in the industry. I hope to be a new, engaging voice in the picture book community and have an eclectic mix of content from book reviews, recommendations to my proces of creation and current projects.
  • Changed the domain name to http://www.thepicturebooklab.com, and created a new Twitter account at @picturebooklab, where I post all relevant information and news about picture books.
  • Decided on including a blog for a discussion on picture books
  • Found three templates that could potentially work for my site
  • Have a wordpress-based website with my own domain (www.gayathribashi.com). It’s currently password-protected while I try to work on it.
  • About page text written
  • Made a blogroll of sites I can link to
  • Decided on 5 SEO terms to use
  •  Working on a short children’s book to convert to an e-book/app
  • Compiling material for portfolio

Site Title: The Picture Book Lab

Integrating social accounts:

March 6th Update: I am currently focussing only on my Twitter account. Since my site is live I’m also spending time trying to keep my blog up-to-date. I did spread the word at the time of release on Facebook, and the bulk of my traffic has been from there . I’ve even have a few people sign up for email updates. So my priority now is just to keep adding more content, so that I can get more subscribers. It’s been exactly a week since I’ve pivoted, and I had to create a new Twitter account from my already existing one. So I have been spending a lot of time just trying to constantly find relevant information and re-tweet people in the industry etc. In a week, with tweeting a minimum of 5 times a day, I’ve managed to get 30 followers. My aim is to keep doing this for some time, because the more I tweet things people are interested in, people do actually click through to my website to find out a little bit more. I’d say on average its about 2-3 visits from Twitter a day. The followers are few, but the number is steadily increasing a little bit at a time. All other social media efforts will be more involved when I get some more breathing space. Staying on top of Twitter has a bit of a learning curve, but once it steadies out, I’ll have time to concentrate on other social media.

————–

This is very tricky terrain. Initially, my plan was to branch out into having and listing numerous accounts that I would put up on the site so that people could follow me, and see what I was upto on different social media channels. However, I’m having enough trouble just being a more frequent Twitter-er. I think Twitter is a very powerful tool, and the more relevant and interesting content you put there, people really begin to pay attention. I’ve noticed it when I have periods of high activity, and I get new followers almost immediately. I really need to put my head down and concentrate on keeping my Twitter feed fresh, interesting and packed with relevant information about news and events in the picture book universe. Now that I’ve decided on including a blog on the site with picture book related content, it gives me a chance to marry all the social sites I’m on with a clear focus. So, my number one priority is beefing up my Twitter account.

Rather than having every single type of platform, to me it makes sense to be one ones where I can demonstrate my aggegation/curation skills with regard to the picture book space. In this regard, I’m thinking I’ll add my Goodreads account. I started to review picture books specifically as a category a few months ago, so people can go there to get quick recommendations and reviews. Will aim to get more active there. I am also considering setting up a Pinterest account. It seems like the ideal additional social media site for me to be on, because of how good the display is for visual content — which is what picture books primarily are.

I did consider having a Facebook branding page at the start. But for now, I think it’s a little premature. I’m going to put that aside, till my book actually comes out, and then it will make sense to have a separate page to help market it. At this stage, I don’t have enough content that would justify having a dedicated Facebook page.

I’m very lukewarm about being on Google+. After I’ve taken care of having enough relevant content on the social sites I’m more committed to, I might come around to tinker with my account. At this point, it’s linked to my personal account, so I’m less inclined to use it. At the most, I might just make it the space to re-post relevant information, like my Twitter feed. I don’t have the time to invest in finding new content just to keep my Google+ feed more active.

I think primarily though, I need to make sure I have good sharing options on my page for people to share the content on whatever platform they like. Better than me trying to be present everywhere, but wind up woefully absent.

SUMMARY:

My aim is was to build a creative, quirky personal brand site as a picture book author and illustrator. Now, however it has pivoted to being a site about picture books — both my personal involvement with them, and news/current events/ reviews/ my thoughts on the subject. The site’s intended audience is anybody interested in children’s books and visual storytelling.

This has become the focus of the site now!: Future plan includes a page/blog that is specifically committed to a discussion about children’s picture books and/or being an curator/trusted referrer in the field.

GOALS:  

  • Product goals: Create content (1 short children’s book) that I can convert into different ebook formats and post on the site, like a free sample minibook. This will be a sneak peak to help generate interest, and give me the opportunity to say I have a new book coming out in print if they liked what they saw.
  • Social media goals: My main goal with this site is to develop a strong social media presence to drive traffic towards it, so that I will have some visibility by the time my first book gets published mid-2013.  This is especially important since its being published by an independent publisher, and I’ll have to take promotion into my own hands because they don’t have much marketing muscle or manpower.
  • Professional goals: I would also like it to function as an online portfolio that prospective employers, publishers and buyers can look at to gain an understanding of my work, style and approach.
  • Traffic goals: Starting off as a static site, it isn’t going to rack up a lot of consistent traffic. Hence, I will aim for an optimistic Pagerank of 2 by mid-2013, and a realistic 2 by the end of 2013.
  • Revenue goals: Currently, none.
  • Long-term goals: To build an enthusiastic and growing audience who will share my current projects and hopefully come back to buy books that I will publish in the future.

ASSETS: 

  • an uncluttered, unique site that clearly displays my work and style.
  • a gallery to display portfolio
  • links to a relevant twitter account/hashtag
  • Pinterest/Goodreads and other social media presence on the web
  • a share button on every post for FB/twitter/email
  • a blogroll of  people/publishers/companies, who could potentially link back. (maybe)
  • RSS feed

NAVIGATION:

  • Top Nav: Home (some text along with a visual), About, Blog, Portfolio (layout of my illustration samples), Books (information about the forthcoming publication and future publications; eventually include links to where they can be purchased)
  • Bottom Nav: Copyright license, privacy statement/terms of use (creative commons most likely)
  • Sidebar: blogroll (maybe)

CONTENT PLAN: 

  • For now, all the content will be created by me; not sourcing any
  • Adding content to the portfolio once I have more material and books page will be updated closer to the release time of my book publication
  • Aim is to update blog at a minimum of twice a week.

COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS: 

There is definitely space for cleaner, simple, focused websites with a real sense of personality in the world of author/illustrator sites. My point of view on picture books is definitely a unique perspective given my cultural background, and I can offer a different voice on the topic. This is what I intend for my blog to reflect  — a unique voice.

However, having a committed page/project on picture books, I will have the added advantage of offering content that is useful to parents/teachers/others interested in picture books. Hence, I won’t only be selling myself as a brand, but will also become a contributing member to the larger children’s book community.

MARKETING:

I plan to reach out to readers by using the following methods:

  • reaching out to my existing connections, friends and family to spread the word
  •  linking to different sites that can drive traffic back to my website
  •   social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Good reads)
  • a separate Facebook branding page (eventually )
  • by being more active on Twitter and aim to get at least 150-200 followers in 3-6 months.
  • Installing metric tracking tools to track site visits to better understand how and why people are visiting the site, and work towards improving the number of unique site visits
  • Using these chosen SEO terms: ‘picture books’, ‘picture book’, ‘childrens books’, ‘multicultural books’, ‘kids books’
  • soliciting authors/reviewers to write book reviews and share them.

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