Amanda Luedeke

February 14, 2013

Thursdays with Amanda: Social Media Critiques, Part 10


Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.

If you weren’t a reader last fall, I offered to do free social media critiques. Around the holidays, I took a break from them…mostly because I felt I was saying the same things over and over. But I’d like to plow through the rest if I can.

So, we’ll be picking these up here and there, though I’ll try to offer more condensed critiques (since again…most of the social media sites I’ve looked at struggle from the same issues…and we can recap those issues once the series is finished). I’ve also BOLDED comments that I felt were newer and would appeal to those who are reading these posts in an effort to better their online efforts.

1. Laurie A. Green shared her website

  • This is a good example of a website for an unpublished author. You highlight your awards and how you’re active in the SFR community
  • However, there’s not much to look at, while there is a lot to read. Consider including some neat SF photos and such to break up the text.
  • There is a lot competing for readers’ attention on your top nav. Consider condensing a bunch of those tabs and try to focus on what readers will be drawn to, such as a clear link to the SFR Brigade site.
  • Lastly, your author photo comes across as a bit dated…I’d consider getting new photos taken 🙂

2. Laura Droege’s Blog is a blog by…wait for it…Laura Droege:

  • Lots of good stuff here…a writing sample, well-written posts, etc. However, I found I had to dig around to determine your genre. So consider making that more clear.
  • Also, try adding more photos to your posts. Otherwise, the page is just a bit cold 🙂

3. Ashley Mays submitted her website:

  • Oooh, this is super cool. Very professional and appealing! I pretty much love everything about your site and blog. However…why don’t you have more readers?!
  • I think it’s time to buckle down and draw readers to your blog. I like your idea of giving away stuff for free (critiques and such), but clearly you need a stronger marketing plan to communicate this awesome opportunity. I think you also need to position yourself as more of an expert on YA fiction and nonfiction (which you should be allowed to do, since you worked at Brio). I could probably go on and on, but the bottom line here is to figure out 1. what blog content connects the strongest with readers, 2. how to make the most of your offers, and 3. how to spread the word. Because you have 90% of the components in place. Now it’s a matter of driving people to your blog and then making them stay there by offering some sort of takeaway.

4. Laurel Wainrow shared her website:

  • My first thought is that the top image doesn’t really reflect your purpose…it’s nature-ish, that’s for sure, but I wonder if a more fantasy-based image would do better for first impressions?
  • You have most necessary components in place, but your content probably won’t pull new readers. If you’re okay with that, then leave it as is. I realize you’re using your blog for a specific Sunday challenge 🙂 But if you want to pull new readers, you’ll have to find content that gives them some sort of takeaway, whether that be talking about new fantasy novels, shows, or movies, or offering some other kind of fantasy-based experience.

5. Katibriah Hills shared her website:

  • I like that you advertise your book on your home page, however if this site is going to be a hub for your writing career, then I’d adjust your “About Me” section to first talk about writing and then talk about personal stuff and family. I guess I just want to know WHAT you write before I know WHO you are, if that makes sense. You should also then give us more ways to interact with you. Again, you’re building a following here so that your readers will share your books with other readers. So give us stuff to be excited about.
  • I also want to note that your pictures load pretty slowly.


What do you all think? How do you find content that appeals to readers of your genre?

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  • Bethany Jett says:

    Loved the critiques. Gonna fix some of my stuff. Just moved to thrilled.

  • Laura Droege says:

    Here’s a belated thank you for the feedback, Amanda. I was holed up working on my second novel, so I didn’t know that you’d critiqued my site until a few minutes ago!

    I do have a question. You mean the genre of my novel, right? I’m having a hard time determining that myself, which is probably why I haven’t mentioned it. (Someone told me it was “women’s fiction” but I don’t think that’s accurate. I’ve told other people that it’s “mainstream”, but I tend to get blank looks from that. I’d go with “literary” but I don’t know if that’s quite true, either, since I associate that term with Pulitzer Prize winners and such.) Or did you mean the “genre” of my blog? (If that’s the right term.)

    Once more, thanks so much for the feedback!

    • Amanda Luedeke says:

      Hi, Laura,
      Yes, I meant your book’s genre! I suggest just picking one of those. WF is more recognizable and marketable so I’d maybe go with that one 🙂

    • Laura Droege says:

      That’s what I thought, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to double-check. Thanks for the advice on picking a genre. I appreciate it!

  • I guess this means I need a website, Amanda 🙂 Blessings to y’all from Memphis! -SR

  • Daisy Martin says:

    AMANDA! God love your heart! This is where my brain is right now, making this post so tangibly useful for me! Thank you, sister!

    Daisy Rain Martin

  • Becky Doughty says:

    Love these posts, Amanda. I learn so much about image and presentation by seeing these tips in “real life.” A few fellow authors and I are building a new blended site and I feel so much better prepared to launch this than I did years ago when I first started my own. I know that comes with time and experience, too, but these critiques have been a great source of knowledge. Thanks!


  • Laurel Wanrow says:

    Thank you for including my site. You suggestions for content really work with the examples and reviews to compare. I have a better idea of a direction to take. Thanks!

  • Lindsay Harrel says:

    Love all of your suggestions as usual, Amanda. As a fiction writer, it’s hard to find topics that might appeal to a certain genre. I try to write posts that talk about issues I’m dealing with or things I’m interested in. Most of my posts are about faith working itself out in my daily life. I try to be real and honest. I think people appreciate an author who is transparent. I also share about romance and marriage stuff, again, mostly regarding things I’m learning or observing.

    • Amanda Luedeke says:

      I agree; it’s difficult. That’s why having a unique voice goes a lot way. That’s what I noticed about your blog, Lindsay. You had a strong voice so it made up for any disconnect between your fiction and your blog.

  • Amanda Luedeke says:

    Links are fixed!

  • Ashley Mays says:

    Thanks so much for taking a look at my site, Amanda! I appreciate it. What you’ve said is very helpful to me moving forward.

  • Enjoyed these helpful bloggy breakdowns! Just wanted to note that the link didn’t work for me for Laura Droege’s blog and I couldn’t find the link for Katibriah Hills’ website.

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