We have just launched a product called TitlePager which makes author websites with the click of a button. We’ve been working with authors for years and doing some product work with dynamic data so the two came together to fill a need we saw in the market. TitlePager pulls the essential elements of a book marketing site together automatically. Then the author can (optionally) add reviews, events, video, and an excerpt and other elements. They can add a custom sub-domain or use a custom domain if they have one.
We launched a new site for Dan Zanes, a musician, who is often in rotation in our houses. One of Dan’s goals is to make his music accessible and encourage people to play more and start family bands. The site keeps fans up to date and also has a songbook with lyrics and guitar chords for easy playing and video lessons. We worked with his in house designer who took iconic illustrations from his albums to create the headers and buttons that carried his whimsical look and feel to the site. The chords on the song pages come from a really interesting js library and project called jtab.
We are building a new site for a musician and one of the features is a songbook where we are posting his songs for people to discover and play. As a so-so guitar player I often grab songs from sites like chordie and I wanted to give visitors a similar experience so after a bit of searching and experimenting I’ve found a combination of plugins and a jquery powered chord library that give me the effect I was after. I thought I would share what I’ve learned.
The first part is a songbook. One could do this by hand but wp-songbook does a nice job. It creates a custom post type and adds meta data and the ability to add videos and files, and tag it with album, genre, language, date, and author info into a sortable list. In this case we are uploading songsheets as .pdfs to go with the songs. It has some very nice options for what to display on the list and individual page. I’m not crazy about some of the plugin authors design choices but they can be overwritten in the plugin’s css.
The chords above the song song lyrics are enabled by a plugin called chords and lyrics. It generates a shortcode that puts the chords of a song along the lyrics. The plugin hasn’t been updated in quite a while but I thought it was pretty simple and it works on 4.6.
The song posts look like this in text view:
<div class=”jtab”>A E D Bm</div>
my [a] daddy is an engineer
my [e] brother drives a hack,
my [d] sister takes in washin’
an’ the [bm] baby balls the jack,
an’ it [a] looks like
i’m [e] never gonna cease my [d] wander[a]in’.
For the library code in the header which is documented on the jtab.tardate site we;ve made the following change.
NOT USING THIS LINE –
What can we say? We like books and we love working with authors to help them get their voices and projects out in front of potential readers. Each project is a bit different. Some authors blog and tweet others don’t, some have one book, others multiple titles. Some books have inspired community based projects. We addressed all of these situations. We know what happens to traffic when an author appears on a morning show and what happens the week after. We can help you build an online presence that works for your habits, that is easy for YOU to update, and we can help you build an audience. Our work ranges from single page sites for authors who have one book to multi-page sites for authors with multiple titles and articles. Our sites for authors range from fifteen hundred to five thousand dollars.
Authors we’ve worked with:
Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney – author of the NYT bestseller The Nest
Ron Suskind – Pulitzer Prize Winning author of A Hope in the Unseen and recently Life Animated
Nina Kushner – Historian & author of Erotic Exchanges; The world of Elite Prostitution in Eighteenth Century Paris
Alice Feiring – Wine writer & author of For The Love of Wine and the Feiring Line newsletter
Triss Stein – Mystery writer & author of Brooklyn Bones
F.L. Fowler – NYT Bestselling author of 50 Shades of Chicken
David Wessel – Head of the Brookings Institute and former WSJ columnist
Melissa Clark – NYT writer and cookbook author
Launched a new site for the Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, the author of The Nest one of most anticipated books of Spring 2006.
What is the smaller publisher to do in this world of giant page view generators like Buzzfeed and The Daily Mail? What is their business as Medium and others are trying to be the place where one should publish?
Rafat Ali, the founder of Skift a wonderful site for travel industry news, has written a must read about his experience trying to raise money, regaining focus, and just doing what they need to do to succeed titled, “How We Got off the Addiction to Venture Capital and Created Our Own way to profits.” How they stopped chasing scale, focused on building direct channels to their readers versus trying to be a distributed media platform, focused on doing things today that brought revenue today”, worked on their company culture, and strengthened their utility for, and connection to, their readers.
“Lastly, we embraced the idea of being boutique, in the truest sense of that word, and have been loud and proud about it. One of the fallacies of mainstream media coverage of smaller media businesses is that these are just lifestyle passion businesses. Passion about the subject, enough to spend many years of our lives in it, sure. What business engenders loyalties if it doesn’t have passion behind it?”
The post is inspiring and a great blueprint for smaller publishers who want to work in and own a niche. The kind of publishers that I like to work with and believe the web is supposed to enable.
After my stints at LocalVox (which worked with local merchants to distribute their marketing information) and then at Blankslate (which was effectively the publisher of several of the largest local blogs in the country) I consider myself well out of local media. I still follow the space still by subscribing to Street Fight. Like every news and pundit site they offered their list of things to look for in 2016. I was struck by the fact that none of their prognostications dealt with it, focusing instead on retailers, startup services, and beacons.
It was also interesting to me because I had just read an article on Nieman Journalism Lab about adding local news to people’s walls on FB. This in turn led me to think about outside.in where I had worked to develop a local blogger network and a toolkit that mapped stores to their locations. Outside.in may have been a bit ahead of its time as aggregating local stories and then placing them into FB and Snapchat would probably be a good service given how hard media is in general now an how difficult hyperlocal media is on top of that. It wouldn’t solve the problems that the creators of the stories face but it could get them in front of an audience where good things might happen. Foursquare might end up doing something similar with ads.
Our best smelling client, Funkless is a natural deodorant formulated and tested by a pilates instructor. We built this site on Squarespace to give the client an easy to manage experience that can also handle his upcoming e-commerce requirements.
ChinaFilmInsider.com is a b2b site that reports on the largest growing film market. We worked with the editor to plan, design, and produce a site with a mobile first point of view to bring features, news roundups, stock prices, box office, events, and a directory to readers through the site and weekly e-mail. We also provided extensive training and support for the editorial staff post launch.