Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Jessa Slade Workshop Week - First Glance

Welcome to Jessa Slade Workshop Week: 

 Here's the First Glance page of Jessa Slade's website.

This is her home page and all her social media accounts should be directed to this First Glance. This is the most critical page for her to keep up-to-date.

When we talk to Jessa, these are some of the log lines she uses:

What Possesses You?  

Hot Guys and Chicks with Knives.

Love Conquers All - Which Explains the Scars.

These books are her products and they are well presented.

Q:  What is your first impression regarding the genre and flavor of these books?

Q:  How are you engaged in the experience of the world she created?

Q:  How does her LOG LINE in her banner reflect the review quotes?

Now we invite you to answer these questions in the comments! 
Have Fun and Be Nice!


  1. Good Morning! I've known Jessa since her pre-pubbed days and liked her original website design. Two book covers on a white background is boring.

  2. Hey, ladies,

    I love the way Jessa's loglines and website express her wit, and yet the edginess of her books. I think it gives visitors a flavor that is true to her writing, and that's important.

    I would love to see her gorgeous covers on a background that is still light enough to read on, but has some color ... something that extends the banner colors.

    Happy Thanksgiving! I'm thankful for your promo tips.

  3. The point about the First Glance is this is a research click-through online by someone who has no clue about the books or the author. A total stranger.

    Consider the purple banner.
    Who are the Marked Souls?
    How does the graphic present an Urban Fantasy experience that is different from a vampire book?

    There is no comparison between Jessa's books and the infamous Twilight saga but the feel of this banner could represent either.

  4. Thank you, Therese & Morgan, for letting me be your guinea pig! I look forward to hearing all you have to say.

    Terri, funny you should mention the white background. In the original incarnation of my website, I had white words on a black background, which I always think looks awesome. But perhaps I went too far the other way. Maybe I'm a black or white thinker :)

    1. I"m probably too conservative, but I have to say I like any copy to be black on white (or very light color) background, with colored fonts only for emphasis (i.e., Free Money to anyone who says Hi). Black on white background is the easiest to read and to see. It is also more accessible to anyone with vision problems (which is increasingly me as I get older). I know it's not necessarily the "cool" thing to do though.

  5. You're welcome, Jessa. You're like the poster child for the turbulence in book world as Book One was published in 2009 when authors still hoped the publisher would do the marketing and promotions.

    We applaud that you've kept your attention on writing great books. Good marketing can begin at any time in your career now that ebooks are never out-of-print.

  6. While I like the hot guys on the book covers, I know your heroines are kick-ass, the weapons are significant, and the monsters are really creepy.

    The book covers were designed by others. I think you could boost up their impact on your website here with additional images that represent more of the story and other characters.

    How would your first chapters be displayed if issued by Dark Horse Comics?

  7. The most important thing to remember when marketing your books on your website is this is YOUR BOOK STORE and you don't have to comply with how books have been traditionally stacked on a shelf.

  8. First, I've read everyone of Jessa's books (except the novella anthology which I've just downloaded)and LOVE them. Here is what I think about the website based on my own tastes and trying to pretend I don't know her.

    Good Stuff:

    * Banner definitely says dark and spooky on front page. Other pages seem to say "gothic" and "dark contemporary" to me. Not sure if this is good or bad. ;)

    * Books are very easy to find and identifiable

    * Navigation to other areas of site is easy from top menu bar

    * Content is easy to read and buy links are easy to find

    Stuff That Doesn't Work for Me:

    * Banner loads slower than rest of page, suggest looking at how to optimize it. It seems I also get different banners for different pages. I'm a fan of a single banner OR a banner that slightly changes but maintains the same look/feel/and some content as other pages. I have a lousy memory, so have a single image to associate with an author helps me personally.

    * I agree with Therese that choosing something that is more associated with urban fantasy would be good--UNLESS you don't want your brand to only be urban fantasy, in which case something else that is your brand but hints at the themes or dark/light combination would be good.

    * Books and copy take over all the page real estate on the home page which makes me, as a reader, not see anything that is personal or gives me an ability to engage with the author. You have to scroll to the bottom to get to a blog copy, see twitter feed etc. or click on the "about" page to get links to social media I wonder if a two column format would allow some of that interaction to be at the top OR the top menu would have links to FB, Twitter, etc.

    * Also, as a new reader I don't know what is the latest book or what number the book featured is in the series. I think you miss an opportunity to tout the "latest release" without labeling it in some way and making it appear on every page I visit. Because my attention span on pages is limited, I'm a fan of the knock-me-over-the-head sales approach.:)

    * I happen to love your logline of "Love Conquers All - Which Explains the Scars." I wish I had such a good logline. I don't see your logline or others anywhere on the page. I think it captures you as a person and writer--that combination of humor and intellect. The line says romance but not easy. Personally, I'd love to see it in your banner or in some way that is outstanding and always near the banner. I think that line alone would make me explore your books and website more carefully.

    1. Thanks Maggie! This is exactly the type of feedback we want for Jessa! The more that express their opinions, the more we will all learn!

  9. > How would your first chapters be displayed if issued by Dark
    > Horse Comics?

    Oh, interesting question/insta-visual. I should run over to Milwaukie and make a new friend :)

    > you don't have to comply with how books have been traditionally
    > stacked on a shelf

    You don't think readers are still primed to shop a certain way? It's changing, of course, but it seems to me, the appearance of cross-genre still makes people nervous.

    1. Your bookstore offers more than one genre. You've done a good job designating which books are which genre. The old way was to "brand" the author name to a specific genre. We feel an Author Persona can write well in multiple genres because you're the one presenting your stories to readers.

      Therese says: Of course, any Jessa Slade book is a must buy for me because, as a Reader, I cross Genres in the blink of an eye.

  10. Wow, Maggie. Great stuff to consider! I want to be more than UFR, but I think that's a good general feel. Maybe for Christmas I should have my family get me stock image credits :)

    1. Good idea about stock image credits. Though I'm not sure if you can gift them. I think there is a way to be UFR and still more general if you stick to themes. Terri mentioned kick-ass heroines. If kick-ass heroines and hot guys is true across all genres you could use that and it would still also be UFR. If you are also writing light humor and UFR it's a little more difficult but not impossible. I remember Lucy Monroe once used a kind of movie film strip with different scenes as her banner, which I liked because she wrote in several sub-genres of romance.