Unlocking the Power of Your Author Website: Why It’s Essential for KDP Author

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As a self-published author, you may be wondering whether having a website is necessary. After all, with so many social media platforms and book retailers available, is it really worth the effort to create and maintain a website?

The short answer is yes. A website can be an incredibly valuable tool for KDP authors, and can make a significant impact on your book sales and overall author brand.

Firstly, a website provides a centralized hub for your author brand. It’s a place where readers can learn more about you and your books, and where you can showcase your writing style and personal voice. A website can also help you establish credibility as an author, especially if you include testimonials and reviews from satisfied readers.

In addition to showcasing your brand and credibility, a website can also help you reach new readers. By optimizing your website for search engines, you can increase your visibility in search results and attract new readers who may not have found you otherwise. You can also use your website to build your email list and engage with your readers through newsletters and other content.

Furthermore, having a website gives you more control over your book sales and marketing. While social media platforms and book retailers are great for reaching a wide audience, they can also be limiting in terms of customization and branding. With your own website, you have the freedom to design your page, promote your books in your own unique way, and direct readers to your preferred book retailer.

But perhaps most importantly, having a website allows you to own your audience. While social media platforms can be a great way to engage with readers, they can also change their algorithms or terms of service at any time, potentially cutting off your access to your audience. With a website, you own your email list and can continue to engage with your readers even if social media platforms change or become less popular.

Of course, creating and maintaining a website does require some effort and investment. You’ll need to purchase a domain name and web hosting, design your website, and create content to engage your readers. But the long-term benefits of having a website can far outweigh the initial costs.

In conclusion, a website can be an incredibly valuable tool for KDP authors. It provides a centralized hub for your brand, helps you reach new readers, gives you more control over your book sales and marketing, and allows you to own your audience. While creating and maintaining a website requires some effort, the long-term benefits can make a significant impact on your book sales and overall author brand.

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Astroturfing image.

Unmasking Astroturfing: The Deceptive Practice That Distorts Public Opinion

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As we scroll through our social media feeds, we’re bombarded with content from friends, family, and businesses vying for our attention. But what happens when the content we see is not what it seems? What if the reviews, comments, and reactions are not genuine, but instead part of a carefully orchestrated campaign to sway our opinions? Welcome to the world of astroturfing.

Astroturfing is the practice of creating fake grassroots support for a product, service, or idea. It can take many forms, from the use of paid actors to pose as enthusiastic customers, to the creation of fake online communities that generate buzz around a particular topic.

Astroturfing is problematic for several reasons. Firstly, it creates a false impression of support or opposition. Consumers are led to believe that a product or service has more support than it actually does, or that a particular idea is more widely held than it really is. This can lead to the manipulation of public opinion and the distortion of public discourse.


Secondly, astroturfing can damage the credibility of the person or organization responsible for the campaign. When consumers discover that they have been deceived, they are likely to feel angry and betrayed. This can lead to a loss of trust, and even legal action in some cases.

So how prevalent is astroturfing? Unfortunately, it’s difficult to say, as many campaigns are carefully hidden from view. However, there have been several high-profile cases in recent years that have shed light on the issue.

In 2011, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) was caught astroturfing on behalf of the tobacco industry. The group created a fake grassroots campaign to oppose a proposed cigarette tax in Rhode Island. ALEC was exposed when a leaked email revealed that the group had paid for a busload of people to attend a public hearing on the issue.

In 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was accused of astroturfing during its review of net neutrality regulations. The agency received millions of comments from the public, but many of these were found to be fake. Some were duplicates or bot-generated, while others were attributed to people who had not actually submitted them.

Astroturfing is not limited to the political realm. In 2013, Samsung was caught astroturfing on behalf of its Galaxy smartphones. The company paid people to write positive reviews of its products online, and negative reviews of its competitors. Samsung was fined $340,000 by the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission for the practice.

In 2018, Amazon was accused of astroturfing by a group of US senators. The senators claimed that the company had created fake social media accounts to post positive reviews of its own products, and negative reviews of its competitors. Amazon denied the allegations, but admitted that it had removed some reviews that violated its policies.

Astroturfing is a deceptive and unethical practice that can manipulate public opinion, damage credibility, and distort public discourse. While it’s difficult to know the full extent of the problem, there have been several high-profile cases that illustrate the issue. As consumers, it’s important to be aware of the possibility of astroturfing, and to take steps to verify the authenticity of the content we see online. As the saying goes, “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

The 100 Greatest Science Fiction Movies of All Time
Bing logo on a coloured background.

Time to give Bing a Chance?

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In the world of search engines, two names stand out as the heavyweights: Google and Bing. While Google may be the reigning champion with a staggering 90% of the global market share, Bing is no small player, holding its own with 4-5% of the market. But just how different are these two search giants? And is it worth exploring Bing for your search needs?

Let’s start with the obvious. Google has been the go-to search engine for over two decades now, with its user-friendly interface and highly accurate search results. But, Bing should not be underestimated. Owned by Microsoft, Bing has a market share of 33% in the United States and powers the search results for popular websites such as Yahoo! and Amazon. So, even if you’re not actively using Bing, chances are it’s playing a role in your search journey.

One of the biggest differences between Google and Bing is their approach to search results. While Google’s algorithm prioritizes relevance, Bing places a greater emphasis on visual appeal, with images and videos appearing higher in search results. Bing’s search results also include relevant news articles and social media posts, providing users with a more comprehensive view of a topic.

Another noteworthy feature of Bing is its rewards program. By using Bing for your search needs, you can earn credits that can be redeemed for gift cards, discounts, and more. It’s a small perk, but it just might be the incentive you need to give Bing a chance.

So, is Bing worth a shot? The answer is, it depends. If you’re a die-hard Google fan, chances are you won’t be swayed by Bing’s visual appeal and rewards program. But, if you’re open to trying something new, Bing just might impress you with its comprehensive search results and added benefits. And who knows, you might even come away with a gift card or two in the process!

If you’re looking to give Bing a try it’s easy to submit your website to Bing.

Here’s how:

Time to Give Bing a Chance?
  1. Verify your website ownership. Bing offers several methods for website verification, including adding a meta tag to your website’s HTML or uploading a file to your website’s server.
  2. Submit your sitemap to Bing. A sitemap is a file that lists all the pages on your website and helps search engines understand your website’s structure. You can submit your sitemap to Bing via the Bing Webmaster Tools.
  3. Monitor your website’s performance. Bing Webmaster Tools provides valuable insights into your website’s performance on Bing, including search traffic and keyword rankings. Use this information to improve your website’s visibility on Bing.
  4. Optimize your website for search engines. This includes using relevant keywords, having a clean and user-friendly website design, and providing valuable and unique content.

In conclusion, while Google may be the dominant search engine, don’t discount the value of exploring Bing. With its visual appeal and rewards program, it just might surprise you. And submitting your website to Bing is a simple process that can help you tap into a new audience. So, why not give it a try?

Rounded corners

Rounded Corners: The Design Trend That Just Won’t Quit

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Rounded corners are everywhere. From mobile phone screens to website buttons, it seems like the once-trendy design element has become a staple in modern design. But why are rounded corners so popular, and why are they so important in the world of web design?

First, let’s take a step back and understand the basic principles of design. In design, the shapes and lines we use play a crucial role in creating a visual hierarchy and drawing the user’s eye to specific elements on the page. Sharp, angular corners can create a sense of tension, while rounded corners have a more relaxed, approachable feel. This is why rounded corners have become a go-to choice for designers looking to create a user-friendly, approachable interface.

One example of this is the ubiquitous “rounded rectangle” shape used in mobile app design. The rounded corners on app icons and buttons not only make the interface look more polished, but they also make the elements easier to tap with a finger. The same principle applies to website buttons: rounded corners on buttons make them look less intimidating and more inviting for users to click.

But it’s not just about aesthetics – rounded corners also play an important role in creating a seamless user experience. In web design, it’s all about creating a consistent visual language across different elements on the page. By using rounded corners throughout a design, designers can create a cohesive look and feel that guides the user’s eye and makes the website feel like a unified whole.

Let’s not forget about ChatGPT, the large language model trained by OpenAI. ChatGPT can help with WordPress and answer questions about a variety of topics, including web design. By using natural language processing, ChatGPT can understand and respond to user requests, making it an incredibly useful tool for anyone looking for help with their website.

Rounded Corners

I was interested in adding a “rounded corner” look to, because it’s something I see all the time. Twitter automatically adds rounded corners to all image posts, all the images in my Google news feed have rounded edges. As I know a bit about web development, I was sure that this was something I could achieve using custom CSS in WordPress. After a few failed attempts, I looked for a plugin to do this automatically but found nothing. Googling an answer didn’t turn up much information either, so I turned to Chat GPT. Be begin with I gave it a simple prompt of “Act Like an Expert WordPress developer.” in the current iteration, Chat GPT normally writes several paragraphs of information outlining it’s expert credentials.

ChatGTP writing custom CSS for WordPress

To cut a long story short, Chat GTP was able to provide all of the custom CSS I needed to apply a rounded look to all of the images on my site.

img {
  border-radius: 10px;

In conclusion, rounded corners are an integral part of modern web design. From creating a user-friendly interface to establishing a consistent visual language, rounded corners play a crucial role in creating a seamless user experience. Whether you’re a designer or a website owner, it’s worth taking a closer look at the power of rounded corners in your own designs.

This is a promotional flyer for my 100 Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time project. It shows the text "100 Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time" In the Impact Font. It's set against a galactic background and has a 1950s style red rocket flying on the right hand side of the image.
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