Monday, April 23, 2012

Good Author Signatures for Yahoo Groups

Sign Here, Please.

Which of the following is the point of a signature?

1. To identify you
2. To reinforce your brand
3. To create interest in your work
4. Drive traffic to your site
5. Sell your books
6. All of the above

If you answered 6 - you're right, but identification - item #1 - is the key to accomplishing the rest. Your name is vital. Your author name. If you write as Mary Jo Smithe, sign as Mary Jo Smithe.
You are your author name when you are on Yahoo groups. If you don't use a pen name, then it doesn't matter. Or does it? If you use a non-writing-oriented email to post messages, it might be costing you readers. For example, if you sign your posts with only "Mary" but your email address says "BobbysMom2012" - how is anyone supposed to find that wonderful book you just told them about? If they hop over to Amazon and search for Mary BobbysMom2012 -- are you going to show up? Sign with your author name - Mary Jo Smithe.

Do you need a signature for every email? That depends. Are you posting as an author? Do you hope this post will accomplish the items listed above? Then you must post as a professional. Sign your emails. It is not hubris to identify yourself. You are there to accomplish a purpose.

What belongs in your signature?

At a minimum, your name and website. If you have a brand or tag for your writing, don't be afraid to use it. I sign everything with my name, my tag (unstoppable heroes, uncompromising love, unforgettable passion), and a link to whatever website(s) pertain to the message.

What does "pertain to the message" mean? If I'm replying to a question about blogging, I use my blog url. If it's about Twitter, I use that one. In most cases, I include my website's home page, my Twitter account, and my company's site, The Author's Secret. I have a signature page on hand with all the pertient links available, which makes it easy to click/drag the info into my message as needed.

What shouldn't you include? 

It depends on where you're posting. On some Yahoo groups, be aware images might not translate well. A group that disallows embedded images might turn your embedded cover into 3-4 inches of white space.

Multiple colors in your signature can be hard to read. Some people are color blind and cannot differentiate various shades. To them, your list of books might go from looking like this:

Book 1 Book 2 Book 3 Book 4 

to words run together like this:
Book 1 Book 2 Book 3 Book 4

Likewise, using embedded links and substituting the site name can give you more room, but if you write your signature as:

readers who receive their messages as text see: 
Twitter Facebook

How long is long enough? 

If you are posting to a Yahoo group, you are limited to what the group allows. Read the rules. If you post regularly to a group that permits only three lines, create one you use for that group. In general - you are safe with three lines that are short enough not to wrap around and start accidentally making a fourth line. I use the one below for most situations.

Kayelle Allen
Unstoppable heroes, Uncompromising love, Unforgettable passion  ~  ~

If I'm promoting a new book, and I'm on a group that allows longer signatures, I've found one like this is effective:
Kayelle Allen
Unstoppable heroes, Uncompromising love, Unforgettable passion
Surrender Love  |  Not rebound, payback, loneliness, or great sex, and far beyond love. This is surrender.
Loose Id:  |  Kindle:

It's better to err on the side of caution. If you are banned or placed on moderation for violating rules, you can't accomplish your goal.

How long is too long?

How many times have you seen signatures that seem to go on forever? They include lists of every book the author has written, where it's been reviewed, the various places you can buy it, mini-images of the book, a banner... 

Simple is better. Follow the rules of the group where you're posting.
Signature, please...

Okay, so what's the best signature?

Your author name
Your brand, book name, or book tag
Your website, Your blog, Your Twitter/Facebook

Less is more. You want to identify yourself, reinforce your brand, create interest in your work, drive traffic to your site, and sell your books. To do this, be professional. Using a signature that underscores this message will help you accomplish that.

What other questions do you have regarding signatures for a Yahoo group?

Kayelle Allen is the founder of Marketing for Romance Writers, a Yahoo group focused on learning marketing and publicity. 
Group site: