Karen Chase

Karen Chase - Web Developer

Richmond, VA, USA

I build brands (and websites) for authors planning to publish long-term. Please read my overview for the process and cost you might expect.

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Overview

A website is your main author house. And we can build a better house when we know details about your readers, how they find you, and what you provide for them.

So, BEFORE you design a website, I prefer to work with authors to build a written plan for your author life. What is it, and how much does it cost?


AUTHOR BRAND & PLATFORM TOOLS PLANS - $800

This is a written plan that defines your author life, how you’ll look, what tools (website, social media, etc.) you’ll need to build, and how to best reach your readers. The steps include:


STEP ONE: AUTHOR BRAND PLAN

Includes a Questionnaire and 45-minute talk. The resulting plan includes:

· Goals you have, who you are as an author, why you write

· Observations both positive and negative about your current brand & tools

· A definition of your target audience—primary and secondary—and how they find you.

· Connections and potential competition for your genre

· An author message statement to guide all the materials you’ll build


STEP TWO: PLATFORM TOOLS PLAN

After you review and approve the written plan above, I create:

· A brand “mood board” of fonts, colors, and stock image options just for you. (See examples in gallery.)

· A chart/plan of recommended platform tools and materials you should build to reach your readers.


THEN the WEBSITE:

Based on your final plans above, I can then give you a more accurate estimate for a website. Full transparency… websites like those shown here in my samples tend to be about $1500-1800. But you're welcome to take the plan we build and work with another developer for less.


SHOULD YOU WORK WITH ME?

YES, if you…

· Are willing to learn about publishing, target audience, and the book marketing process

· Have or will publish more than one book, in nearly any genre

(I especially love crime/thrillers, women's fiction, historical non-fiction, and even YA and children’s books.)


NO, I’m not a good fit if you…

· Plan on self-publishing only one book, or only on Amazon

· Are fewer than three months away from publishing your first book

· Have budgeted $500-1000 for marketing including a website

· Publish poetry, Christian books, or violent/extreme books


My Experiences

After 20 years in marketing with businesses and non-profits, I became an author in 2011. Since then, I’ve published three books while I’ve been building brands and websites (and coaching) other authors who are both independently and traditionally published. I've seen the results first-hand of building an effective, branded website via my own author website and marketing efforts, too.

Let’s chat, shall we…


Testimonials:

“I was overwhelmed with the business side of writing. Luckily I contacted Karen… we have forged a wonderful business relationship. She gives honest feedback that helps you grow both as an artist and a business proprietor. The image she has helped me craft has gotten me places I never thought possible.” – Bradley Harper MD, author of 2019 Edgar Finalist, A Knife in the Fog.

"It was my good fortune to hire Karen Chase. With patience and insight, Karen helped me navigate a world I didn’t understand. She made the process personal and professional. I was included in every step to success." – Leah Weiss, author of All the Little Hopes

(Note: The projects featured are just some of the sites I've done. The gallery includes snapshots of others.)
Services
Fiction
Contemporary Fiction
Historical Fiction
Mystery & Crime
Women's Fiction
Non-Fiction
History
Psychology
Writing & Publishing
Works with
Squarespace
WordPress

Work experience

Creative Director

Self-employed
February, 1994 – Present (over 27 years)

224Design is my solo freelance studio. I provide branding, advertising, web development and design. I offer intelligent, effective brand development for authors of both fiction and nonfiction. I also design book covers, book trailers, and other collateral, but my specialty is in creating effective and affordable platform tools and websites for authors.

Projects

Edward Lengel Author & Books Platform

Ed was (is!) a well-respected historian and author, with over ten published books through a multitude of academic and traditional presses. Ed had no website that listed his books all in one place with links for where to buy them. There was no way for readers (or other historians) to connect with him directly. He wanted share his research/writing more regularly (and own his blog), in the hopes of securing future book contracts and full-time residencies/positions. We also added social media, and connected his books and blog in Goodreads, to drive readers to his website.

Results:
• Over 850 visitors come to his blog/site every month
• Within a few months of launching his website, Ed was contacted by a major historic archive and made their writer-in-residence to produce two new history books.
• E-newsletter followers number 1800
• All books are linked to Ed in Goodreads, and he now has over 1000 ratings/reviews
• A memorable tagline "A Storyteller Hiking Through History" contributed to securing him two gigs as a guide on two paid history tours

Bradley Harper Website

Brad was about 6 months away from launching his first novel—a killer piece of crime fiction (a la Sherlock Holmes) that would go on to win him an Edgar and a Silver Falchion. To support such stunning writing in the Victorian era, he needed an equally stunning website that highlighted his years of experience, which included being an Army Pathologist. For his site/brand, we built a logo, got him new author photos, set up a new newsletter, and listed speaking gigs and events.

Results:
• Before we began, Brad was undiscoverable under Google searches. His website and profile are now the first results.
• An initial 250 e-newsletter subscribers
• An increased Facebook network from 99 followers to 1,182
• Awareness helped secure an invitation to write for an anthology edited by Lee Child

Leah Weiss Branded Website

Leah was under contract to launch her second traditionally published southern novel, and her publisher was encouraging her to invest more in marketing. She had no newsletter to connect directly with her readers (which neared 100,000 from her first book). Her website was a jumble from being built quickly for her first book. Along with developing a new brand/look that was "Southern by Grace," we launched her new website that included a reader e-newsletter so she could gather email addresses:

RESULTS:
• All brand/platform analysis and projects completed within 4 months from start to finish
• Within a month of launching her brand, her new newsletter had 248 subscribers
• Her website connected readers to social media, so those followers more than doubled
• Connecting with more readers directly contributed to increased reviews for her first book (from 1000 just before the brand revamp, to 2000 just two months after brand-launch)
Note: The above stats are all before her second book publishes July 27, 2021

Portfolio (8 selected works)

A Knife in the Fog

Harper, Bradley

Mary Angela's Kitchen

Chase, Karen A.

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