Author websites are an essential tool for any writer. A great website will help readers, the media, publishers and anyone else that you want to reach to discover you. It is your home on the web – it is your public face and all of the information that you want people to know about you and what you do.
To really be effective a website needs to be:
- Shiny (appealing both in terms of design and content)
- and sticky (interesting enough to retain viewers).
In other words, attract your audience and keep them there!
Look at Me!
Just as you would not put your book out into the world with an unattractive cover, your website needs to look great as well. A professional designer is highly recommended – it is their job to create something for you that is visually pleasing and unique. You can do it yourself using a template on one of several popular website creation sites, but you will sacrifice the uniqueness of your site’s look and invariably end up with something that is more generic than you would otherwise have.
But being shiny isn’t all about colour and images, it is also about having your best content up-front. Give readers what they want to know about you straight away. For example, have a look at the Cameron Publicity and Marketing front page here: http://www.cameronpm.co.uk/
What I want people to see immediately is:
- What we do (the tagline near the top and the information on our services)
- That we are respected (the testimonial quotes in the video, organisation membership logos and book covers showing that we have worked with a lot of authors)
- That you can easily get in touch with us easily (phone number and email and postal addresses)
- That we can help you to learn about the publishing world (mailing list sign-up box and social media links)
So, think about what it is that you want your readers (and potential readers) to know about your straight away. Particularly what you write and why they should be interested in it.
It’s not enough to just get viewers to your site. For it to be as effective as possible you need to keep them there for long enough to take in everything that you want them to know, such as what makes you different from everyone else who writes books on your subject or genre (your USP – Unique Selling Point).
Most author websites have a pretty standard array of pages that can be accessed from a central menu – options such as “about the books”, “about the author”, “news and events” and contact details. The fact that these are standard doesn’t mean that you should avoid them. On the contrary, they are typical because they are what readers most want to know about and would expect to see.
Give the reader as much information as you can for free to really get them interested in your writing. Sample chapters of your book(s) can get them hooked and many authors even give away a free book, an idea that works particularly well if you have a series. If you add a blog to your website you can offer your readers insight into the location, characters, subject or inspiration behind your book(s). Video content is particularly powerful so if you have a trailer, a montage or a clip of an author interview be sure to include those as well. Even if you don’t have one yet you can have them made more easily and quickly than you think.
Author websites are essential and serve a real-world purpose – to help readers, publishers and the media to find out about you and your books. With your website you are trying to sell something but you are also thinking long-term – you want people to know about your latest book but, more importantly, you want people to find out who you are as an author and to read ALL of the books that you have written so far and will write in the future.
Good luck and do get in touch if you would like to know more about our services.