Snazzy author photo? Check. List of all your books? Check. Alright, you have everything you need for your author website. Time to go live, right? Not so fast!
Having an author website is like owning your own little corner of the internet and it’s important to set it up in a way that showcases your work while also encouraging reader engagement.
Before hitting “Publish” on your brand new author website, check out these five things you should include.
1) Email List Sign Up
Out of everything on this list, having an email sign up is probably one of the most important things to include on your author website. Social media algorithms are always changing. Ads can be expensive. It can be hard to tell if your message is reaching everyone on your friends list. Heck, one day, we might all wake up to find that Facebook has completely disappeared from the face of the Earth (cue horror music). That’s why it’s so important to have an email list.
When people sign up for your email list, you know they’re interested in your work and want to hear from you (within reason, of course). You know without a doubt that when you hit “Send,” your message will be delivered directly to your readers’ inbox (no fancy social media algorithms will stand in your way!). Plus, you can rest easy knowing that if the entirety of social media disappears one day, you will have a solid list of loyal readers you can still stay in touch with.
2) Reading Order
This one is a little obscure, but I guarantee that your readers will thank you if you include it on your website. If you’re the author of a series, or if there’s a recommended order in which your books should be read, then you should definitely include a “reading order” section on your website. This will allow your readers to fully enjoy and understand the events in your books. This type of section is especially helpful if you also have novellas in your series that are meant to be read before or after a certain book.
Not going to lie, I’ve accidentally bought a few books without knowing they were part of a series and I had no idea what was going on. Help eliminate any confusion by providing a clear reading order page on your site.
For examples of how other authors have created reading order pages on their websites, check out Terry Brooks’ website, as well as Janet Evanovich’s website.
3) Giveaways or Book Discounts
Who doesn’t love free (or heavily discounted) books? I don’t know about you, but more times than not, I absolutely can’t resist the siren call of free books. If you’re running a special sale on your books, make sure to include that information somewhere on your site (preferably using a big, eye catching headline on your home page).
Additionally, if you’re hosting any type of giveaway or contest involving your books, make sure to include any special guidelines or instructions somewhere on your site. Most importantly, after the sale or giveaway has ended, update your site. You don’t want to continue to advertise a free book if it’s no longer actually free.
4) A Consistently Updated Blog
Blogs are a fantastic way to keep your readers engaged and in the loop regarding your books and ongoing projects. However, in order to truly reap the benefits of a blog, you need to consistently keep it updated. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to post to your blog every single day (or even every other day), but you should have a content calendar and a regular posting schedule.
What should you post to your author blog? Definitely mention any new books or projects that you are working on (including cover reveals, word counts, release dates, and more). Your blog is also a great place to mention giveaways or book discounts.
If you’re really stuck, you can also try blogging about any of the following topics:
- Character Roll Call: I always love when authors share the images that inspired a certain character. You can also further engage readers by asking them to share images of what they imagine a particular character looks like.
- Author Q&A: Do readers ask you questions about the writing life, or your writing process? Write a blog post that answers those questions.
- Musical inspiration: Have a playlist that you listened to while writing your masterpiece? Use your blog to share it with your readers.
5) Reviews and Interviews
Reviews aren’t just for Amazon anymore. If another author has endorsed your book, or if you’ve received a particularly glowing review from a beta reader, don’t be afraid to share them on your website (after getting permission of course).
Just as businesses might have a “testimonials” page on their website in order to attract customers, you can have a similar section on your website in order to promote your books. The more good reviews a book has, the more likely I am to purchase it for myself, so don’t be shy about showing off how awesome your book is!
Additionally, if you have been interviewed (perhaps on another author’s blog), make sure to share and link to it on your own blog. Many authors have a “media” page on their website, where they share links to interviews, podcasts, and any public appearances.
Back to you! Do you have any tips for creating an awesome author website? Are there any author websites that you absolutely love? Share them below in the comments!
Manuela Williams is a Las Vegas-based writer and editor. She is the author of Ghost In Girl Costume, which won the 2017 Hard To Swallow Chapbook Contest. When she’s not writing, Manuela is busy drinking coffee and spending time with her blind Pomeranian, Redford. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Pinterest.