If you’re a writer, chances are that your website is sorely neglected or nonexistent. True, you’re not a web designer; and true, you’d much rather spend your time on plot, characterization and even the dreaded re-writes than designing a website.
Lacking a decent website, however, you are limiting your audience and your book sales. After all, we live in an online world. Expecting your publisher and bookstores to effectively promote your works may leave you penniless. Even New York Times bestselling authors are expected to do their part to promote themselves.
The good news is that you have tremendous options when it comes to launching a site. Here are a few tips to help you with your online presence as an author.
If you find the idea of a website daunting, do not fret. You may not even need a dedicated website. There are a number of other options when it comes to presenting yourself online. For example:
- Create a hosted blog. There are a number of free hosting sites such as Blogger and Tumblr. These sites save a lot of work by launching your site for you. All you have to worry about is adding content.
- Get involved in social media. You may want to simply opt for a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Google+ page. There is no cost and it only takes a few minutes to set up. You can post content and upload photos as you build a following.
- Content Management System (CMS). If you want to go one step further, you may wish to buy hosting through a site like GoDaddy or Bluehost and build your own site. You can set these sites up, and you can have total control.
- Hire a professional. If you truly want to save time and get the job done right, you can pay someone to build a site for you. While this does cost more, it frees you from having to learn the technical side of launching a site and gives you more time to write.
A Few Important Details About Your Author Website
Regardless of how you build your online presence, there are a few key steps to take before launching your site or getting involved in social media.
- Establish the purpose of your website. Just like weaving theme throughout a story, your purpose should be consistent throughout your online presence. If you don’t know what it is, you may end up with haphazard content that doesn’t make sense. Do you want visitors to interact with you, or do you merely want to advertise your published works? Or do you have some other purpose? Get this sorted out before you begin.
- Keep your structure organized. For example, if you’ve written a variety of genres, you should divide your website into different categories such as mystery, young adult and fantasy, or by topic such as religious, personal and scholarly. If you’ve written one to three books then you could simply have a page for each of them.
- Keep a “New Book Page” tab on your site. This will keep your site relevant and help new readers ease into your writing. Be sure to include a brief synopsis (about 150-200 words long), an image, and reviews.