A website is a good way to get all your information to your readers. It’s a place to send them when they ask you about your book. It’s especially useful for authors with multiple books. You can have a website dedicated to the book, the series, or the author as a brand. This can be more expensive and time-consuming than some other online endeavors, but gives you more freedom. There are also free and easy alternatives to getting a domain name.
Why do I need a website?
The reason a website is still relevant in a time of social media booms is that social media platforms come and go (anybody remember Friendster? MySpace?), and although you can’t control the rise and fall of platforms like Facebook and Twitter, you can control keeping your website up and having a place for readers to find you despite the changing trends in social media.
Here are things to include on your author website:
- A jpeg of the cover of the book you’re promoting
- Publication date if it isn’t out yet
- A short description of the book
- A link to buy the book (feel free to give them the option: Hal Leonard Books’ website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and indiebound.org)
- Recent news (unless you want to dedicate a separate page to News and Site Updates)
- Share buttons (ShareThis)
- A place for people to sign up for your mailing list
- Your contact information: leave them your email address. Putting your email on a website can make you vulnerable to spam, so many people use contact forms on their sites, but users don’t like using them. If you’re worried about spam, create a second email account used just for your website, but don’t forget to check it every now and again! You could also disguise it like info [at] halleonardbooks [dot] com (spam bots can’t find it that way).
One of the best ways to get people to link to you is if you link to them. You can have a Reference page and list useful websites that are related to the topic of your book. You can also link to useful tools in the book world or in the genre of your work. It’s also common to keep a Blog Roll in the side bar of your blog (This is a list of blogs that you read that your readers might enjoy, too).
Tip: Don’t just list the URL. Make sure it’s a hyperlink. Also, don’t hyperlink words like “click here.” Hyperlink the title of the website or a short description like Publisher’s website.
About the Author
Why should your readers trust you? Tell them your qualifications for writing this book. You only need a paragraph or two like the author bio you find on your book. You can also include links to interviews, etc. Here’s a good article about what you might want to include to boost your reputation. Here’s an article full of examples of fun and unique bio pages. Don’t be afraid to be creative.
You don’t need a separate page for this, but make sure you link to all your other online platforms. Do you have a Twitter account? A Facebook Fan page? Link it on your homepage, your sidebar, your links page, or your author bio.
If you are doing an author event either live in person or having a digital book tour (blog tour), list the dates and places. Give a sentence or two of what people can expect. Is it a reading and signing? Is there a presentation? Q&A? Workshop?
One page where the press can get all they need to do their article or interview. This means hi-res photos of your cover and author photo. Include a couple sentences about your book, a couple sentences about you, a couple blurbs or reviews, maybe a Q&A, and your topics of expertise. Here is an excellent article about online press kits with examples.
If you have more to say about your book than a short description for the front page, you can create a separate page for more info about the book. You can include things like reviews, links to interviews, etc. This is also a good idea if you have more than one book.
Some authors will choose one or the other: a blog or a website. If you have time to keep it up, you can include a blog on your website. There are pros and cons to hosting the blog on your websites. Another option is hosting it on a blog site like Blogger, LiveJournal, or WordPress and linking to it directly on your website.
You may want to include extras on your site to hook people in. You can have a separate tab for excerpt from your book. Or maybe your first book is out already and you want to post the first chapter of the sequel that has yet to come out.