Monday, October 6, 2014

Do I need an author website yet?

Let me put this as simple as possible...
"But I haven't published my first book yet! Do I still..."
If you plan on publishing a book via traditional, indie or self publishing you should have a working website up and running before that book hits the readers and reviewers. It doesn't have to be fancy, it just has to have some basic, but oh so important information.

"Whyyyyyy? I am a writer not a webmistress."

Best case scenario, readers and bloggers read your book and like it! As a book blogger, myself, when I post a review I want to give my readers as much information about the book and author as I can. Like the author's bio and pic, links to the author's social media, and links to other possible books by the author. And where am I going to find this information to share with all my readers? That's right! Your author website. Imagine my surprise and disappointment when I google your name to find your site and there isn't one. I loved your book so much I wanted to ask you to do a guest post or interview for my blog, but I have no quick way to get in touch with you. I am, after all, very busy and don't want to hunt you down. Oh well, I guess I'll move on to the next book on my review list.

"But what do I put on my website?"

A basic author website should have the following:
1.  A banner at the top with your name letting me know I have arrived at the right place. If you have your tag line, even better.

2. A pic and bio blurb. It doesn't have to be a long one, but readers will relate to you better if you tell a bit about yourself. Like what part of the US (or CAN) you live in, your pet's names, how many kids you have or what you do when you aren't writing. The pic is important for the same reason...and for goodness sake, smile!

3. Links to all your social media. If your book(s) is good you are going to have fans! I know, right? And they will want to tell you how wonderful you are. Give them a way to do that. Also have an email bloggers and readers can use to contact you.

4. Covers, blurbs and buy links for all your books. In. Reading. Order. One of the main reasons people will visit your website is for book information and the order to read them.

Your home page should have: name, social media links, and contact email all in plain sight. The side bar ideally so no matter what page of your website someone is on they can click on those links without searching for them. A link to the pages with your covers, blurbs and buy links and your bio info.

"But I don't know how to make multiple pages for my website?"

Then put it all on your homepage.

Don't junk up your home page with lots of images or a crazy background. Your author pic and covers should be the only images there. You can go crazy with your banner at the top though as long as your name is clear. Be careful not to make a photoshop hot mess up there. Seriously. Don't.

Do make the website neat and organized.

Don't use a dark background (like black or red) and a light font (like white or yellow). Ask your self why books, magazines and newspapers are black print on a white background. That's right. People prefer it. If you have a black background and white print my eyes will hate you for it. Seriously, don't do it.

Don't use that cute font with the swirly hearts or the one that is gothically dramatic just like your book. Again, ask yourself why books, magazine and newspapers use a basic font. Because it is easy to read and looks professional. If you use crazy font my eyes will hate you for it. Seriously, don't do it.

Do keep it up to date. If you don't have a lot of time or website skill, keep the site a basic one page deal. When you have a new book or new link just pop it into the site and you are done.

"But I want to show my creativity and express myself with all the pretty colors and fonts. And show my support for my favorite causes and bloggers and book boyfriends!"

That is what a blog is for. Different beast. Here is a link to a post with tips about blogs. 

Your website represents you as an author. Keeping it neat and current signifies professionalism.

Now go write something awesome!

If you need a professional editor check out my website. Links to my prices, services and other info can be found in the side bar.

If you need cover advice then check out Candid Covers (link in side bar). Free, private, cover feedback.

Booklaunch is a free platform for setting up an author website.