Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Workshop #6: Website Basics - Content for Pre-Pub & Published Authors

So, you've been told by any number of folks: "You gotta have a website."  But no one has bothered to tell you what your website should contain.  In today's workshop we will provide some pointers on basic web content for both pre-published and published authors.  (Note: We are providing recommendations.  It's your website.  You can add or delete content at your discretion.)

With regards to web content, we looked at several author websites and paid special attention to their navigation tabs (actual content pages).

Basic Web Content for PRE-Published Authors:
  1. Home Page - This page is your landing page and home base for your website.  While the other pages can be more static, your home page should always contain the most up-to-date information.
  2. Author Bio / About Me Page: Here is where you provide some background information about your author PERSONA.  Content can include: why you write a specific genre, what inspires you, quirky facts, etc.  Whatever you put on this page should provide some peek at your voice / writing style.
  3. Contact: Either as a separate web page / tab on your navigation bar or prominently displayed on your home page, give interested parties a means to contact you.  Here is where you put your links to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. in addition to your email address.
  4. Something About Your Books: Give your future readers a peek at what you are writing, BUT don't give away your plot - don't give unscrupulous writers a jump on your potential best seller idea!  We also recommend that you do NOT post mock covers of your books....readers always seem to miss the fact that the book isn't published.  They will head to the store only to be frustrated when they can't buy your books.
Here are some examples of how pre-published authors have structured their websites:

Notice how Remy Stone has four navigation links: 'My Books', 'Bio', 'A Bloody Mess', and 'Find Me.' Her 'A Bloody Mess' page includes fun information for her readers.

Gina Fluharty gives you just a flavor of what her books have to offer...very well executed!  The photo with the wolf shadow also gives the reader insight into what she writes and the mood of her books.

Basic Web Content for Published Authors:
  1. Home Page
  2. Author Bio / About Me
  3. Contact
  4. Books: Here's where you have your BUY links for all the outlets you want.  Make sure the links are directly to the purchase page - you want to be able to accommodate a quick, impulse buy.  Don't make your readers work to find a way to make a buy.
  5. News & Events: Where you are going to be for book signings, blog tours, conferences, workshops, etc.
Beyond these basics, published authors have also included:
  • Media Kit: Contains high-resolution images of your book covers and author photos for media use; links to published articles; multi-media content like taped interviews and books trailers.
  • Multi-Media: As stated above, here is where you can post your book trailers, video journals, interviews, etc.
  • Book Club Info: Reading guides for book clubs complete with questions and themed party suggestions.
  • Bibliography / Library: Some authors include this page to list their books and series chronologically.  This page may also include the back cover copy for each book listed.
  • For Fans: When these pages were present, they were a catch-all for everything from character profiles to world building glossaries.  JD Robb includes a story arch synopsis for the 30+ books in her In Death Series.
  • Blog Link: If you maintain a blog, why not promote it on your website.  Pre-published authors should also link to their blogs, if they have one.
Here are some examples of how published authors have structured their websites:

Kristina McMorris has a great example of a Media Kit and 'For Book Clubs' content.
Darynda Jones includes a search function and a link to her blog.
Sabrina York is newly published <congrats!> and has her navigation on the left side.  Anyone new to her site immediately knows they are in for a fun and steamy experience!
Morgan says: As a pre-published author, my research for this article has inspired me!  I'll be taking a hard look at my own web content over the holidays.

Let us know what you think.  Feel free to leave a comment.


  1. It's nice to know what the 'required' basics should include. Thank you!

  2. Great article! I've been doing this for a year and clearly I have more work to do! Need to work on my media kit!!! Thanks Morgan. As always, you and Therese are right on the money.


  3. This all sounds great, and your firm more about website marketing came so highly recommended by my PR firm, but I’m having trouble with one thing… what is your firm actually going to do

    1. Hi Muhammad,

      Today, we do not sell a service. In fact, the main reason we started this blog / website is because many of our writing friends were wasting a lot of money paying for 'services' from unqualified people. Most of the information they purchased was basic (at best) and blatantly incorrect (at worst). Given our combined business experience, we decided to create a place to share good advice and tips for sucessful marketing campaigns.

      Our goal is to provide FREE advice with handy 'do-it-yourself' tips that will hopefylly take the fear out of marketing.

      We hope that you find our blog to be both interesting and helpful. Please feel free to send / email us any questions. We are happy to help!