Theresa and Morgan Say: There’s a plethora of advice on how to publish and sell books. Before you bother with any of it consider if being an author is a cool hobby for you or a career path. Either choice is fine but whether you have one book or a hundred – you need a website. Even social media stars have a website.
Here’s a truth – there are readers who will find you IF you give them something to find and a way to buy your books. The best way to do both is with a website that is your business office and bookstore. It’s all about you and your books!
Basic Web Content for PRE-Published Authors:
Home Page - This is your landing page and home base for your website. It always contains the most up-to-date information. This is where You and Your Work shines at first glance and engages the reader. ALL your digital posting and physical handouts contain this Website Address. Think of this Home Page as the Reception Area of your office-store and the first impression a customer or client has when they walk in the door. How they are greeted will flavor whether they want to step farther into your realm. If you write horror stories your readers want daggers and darkness when they arrive. Don't expect them to be happy with plush ivory couches for a cozy reading experience. Avoid anything that takes time to load like music, video, or extensive graphics.
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, jobs, hobbies, astrological sign, etc. Whatever you put on this page should provide some peek at your voice / writing style. Access to this page is only through the reception area where the reader, or agent or editor, has entered and you've shaken hands, you now welcome them into your Personal Office. This is your professional BIO expanded into an engaging persona that can interact with both readers and financial backers.
Contact Page: Either as a separate web page / tab on your navigation bar or prominently displayed as a sidebar on your home page, this is to encourage people to contact you. Here is where you put your links to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. in addition to your direct email address. This is a good page for a POP UP request for them to subscribe to your newsletter or New Release Notice.
** Even if you have a full sidebar of every social media graphic, Direct Contact Email is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. Professionals at every level are busy and prefer to dash off a quick email if interested in you.
Optional Page: Research Projects / My Crafts / Why it is worth your time to Check Me Out: This is sort of like a HOLDING SPOT for your future Books Page in your office-store. It is NOT recommended to advertise your books until you have something to sell or a release date. This page can be a blog where you present something engaging on a consistent basis that welcomes audience participation. An avid reader will love interacting with you so here's where your Author Persona needs professional polish. Be gracious when you respond to a reader who gushes about how your book helped them survive the hours of agony while their spouse passed a kidney stone. Give your future readers a peek at your writing, But NOT your plot. 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.
Basic Web Content for Published Authors:
Same as ABOVE: Home Page Author Bio / About Me
Contact Page for Published Authors compares to a business Conference Room and should be updated and reviewed at least once a month. Think of this page as your Most Professional Author Persona. Your Business card and Media Kit is displayed on the table in this room. Publicists, reviewers, editors, and estranged family members, can have an easy to download packet of the most fabulous you. ALSO make sure you have a DIRECT EMAIL or Contact form that works (send yourself tests through random computers once a month).
Books Page: IS Your Personal Bookstore where you have BUY links for all the outlets where your books can be purchased. Make sure the links go directly to the purchase page - you want to be able to accommodate a quick impulse buy.
This is a Store! It is a Retail Business and here your amazing book covers and blurbs are front and center. In this Bookstore you personally place your fabulous book into readers trembling hands, and you will accept a variety of payment options. It's best to plan this page so the readers can peak inside and read the beginning of your story. At the end of the excerpt, Thank them for reading and include another BUY link for them to purchase the whole book.For Great Examples of how to organize your books and series see our post on: Book Page Organization
Don't make your readers work to find LINKS TO BUY for every Point-Of-Purchase - like the little signs on the doors and by the checkout of your favorite store, or restaurant, listing all the credit cards accepted.
News & Events: List where you are going to be for book signings, blog tours, contests, conferences, workshops, etc. Include a Calendar of where and when you will be at public events, with ALL the information for someone to find you. This includes if you are participating at a local farmers market or craft fair or any other activity that is open to the public. Always have promotional flyers about your books, even if you are not actively signing or selling.
Beyond these basics, published authors have also included:
Media Kit: Contains high-resolution images of your book covers and author photos for media use, in a variety of printable downloads and digital files. Also add the links to published articles by or about you, and interviews.
Multi-Media Page: Here is where you can post anything that requires time to spool or download like book trailers, video journals, interviews, games, etc.
Book Club Info: Reading guides for book clubs complete with questions and themed party suggestions. If you are not a Book Club type author consider a Game room or Playhouse that is interactive and where you can actively engage with your audience.
Bibliography / Library: Some authors include this page as an Easy To Print list of their books and series chronologically.
For Fans: These pages can be 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. This page also includes active BUY LINKS!
Blog Link: If you maintain a blog, promote it on your website. Pre-published authors should also link to their blogs, if they have one.
Your website is the office-store of your dream career as a Professional Author. You can have a family portrait behind your desk and a few framed diplomas on your walls. Your novels may be paranormal-historical-alien-thrillers but you write your books on equipment available in the 21st century on Mother Earth so make sure your office-store is easy to navigate.
REMEMBER: This is your virtual office-store that reflects your Professional Author Persona and Books - not the coffee shop or closet where you really work.