A good author website will give your readers what they want–more of you. It should be easy to navigate, have just the right amount of information, and it should speak to who you are as an author.
Before you begin, do your homework and check out other famous authors whose works are similar to yours. What do they all have in common and what do they all feature?
Set the right tone by being who you are
Before you build your author website, ask yourself this question: “Who am I as an author?” If you write multiple genres, choose the most prolific one and base your website on that decision.
The colors, the images, and the words you feature should all tell the same story and that story is the story of who you are as an author. If you write supernatural fiction, a sunny beach scene would confuse your readers. It doesn’t matter that one day, you might write about beach frolics. If you write about dark things, then your website should reflect that. It’s a crime for a reader of specific tastes to arrive at an author website where the tone is either confusing or even worse, a turnoff that sends them clicking to a more focused author’s website.
Landing pages should have it all
The main content of your landing page lets people know they’re in the right place. Think of it as if you were hosting a party. You would want your guests to be comfortable. They should know where they can get a nice drink and something to nosh on, they should have a comfortable seat to sit and chat with you, and they should know where the amenities are should they need them.
Therefore, your author website should feature the following items immediately:
- A nice, professional (looking) headshot of you, the author.
- The covers of your books with the most recent release being the most prominent. You should also include links to where they can purchase these books.
- A blurb announcing what you’re working on right now.
- A place to sign up for your email list.
- A place to contact you and connect with you via social media.
That’s about it. Don’t overdo it and overwhelm your guests when they first enter your domain. Allow them time to explore on their own after their initial overview.
Building the other rooms of your author website
If your landing page is your Great Hall, a place where you welcome your guests, you want to give them other places to go and explore. Here are a few rooms (aka pages), for you to consider including on your author website:
Consider having a Books page where all of your books are featured. Each book should have a link to another specified page for that particular book. Each specific book page should include the following:
- A short featured review from your best review. Don’t have this yet? Don’t fret, pull an awesome quote from your book and use that.
- The cover image.
- The synopsis.
- Links to buy the book both online and locally.
- A short blurb of and a link to your amazing reviews! Be sure to site the reviewer.
- Links to articles that feature you and this book.
- Links to any awards your book receives.
- If the book is one in a series, links to the other books. Be sure to clearly mark your books as book 1, 2, 3, etc to avoid confusion.
This should include your headshot, your biography, and your contact information. Be sure to have links to your social media channels and another sign-up for your newsletter. You may consider including your media kit here, as well, or have another dedicated page for your media kit, entitled Press Information. Your media kit should have the following:
- A download link for your author headshots. Have both high and low-resolution file options as well as both color and black and white images available.
- If you have a series, consider having a unifying logo for the series and, again, provide both high and low-resolution file options as well as both color and black and white images available for download.
- For each book have the following:
- A press release.
- A one sheet (also known as a pitch sheet).
- The following downloadable cover images: color, black and white, a small thumbnail version of the cover, and 3D (an image that looks like the book is standing up and you can see both the spine and the front cover).
So that fans know where to find you, you can insert a Google calendar with all your author events (like signings and book talks, etc) by following these directions or create your own monthly calendar.
Ala Cart Pages
Other pages to consider:
- Book Clubs- a dedicated page with readers’ guides; information on how to contact you for an appearance via Skype, FaceTime, or in person; testimonials from other book clubs you’ve attended.
- Blog – a place to regularly tell the public what you’re into, what you’re doing, and what you’re reading, or any other blog topics you might consider.
- Shop -a page to link promotional materials for your books like t-shirts, stickers, mugs, etc should you have those. This is also a great place to sell signed copies directly from the author.
- Extras – this page could have inside reader information like family trees, notes you took while writing, character studies, links to your Pinterest vision boards, etc.