Do you really need one?
Rebecca Mikkelson, Authors 4 Authors Publishing
It’s hard to know exactly what you need when you’re starting out as an author, and an author website is one of the things I hear the most about in my writing groups and other social media: whether or not you really truly need one or if you can get away with only social media like Twitter and Facebook. We’re going to take a little time to explore why it’s so important that you have your own author website.
It’s a fundamental building block
Your author website is where, hopefully, your readers are going to go to get the most up-to-date information about what you’re doing and when your books are coming out. If they have to search all over Facebook and Twitter for that info, they might give up quicker than you want.
And most importantly, you can control what information is on there. When you go onto sites like Twitter, you can’t control what’s going to happen there. I don’t just mean that someone can start a Twitter flame war with you there, but if for whatever reason you get a permaban (my guess is the Twitter Trolls got to you), every single bit of that information is gone. Poof. Bye-bye, you’re never going to see it again.
With an author website, however, it’s always going to be there for readers to find out when the next book is coming and what you’re up to.
It grows with you
Unlike a landing page where it’s just a single page that has one thing, a website can grow with you. Maybe you write more than one series, or maybe you write more than one genre. Whatever the reason may be, you’re going to need more than one page that’s going to reach readers where they can buy your books. You don’t want to be limited by something if you’re planning on making writing a long term career.
It’s how you can best market yourself
I hate to break it to you, but when you want to become an author, you’ve got to put yourself on a stage and dance for dollars. Well, not literally. But you, without fail, have to market yourself right along with your books.
One of the absolutely most important things that you need as an author that’s trying to market yourself is a mailing list. But how do you get people to sign up? Your author website, of course. It’s easy to insert a link or a widget for potential readers to sign up on every single page of that website.
You can show people how well you write
Not only can people get excited about your books by going to your website and seeing all the covers and blurbs you have on there, but you can give them experts of your book to entice them into wanting more. You can do that on your mailing list too, but more often than not, people are hesitant to get free samples through their email if they haven’t already seen a little bit of your work.
You can host your blog through your website
Depending on the route you take on websites, you’re going to have a built-in page just for your blog. You don’t have to have a blog, and you certainly don’t have to write one daily, weekly, or even monthly, but if you do have one, people get to go on your writing journey with you.
People like success stories. People like to know how hard the road has been for you. They want to know those extra little tidbits about how you came up with your world building, how your character’s background influenced their decisions before book one starts, or even just what your emotional reaction to writing the book.
Or they just want to know you know what you’re talking about.
I don’t know how to get started
That’s totally fine.
I’m the first to admit—and usually without prompting!—that I’m technologically inept. I might as well be a five-year-old when it comes to technology, and that might be generous.
There are dozens of websites out there that have pre-made sites where you can just pop in your information and go from there, and there is always YouTube for learning how to design things yourself where you won’t necessarily have to depend on someone else or a prefab site. Don’t let the fear of not knowing what you’re doing keep you from getting your author name out there.
The best part about an author website is that it’s going to bring attention to you as the author. The more attention and readers you get, the more book sales you’re going to make, and you can keep doing what you want to be doing, which is writing.
Join us next week when we talk about combatting self-doubt!
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