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  • Writer's pictureCandace Nola

Author Resources/ Tips/ Tools: Author Websites


I don’t know anything about building a website and I can’t afford to pay someone.

Welcome to the club! That makes up about 88% of us struggling artists trying to put our work out there and get it seen by readers, fans or eyes that care. But in today’s online world, a website is a must.


You NEED to have an online presence, somewhere for fans to connect with you, to learn more about you. The more readers can connect with you, the more they may want to read your work, or sign up for your newsletter or support you somehow.


There are plenty of websites to choose from, as well as web designers, graphic designers, web hosts, web tools, web platforms… need I go on?


Okay, so I got a site set up. What now? What do I put on it?

So glad you asked! Anything you want is the short answer. Here comes the long answer.

Everything related to you and you’re writing.


Post some of your short stories or poetry or song lyrics, give readers a taste of what you do. Create a page just for your original content and post away. Add interesting images or pictures or drawings of your own design to keep it interesting and varied.


**Please make sure to obtain those images legally, pay for them using Shutterstock images, or Wix images or make sure they are 100% free to use or upload pictures that you have taken yourself.


Already have a book published? Awesome. Add a book page just for it, add the cover, add the synopsis. Have a review or two for it, add those images or links to the full review. Each new book that you release should be added to your book page.


Published in Anthologies? Add an Anthology page and list those. Add the cover image for each, the link to purchase it, and a brief overview of the anthology as a whole and your story.


Now, make it personal. Do you draw a bit? Add some recent artwork.

Got a new work in progress? Tell us about it.


Want to start a blog? Most websites make this really easy to do. You can post weekly, monthly or at any time in-between. Keep it short, make it long, tell us a joke or tell us a story. It’s your blog but keep it interesting, no matter what you post. You want to engage readers, keep them coming back for more.


Remember to keep it professional and proper, though. This is your online representation of yourself to the world. This is what agents and publishers will see when they are trying to decide if they should contact you. This is what your readers and fans will see too. What would you want to see on the website of your favorite author?


*If using outside resources or links-make sure to credit those sources, websites, or authors. Someone did the work to put it there. Make sure you acknowledge that, the best way you can.


Make an “About the Author” page and tell us who YOU are. Keep it personal but not too personal. Consider your safety first. Maybe add what state you live in but not your city, decide if you want to share if you have kids or not but don’t give names or post their pictures. Have pets? Pet pics go over well. Do you travel a lot? Post some scenic pics of your adventures. Post a nice picture of yourself. Nice professional headshot or you with the biggest fish ever, either one. It’s your page.


Don't forget a “Contact Me” section-how can publishers, agents, fans, readers get in touch? What is that email? Twitter? Instagram? Facebook? TikTok?

*Did you remember to create a separate author email address? Make sure to do that.


Make sure your site is interesting to use! Use pictures, slideshows or animations, but not too many. Keep it down to 1-2 moving things per page, otherwise it will look cluttered and juvenile.


Keep it consistent.

Weekly blog post? Make sure you stick to it the best you can. Schedule it, if possible. If you miss one because life happened to you, that’s okay. Do it the next possible day and issue a brief apology. We all know life happens, but your readers will appreciate it when you acknowledge that you kept them waiting. This is so they know that you do value them, that you do want them coming back weekly.


Going to do Book Reviews, movie reviews or other such reviews? Make a section just for that and make a schedule. 2 a week? 2 a month? What do you have time for? Always consider your time when taking on a new task. How much time can you devote to upkeep, blogging, adding posts, etc.? An online presence is necessary but don't let it overwhelm your personal life.


At the end of the day, make sure your site is 60% about your writing and 40% about the rest, industry news, other favorite authors that you like to support, reviews, interviews, and other features that you might add. You don’t want your writing and your news to be lost in the clutter.

The good news is it's your site, so you can always add, delete and re-design as needed!



 

Need to compare websites? Try these:


Wix


Wordpress


Square:

Try Square-along with their point-of-sale products for taking card payments for purchases from anywhere (great for cons), they now offer a full business website as part of your package.


Story Origin

Not only does Story Origin offer great author tools, but they also now have an author landing page that you can direct readers to as your online home. You can add your bio, links, and more to your profile there and really get a lot of use from a single platform. They just rolled this feature out over the summer and it's well worth using, if you are already using their tools, rather than paying for another platform.


Patreon:

Everyone knows what Patreon is and if you are going to use it, it's great for your main platform as you can keep some of your posts free and public while still utilizing the paid features for your patreons.


Always do your research, compare features, pricing, and ease of use for your time and money. Building a website takes a lot of time, choose wisely so you don't find yourself starting over in a year or two.




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