Writing and publishing have come a long, long way since the invention of the Gutenberg Press. Even now, the world of publishing is in midst of a huge shift from print to digital. As a result, more authors are choosing to self-publish their books and develop their online presence in order to build interest in their work.
Marketing yourself as an author is especially difficult these days because not only are many of the newer ones not getting the audience they need to succeed, but also there are so many of them online that to the other side, i.e. potential and current readers of your book, there are so many choices to make when reading content it’s overwhelming. Readers will also tend to gravitate toward more familiar author names that they love to read.
What we’re saying is, if you’re a new author looking to start out, good luck—you’ll need it. With self-publishing becoming the norm, you will need to decide beforehand whether you want to follow through with self-publishing or stick to the traditional route. This choice will determine whether this post will help you or not.
Regardless of your choice, one way you can start to stand out above the crowd is by having a professional website. This is what you will need for it.
The easiest step if you’re an author! That being said, the kind of content you publish on your website may be different from what you think you should post online. This may sound harsh, but the reality is visitors to your website are not interested in reading just anything you post online—even that novel you’ve worked on forever and a day. It’s not recommended you post your life’s work in its entirety as one big blog post, either—especially if you plan to publish your novel traditionally. There are exceptions where self-published authors have indeed gained a new contract with a major publishing house, but this rarely happens.
Instead of publishing your life’s work, try and gather interest in what you have to offer as an author by creating and posting the following instead, whether as a blog post or (if you’re okay with this) a video:
- Vlogs about life stories that inspired you to write your book, or about your progress in getting published
- Small snippets from your book (for those who are genuinely curious)
- Essays about books and authors you have a unique perspective about
- Your reviews of other books related to the genre you write for—go for a mix of older and newer books!
- Tips about novel writing—this is evergreen content no matter where you look online!
If you can think of content to create without having to give away your entire novel word by word, make it and post it. You should also really feature the following content that deserves its own section:
2: About Page
Like any regular business, if you want to go far with being an author in your career, you need to let people know who you are. This would also be the best place to mention your past experience as a writer—don’t mention every single person, but do mention your biggest influences and experiences that have gotten you to where you are today. Always make sure the photo of you and the bio you’ve written for the about page are professional.
It may be tempting to make this your home page, and in some cases, it could be. However, if you want to be more professional about marketing yourself, make it a separate page altogether and make the home page exactly what your visitors are looking for: an opportunity to read what you wrote.
Leading us to our third necessity:
3: A Great Design
What do you really want people to do when they find out about your book, or hand them your business card at a reading perhaps? Do you want them to buy your book? Do you want them to read your e-mail newsletters? Or do you want them to follow you on social media? Answering these questions will help you understand how the design of your website should function, as well as form the call-to-action (CTA) you want your visitors to follow through with. This is where you can also decide how best you want your website’s theme to look. WordPress has a ton of theme options for up-and-coming authors.
What’s most important in this step is your brand, a.k.a. your author name. You need to let your visitors know clearly what type of genre you write for. Make it clear in the tagline or description about you when people visit your website.
Having all of the following (e-mail newsletters and social media) are wonderful things to feature on your website. However, if your strengths in writing cater to one more so than the other, go for what works and leave out what doesn’t.
4: Domain Name and Host
This one’s easy enough to do: hire us. No, we’re serious. Unlike most web hosting companies, your website should belong to you alone, and that can be hard to do if you don’t know the first thing about hosting or domain names or even development. You also won’t have to do every single thing yourself such as backing up the website every time you change something, or fretting over the maintenance. Instead, you can focus on what’s most important: getting your book out there!
So, ready to get that website of your dreams that will help your author career? If so but you still need help, let us know. At V3 Media we offer one-on-one consultation with all of our clients before building their websites so that everything, from the about page to the way your website is designed, is exactly as you want it—with some bonuses! Concern yourself more with your book and leave the hard work to us.