And then, get back to work. Because you know that writing and publishing is only a part of the equation for success. Now, you need to market your book. And if you don’t have a big time contract with a publishing house, this means all the promotional work is up to you.
There are certainly lots of websites online where you can add your book for exposure, but it’s too easy for it to get lost in the mix with all the others. For the best chances of success, your own site is the way to go.
You can set up a website yourself, or hire someone to do the technical work for you. But the real question is: what should be included? And that’s exactly what we’re going to cover in this post. So, sit back, relax and learn what you need to create your own author website.
For maximum exposure and discoverability, you want to set up a site based on your book’s title, not your personal name or pen name. This will make it easier for others to remember and will allow you to put all of your attention into promoting this particular project.
Some of the basic pages to include in your author’s website are:
- A Testimonial or Review page. As soon as you get a favorable review or testimonial, contact the person who wrote it and ask their permission to include it on your site, along with their name or initials and the city where they reside.
- A Bio page. As the author, your readers are going to be curious about you. Include a professional headshot as well as related background: what got you into writing, why you write for a particular genre, what makes you passionate about writing etc.
- A Media page. Good press can make a positive difference in your book’s promotion, so make it easy for the media to find and use relevant information. Include professional reviews, quotes, links to press releases, your biography, links to your (business) social media profiles, high resolution photos of your book cover, awards and accolades, and any pertinent FAQs.
- An Upcoming Events page. Include any upcoming events that will support your book. Public speaking engagements, book signings, interviews, webinars, giveaways and contests should all be added and kept up to date.
- A page with Contact Information. Even if you’ve included this into your bio and insert contact info in a sidebar, have a separate page with a dedicated email address, links to social media profiles and a working phone number.
- A page for Other Titles. Even though the primary focus is on your current book, include a page of other works you’ve published. And if you don’t have previously published work, change it to a Good Reads page – books by other authors in a similar genre that you’ve enjoyed and would recommend to your readers.
- The Front page or Home page. This, of course, should be dedicated to the book you’re promoting. With a good photo of your book cover and an excerpt as well as a very clear call to action. Have a large and prominent Order Now or Buy Now button, so your readers can easily purchase your fabulous work!
And on every page, you must have a strong and compelling call to action. If you don’t direct your fans attention, you’ll lose them and potential book sales. You can use a simple link, but for best results create eye-catching buttons or boxes and tell them specifically what to do next.
Freebies and Teasers
One of the drawbacks about selling your book online is that readers don’t have the opportunity to physically pick up the book and thumb through it, the way they can in a bookstore, and this creates doubt in the mind of the buyer.
To alleviate their uncertainty, have the Table of Contents and a sample chapter available for download, so readers can get a taste of your work. Use desktop publishing software for easy reading or create PDF files for email attachments.
Offer giveaways and contests to generate some buzz around your book launch, and use Amazon’s KDP Countdown tool to offer a reduced price for a limited time – it displays the days and hours remaining to purchase at the lower price, which creates a sense of urgency.
Layout and Design
Keep your website professional on all levels. This means that it’s easy to navigate and read, the graphics are clean of clutter and distractions, all links are working and information is up to date.
And you can make it simple for your readers to find what they’re looking for by including important links in your header.
To really leverage your author website, try some of these tactics:
- Submit related articles to relevant ezines and guest post sites with links in the bio box to your site – just remember to send out your pitches in advance to coincide with your book’s publication date.
- Spend some time promoting your book on social media, with links to your site for book giveaways or contests.
- You can start a blog with excerpts on your home page that updates every time you publish a post.
- Build an email list and send a monthly newsletter to connect with your readers and fans.
- If your work is non-fiction, offer services and products based on your book such as coaching, webinars or courses.
- Add a Goodreads Author widget to your site to display all of your great reviews.
And there you have some of the basics to include in your author website to promote your new book. Focus on one step at a time, and before you know it, your book will be climbing the charts to success!
Cari Bennette is passionate blogger, ghost author and writer at Jet Writers. Cari wants to embrace as many genres and writing opportunities as possible, so will finish her first novel this year. Reach her on Twitter.