So for Technical Tuesdays here at The Romance Studio, we’ve been talking about a number of issues to help romance novelists and writers to maintain a presence and promote it online. And we’ve gotten some really good feedback on these pieces. But three times now I’ve gotten the same related question and it seemed like a good time to stop and answer it.
Do You Really Need an Author Website?
The short answer? Yes, you do. Even if you’re unpublished right now. Even if you’ve only got one or two titles under your belt so far.
Now, this post assumes that you’re serious about becoming a professional writer and wish to pursue it as a career. While we market within the romance genre, this post is for authors in general and not just those who write romance novels.
The time to start your author website? As soon as possible. If you’re unpublished, so what? The website you build will be your home on the internet. Here you can include anything you want, you control it, and you tie in all of your other presences like social media profiles or online forums and communities. Your website can be the hub, a convenient place where your readers can find you. Some think of their websites as business cards. Others think of them like their storefronts.
It’s a fantastic way to connect with readers and fans.
Your first site might not be as good as Christine Feehan’s website. It doesn’t have to be. But it falls under the umbrella of marketing and that’s one of your jobs as an author. When you begin publishing, your work doesn’t end there. It falls to you to get the word out about your books, to find new and creative ways to get them out in front of your target audience. A website is an important part of that. And it’s a skill to develop. Starting out early is an advantage.
Why is Having an Author Website Important?
Your Showcase on the Web
An author website is your place to let the world know who you are, what you write, and anything else you choose to tell it. You’re not sharing the spotlight with anyone else as you are on social media. When visitors come to your website, you have their undivided attention. That’s why the website needs to be done well.
You control it.
That fact is vital because while Facebook gives you a way to set up a page there, and you have a Twitter profile along with one on Instagram, those companies can delete your account tomorrow if they want to for any reason. Anything you have there is provided by a third party that doesn’t owe you a thing. If you’re relying on social media only, what happens if it goes away?
Besides, your website allows you to build your brand in a way that’s pretty difficult on social media. You have more room. You want extra features? You can have them. You want it to look a certain way? You can do that.
Did I mention you’re in control?
It’s Your Hub
When you go to look up an author, where do you normally start? Either at Amazon (admit it, you do) or the author’s website which is usually my first choice.
If people want to connect with you on social media, they should be able to find those links on your website. If they are looking for a way to contact you, your website should provide a way. It can show them every book you’ve written, provide links to the vendors where they can be purchased, and tell them about the new ones coming soon.
Best of all, it can tell them all about you.
It’s a Serious Marketing Tool
In fact, it’s one of the most powerful marketing tools in your box. If you get acquainted with search engine optimization (SEO), you can increase your visibility in the search engines and get your books in front of readers that way.
You can offer a newsletter list so people can sign up from your website and get email updates about you and your books. If you’re going to a convention or attending a book signing, you can invite people on your website and make connections.
People who discover your works at Amazon or Barnes & Noble but want to know more? Your website is a great way to seal the deal for people who are interested in trying your books but not convinced yet.
You can persuade them.
Gives You a Competitive Edge
Having a website, in the minds of most online consumers, gives you more legitimacy. It’s true. It is a business website after all.
A well-designed website further solidifies in your readers’ minds that you’re the real deal. It should include all of the information about you that can’t be found elsewhere. It should be established with your reader’s safety in mind. Some authors who self-publish even sell their books on their websites so it’s important to have a website and do as good a job on it as you can manage.
A well-crafted website can aid readers in thinking of you as a professional author and as such, they are much more likely to buy your books and give them a try.
Since we’re talking about having a website at all, we’ll be talking in the next couple of weeks about:
The Impact of Poor Web Design
The Benefits of Good Web Design (Includes DIY)
GDPR and Other Security Issues
As always, questions are always welcome. If you have any questions you’d like to see an article on, we can do that too. Thank you!