Now more than ever, author websites play a major role in publishing success and selling more books. Especially for self-published authors with limited marketing budgets because they help them establish a strong web presence and introduce potential new readers to their books. Gone are the days when an author can whizz over to a web host, choose a template, click publish and update their website as an afterthought. The publishing sector is far too competitive for that and the authors who excel at marketing are the ones come up with the right strategies, which put social media and their website at the centre.
Get ahead of the curve – Yes it’s an old saying and it’s become a little bit clichéd but it’s none the less true. Success favours the author who plans ahead. Unfortunately, when most authors create their website, it’s a last minute rush or an afterthought and without a lot of forethought, the results are normally far from inspiring.
Don’t get swamped by Social Media! – When designing and launching a website authors need to think about the social media channels they are going to be using. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram et al have changed considerably in recent years and their users are getting ad fatigue! There is nothing unique about authors flogging their wares on social media. It doesn’t matter how good a book is it is going into one gigantic social melting pot where potential readers are increasingly tuning out. But content is still king and engagement has to do more than scratch the service if authors are serious about building a sustainable following for their books. We touched on this in our blog post Beat Writers Block By Becoming More Focused where we talked about the importance of conscious deliberation. Social media platforms should only be a primary source of engagement in that they point potential readers to an author’s website.
Quality Equals Engagement – There’s an old saying that readers come for a story but stay for the author! Writing, especially fiction reaches people on an incredibly emotive level. Yes, readers will naturally gravitate towards a particular genre but they want to feel connected to a book’s author and it’s that connection that builds a sustainable and loyal fan base. Unless the author in question starts out as a celebrity authors have a lot of ground to make up and this doesn’t happen on social media. Real engagement comes from quality content that extends beyond a fleeting post and that’s why author websites are more important than ever. You might be thinking what’s wrong with simply posting links to Amazon but Amazon is just another search engine which is now swamped with author advertisements making it ever increasingly hard to stand out. “Simply following the crowd means you’re already at the back of the queue and the low hanging fruit has already gone!” – Stephan J Myers.
Authors need to build great websites that make potential readers want to stay. And they need to write great content that convinces those potential readers they are an author they should be reading. For the authors who do get it right, the prospective upside is huge!