One of the biggest questions that new writers ask is whether you need an author website. After you’ve researched, written, and edited your book, creating an author website can seem like a lot of extra work. To those who write as a hobby or a side hustle, you might be wondering if there’s any point in having a dedicated writing space online. After all, why bother if writing isn’t your primary career or source of income?
Why You Need an Author Website
The truth is that whether you’re a serious writer or a hobbyist, you need to have an author website. It signals to potential readers that you are serious about what you do. Authors who have a website that advertises and promotes their work are far more likely to enjoy success than authors who don’t.
Like it or not, all authors are responsible for marketing their book. It is up to you to spread the word about your book and encourage people to go out and buy it. This holds true whether you are a self-published author or have a contract with a traditional publisher. What’s more, a website gives you instant credibility and a permanent platform for building connections and relationships with readers across the world.
Creating a Website
There are several options for hosting and creating your website, so feel free to shop around and try out different providers. If you’re a writer on a budget, there are many free options like Blogger, WordPress, Wix, Squarespace. These providers offer paid-for subscriptions, with prices depending on the kinds of features you are looking for. The one we recommend is WordPress (self-hosted solution) because it is the most versatile. Of course, you’ll need your own hosting account. If you do not want to do it yourself, you could outsource to a service provider like PublishEdge who will take care of setting up, hosting, and maintaining your website for you.
An important aspect of creating your website is the domain name or the website’s address. You want to create a professional image, so avoid using a nickname, catchphrase, or other pieces of random information. Best practice suggests using your full name, or your writing pseudonym, if you use one.
Don’t worry if you’re not technically gifted. Most of these website providers have beautiful templates that require no coding and are installed in a matter of minutes. When browsing themes, feel free to show off your creativity, but avoid anything too fussy or difficult to navigate. Think about the people who are coming to visit your site: you want to create an enjoyable experience, one which makes them want to go out and buy your book.
What To Include in Your Website?
The content that goes on your website is ultimately your call; there are no right or wrong answers. However, there are some pages that potential readers or fans will expect to see when they land on your website. Here are some suggestions for creating website content:
- An “About Me” Page
You don’t need to write your life story for this section of your website. Instead, a short, concise paragraph about who you are, your writing interests, and your career so far are more than adequate.
- A “Contact Me” Page
This one is self-explanatory and only requires an email address. Be sure to use an email address that you check frequently. You don’t want to miss any important queries or reviews.
- An “Events” Page
Have you got an author reading booked, or maybe a signing? Showcase that on the events page. Be sure to include the location and date, along with a start and end time.
- Writing Samples
Potential readers will want to get a sense of your writing style and voice, so include some snippets from your book, perhaps the introduction or first chapter to whet their appetites. Again, there is no rule about what to include, but whatever you choose, make it your best work. This section is all about demonstrating your talent and abilities!
Some authors use their website to sell books, either by having a built-in store or providing links to bookstore webpages. If you opt for the latter, check that the links are working and take your customer to the correct destination.
Updating Your Author Website
Many writers like to have their own blog, but blogs require regular posting and maintenance. The beauty of a website (without a blog) is that it doesn’t really require any commitment from you, just the occasional updating if you’ve included an events section. You’ll also want to showcase any new publications, as and when they come out.
Finally, no matter what style of website you choose, aim to create something that showcases your passion for writing and your professionalism. These are important traits that will help you stand out from the writing crowd.