As a writer, you’ve probably noticed that more and more of your comrades are creating an online presence by establishing author websites. An author website is a great marketing tool and can serve as the centerpiece to your online identity. While it may seem obvious for a novelist to have an author website to help sell and promote their latest book, many writers of poems or short stories may be wondering: Why should I have an author website if I’m not selling anything?
Connect With Editors
Editors of literary journals and magazines have only your cover letter to get a sense of who you are as a writer. While it’s important that your cover letter expresses your persona as a writer, an author website is the perfect place to share what your cover letter cannot. If an editor is intrigued by your latest group of poems, short story, or personal essay, and wants to learn more about the writer behind the words, he/she does what most of us do nowadays—types your name into Google! Then what happens? Your author website pops up!
While some author websites have all the bells and whistles, even a simple site can promote just as effectively. Be sure that when an editor visits your website, he/she will learn more about you, your writerly interests, and other possible projects you’re working on. Even with a bare-bones website, an editor will see that you are actively engaged in promotion and appreciate your initiative.
A Good Sell For Writers
Whether you are involved with writing groups or attend writers conferences, editors like to see writers who are very active. An author website is a great place to channel and coordinate your activity and your publication credits. Your announcement of a lit mag publishing your work can spark the interest of another journal’s editor visiting your website. Agents are the same way: Many agents scout for new writers in literary magazines and journals—and then conduct an online search to learn more about the writers they read. Having a website is key to getting your information on their radar.
Share Your Success
With an author website, you can spread the word about your current projects and your latest achievements. Whether you’re pitching a collection, have a blog where you share your thoughts and inspirations, or have a recent acceptance to a literary journal or magazine, you can share the news on your author website. Plus, with more and more journals publishing online, you can directly link to your published work. If the journal includes your bio with your published poem, story, or essay, you can have them include the URL to your website. This benefits both you and the journal you’re helping to support.
If you are in the process of putting together a collection of poetry or short prose, the best tactic is to try to get each piece published in a literary journal or magazine before querying literary agents or publishers. While you’re acquiring the individual acceptances, sharing news online about the upcoming collection would demonstrate to publishers that you will be a good partner when it’s time to promote your work.
Connect With Other Writers
If you are actively promoting your writing on any social media platforms, an author website is the perfect place to centralize all of your profiles. If you have a Twitter account, a Facebook page, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc., you can link to each of your profiles from your author website. This is a great way to promote your author identity, since visitors will learn about all of your profiles directly from visiting your website. And getting your name as a writer out there will help increase the number of followers you have.
If you are still unsure about having an author website for your poems, essays, or short stories, take a look at a few existing author websites created by Web Design Relief. Establishing an author presence online is a great way to advance your reputation as a writer, create relationships, and promote your writing.
Photo by Drew Coffman
QUESTION: What steps have you taken to build an online presence?