Here at Web Design Relief, we often get the following question: Should a writer create a website that focuses on a particular book or on the work of the author in general? As with so many elements of Web design, there’s no singular answer that will work for everyone. To discover whether to focus your website on yourself as a writer or on one of your books or novels, check out the advantages of each strategy below!
Designing A Website That Focuses On You As A Writer
Encourages readers to establish a relationship with you. When your readers become attached to you as a writer, they may be more inclined to buy each of your books when they come out because their loyalty is to you and everything you write (as opposed to one book or series). Your author website can tell a compelling story about you as a person and show off your likablility factor. In this age of social media, it counts big! Learn more: 5 Ways To Help Readers Get To Know You Better.
Shows the big picture. Your author website can encompass many books, poems, essays, or stories that you’ve written. You can post excerpts of your writing or link out to sites on which your work appears. Often, writers will include information about their newest book on their homepage, then include other books on their “Books” page.
#1 – For example, Brad Thor’s website is dedicated to him as an author in general, but his homepage always prominently features his most recent releases and book-related products with specific, bold calls to action.
Allows for flexibility. At some point, many authors decide to tweak their genres. To change their branding. To try something new. By focusing your author website on yourself, you’re not tied into promoting a single book in a single way. In this case your author website may have more longevity than a website that focuses on a single book.
Doesn’t require multiple websites for multiple books. Everything can be in one place. And if you do want to create a website for a single book, you can always link to it from your author site.
#2 – A great example of this is Neil Gaiman’s website. Since Gaiman writes everything from novels to children’s books to TV show episodes, his website neatly categorizes his different writing ventures on a specific “Neil’s Work” page. The rest of the site is then dedicated to his blog, biography, public appearance schedule, and fan message board so his fans can always stay up-to-date and connected with him.
Designing A Website That Focuses On A Single Book
Emphasizes a clear call to action. When you focus your author website on one book, you make one call to action very clear: Buy this book. The message isn’t diluted and readers won’t be distracted from your website’s one single goal. It can be a powerful and effective statement.
Promotes Searchability. People are more likely to find your book on search engines than just your name, especially if you have a name like “John Smith.”
Links series books. If your book is part of a well-branded series (one that has strong continuity and perhaps similar titles for each book), your site can be the hub for all of those books and characters. This is especially great if you’re planning to have forums where fans can chat about their favorite books. Book-focused sites can have great branding.
#3 – Take, for example, Erin Hunter’s Warriors series website. Not only does it have information about every one of the books in this popular series, but it also includes extra information about the world of the series and the characters therein. This creates a well-rounded browsing experience for visitors seeking to learn more about the series before they start reading.
Places less emphasis on the author. If you’re especially camera shy, focusing on a single book might make you feel more comfortable. You’ll still need an “About” page, but your website doesn’t have to put your writerly self quite so front and center.
Think Hard And Choose Well
Once you’ve made a decision about how you want to brand your author website, it may be difficult to change your mind later on—especially if you’re locked into a URL like “authornamehere.com.” It’s difficult to get readers to make the shift with you.
Also, readers tend to prefer to go to a single, obvious website, rather than having to choose how to get in touch with you. With multiple websites, readers will not feel certain of whether or not they signed up for the “right” mailing list, or if they’re missing something on a site they’re not monitoring.
Whatever decision you make, we recommend that you think about your long-terms goals. But even if you do change your mind, it’s not the end of the world! Web Design Relief can help.
QUESTION: Which type of author website do you prefer?
Hey this is great and all. but what if I don’t HAVE a book sold yet? What is the point in having a site if I have nothing to offer potential buyers. I have a book in progress, it that something that can go ON a author’s website. You, apparently, intentionally only talk about this website for those who are already established as a writer of a series etc. there are a TON of us who aren’t at that stage of our writing life yet. how about some help in that regard? I see no point in the expense of a website that has no means of book sales. help me out here, what have I missed? but then you likely won’t answer will you.
Great question. We actually have a blog post that speaks to your current situation that we think you might find helpful: https://www.webdesignrelief.com/pre-published-author-website/
If you have further questions, feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d be happy to help!
There is an argument that you need both.
There is a side of the internet that is not yet being fully explored by many in the book world and that is that a website can add value to a book and broaden the reader experience.
For instance, I have an author website that mixes promotion of my books plus my writer’s blog that talks about writing tips and all kinds of things. I even have the odd recipe in there and talk about web design using Processwire (you should go play with it – you will love it!)
However, my books also have dedicated websites. The Stink has a website that reflects the book. It is about a band in the seventies, so I have band profiles, full lyrics to their songs and so on. It is information that is not in the books, well, at least not in such a simplified manner. That is a very simple example.
The website for my fantasy saga Dirt goes a hell of a lot further. http://aworldcalleddirt.com. Being a High Fantasy, I have an entire world to play with and it is, by necessity, a complicated place. The story is long and we meet loads of people and travel around a lot.
So, in addition to promoting the books and giving lots of links to where they are available, I have built an encyclopedia called The Abbey. This is a character written and includes little biographies of the characters, maps, essays on the geography and politics, a large article on dragons and so on. It will grow continually. Some of the information is spoiler protected, so you know to only open that paragraph if you have finished a certain book, and a side tab on some articles included extra comments from me, the author.
This adds huge value to the books as quite a lot of the information does not appear in the books at all, especially anything historical. Readers are not just connecting with me but are gaining a broader experience of my world. New readers are teased and introduced to the world as well of the books, and sensible cross-linking does no harm with the search engines. It also gives me more to talk about on social media.
So, I would encourage all author’s or whatever genre, to think about a dedicated website for each of your books or book series and use that to the full, adding value to the reader experience as well as making sure there is good navigation with your other sites.
I am more concerned about getting the message of my book out than in people knowing my name. I reserved a domain name which is the subtitle of my (unpublish ed) book because it includes a key term in my book and I’m hoping some day that it will be high in google hits for people trying to educate themselves according to my subject matter.
I don’t want to get mynameauthor.com because I think I will be speaking, too, and I don’t want to put myself in a box.
I might write a book outside this genre/subject, but I’m not sure I will. I could see myself writing more about same subject area, too, but not necessarily.
Just sharing my perspective in case anyone else feels the same way.
I do not quite share your belief in the importance of making the author known. I have published four books, The sequence is that first you publish as an unknown author and then, if you are successful, people will recognize you and follow your career. Very clearly you do need an appealing cover, but your name will not be of interest unless you have been able to market your works. Marketing is the real key to success and I have found it immensely expensive and difficult. There are of course a couple of „marketing“crooks in the internet willing to take your money and deliver nothing. Amazon offers courses on how to learn to do it yourself but it ain‘t easy!
In this article, we discuss the whether your author website should focus on you as a writer or on one of your books or novels, and the advantages of each strategy. Each book and writer is unique, and their choice is unique to their needs and goals.