Ideas to Build your Author Platform or Enhance your Current Website
Do you have an author platform- a website all your own to highlight your works? Many of you may already have a website or blog to showcase your work. (Awesome!) If you do, are you using it to its full potential?
If you are a new author and don’t already have an author platform, you must consider getting one- read on…
Having a presence on social media is great, but does not have the same impact as also having an author platform. There’s so much more you can offer your current and prospective readers with your own website.
Maintaining an online presence on your own personal website gives you a professional reputation and helps you build a following of fans who become readers (aka: buyers) of your books. Building engagement with your readers is essential to keeping them interested in your upcoming projects.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
There are two things that are integral to an effective author website.
First, create clear goals for your site. For example: you want to highlight and sell your books, interact with potential readers, create valuable content on your blog, tell readers about events you are participating in, etc.
Second, make sure your website is well designed and fairly simple. You want to keep it clean and fresh but easy to update with new content without having to tweak it every day. This way, you can concentrate more on writing, rather than maintaining your web design all the time.
If you are not a techie, you can learn WordPress or other software fairly easily by searching free tutorials and forums. You can also hire someone to help you out. Either way, I recommend getting your own domain name (a dot com) rather than using the free versions. You’ll have more control that way.
WHAT EVERY AUTHOR PLATFORM SHOULD HAVE
- Your books, with links, of course, but here’s where you can really sell them with extras like detailed descriptions, free chapters, background info, research, character profiles, your writing style, artwork, etc.
- Your contact info– list and link to all your platforms, author pages, social media pages, and how one can contact you for collaborations and interviews, etc.
- Include a photo of yourself. Readers like to see faces. It helps them see that you are a real person that they can connect with personally. People like to put a face with a name. And making real connections evolves into book sales. Your photo should be friendly and fun, or presented in a way that represents you. If you are camera shy, have someone help you or hire a professional photographer who knows how to make you look great.
- If you have extra media like audio or video files, slide presentations, animations or have book trailers on YouTube, embed them on your site or link to them as well.
- Provide an email subscriber form if you intend to create a monthly newsletter. (Get a free account for creating email campaigns on Mailchimp.com.) These subscribers may well be the first sales on your next new book, especially if you email them discounts or special sneak peeks. Your newsletter need not be complicated or long. You can just say “Hi, this is what I’ve been up to…”. Keeping in touch regularly makes your next book launch less sales-y, because your readers have been hearing from you about other things, not just about book sales.
OTHER IDEAS FOR YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM
- A page that showcases your upcoming book, work-in-progress, and release dates or estimated dates. Get them excited with sneak peeks or free chapters
- Artwork from your covers or book illustrations
- In-depth character profiles
- For nonfiction books: core ideas, expanded facts, related news stories or updated research, etc.
- A testimonials page where you can highlight your book’s best reviews
- Poetry, essays, or articles that you’ve written
- Reviews of other books that you have read, or recommendations of books and films you enjoy
- Contests, drawings for prizes (such as a signed book copy), games or puzzles that relate to your work
- Events you have attended or will attend- book signings, workshops, speaking engagements, interviews, podcasts, etc. If you have photos of yourself at the events, include them too
People want to know all about you, writer, so don’t hide behind that cover… show them who you are!
And if you want to know more about your building your author platform by blogging, check out my favorite site, Problogger.com.
P.S. What types of content do you have on your author website?