How to Maximize Your Author Website

Laptop MegaphoneThis is a guest post from Phyllis Zimbler Miller, author and internet marketer.

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In the last two days I’ve looked at two new book author sites of people on Twitter.
In both cases I had no idea whether the book was currently available for sale.

In each case I tweeted the question to the book author. One author replied with a list of all the places his book was for sale, and I kindly suggested that this information could be obvious on his site. The other author replied no, his book still awaited professional editing. And I replied kindly that I strongly believe in professional editing.

And then I said to my exercise partner Susan Chodakiewitz, the author of the new children’s picture book “Too Many Visitors for One Little House”: How difficult is it to figure out that on the one site there needs to be a big BUY THIS BOOK NOW and on the other there needs to be a big COMING SOON?

Your website visitors are not mind readers. And even if they were, they have better things to do than figure out what you want them to do in connection with your book.

If your book is for sale, make it easy for your website visitors to click a link and immediately buy your book. For an example of this, see my book site www.MrsLieutenant.com. The Amazon widget to buy the book is “above the fold” and on every page of the site.

And even if your book isn’t out yet, it is a good idea to have a website to start attracting interest. BUT – and this is an important but – let website visitors immediately know the book is not yet out so they don’t get frustrated trying to find the BUY button and click away. And at the same time do try to capture the email addresses of the website visitors so that you can notify people when the book is available.

One good way to interest people in following the progress of your upcoming book is to include a blog on your website. Then, of course, the challenge is writing blog posts that your target market finds of value. If you want ideas for blogging to promote your books (and especially fiction), see the free blogging report I wrote with Carolyn Howard-Johnson at www.FictionMarketing.com.

Now that we’ve covered this most important book author website element, let’s briefly look at some other essential elements.

  • On the home page “above the fold” – let people know what your book is about. Don’t make people guess whether it is fiction or nonfiction if the title doesn’t make this clear.
  • Don’t use, for example, dark blue type against a light blue background. Or at least don’t use this if you want people to actually read what your book is about. Preferably use black type (of a large-enough size) on a white background for ease of reading.
  • Do include book discussion guidelines to encourage reading groups to consider your book.
  • Do include basic search engine optimization – see my Examiner.com blog post http://budurl.com/metatagsexplained for information about this.
  • Do make it very clear how someone can get in touch with you or learn more about you: Include your Twitter username, Facebook profile, etc. as well as email address.
  • And do include a photo of yourself on your website – readers like to know what the author of a book looks like.

One final recommendation: If your book is still in the planning stage, make sure that the cover of the book “reads” well reduced to the size of a book displayed on Amazon. If you have a great cover that only makes an impact full-size, re-consider that design. You want a book cover that can make an impact in a much smaller size.

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miller_cover_imagePhyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel www.MrsLieutenant.com and a National Internet Business Examiner at www.InternetBizBlogger.com. She is also the head of www.MillerMosaicLLC.com, an internet marketing company that helps people promote their brand, book or business. On July 1st the company launched the Miller Mosaic Internet Marketing Program.

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Comments

  1. says

    Good post, Phyllis. I couldn’t agree more. Out of interest, have a look at my site and tell how “available” my books appear to you. I work hard to strike a balance between ease of interface and not smacking visitors over the head with the books! (Click on my name for my site).

  2. says

    I totally agree! I just had a guest post yesterday on literary agent Nathan Bransford’s blog on what an aspiring author should have on his/her website.

    A purchase link on a published author’s website is vital. (If the link is to Amazon, you can also sign up as an affiliate to make a few more cents of the sale!) I also like the idea of big, clear graphics to indicate the book’s status.

  3. says

    We are reviewing our author websites now. Great timing for your blog posting. I suspect I tend to approach web surfing differently from most and always have to get second opinions from others from different age and experiential groups.

    One thing I see more and more that almost always makes me immediately leave a site are the slide in / down popups that ask me to sign up or comment.

    I am always reluctant to click on even the close option and usually just leave the site, I know my behavior must not be the norm or this practice would not be so common.

  4. says

    Hello – My book Laid Bare re the NZ Sex Industry was released Nov 2008 – I created a website which has been a huge help in selling my book – I have been very lucky that due to the content my book has basically sold itself but it was accepted by the national library of NZ and Australia – I would appreciate hugely for your valued and respected feedback on my website as my sister and I created it due to the huge volume of questions I recieved in regards to my life.
    John Kremer has been a huge help to me and his guidance is invaluable and I have found you through him.
    Thankyou so much for your time

    Regards Rachel Francis

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