Do You Really Need An Author Website?~~by Akje Majdanek

Back when Wattpad had a writer community I used to spend a lot of time there, and after they shut it down I moved to the new community. It seems to be pretty much the same people asking the same writerly questions, like How do I get a traditional publishing deal?

The answers are always the same: first go to Publishers Marketplace, QueryTracker, or Duotrope and find an agent.

But the first step really ought to be: build a professional looking website. Why? Because the first thing an agent generally does before taking you on is to find out more about you. Are you a popular author? Do you write anything that would sell big? How much of a following do you have? What kind of social network presence do you have? And a question that’s becoming more pressing these days: are you a liability because you’re a badly behaving author who’s been involved in an internet scandal?

To find out, the agent will google your name and see what comes up. After all, even though the controversy over American Dirt helped make it a bestseller, those in the industry don’t want to actively court disaster. If you’re a hothead with a long history of attacking reviewers, they’re probably going to give you a pass. The first thing that comes up in a Google search should be your author site so they know you’re a serious writer, and it ought to look professional.

Have a gander at some of my favorites:

Stephenie Meyer
Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Judy Moody
Emily Martin
Cassandra Clare
Ben Okri
Shel Silverstein
David Arnold
Vince Frost
Jennifer Egan
Julie James
Elinor Lipman
Jane Austen

Yes, even a dead author can have a gorgeous website, and so can you! It’s easier than you think. Jane Friedman, Joanna Penn and Joe Bunting have written excellent guides on how to do it, and there are probably many more guides online.

I built mine on NeoCities, although I don’t recommend that you get a free one like I did. For one thing, there are usually bandwidth limits with free sites. But I’m dirt poor so I had no choice. You can always upgrade later when you get moolah. WordPress is a good possibility since they offer both free sites and paid, and most of the web runs on WordPress. Squarespace is another popular host.

Things you might want to put on your site:

■ a biography
■ a link to your blog
■ a contact page and list of your social networks
■ blurbs and excerpts from your books
■ a list of scheduled events (lucky you!)
■ news, updates and FAQs
■ book trailers, videos, podcasts
■ your favorite book quotes
■ mood boards, face claims, playlists
■ deleted scenes
■ essays, short stories, early work
■ share your favorite links and resources
■ give them a peak at future releases
■ let them subscribe to your email list

There are probably way more things you could add; just think of what you’d love to see on your favorite author’s site. The important thing is to give your readers, or potential future readers, a good idea of just who you are and what you write. Your site is a great way to brand yourself and get them interested in your work, so be yourself and have fun with it! If you love it, they’ll probably love it too. (*^-‘) 乃

Remember the books you had to read back in high school and college? Books like Animal Farm, Catcher in the Rye, Anna Karenina, The Crucible, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Prayer for Owen Meany, Jane Eyre and a hundred other deep, profound, thought-provoking reads? And remember how you said, “My gawd, those were the most boring books I’ve ever read in my life. I swear I’ll never read anything with literary merit ever again. From now on it’s nothing but sparkly vampires for me!”

Remember that? So who’s writing brilliant stuff like that today? Who’s writing the books that future students will complain about in the universities of tomorrow?

Akje has no idea, but she’d love to find that author, buy him a bottle of Beam and plagiarize all his work. (#^.^#)








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