In the lead-up to starting Wangaratta Website Design Services, I did an online survey of writers/authors asking what they wanted in an author website. Twenty-three people responded, which isn’t a lot, but I still found their responses informative.

Advantages of Having an Author Website

When asked about the advantages of having an author website they said a website:

  • Is a point of contact where readers can find you (6)
  • Is a place to sell books (6)
  • Can be used for marketing and advertising (5)
  • Is a place where readers can get to know the author (4)
  • Helps authors control the information given out to the public (3)
  • Can be used to inform readers of upcoming news and events (2).

What Should an Author Website do?

The survey then asked authors/writers to tick which functions they thought a website should have.

  • Advertise their latest releases (21)
  • Inform readers who the author is and what they write (19)
  • Include links to where readers can buy the author’s books (18)
  • Include a back catalogue of the author’s publications (18)
  • List upcoming events, such as book readings and writer’s festivals, that the author with be participating in (18)
  • Create a brand for the author (16)
  • Direct readers to the author’s social media (15)
  • Include a blog so readers can interact with the author (11)
  • Include a newsletter sign-up form or subscription to a mailing list form so the author can advertise their books (11)
  • Sell books direct to readers (11).

One item that should have been on that list is that a website can be a very convenient first port-of-call that an author can direct the media, an agent or a publisher too.

Important Functions of an Author Website

Based on the author responses,  a website should be/include:

  • A place for readers to find out who an author is and what they write
  • Updatable so it can advertise an author’s latest release
  • Show what books an author has for sale (half the authors wanted an ecommerce site that sells directly to the customer, most of the rest just wanted links to where a reader could buy the books)
  • List up-coming events an author is involved in (for some this could take the form of a blog)
  • Links to social media.

A Basic Author Website

Based on the author responses, a basic author website must do/contain the following:

  • Tell a reader who the author is and their writing genre (it is amazing how many author websites don’t immediate inform, through image, text or style, what genre the author writes)
  • List the author’s books and have links to where they can be bought
  • Be easily updatable to plug the authors latest release – most probably on the homepage.
  • A news section that is easily updated with the latest author news (this could take the form of a blog that just details upcoming events)
  • Contact details for customers, as well as the media, agents or publishers
  • Links to social media.

A More Complex Author Website

  • If an author wants to avoid paying Amazon and iBooks a commission, or they want to make it easier for the customer, they could choose to sell directly from their website.
  • If an author enjoys blogging and interacting with readers, a blog could be included (new content like blog posts help with SEO)
  • I would also suggest authors have a newsletter or a subscription form so readers can be emailed information about new releases or upcoming events.

If you can think of any other functions that should be included on a website, please leave them in the comments section.