There has never been a more appropriate time to become an author. Thanks to the internet, you can now easily, write, publish, market and sell your work right from your computer. With the right marketing, every indie author now has the opportunity to have their work read by thousands or even millions of readers.
Notice that I mentioned marketing.
If your books are to sell, you must treat your writing like a business. Many authors will frown at this statement but consider some of the most famous authors you know. I bet the majority have created systems which make it easy to market and sell their work. This is similar to running an everyday business.
One of the most important components to a profitable writing business is a website. Having your own author website has a number of advantages which include the following:
- A central place where readers, the media and other authors can contact you
- A central place where you can sell your books
- A great marketing tool
- A website is good for branding and shows people you’ve invested in your writing business
Many indie authors have set up their own personal websites. However, many are making simple mistakes which limit their websites potential as a branding and sales tool. Here are five of these mistakes.
1. A nonexistent bio
Humans are naturally interested in knowing about their fellow human beings. People might know and read your books. This however doesn’t mean that they aren’t interested in knowing more about you.
The bio (about me) page is one of the most important pages you’ll have on your website. It gives you the opportunity to tell your site visitors more about yourself. This makes it a good way to create a personal connection with your readers, agents, editors or anyone who reads it.
Some of the important details to include in the bio page include your pen name, full name, achievements, other stuff you do besides writing and any other personal information you’re comfortable sharing.
2. Failure to provide contact information
Some of your website visitors might want to contact you for a variety of reasons. It could be an agent offering a book deal or, one of your fans wanting to show their appreciation.
It’s therefore important that you provide your contact information on your author website. One of the best ways to do this is have a contact page complete with a form that can be filled out and sent. You should also provide an email address (separate from your personal email) through which you can be contacted.
3. Not being on social media
Social media can be a great marketing tool if leveraged well. Being on social media platforms like GoodReads and Facebook allows you to be in direct contact with your fans and followers. I recommend creating social media accounts dedicated to your writing business. For example, setting up a Facebook page as opposed to using your personal profile page.
Once you’ve created social media accounts in leading platforms, you should make it easy for followers to share your work and, navigate from the social platforms to your website. This will increase your reach as well as sales.
4. Poor website design
Not having technical skills isn’t reason enough to have a poorly designed author website. Website visitors will often judge your professionalism by how your site looks.
If you cannot afford to hire a professional website designer, setting up your site on a content management system such as WordPress can be a cheaper and practical alternative. In addition, you can easily choose among the thousands of free and commercial templates to give your site a sharp and professional look.
5. Poor content
As an author, potential book buyers will mostly decide whether to buy your work or not based on what they read on your website. It’s therefore essential that every page be thoroughly edited and proofread before it’s published. This might require you set content aside for a day or two before going through it for editing. If possible, you can also get a professional editor to go through your website pages to make sure that they’re well written.
As an indie author, your website is one of your most important marketing and branding tools. However, for it to be effective, it needs to attract and retain the visitor’s attention making it easier for you to pass your message. The website must also make it easy for the visitor to contact you, share and buy your work.
Take some time away from your writing and go through your website. Can you find any mistakes that need correcting? I’d also like to hear about other common author website mistakes you’ve come across in the comments section below.