I’ve worked with authors at a variety of stages of publishing. Some have just completed their first manuscript and are trying to find a publisher. Some have chosen to self-publish. Others are working with a publishing house and awaiting publication of their book. And some have multiple books published by multiple publishing companies. But almost all authors I work with have one thing in common … they’re working on their next book.
And that means that nearly all authors need to have a website that will appeal to agents and publishers — as well as the general public.
I was reading a blog entry the other day from Fiction Groupie. In it, she discusses a conversation with an agent to whom she had sent a query:
“She said a website shows that the writer is already taking that portion of the career seriously. (And having no online presence at all is getting to the point of being a deal breaker for her.) She also sends her clients’ website information with their submissions to publishers to show that the author is already out there building a name.”
This is something I’ve been saying for a long time. An author website can be very, very helpful in getting your book published. As Fiction Groupie goes on to say, “I think it goes back to that old adage of ‘dress for the job you want, not the one you have.'”
So this leads to the next question. Just what should an author website include so that it appeals to publishers? Here are my suggestions:
- Easy contact info. You don’t want an agent or publisher to have to work hard to find your contact information. Even if that means you have a special email address specifically for publishing professionals. Always make it easy to find.
- Manuscript excerpts and/or Table of Contents. You want publishers to be able to read segments of your book and really get a feel for the voice. Make it easy for them to read a portion and see what a great writer you are.
- Marketing tools. Include links to your Facebook profile and your Twitter account. Have a newsletter sign-up box in a prominent spot on the site. All of these things send a message that you understand the intricacies of marketing and have already begun the work yourself.
- Photos and/or video: Think a writer just has to know how to write? Think again! Just like in the music industry, talent in and of itself isn’t enough. Equally important is appearance, poise, and personality. So allow agents and publishers to see how engaging you are, how fun you are, and what a good public speaker you can be. All of these things make you more marketable in the industry.
Am I missing anything? Did your website help you get published? Please share your ideas and experiences!
And if you want to speak with us about developing your own author website, contact us today for a free consultation!