Not surprisingly, I’m going to say “yes.” And that’s not just because my company builds them for a living. An author website is just as important as a website for any other business. Would you go to a lawyer who didn’t have a website? Would you go to dinner at a restaurant that didn’t have a website? Probably not.
And yet, that’s pretty much the question that was posed in two different LinkedIn conversations the past few days. They were so appropriately titled:
… and …
Do you believe that you should have a website dedicated to your book(s) or avoid websites completely and use blogs, Twitter and your Facebook Fan Page?
Rather than go on and on about why I think you need an author website, I will let the responses to those questions do the talking. Here are some of the highlights…
It’s the total package that counts: word of mouth, your website, your book cover, etc. –anything you do to become visible to your target reader. If you plan on writing more than one book, consider this scenario. Someone buys one of your books at a bookstore signing, they like it and see your web address on the back cover. They go to your website to learn more about you. They discover you’ve written a second book and they can link right to Amazon to buy the book for their Kindle. That justifies the time and money you’ll spend putting up that website.
I think having a web site is basic. It gives you a platform to tie in your books to social media and blogs. I post my event schedule. I post my video book trailers. I post testimonials from leading NY Times best selling authors about my books. However, word of mouth and direct appearances by me at events to sell books is still the main way that I drive sales. My web site is one tool in my tool box that includes many other ways to reach my targeted audience.
This is not an either / or proposition. For a professional, a website is not optional. It’s a critical link in the word-of-mouth-to-engagement-to-sales chain. It’s also an author’s best hope to control their own brand.
The screaming answer is YES. Of course that depends on how much you get out there and promote your site. My site actually isn’t so much about books as it is about me. What I am selling is my name, the books will naturally follow.I can tell a pretty big difference between when I have been pushing my site and when I have not. The first half of this year I have not done any marketing for my site of any kind because of my wife’s and my own health issues and we are just now completing a move from Jacksonville FL to Atlanta GA. My sales have fallen off tremendously.
—Michael “Duke” Davis
My book isn’t published yet, but my blog and website are allowing me to gain some following now in advance of the book. I’m building a mailing list of people who want to know when it’s available.
The marketing folks I with whom I work are in agreement – a website is a tool. Not THE tool or THE ONLY tool, but a tool. Anything that gets our presence felt by those in the outside world is a good thing.
According to a survey done by Sisters in Crime, the number one thing readers want is a user friendly website where they can discover where your books are available and when your next book will come out.
—Kathryn J. Bain
I’ve had a website for 5 years now and it has been a crucial tool for me as a hub of information to which I can send folks who want to book me for a speaking engagement or for fans wanting info on my Birder Murder mysteries. As for sales, it hasn’t been a big driver.
I would tell a writer the same thing I’d tell any business owner (yes, writing is a business)…a website is absolutely necessary. Even if they don’t buy from your website, a reader will check you out, as will a publisher, a school looking for a guest speaker and other writers who might be looking for collaborative partners. They may end up calling you or sending an email, but the website gives them a safe place to get to know you a little better. A website helps you build credibility and it expands your reach exponentially.
A web site, when done well, is a combination of storefront, PR/marketing department, (able to speak and sell to different audiences), info center, knowledge base, resource archive, blog, cashier, info-capture tool, electronic product-delivery system, and a lot more.
What other vehicle can do that much? And unlike FB and Twitter, it’s not going to get polluted by spam and over-exposure as those vehicles can (as CD points accurately out). Too many people on Twitter and FB are just mass-promoting, without building a platform, and the result is, it’s hard to get heard.
Sold yet? Convinced you need an author website? Reach out for a free consultation.