It’s probably the most important question I ask authors before putting together a proposal for them: What are your goals for your author website?
Generally, there are three overarching goals that an author may or may not have for the site. Many authors are interested in more than one. They include:
- Self promotion
For some authors, the most important thing is getting his or her name out there to build a fanbase, get speaking engagements, and pre-sell future books before they come out.
- Selling books
Other authors want to put more focus on the books themselves and keep his/her profile in the backburner. For these authors, the books speak for themselves. I’ve had many authors who fit in this category tell me, “I’m just not that interesting.”
- Spreading the word
For some non-fiction authors, the most important thing about publishing the books and building the website is to get the message out there. Maybe the books are about mental health. Or animal rights. Or something political. Regardless, this type of author website focuses on using the web to further enhance the messages of the books.
Clearly, each one of these three types of websites would be different. For example, an author-focused site should would have a large photo of the author in a prominent spot in the design, while a site that’s more focused on spreading the word would have other images and graphics that represent the message of the books. In addition, a site that’s focused on selling the book would have a larger “Buy the Book” button, while a site for an author who is trying to build a following would be encouraging people to enter their email address and join the mailing list.
These are just a few examples of the ways that an author with different website goals might be vastly different in design, layout, action items, etc…
Now, I’ve always been focused on an author’s goals for his or her website. But what about an author’s goals for his or her career? That’s what I stumbled across on a conversation on in a LinkedIn group.
The question posed was as follows: How do you define success as an author?
And, of course, the responses varied greatly. Here are a few of the more interesting ones…
Success as an author (for example, with regard to a book) entails several components:
–Making a contribution in terms of the “message”–whatever it might be. . .leading to
–Enhancing one’s reputation. . .
–Furthering one’s career and,
–Generating meaningful royalties:or other remuneration.
The short answer for my definition of success as an author is to reach a readership significant enough to sustain my writing as a full time vocation.
Money! Unless you write as a hobby.
I know no author in the field of gardening writing that makes a living only off of royalties from a publisher. And I know some VERY famous garden book writers. The money comes from consulting, design work, lectures, workshops and other media events. (I do all of these in order to keep on writing.) Books are a good springboard to new professions. At least in my “field”. (My web site generates only about 10% of my income.)
For me, success as a writer is much, much more about the satisfaction of seeing my words in print, and envisioning some young reader discovering one of my books and becoming inspired by something inside.
—Andrew A. Kling
Books sales are great, don’t get me wrong, but to me, it’s the human connection that’s priceless 🙂
How do you define success as an author? What are your goals? Share them with us!