If you write – you must have a website. A website is essentially your online business card—it shows editors and publishers you are up-to-date with the times. You are a professional. You are willing to spend the time and money to have a savvy website. You promote your books and your brand. It’s not as hard as you might think.
• Home Page – a first impression – The first page ‘home page’ should make an impression. It’s like walking up to a person and extending your hand with a smile on your face. This is the first impression. You want it to express friendliness, professionalism, a feel of ‘you’re welcome,’ and above all – a feeling of ‘we could be friends.’
Include a picture of ‘you’ and a book or two. Make it up-front and easy to find your email address. Share who you are and what ‘about you’ is worth their time.
• It’s all about me – The second page should be the “About Me” page. Write up a bio that shows publishers, editors, agents, and readers who you are. On the main page you want to introduce yourself . . .but on the ‘about me’ page . . . let’s get more personal. Tell your reader why you are a writer. Make them care. Tell what types of books you write –and why you write that genre.
Share what you do for hobbies. Do you have a pet? Share pictures. Share pictures of your office and some scenery from your state. Pull them into your world and ask them to be a part of it.
• Your contact information. Don’t forget to tell people how they can contact you. You want an editor or publisher to easily find your contact information, and repeat that information on the home page. An e-mail address or e-mail form is the minimum you should provide.
• Picture perfect – or sort of – I love putting a face with a person and as a reader I love seeing what the author looks like. I’m visual. I also find it interesting to see what the author’s office looks like. Today pictures are so easy – and they don’t have to cost a fortune with a professional photo . . . sometimes it’s the quick snapshot that has the most ‘friendly’ feel to it.
• A current press page - Don’t you hate it when you see an author’s information for an article or the back of a book and you know that is the same picture and bio you read ten years ago? Me too. We all age and our information should have a fresh feel to it. Keep your press pages current and ready for when you need them. When providing press release information – remember to include a picture of your book cover and a blurb as well.
• Word-of-mouth – reviews – There is something real and exciting about receiving reviews. They give you more credibility than any other avenue. When people give favorable reviews about you and your work it produces a positive reaction. It’s important that ‘others’ say things about your potential, talents, and even abilities that you wouldn’t say about yourself. Include positive reviews about the book(s) you’re plugging. Include them after books available and on a separate tab called ‘reviews.’
• Provide excerpts of your work. Take every opportunity you have to pique editors’ and readers’ interest by providing sample excerpts or even a sample chapter.
• Link your book’s page – Make it easy for your readers to buy your book and provide instant links for purchasing purposes. Provide a link so people can snap it up right then and there, whether it’s through a form on your site or a link to your book’s page on Amazon.com.