Let’s be honest. I don’t know you, and it’s unlikely that you know me. So you have absolutely no reason to listen to anything I have to tell you, except for the fact that I’m posting on the Realm Makers Blog. That may afford me some credibility, but if I really wanted to help you understand who I am and what I’m about, what should I do?
- I could give you my email address and put the burden of reaching out to me on your shoulders.
- I could record a video and spend an hour telling you all about myself and embed it in this blog post.
- I could offer you a link to my Facebook page, I suppose, but my Facebook will only give you a fragment of the details about who I am and what I do.
Really, the best option for me is to give you a link to my website. My website will help you find the information you need to make an informed choice about whether or not I actually know what I’m talking about. It will give you an idea of my personality, my likes, my dislikes, and how easy I am to talk to. And it might be funny enough to make you laugh too.
No other online tool connects customers with service providers like a website. Period.
Maybe you initially discover a business or service provider on Facebook, but if they have a website, don’t you go there to get more information before you give them money?
The same is true for authors, both published and unpublished. You need a webpage. It’s more than a business card or a resume; it’s an opportunity to introduce yourself to the world.
3 Reasons Why You Need an Author Webpage
Without a webpage, you don’t exist.
Sorry to break it to you. You may have a driver’s license or an identification card, but in the minds of readers and potential audience members, you don’t exist until they can find you online.
If you’ve submitted a manuscript to a publisher, you’d better believe one of the first things they’re going to do is look for your website (and I can say that from experience, because I am also one of the founders of Crosshair Press; I do this all the time). It’s not an automatic no if you don’t have a website, but it sure doesn’t hurt your prospects if you have a basic page assembled.
It tells your potential publishers that you are willing to invest the time in building a machine that will help you reach an audience. The same is true of your social media network as well, but honestly with all the algorithm changes and privacy issues that have started popping up in social media, websites have become even more important in the grand scheme of marketing.
A webpage allows you to connect with your target audience directly.
When new readers visit your website, many times they would be willing to sign up for your mailing list, especially if you’re giving something away as an incentive. Your mailing list is worth your weight in gold. Your mailing list represents your target audience, your ideal readers, the folks who signed up voluntarily to receive your emails because they are interested in what you write.
Don’t ever underestimate the power of a mailing list.
Now, you can capture email addresses on social media platforms, sure, but it’s not as efficient or as obvious. That’s not what social media is about.
A webpage, on the other hand, serves as a central hub of information about you as an author—and as a brand.
A webpage gives you control over your brand.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest—all of them are somewhat formulaic, and you have to operate within their guidelines to be able to share your content on their platforms. Your website should represent your voice. On your website, you get to create your own brand. You make the rules. You set the guidelines. You get to bring your dream to life, to help people understand what matters to you, why you write, why you care about the stories you tell.
Don’t let anyone else determine your brand.
Your brand is you, how you live, how you talk, how you think, how you see the world. And if you try to adjust your personal brand to meet another platform’s expectations, it’s going to look a little stiff. It’ll taste like cardboard. Because that’s what it is.
You get to determine your colors, your images, your layout, your design, your topics, your buttons, your backgrounds. You get the idea. It’s your space.
Think of it like moving into your own home for the first time. You get to put your stuff wherever you want. That’s the freedom having your own website gives your personal brand.
Unpublished authors are exempt, right?
So if you’ve written a book, you need a website, but if you haven’t written a book, you don’t. Right?
Nope. Not right. Not even close.
If you are an aspiring author, you need a website. If you are an unpublished author, you need a website. If you are a pre-published author, dude, hurry up and get your site live yesterday!
Author webpages aren’t just for published authors. Most published authors will probably tell you that they wish they’d started a website BEFORE they got published, just because it takes so much time to develop an audience.
What I hear from a lot of unpublished authors is that they don’t have anything to write about. They have this idea that once their book is published, they’ll have so much more content to share. It doesn’t work like that. Sorry. You’re just as stretched for content after you’ve published.
So it’s good to get a head start. Get used to posting regularly. Get used to updating your site consistently. If your readers know that they can expect something from you, they’ll look forward to it.
Whatever you do, just make sure that the content you put on your page represents you. Your page should be an example of who you are, what you’re like, what you think, how you see life, etc. Give people an opportunity to get to know you so they have an idea of whether they’ll like your books or not.
Because if you have someone who is involved on your website, the minute your book comes out, they’re going to grab it.
So what program do I use?
And that’s a tough question. There are so many different platforms you can use. There’s Blogger and Squarespace and all sorts of others that are perfectly fine, but I like WordPress best. It’s flexible and powerful enough that you can do just about anything with it.
That being said, authors and other creatives tell me WordPress is confusing in places. And I get that. I’ve been building websites with WordPress since 2010, and I can understand where it gets foggy, especially for people who haven’t used before.
That’s why after the first of the year, I’ll be launching an online WordPress course specifically for authors. If that sounds like something you’re interested in, you can sign up to get notified when enrollment opens.
Plus, to say thanks for signing up, I’ve created a step-by-step video tutorial that will walk you through setting up a basic website using WordPress’s Dara theme. It’s fast, easy, simple, and anyone can do it. For some of you, the little tutorial may be all you need to learn to master WordPress. But for everyone else, it’s a taste of what I can teach you how to do on your own.
Regardless how you get an author website, just get one. Hire somebody. Do it yourself. Whatever. The world is waiting for your story, but they won’t find you by accident. You’ve got to be visible.
So don’t be scared. Get out there. And if you need help, now you know someone who has your back.
And if you need more information about me, you can check out my webpage. 😉
Connect with Amy!
Amy Williams is an authorpreneur who weaves fantastic tales about #AmericanSamurai and #SpaceCowboys and she’s passionate about helping writers become storyteller-ninjas. A quirky, coffee-drinking, cat-loving thirty-something, she’s on a mission to help authors overcome fear and live victorious. Join her adventures on social media (@free2bfearless) and visit her website, www.amycwilliams.com.