Publishing looks a lot different than it used to. Authors spent so much time fighting for a coveted spot on a well-known publisher’s roster, who would then do so much of the leg work for them promoting a book and getting the word out there. Self-publishing is more common than not now, and authors are taking control and power over their brand and how they want to be promoted.
You have the power. So what are you going to do with it?
A great place to start, even before you finish that upcoming best-seller, is your website. We live in a digital world and if you can’t meet your audience where they are then you may get passed over for PR opportunities, book sales, and a growing fan base.
Here are four reasons why you should have a website as an author:
Reason #1: Control over your brand story
When you rely on others to tell your brand story, whether in the media, social media, or through reviews, you relinquish some control. It could be a mispronunciation or misspelling of your name (or the wrong name completely), a fact that is slightly off, or a direct emotional connection that isn’t made. Through your author website, there will be a hub of information that will act as an original source – you can take more control of your reputation. This will also allow your fans and the media to get to know who you are as an author and as a person. Remember, your fans WANT to get to know you.
Reason #2: Increased visibility
Your brand and influence as an author will grow if people know about you. You want to get in front of as many eyes as possible. Social media is one thing, but an author website is searchable information that you control. It is your own publishing platform and it makes you look more professional. You are no longer limited geographically and are free to connect with potential fans on the other side of the world. Once they land on your website, a user-friendly and informative site can keep their attention long enough to get them to buy your book or sign up for your pre-launch list.
Reason #3: It creates a communications hub
Your website is an information hub, and it’s also a communications hub. Through your website you can control things like:
- Messages to your audience: Whether through your blog or via the landing page, share information with your audience about upcoming events and other important information.
- Book sales: Whether you are selling directly through your website or via other booksellers like Amazon or iBooks, having all of that information and links on one web page means your fans don’t have to search too hard to find your book.
- Email list: You can and should have your email sign up form on your website as your email list will be the most important thing when it comes to launching your books. Make sure it is prominently displayed.
- Social media: Social media doesn’t replace your website, it acts as a megaphone for your website. You can drive web traffic to your website through your social channels and vice versa (so you can engage in dialogue with your audience). Make sure links to your social channels are easily visible and up to date so your fans can follow you on social media.
Reason #4: Become an influencer
Influence – it’s a powerful word, and it’s powerful when you get it. By starting a blog on your website you have an outlet to showcase your writing style and your area of expertise (depending on what type of author you are!). It’s also a great place to write about your opinions on where your genre is going in terms of trends and audience interests. The more you showcase what you’re about as an author the easier it is to create PR opportunities for yourself and credibility as an author.
It may take time to get it up and running and to keep the content fresh, but it is well-worth it to have an author website set up. Keep it simple. It doesn’t need all the bells and whistles you can imagine, but it will benefit you and your brand as an author in the long-run.
ABOUT THE BLOGGER
Candace Huntly is the founder and Principal of SongBird Marketing Communications, a Toronto-based boutique firm that works with clients to take their strategy and brand to the next level. She is an expert at telling brand stories and getting them shared through the right channels. She is conducting one of the workshops at Author Summit 2015, PR for Authors.