The Importance Of The Author Homepage
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Previously on “Growing With Technology” I spoke about the importance of the author bio. Today, I’m going to be tackling a subject that goes hand in hand with it! Not only is this a subject that has come up from the ‘Trembling With Fear’ submissions which we’ve received to date but we’ve even seen it pop up in our author interview series “Horror Tree Presents,” and that is the importance of an author’s homepage. If you don’t have a homepage or have neglected it than I hope you find what I cover today both useful and easy to implement!
Today’s Topic? The Author Homepage.
Why You Should Have A Self-Hosted Author Page
The author’s homepage should be one of the key ingredients in every author’s marketing efforts. Quite a few authors have used the reason that they don’t want to blog or have time for making constant content for a page and I’m not even going to stress on that as being one of the reasons to start one. Yes, reaching out to your readers in this manner can help keep them interested and interacting with you but I’m going to go about the reason you should have a homepage with something else in mind.
Why Is The Author Homepage Important?
There are a few key factors that I want to cover here with you today as to WHY exactly you really should get an author page up and running.
Ready to dive in? Let’s do it!
Readers can find MORE of your work.
Put yourselves in the shoes of one of your readers. They’ve just found one of your works. It could be a short story, a novel, a novella, a comment you wrote about a cat one time three years ago that resonated with this potential reader. They want to find more of your work.
They crave it.
They put your name into the Google and get… A slew of random things such as your Twitter or a review of the work that they love so much. But what about all that other stories which you’ve slaved over a keyboard to produce?
I’m going to be brutally honest here – People are lazy.
If they don’t see a direct link to your homepage, or if you’re lucky an Amazon author central page that will be the amount of time that they’ll put into digging up what else you’ve penned. They may have loved your drabble with all their heart but with the attention span or lack of knowledge on finding anything else that was your moment to shine.
Having a single central website with your name all over it that a reader can easily find all of your work through is key on making it easier for them to do just that!
Readers can learn about you.
Some readers like to know more about the authors that they read. What makes them tick? What do they have in common from interests or locations? I’m not saying to share your home address to the world but saying that you’re from a certain area could tie you to readers who live there or have passed through.
Similiar interests count just as much and could easily find a new reader chatting you up on Twitter or elsewhere about whatever fandoms you share which could encourage them to keep coming back for more.
Interviewers can get ideas on questions to ask you.
I’ve been doing author interviews for websites for years. Both after having read the author’s latest work and in many cases before its release or in between publications. Once you’ve read a new book, you’ll have plenty of questions to ask about but if you haven’t that makes it a bit harder to come up with unique questions if you aren’t overly familiar with the author.
Enter: The author’s homepage. Full of random facts and details that can be used to create unique questions for you to answer instead of just copying and pasting a set of bland and generic questions that no one cares about.
You need just enough details out here to make it a little easier to get these questions into your inbox and without them, many interviewers could even pass on the interview opportunity and these are all the details which could be found above!
The Internet Can Help You!
I want to stress a couple of major reasons that the Internet can help you when it comes to having a homepage. The first and foremost is having a hub to be the first place a search engine finds your name if a potential fan looks for you. When a reader wants to know more about you, what you’ve written, how to contact you, how to connect with you, a homepage will provide all of that.
Not only that but the second you start a homepage you need to start a mailing list.
Even if barely using it at the start. Every time a reader hits your page they have a chance to sign up and if it was a spur of the moment thing that could have been your moment to shine. Various authors use mailing lists for different reasons such as sharing updates, but the most critical areas are helping connect your readers with your material. Offer free samples of your work, drabbles if you write them, and let them know when new books are out or on sale! Yes, marketing is horrible but most authors these days have to do at least some form of it.
I doubt many readers wouldn’t expect to hear about new books in a sales letter and as they have signed up for it, this is one of the easiest ways to help sell your work. Yes, you still have to sign up for it, but these were readers who came to you for news and not just sharing your link on Twitter or Facebook a million times in hopes that the algorithms will display your post.
Side note: If you’re looking to sign up for mailing list software I highly recommend Mail Chimp as the base levels are free and you can learn it before needing to see if you need their advanced solution or not. If you feel that you want to get the most out of your list and feel that it will grow quickly and that you’ll need a robust set of options, you should really look into Aweber. There isn’t a free option here outside of a test period of 30 days but you really just can’t go wrong with it!
This one might not be the case for everyone. However, if you’ve got a reader who found your name in an anthology and can’t find a webpage they might not try as hard to look for more of your work. Not only that but when approaching agents and publishers, many will check your websites and/or social media as well. Not having one won’t guarantee a no but it won’t help your chances.
I should note here that this is where it helps to own a domain and hosting. Instead of having a yourname.wordpress.com I would always suggest owning YourName.com. Overall, my favorite hosting option to offer up is Kinsta who just has an overall good pricing scheme and reliable network. If you’re looking for cheaper hosting and don’t expect a lot of traffic right off the bat I would suggest going with DreamHost though if you’re looking for something that will keep you covered for quite some time to come, we’re big fans of Hosting For Writers. There are plenty of free themes out there to use but (personal plug here) if you’re looking for a decent template at a low cost or consulting on what to do I can help you out through Red Gear Works by delivering you with a Divi enabled WordPress site!
What if I don’t have the skill for web design or the money to get something started?
There are free options out there with pretty simple interfaces to learn. WordPress (my preference) and Wix (eh) are the two major players these days. While I will ALWAYS suggest a self-hosted website, you could even get a WordPress account for free and start a blog there to learn the ins and outs before you buy a domain and hosting.
It can help to learn the backend of the software ahead of time before you start working with your own installation of it. I just can’t stress enough that when officially launching your own site to go the self-hosted route.
But what does it all mean Basil?
A personal website is a gateway for readers to find you and interact with you both directly and indirectly. The more professional it is, the better it will resonate with fans, media outlets, and even search algorithms. It isn’t required to be an additional timesink, but it can be highly useful in keeping your writing moving forward and into the hands of those who love your work.
If you have any thoughts or questions on this, please be sure to leave a comment below! Also, if you enjoyed the article, please share it with your favorite social network(s) by using the buttons below.
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Stuart Conover is a father, husband, published author, blogger, geek, entrepreneur, horror fanatic, and runs a few websites including Horror Tree!