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Media-Friendly Author Website Content – Part One

Having the right kind of website content to attract media coverage is something many authors miss the boat on. In this three-part series, I will help you fix that. Working in the media for more than 30 years, I’ve visited many author websites. Sometimes I was researching whether he or she is a good fit… [Read More]

Media-friendly author website content by Chris Well for BookWorks.com

Having the right kind of website content to attract media coverage is something many authors miss the boat on. In this three-part series, I will help you fix that.

Working in the media for more than 30 years, I’ve visited many author websites. Sometimes I was researching whether he or she is a good fit for my audience. Other times I’d be prepping for an interview or need some quick information for a blurb. There are also times I’m looking for information for an online author database.

It’s shocking how many author websites don’t include basic information to help me promote them to my audience.

Of course, this kind of website content is important to other kinds of visitors, too:

  • Booksellers wondering whether to carry your book on their shelves
  • Librarians that might want you to conduct a workshop
  • Event planners considering you as a speaker
  • Readers who want to know more because they might want to buy your booksMedia-friendly author website content by Chris Well for BookWorks.com

When visitors get more value out of visiting your website, you’re more likely to hear from them.

But if they don’t see what they need, you may never know they were there. That opportunity will be lost.

(Note: For more on the nuts and bolts of putting together your author website, see Part One, Part Two and Part Three of our Insider's Guide to Author Websites)

5 Essential Website Content Components

In this series, I’ll share five essential types of website content that authors must have. Don’t worry, it’s nothing complicated: This isn’t about coding or website design—it’s about text, some links, and maybe a few PDF downloads. If you can write a book and you know your category, this stuff should be easy.

So, what are these kinds of website content? Read on…

Content Type #1: Information About You

Clue in the visitor what you’re about. On an “About the Author” or “Start Here” page, you can welcome visitors by sharing…

  • Who you are as an author
  • What you write
  • Why you write it

This page can give readers a sense of your personality.  It doesn’t need to be as formal as your media page (which we’ll discuss in a future article).

You may include fun photos, testimonials and endorsements, and a casual author bio. It’s also fine in this context to share about your hobbies, your family and friends, or your vacations.

But don’t forget why people are here in the first place. Remember to include info about yourself as an author, why you write your category, and about your qualifications or connection to this category.

By your “connection” to your category or genre, we may be talking about…

  • Work experience
  • Life experience
  • Research

It can also be as simple as you’re a fan of your category or genre.Media-friendly author website content by Chris Well for BookWorks.com

When you visit the website of thriller author J.T. Ellison, the navigation bar at the top makes it easy to find the “About J.T” page. On that page, there’s a basic author biography that gets right to what she writes (“standalone domestic noir and psychological thriller series”). There are also links to her social profiles, plus links to find out more about her. You can also scroll down the page for an extended author bio.

Media-friendly author website content by Chris Well for BookWorks.com

Dr. Damon Tweedy is the author of Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine. As a doctor who writes about medicine and racial issues, his website bio briefly explains his credentials, and that he’s been published in several prestigious publications. There’s also a nice author photo here, plus links to read about him in the New York Times and the Raleigh News & Observer. 

Media-friendly author website content by Chris Well for BookWorks.com

Viewers of the television show Shark Tank should be familiar with business person, investor, and author Barbara Corcoran. But when you go to her official website, there’s still a block of text here that explains her qualifications to write about business. There’s also a video here, plus links to an interview and her social profiles.

Content Type #2: Information About Your Books

It’s always puzzling to me when I show up at an author’s website and there’s nothing about their most recent book. At the very least, you should have your book cover, a brief description of it, and then links so I can look at it on websites for booksellers and retailers.

If possible, you also want to include quotations from reviews or endorsements for your writing.  This helps with your credibility.

The media isn’t going to buy your book—don’t take it personally—but we might click through to find other kinds of information. Not to mention, readers who come to your author website need to easily click over to where your book is available so they can buy it. Right?

Media-friendly author website content by Chris Well for BookWorks.comMedia-friendly author website content by Chris Well for BookWorks.com

On the book page for romance author Bella Andre, the titles are grouped together by series collections. Click on a particular book cover or title, and you’re taken to a dedicated page for that book. On the page for Kiss Me Like This (Oak Press), there’s a book cover, links to purchase the book, a plot summary, and a few quotes from notable reviewers and endorsers. 

Media-friendly author website content by Chris Well for BookWorks.com

For his book Epic Content Marketing, business author Joe Pulizzi features a few bullet points that include links to Amazon and notable press about the book. There’s also a description of the book’s contents and a couple of key endorsements.

Media-friendly author website content by Chris Well for BookWorks.com

http://www.chitradivakaruni.com

For her novel Before We Visit the Goddess, author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni shares the book cover, a plot summary, and a description of the novel’s themes. There’s a link to an excerpt and links to order the book from several online retailers. For book clubs, there’s a link to a reading guide page and info to contact her. There’s a section with several quotes from reviewers about the novel. At the bottom of the page, there are instructions to contact the author about publicity or speaking engagements.

What Are You Going to Do Now?

It’s not enough to post a bio or book description and sit back, waiting for people to stumble across it. Your website doesn’t create your publicity. You still need to reach out to generate any attention.

But when you make it easy for website visitors to find out about you and your book(s), that raises the odds of that visit turning into some form of engagement. Give them what they're looking for and they'll be more likely to get in touch with you!

(Part One of a Three-Part Series.)

NEXT TIME: Want the media to interview or profile you? We’re going to talk about how they can get in touch.


If you haven't seen the new version of BookWorks, please check us out for more great content like this and join our community of indie authors, editors, coaches, designers, marketers, bloggers and other self-publishing pros.


4 thoughts on “Media-Friendly Author Website Content – Part One”

  1. Dr Bob Rich says:

    Chris, I feel my blog https://bobrich18.wordpress.com does satisfy the two requirements you’ve listed here. My “About” page comes up first, and has made me many pages.
    There is a link to a listing of my more recent books.
    I’d be happy for some feedback, all the same!
    🙂
    Bob

    1. Chris Well says:

      Hi, Dr. Rich – I see you have some interesting and personable content here, but I would suggest organizing it differently to make it easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for.

      Think of your website’s front page as the “lobby” or front room. When someone visits your website for the first time, you should give them a quick idea of who are you as an author, and what you have to offer them. (Before you share the photo of you with the kookaburra.)

      If you are able to fix the top navigation links, it would make more sense if they pointed to categories – especially since you seem to have more than one kind of writing. I see the floating list of links to your other websites, but they’d make more sense as part of your website navigation. (I’d also change the names of those links to the name of the pages or categories, and then add a description of what someone will find if they click through.)

      If you’d like some examples, here’s a great podcast episode from ProBlogger about organizing your “About Me” page: https://problogger.com/podcast/how-to-create-an-effective-start-here-page-for-your-blog/

      I hope this helps!

  2. Here is the link to my blog/website:
    https://theunexpectedrichnessofanordinarylife.blogspot.com/

    I have been working on improving my blog.

    Lisa

    1. Chris Well says:

      Hello, Lisa! Wow – your blog has a LOT going on here. As you’re updating your blog, I’d suggest making it much simpler.

      Right now, there are too many widgets and I can’t figure out how to turn off this song. It’s lovely – really, quite lovely – but if I’m visiting your website for business purposes, my first impulse is to try and figure out how to turn off the music, and both times I’ve been to your website my screen locked up before I could find a way to shut it off.

      I’d also suggest plainer fonts for your navigation choices, because it’s a chore to figure out where to go.

      When the media or another influencers visits your website, their first question is about you as an author. What is your category or expertise and what makes you stand out?

      Your tagline is “I want to reveal the beauty and simplicity of life and Christ to others,” but then I see all this stuff about Alaska. Do you happen to live in Alaska, or is it an essential part of your author brand?

      Either way is fine, but I’d make it clearer to first time visitors exactly what you promise as an author and what we can expect.

      I hope that helps!

      🙂

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