Something I see a lot of in the writing community: questions about author websites. Are they necessary? What should be on a website if you haven’t established yourself as a published author?
This gets brought up in today’s guest author segment on the podcast, but let’s take a few minutes to talk about it in detail.
One of the first things I read about when I finished my first manuscript and was getting ready to start querying was that an author should have a website. It gives you a professional image, a static place where you can let people get to know you and what you’re about. Even before you publish anything, it almost gives you credibility in a way. For me, if I’m trying to find information about an author or some other professional person, if Google them and can’t find anything, I move on. It’s that simple. I don’t want that to happen when someone is searching for me and my work. Right now, I don’t have a book published yet. But I will. So if I’m out here now, I might be remembered later, when I do finally get that book deal. A year ago, there wasn’t much to put on my website, but since then, so much has happened, and now there’s almost too much.
When I first started, I went to WordPress. I was already familiar with them from previous websites, and I find them really easy to use with the features I need right now. It’s inexpensive to get a Google domain and it’s easily connected to WordPress. I wanted to make sure I claimed the website I wanted, so kathleenfoxx.com. It was available, and I took it. I created the email address so I could make sure to keep my personal email separate from my professional email.
In terms of building the actual site, it’s fairly easy to do. You pick a theme that speaks to you, making sure it’s got the features you like, you can change the colour scheme, etc. And you go with it. Start adding things to it and before you know it, you’ll have a decent looking website.
I started with and About tab, Book Reviews, Novels or Works-in-Progress, contact, and my blog, and it grew from there. Now I’ve got a Publications tab for my published short stories, I’ve made improvements to my Novels tab, I’ve got my podcast tab, my badasswriters swag tab, my Foxx Editorial tab, etc.
In terms of a blog, you could just talk about the books you read and enjoy. You could talk about your writing journey, you could talk about writing tips you’ve learned, etc.—which is what mine turned into, which has now blossomed into the #badasswriters podcast.
For aesthetic appeal, you want to go with a matching colour palette, and make use of white space. You don’t want to clutter it up too much. Don’t go crazy with your fonts, as you’ll hear in today’s interview. Choose one or two fonts and make it consistent throughout all the tabs on your website.
Make sure you have a bio. People want to know about you. If you’re writing books to be published, you’re going to be in the public eye, so ensure you maintain a professional image. You never know who is going to look at your website. It could be readers, it could be fellow writers, it could be agents or publishing houses, marketing teams, etc. You want to put your best foot forward. The best way to start your website is to just start it. It will grow as you do.
You can put pictures of your pets on there—people love pets! Put photos of your travels up and talk about them. It doesn’t just have to be about writing. Your readers will want to know that you’re a human being with human interests, so sharing the things you like to do is a good way to connect with others. These people who interact with you in the beginning are the makings of your fan base, for lack of a better way to put it. If you engage with people, they’ll remember you when you have books for them to read. They’ll already know about you, they’ll support you, and they’ll read your books.
Make sure you have your socials on there so people can connect with you on Twitter, or Facebook, or TikTok, or Instagram, whatever platform you use. Make sure you have a contact form—this is better than putting your email address right there so you can filter your messages. Sometimes you might get shady emails, so it’s better to have them coming through the contact form rather than them getting a hold of your email address directly.
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. If you are just learning, share your experiences with your peers. Talk about it in your blog. I promise you, there are many, many others just like out there who are going through or have been through the same thing. Talk about the books you’ve read. It’s always a nice idea to review them on sites like Amazon and Goodreads, etc. but you can go into depth on your blog or website. Invite people to discuss the book with you. Share your posts on social media.
Because it all comes back to the one most important thing you can do as a writer (besides actually writing): and that is engagement. You want to have a presence on the internet, yes. But the more you engage, the more your presence will be known. This opens all the doors. It gets you networking, it gets you knowledge, it gets you friends. All of the things you need on your way to becoming a successful writer.
Speaking of successful writers, allow me to introduce today’s guest author, Becca Day.
Becca’s debut thriller The Girl Beyond the Gate, launches into the world today. Becca Day lives in the middle of the woods in Surrey with her husband, two daughters and cocker spaniel. She studied acting at Guildford College and went on to start her own Murder Mystery theatre troupe. It was this move that inspired her love of crime fiction, and when she sold the company she threw herself headfirst into crime writing. Her short fiction has won several prizes and she is now working on her first full-length novel. Aside from writing, she is also an avid reader and runs Reading Parties with fellow author William Shaw.
Stay tuned for my book review of The Girl Behind the Gate! It’s really such a great thriller!
I hope you enjoyed today’s blog post! Please let me know if it helped you build your author website! 😊 And be sure to catch my chat with Becca here.