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14 Points about Author Websites

Books2The author website debate will probably never end.  Do you need one?  What's the purpose?  What elements should it include?  The questions go on and on.

I recently came across this excellent blog post entitled The 14 Things I Have Learned about Author Websites.  Be sure to check out the whole list.  Here are a few things that went through my mind as I read through it:

#2. Author websites are different than book websites. Blogs, twitter, myspace and facebook are different tools, use them in different ways.

Excellent point!  How many times have you come across an author's website that has no personality and lacks the critical attributes of a social network-like page?

#4. Frequency is important...

#5: Frequency isn’t as important as you may think...

Ah, the thorny subject of frequency.  This has been one of the most criticized and probably misunderstood issues on this subject.  How frequently do you need to update your site?  That depends.  It depends on what kind of product you've published and what sort of expectations your readers have.  Two-way communication is the key here.  Don't say you'll be updating every day and then fall back to once every week or so.  Also, check in with your readers and see what they want from your site and how often they'd like to see new content from you.

#6: Free is your friend. Make your work available in its entirety. If someone is willing to read your 400 page novel on screen, you have found a fan for life.

I don't think I could have said it any better myself.  This is an important concept that we publishers seem to be sloooowly embracing.  Just don't forget that if you signed a traditional publishing agreement you probably need your publisher's permission to post all that great, free content...

Comments

Linas Simonis, PositioningStrategy

Yes, frequency is one of the biggest misunderstandings in blogging.

It seems that the old rule 'You must post frequently' did not work. A CEO's post frequency simply can't be the same as a teenager's post frequency. A CEO simple doesn't have time for that.

This question is one of the main in my new e-book 'The New Rules of Business Blogs'. You can find more deep analysis of this issue in this free e-book, look at www.positioningstrategy.com (sorry for my blatant promotion, but there are whole two chapters dedicated to this).

Second, I totally agree on 'free' issue. Ironically, free sometimes helps to sell more hard books - consider for example Seth Godin.

Book Calendar

I don't know. I think an author website doesn't have to be complicated. A picture of the author, some biographical information, their contact information, and a bit on their latest book is enough for me. I just want to be able to find out what they are writing and whether I would like to read it. Everything else is extra. The extras I might like to see are a video of the author reading. That is about it.

Susan / Whymommy

Really? I suppose I'm surprised to hear a publisher say that free content is good. Surprised, but not disappointed. That's very pomising for those of us now doing much of our reading on blogs and kindles.

Joe Wikert

Hi Susan. Well, I'm not suggesting publishers should just randomly give all their content away, but there's definitely room for "free" in many publishing models. There just has to be a way to monetize the results.

Does that sound like a contradiction? It's not. Chris Anderson did a nice job summarizing this in last month's Wired cover story.

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