Author Business

Anatomy of an author website, or start with the skeleton

What goes into an author website? What bones does it need in its skeleton? How do you flesh it out and give it life, beside electrifying it like Frankenstein’s monster (which I’ve been tempted to do at times).

All good questions. I’ve had my author website out for a while now, and I’m still trying to figure this out.

I’ve learned a few lessons along the way however. Lesson 1 was just getting the site up and running with a domain name that doesn’t encroach on my day job persona. But there have been other lessons. Like I’m still not a web designer. Like it’s hard keeping up on blog posts that are relevant, interesting to me and maybe engaging to others. Like I still want to hire some teenager to do this all for me.

Until then I’ve been doing it on my own, and I’ve started to get a skeleton that hints at the site I want.

There seem to be some common bones that author sites have.

About the author or the author bio

This is hard. Everyone seems to agree: write your bio in the third person. But it seems unnatural and pretentious. But C. Rene Astle gave it a shot. Even if it makes her want to scratch her eyes out.

However, there are probably some valid reasons for writing it in the 3rd person.

For one, I don’t know about you, but I’m an introvert. However, back in the day, I step up on a stage and play a character no problem. Writing in the third person let’s you pretend you’re writing about someone else.

It also lets you step outside yourself, to see yourself as others see. What about you might others find interesting that you consider ordinary?

I still need to work on this, and flesh out what I write and why I write it.

Your book list

This should be a no-brainer. You should have a place where people can learn about your books, check out the blurb, read samples. Maybe with some review quotes saying how awesome it is…when you actually publish it. For now, I just have the blurb (still waiting on the cover – grrr) and samples.

Include a call to action: buy my book…download my sample…sign up for more. Again, I think this is something that doesn’t come naturally to introverts, but we need to get over it. It works. Note to self – add a call to action.

A blog

This isn’t necessary, and it can be time consuming. Time will tell whether it actually does anything other than let me procrastinate as I blather in the wind. But it can be a nice way for readers to get to know you and your voice a bit better.

A bookshelf

Okay, this is completely optional, and not to be confused with your book list. But it’s something I saw someone else do and thought it was cool – well, maybe not cool exactly. Basically it’s a compilation of your book reviews.

One thing I’ve enjoyed doing is writing book reviews. It gives me an outlet for my opinions (which, as we all know, are right) and I like to believe that thinking critically about what I read makes me a better author – that’s critically as in critique, not critically as in negative.

So I’d like to set up a virtual bookshelf, once I figure out how to do it automagically, but I’m afraid my WordPress mastery is not there yet.

A press kit

Um, a what? Yeah, I’ll let you know when I figure that one out; that’s a whole other lesson I need to learn.

My website is still a work in progress, and I still struggle to find images to use in the blog posts, and I still fight to bend WordPress to my will (since I haven’t yet hired a teenager to do it for me) – it’s getting there.

But I’m sure there is so much that I’m missing. Eep, what am I missing?

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