September 8, 2015
Note From Rochelle
Last week I wrote about taking time on the balcony to dream and plan. That’s what I’m doing this week. I’ll also be taking a day to travel to Chicago and take part in a business-development workshop. So if you email me and don’t get a quick response—that’s why. Don’t worry—I’ll get back to you soon. And when I do, I’ll have even more good stuff to offer you!
Today’s tip talks about something I’m passionate about—helping authors think about creating websites that engage their readers. Take a look at the article and then consider your own website. Are you missing any of these key elements? If you are, you may want to contact me to help you think about how you can make your site more engaging! (Scroll down to the end of the tip to learn how!)
Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach
I frequently invite authors to guest blog at my site or appear at my Write Now! Mastermind class. This fall, I’ll be starting up my Always Write! podcast again—so I’ve been visiting more author websites in search of guests. As I do, I’m often frustrated and disappointed by what I find. Here are three essential elements every author website needs:
1. MIA: Contact information
I usually meet authors through social media and can contact them via Twitter or LinkedIn. But sometimes, I meet authors at conferences. When I get home, I visit their websites to connect with them but guess what? Many of these author websites contain absolutely NO CONTACT INFORMATION. Yup—no way to call, email, text, or connect through social media. Their lack of contact information means that they’re missing opportunities to connect with readers and the media (and presumably editors and agents). I wondered if these were the same authors that whined about their websites not providing any return on their investment (ROI).
PRO TIP: After adding contact information, make sure you respond to fan and media requests! When you ignore the people who want to connect with you, you’re missing a huge opportunity to build reader engagement and connect with new readers. Plus, it makes you look like a jerk.
2. MIA: About you
When I visit a website with a missing or slight “about you” section, I think: Maybe they’re shy. Maybe they’re private people. But then I wonder, Aren’t they qualified to talk about this topic? If you want to build trust with your readers, then sharing information about you is essential. We want to know why you’re qualified to write this book, speak on this information, or help us with our lives. Tell us! Do it in a way that’s appropriate for your audience. So if you’re a comic book writer, make it funny and add pictures. But if you’re an expert on overcoming trauma, then it might be more appropriate to provide your credentials and experience in a more traditional biography statement.
PRO TIP: Offer a separate page for the media with information they can download and use: third-person bios in several lengths, media clips, and several photographs of you.
3. MIA: A way to stay connected
Years ago, I attended a reading by novelist Elizabeth Berg. She passed around a sign-up sheet for her annual newsletter. Once a year, she sent out a letter about her life, her upcoming books and appearances, and a recipe. Many authors today offer readers a chance to sign up for their online newsletter. In exchange for email addresses, they promise to send cool goodies—a free novella or interesting photos from their book research. If you don’t have a sign up form so that your website visitors can stay connected with you, you’re missing a big opportunity to reach your faithful readers with information about speaking gigs and future books.
PRO TIP: After collecting email addresses, connect with readers regularly and share quality information with them! Give them a reason to stay on your list by providing something of value to them.
YOUR TURN: What else do you think an author website needs? Stop by the blog and let me know!