You’ve got the idea. You’ve got the motivation. And many of you have already got the book. But how, as an author, do you go about telling other people about the published work you’ve slaved so hard to produce, without resorting to selling your house and the clothes off your back to pay for PR?
Well, one method is the DIY website, blog and social media campaign, which can cost you nothing but time and passion, if you play your cards right. Over the next few weeks, I’ll focus on each one in more detail. This week: your author website.
Wherever you are in the writing and publishing process, it might be worth thinking about setting up a website to host information about you and your project; together with a blog, if you so desire. The site gives you the opportunity to develop an online presence, and to build anticipation about your work prior to publication. It also means you have time to polish and perfect your platform, so that when it comes to actually publishing your work, you have a functional, live, manageable website on which you can share your news.
Despite what marketers and web design agencies may tell you, you don’t need to pay through the nose to set up your website. It’s easy to create something for free, by using applications such as WordPress (www.wordpress.com), Weebly (www.weebly.com), and Sitebuilder (www.sitebuilder.com). I set up my site (www.rebeccawhittingtonmedia.com) on WordPress using a free template. To make the site look more professional, I pay £20 a year for my own domain name, rather than an address connected to WordPress, which might be something you want to consider, as it makes searching for, and the promotion of, your work slicker and easier.
The beauty of using an application like WordPress to host your site is that you can add pages and change details whenever you wish. This gives you the flexibility to manage your ‘message’ as your project develops and changes.
In terms of site content, it’s really up to the individual which details to include. I recommend: a homepage that welcomes the viewer and introduces them to your project; an ‘about me’ page – giving details about you and your inspiration; a contact page that allows people to get in touch with you or any affiliated parties; and finally, if it appeals, a blog page that you can use to document your progress, comment on news, share your ideas, and generally provide new content for returning viewers and fans.
A top tip for website construction is to keep it short and simple: research suggests web users rarely read long chunks of text. Instead, keep your page information brief, bright and essential, and think about any images you could use to illustrate the site. Your book cover and head shot of you, as author, should be first in the queue!
Rebecca Whittington is a former newspaper journalist who specialises in media consultancy, media strategy, social media and website management. She is available for media training, writing for the web, and assistance on setting up projects on websites and social media networks. For more information, visit Rebecca’s webpage and blog: www.rebeccawhittingtonmedia.com
Developmental editor and publishing consultant Diane Hall is the author of three books; she has also ghost-written books for others and created a plethora of content, on more subjects than you could care to imagine, for numerous clients since the beginning of her career. She is proud to have fundamentally shaped series of books and more than a hundred individual titles over the last decade with various authors, nationally and internationally.
Among her editing qualifications, she holds a linguistics diploma, which involves the study of language and speech. Diane employs this knowledge in the forensic linguistic work she sometimes undertakes.
Diane has seen the introduction and subsequent rise of self-publishing, and passionately keeps abreast of its disruption of the publishing industry. She is a thought leader when it comes to the future of book marketing, fuelled by the poor results authors see when employing traditional techniques.