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Creating Your Author/Book Website: The Why

My forthcoming book, THE WRITER'S GUIDE TO PSYCHOLOGY, now has its own website and blog!

As I've made this journey, I've been sharing the ins and outs with you, so I figured I'd talk a bit about the importance of websites in promoting your book.

I'm going to quote PR THERAPY author Robin Blakely, because she says it so well:

It's mandatory in today's world to have an Internet presence.  Currently, that internet presence must, at a minimum, consist of an e-mail address and a website or landing page.
Why is a website so crucial?  Well, partly because the first thing many of us do when we hear about a product that interests us is go online to find out more. A website dedicated to the author/book in question serves several purposes:

1. It legitimizes the author and the book.

In the social sciences (like psychology), something that has been legitimized has clout and power behind it. It feels somehow more real, more authoritative, than something that has not. Think about the mega-authors, the bestselling authors, the ones who are household names -- they all have websites. It's part of the product that is [insert mega-name author here]. 

In a digital world, especially one in which it's so easy to create a webpage, there's really no excuse for not having a site.

2. It gives you a way to brand yourself.

I've talked about branding on the QueryTracker.net blog, and about how I developed the Archetype Writing brand:
Before we get into [website] content, let’s talk a little bit about design. You need to pick a theme or symbol to represent you. Something that’s unique to your site and your work. In advertising, we call that branding.
I have this really cool pen that my mom got me as a stocking stuffer one year. The barrel is clear, and there’s a little light in there that changes colors. I turned it on, put it on a white sheet of paper and started snapping photographs as it changed colors. That silly little gift, with the light orange, has become my symbol for Archetype Writing. I have it on my site; I have it on my blog. (I also have it on notepaper and my business cards. I'm getting oodles of mileage out of that pen.)
I also used specific colors to go with the Archetype brand --  most notably orange, a color I chose because it is associated with adjectives like energizing, vital, friendly, and fun.  I paired it with black to ground it, since black brings to mind adjectives like bold, strong, powerful, and sober.  In other words -- I was going for a site that is fun to visit, but also includes authoritative information.  (If you're particularly interested in the psychology of color in branding and advertising to help you build your site, I highly, highly recommend the Pantone Guide to Communicating with Color by Leatrice Eiseman.)

Over on my new Writer's Guide to Psychology website, the brand is strongly influenced by my book cover. I decided to carry over the image of the brain, along with the typewriter font and the warm, robust colors, particularly dark red.  If someone has seen the book, I want them to know they've reached the right website the second they see it, and vice versa.

3. It provides interested parties with additional information -- information that you control.

Sites like Amazon.com provide fantastic information on books.  They give us all the details on the publisher, let us browse reviews, and even let us order a copy for ourselves.  But while newer features like Author Central give writers ways to customize their pages and bios, they still can't control a lot of the information published there.

On your website, you can include as much information as you like -- and make sure it's accurate.  You can provide excerpts, tips, and tidbits to really get potential readers intrigued.

So how do you go about creating your own website?  Tune in later this week to find out!

In the meantime...what have I missed? What else does a website do to help a book? And as a writer, do you have your own author or book website?

2 Comments:

  1. Lydia Kang said...
    Thanks for blogging about this! I don't have a website as yet, only my blog, but having a static one will important if I ever get pubbed.
    :)
    Deb Salisbury said...
    Great info! I knew I needed a website, but I worried I'd started too early. Thanks!

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