Author Website Importance For Readers & Writers
Author website importance for readers & writers has never been more evident in the ever-shifting social media platforms, the menacing search engines, and the overall online thicket of a book-verse in the 21st century.
Why is it vital for authors to have a presence online?
Even the world’s greatest authors have written books and new readers wish to find those books, or age-old Constant Readers of Stephen King – for example – wish to read the premise or release dates of those books that they have not read (or reread) yet.
DuckDuckGo is a fickle beast (as are Google and Bing), and we should not have to let the search engine algorithms online determine who sees our body of work and what that body of work is made of (let alone how it is presented).
As an avid reader I look up an author, by name, in a search engine weekly, hell, sometimes daily, to find out which of their books I forgot to read, or to see when their next excellent work will be coming out (will they be signing, please and thank you, and will there be a book tour and readings of unheard words in all their glory).
This can be a difficult endeavor for a reader, as many authors do not yet have a website.
Wikipedia is a great starting point for research, but is littered with inaccuracies and rarely tells the whole story, or in this case stories in all the books and works of an author.
Many writers traverse social media, because we are people, just like everyone else, and many people are on social media (a few billion or thereabouts).
But some social networks are restrictive in what you can see and others that appeared stable beacons for voices (and Tweets) for decades quickly crumble under the weight of heavy-handed corporate-ness, while others bloom and grow so swiftly it is as if they sprouted from dandelions on the wind.
Look your name up and see what you see.
The best thing to happen is for yourname.com to show up at the top and your curated books to appear there as you want them to.
I may seem biased, because I make websites for money, but this revelation really sank in for me as I redid my own author site.
After starting as a journalist for a regular Newsday column at age 20, I was surprised (happily) and mortified (verily) as I looked upon my publications; they amounted to the online version of the stacks of printed out manuscripts sitting in folders haphazardly across my office cabinets and shelves – hundreds, if not thousands, of published works there were, and a lot of work, and yet it dawned on me as to how little I had kept up with my own bibliography over the years.
It was a mess.
And with my memory resembling Swiss cheese, I struggled to track down when exactly my own pieces of writing saw print.
I had an author website, sure, but I also confused readers with two different pages showing my bibliography in a page as one big out-of-order list with no particular theme (and I made the damn thing) and a second page of ‘publications in detail’ that had gotten granular enough to show pictures of newspaper clips from before all the columns at Newsday went online (yes, that did happen 20 years ago), yet failed to capture every one of those hundreds of pieces (and so why did I have that page, at all? – who knows).
And there was no default Writing or Works page, but a kind of gateway to explain there were two pages to show my work; ugh.
I made this? (Never mind, move on, it was a long time ago.)
My site opened onto a gorgeous book trailer for my 2015 novel – wait a second! 2015?! What about my recent 2023 publications?
Well, I could hunt for those.
So I scrapped the whole damn thing and made an author website I am proud of.
It is delightfully simple, elegant, and to the point.
There is one page dedicated to my writing and all of my publications are in numerical order.
Exactly what I wanted and it was way harder to make this than I would have guessed haha.
I love making a website a work of art – and I have some artists I do sites for – and I feel mine captures my personality and most importantly, it highlights my work.
And I even put in some of Sidney Paget’s Sherlock Holmes illustrations to adorn the fringes and make me happy.
The website is pivotal for writers who wish their work to stand on the stage, as they imagine it, not be perused as a short Amazon description spits out; your site, the bookshelf of your books, can have so much more than a press release and a tiny cover image.
I know authors that are on damn-near-every social media platform there is (except for TikTok – I draw the bloody line there, ok?!), which is fantastic; they connect with other writers and artists and with readers.
But finding info on a specific book, its release, its book launch event, and the book tour, as well as the past works and the premise of those works, can be like sifting sand through a screen that is far too big for the grains: impossible.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have one short link in all the social media bios, authorname.com, for readers to turn to?
Remember in the platinum age of the Internet, our attention spans have been reduced to that of a flea’s.
Social media comes and goes and search engine algorithms change as often as you change your underwear.
The solution is right in front of you: a website; hell, some publishers will even make one for you for nothing.
Make it easy and impactful to show your work.
More readers will find your writing when a website is done right.