So I though I'd share a checklist of all the things I'm looking for when I go to a writer's (unpublished or published!) website.
1) Contact Me
This should be noticeable somewhere on the screen as soon as the page loads (above the fold, if you will), with no scrolling or clicking on other pages necessary. If you want to be contacted by media and people who want to give you free publicity, this is not optional.
If you do not handle your own publicity or right negotiations, make sure these contact people are also listed clearly on this page - not at the bottom in 2.5 pt font.
On a side note: It's my personal preference to have an email address versus a contact form, because I can track who I've emailed in my "Sent" folder. ESPECIALLY if your pen name is Jane Doe and the name on your email address is Reignbow Moonblood and you don't mention the discrepancy and I'm like, "I've never heard of you, you crazy person?"
2) Social Media Links
Facebook and Twitter, at the least + anywhere else you want people to find you. They either need to be immediately visible or somewhere that makes sense to a four year old, like on your aforementioned "Contact Me" page, not on your "Writing Inspiration" page. (I wish I was joking.)
3) Your Books
For the love of Godiva almighty, if you have published books, don't make me go on a scavenger hunt to find info about them. As I say to clients, make it as easy as possible for people to give you money. This info should not be (only) in your sidebar or in your About Me page. You should either have an overall "Books" page or a page for each book.
On this/these page(s), you need:
- your cover
- your blurb
- external buy links - this means Amazon and B&N at the very least. I know most of you get higher royalties if we buy from your publisher's website, but you don't get any if we don't buy it at all. We are comfortable with the stores we like and don't trust strange online stores in the age of identity theft.
- if the book is not yet released, clearly indicate the release date!
- optional: the name of your publisher (if it's a selling point)
- optional: one or two short review quotes. NOT pages and pages of quotes.
- optional: a link to the book's goodreads page
- optional: ISBN
- optional: if you have magazine/journal articles you'd like to highlight, the bottom of this page is a good place
The following things aren't what I would consider "necessary," but highly recommended:
4) Some Way to Subscribe to News
Whether it's an option to subscribe to your blog via email or a more official newsletter, make sure people who want to receive updates about your books can easily do so.
Don't do this. I don't know if this means "About Me," or "Contact Me" or "Meet me in person."
On a related note, if you're doing in-person events, make sure to have these somewhere clearly labeled on your site. If you just call it something like "Events" or "Appearances" you can post virtual appearances as well.
That's all I have for now, but I'm sure I'll think of more later today. Probably when I'm in the shower. :-)
If you'd like me to take a look at your author website and provide (very brief, very basic) feedback, feel free to leave your link below!