Saturday, December 28, 2013

How to Build An Author Website

If anyone heard a long string of creative curse words emanating from the direction of my living room this month, that was not me trying to get on Santa’s naughty list.

That was me trying to learn website building software.

With the calendar about to turn to the year my book launches (hooray!) I was feeling behind the gun on some of my marketing efforts. Chiefly, on my web presence. Most days you’ll find me wasting time, er, “building my author brand”, on Twitter, and just try to pry Tweetdeck from my cold, dead hands. However, I termed my blog “my unblog” for the very reason that I knew I couldn’t be counted on to post witty truths on a regular basis and there is noting I hate more than a sad, neglected blog. Blog: out. On the other hand, a static website where I could show a little of my personality and introduce readers to me alongside my stories, was very definitely in. It just took me a while to figure out what that vision would include.

I started with research. Lots and lots of research. I began by bookmarking the websites of other debut authors to see what sort of information they were including. Next I made a list of twenty authors who wrote in a similar tone or style or for a similar audience to mine. I combed over their sites as well. And then I made a big old master list of all the things I loved about those sites and why. I knew right away that I wanted my site’s tone to reflect my writing style- light, fun, a dash of humor (hopefully).  I also knew right away that while the words should be mine, the design should not be. Unless I wanted to scare readers and, well, I don’t write horror, so…

I enlisted the help of an extremely talented illustrator I found on Etsy and commissioned a custom design from her. She worked with me to find a concept for a home page illustration and headers, as well as a color scheme. My particular challenge to her was to come up with something that would be girly enough to appeal to tween readers (as my first book is a middle grade aimed solidly at chicklets) but also sophisticated enough to sustain an older audience (as I’m hoping to publish a YA novel in the future). The result:

I’m hoping I got it right! I had a little TOO much fun being interviewed by my tween self and I’m especially having fun with plans for my secret hidden bonus page. Hint: click on the hedgehog), though I suspect my future is full of endless tweaks. 

But for now I’d love to know what YOU look for in an author’s website. Do you visit them? If so, are you there to learn more about the book or the author? What type of information do you hope to find there?


  1. Just wanted to say I thought your website looked wonderful - congrats! :o)

  2. What a terrific idea—finding someone on Etsy to do the design. I love it. It looks fantastic. And your teen self interview is only surpassed by the photos! Love it.

  3. What a wonderful website! I really love the way you have incorporated your writing style into the website itself! Best of luck!