Imagine this: you’re a debut romance author who’s just published your first novel! You’re thrilled to share your story with the world, but you quickly realize that getting readers to discover your book is harder than you thought.

You know you need a website to showcase your work, but where do you start? What elements should you include to attract readers and keep them coming back for more?

As a fiction author myself, I know firsthand how overwhelming it can be to create an author website from scratch. But after years of trial and error (and plenty of research), I’ve discovered that there are a few essential elements that every great author website should have. Here are my top tips for crafting the perfect author website:

  1. A compelling bio
    It may seem a strange place to start, but your author bio is incredibly important. It’s also, most often, the first thing new readers look for when visiting a writer’s website, so it’s important to make a great first impression. Keep your biography short and sweet (just a few paragraphs), and focus on the highlights of your writing career and personal life.
  2. A clear navigation menu
    Thinking about readers finding your website for the first time… don’t make them work hard to find things. Be sure to include a really clear navigation menu on every page of your website. Include links to your bio, your book pages, your blog, and any other relevant pages (like a contact form or a newsletter signup). If you write in multiple genres, consider creating separate pages for each one to keep things organized.
  3. Eye-catching book pages
    Your book pages are the heart of your author website, so make sure they stand out. Include high-quality images of your book covers, along with a brief description of each book and any relevant reviews or praise. If you write romance novels, consider including a few steamy excerpts to entice readers. If you write thrillers, include a few suspenseful snippets to keep readers on the edge of their seats. If you have a book trailer, make sure it is front and centre, ready to draw your new readers in. A picture is worth a thousand words – a video trailer is worth a hundred million!
  4. A regularly updated blog
    A blog is a great way to connect with readers and keep your website fresh and relevant. Share your thoughts on the writing process, post excerpts from your works in progress, or offer advice to aspiring authors in your genre. If you write historical fiction, consider sharing some of the fascinating research you’ve done for your books. If you write young adult novels, create posts that speak directly to your teenage audience.
  5. A newsletter signup form
    Email newsletters are one of the most effective ways to keep readers engaged and informed about your latest releases and events. Include a signup form on your website (preferably on every page) to make it easy for readers to join your list. Offer a freebie (like a short story or a sneak peek of your next book) to incentivize signups.

If you want your website to be the best it can be, check out the websites of existing, successful authors to see how they do it.

For example, one author who I think does a great job with her website is Gillian Flynn (https://gillian-flynn.com/), the bestselling author of “Gone Girl” and other psychological thrillers. Her website has a sleek, modern design that perfectly captures the dark and twisty nature of her books. She includes a compelling bio that highlights her love of all things creepy and mysterious, and her book pages are filled with tantalizing excerpts and glowing reviews from major publications.

Another great example is Leigh Bardugo (https://www.leighbardugo.com/), the author of the very popular “Six of Crows” fantasy series.

Her website is an absolute treasure trove of information for fans, with detailed character bios, maps of her fictional world, and behind-the-scenes glimpses into her writing process. She also has a regularly updated blog sharing her thoughts on everything from writer’s block to the importance of diversity in fiction.

Creating the perfect author website takes time and effort, but having a professional and inviting online presence that showcases your work and connects you with readers is worth it. By following these tips and taking inspiration from successful authors in your genre, you’ll be well on your way to crafting a website that attracts readers and keeps them coming back for more.

Happy website building!

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