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Writers' Websites

How to Create a Website to Promote a Book


If you've ever fallen in love with a book and then gone online to learn more about the author, you know the sense of intimacy a good website can offer. However, a website does far more than connect you with fans: for one thing, it provides the media a vivid sense of your writing and a way to get in touch with you, hopefully with opportunities to speak, give interviews, or write articles. Any place your name turns up as a result will ideally link back to your site, as will your pages on services like LinkedIn and Facebook. The heart of your entire online PR campaign, a website deserves careful consideration.

1. Build the Website.

Despite its importance to your PR campaign, creating a site doesn't have to be expensive. While a number of services exist to design and market writers' websites, you can also set one up yourself. According to Wendy Gardner, of Gardner Publicity, "A number of free website hosts exist today and even provide templates, so it's much easier to design your own website than it was in the past, when you actually had to hire a designer and computer programmer." There's information online, even here at About.com, for those who are up for the DIY route. If you decide to hire a designer, ask friends for referrals, or see who designed sites you like. If possible, choose a service that has experience working with writers.

2. Modify the Site Regularly.

Today's audience expects more updates and more opportunities for interaction than in the past. Stephanie Chandler, author of The Author's Guide to Building an Online Platform and CEO of Authority Publishing, notes that the biggest mistake a writer can make is to set up a site and then never change it. "It's bad for search rankings," she explains, "and you don't give readers a reason to return."

3. Blog

A blog is one way to update your site your regularly, and it also allows you to automatically post to sites like Facebook and Twitter. Gardner explains that "Blogging is a great way to increase visibility for your book, find your audience, meet like-minded peers, and have people find you." Though she warns clients that it's a commitment, she believes that "the idea of a blog might be more daunting than actually having one."

4. Be Creative.

There are many ways to update your website, however. Bring the same creativity you expressed in your book to bear on your site. Chandler reminds writers that this is another a way to differentiate yourself from the herd of other writers out there. "For example," she says, "if your book is set in a Southern state, post interesting stories about the town, or recipes from the region -- something related to the subject of the book." Gardner adds, "You can also post photos and videos to blogs, which makes them more entertaining and keeps the content fresh."

5. Set Boundaries.

Finally, consider how much you want to share with your readers and what level of interaction will feel comfortable to you. Make it somewhat personal, but establish boundaries that will allow you to enjoy the process. After the book is successfully launched, you may decide that it's time to get started on your next project. On the other hand, you may find that you enjoy the chance to communicate with your fans. Your site might provide a welcome respite from the solitude of writing.

Return to "Book Promotion for Creative Writers."

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