“We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain.”
These are the words of Stephen Hawking and I’m not one to argue with genius.
As (aspiring) authors and writers we should take these words to heart. If we wish to make money from selling books we need to connect with readers, agents, publishers, and the broader community. In other words, we need to market ourselves online.
Many of us do this via social media which is an incredibly important component of any successful marketing strategy, but it has one major drawback.
When you’re using social media you’re using another organisation’s platform. You have to play by their rules, which can change any time.
The integrity of your brand, and the relationships you create you are, to a certain extent, in the hands of the social media platform. This limits your control over your brand and potentially even your ability to generate revenue.
On the other hand, your website is the one piece of online real estate you truly own and have complete control over.
For this reason, an author website is the single most important online marketing tool you can have, which is why it’s remarkable that many of us don’t have one.
Yet I’m not completely surprised. Over the years I have heard many reasons, most built on misconceptions, for not having an author website.
Let’s take a look at the most common reasons given for not creating a website, and why they don’t need to stop you anymore.
1. I Don’t Need One Yet
Many writers think they don’t need to worry about marketing until they have published a book.
Waiting until you have a book to sell to then create a website is far too late in the game. The earlier you get started, the more time you have to gain followers and develop other key marketing tools such as building a mailing list.
So by the time you are ready to launch your book, you will have an established online presence and a community to sell to.
A well-designed website will also give you credibility when querying agents and publishers, or booksellers.
You may not have a book yet, but you can still tell the world about yourself and your writing.
2. It’s Expensive
A professionally designed website in most cases is likely to yield the best results, but you will need to pay for it.
The cost of a professionally designed website can vary a lot. Some companies are more affordable than others, and it pays to do your research.
Unfortunately, not all of us have the budget to hire a professional website designer, at least not in the beginning.
To eliminate or minimise costs you can build your own website. A good starting point to create a simple website is using a free blogging platform like WordPress.
3. I Don’t Have the Technical Skills
Many writers when starting out, look for DIY marketing options but often avoid tackling a website because they believe it will be beyond their technical abilities.
The good news is that there are plenty of website building platforms available that are easy to use and don’t require any knowledge or use of coding. Many have simple drag and drop design options that anyone can master.
Like any software, once you get the knack of it, it becomes second nature.
So now I’ve cleared all that up, why not join me at my Build Your Author Website in a Day workshop at the Queensland Writers Centre on Saturday 8 June. You will walk away from this workshop with a published author website.
For the last 23 years, Kylie has worked as a Newspaper Journalist & Editor, Corporate Writer, and Marketing & Communication Manager, both in Australia and internationally. She is also a Content Writer, Certified Practising Marketer and Publisher of the business news site injust5.com.