Thumbnails from CSS ZEN Garden
When preparing a book for publication for a new author, I start with a website. Why? Because you need a home on the Internet, a presence, a place where you can receive guests. A place for fans to come and get to know you and learn about the other books you’ve written…because there will be more books, right?
At a conference I once sat next to a POD printer. He looked over my website offerings and shook his head. “If I could get half of my authors to understand what you’re selling, they’d sell more books.” Why? Because a website isn’t JUST a flier placed on the Internet bulletin board. A website should work for its upkeep. If you post a blog, it should update your social networks so that people know you’ve posted something. If someone has a question for you, they should be able to contact you from your website — or find the answer to what they’re looking for.
Your website should be a place where you can sell your books, but it should also respond to the unique needs of your audience. If you don’t know what their needs are, you can use the website to interact with them and learn about what they come to you looking for. And if they aren’t coming to you looking for something, then you get to figure out what you have that they SHOULD be coming to you looking for.
I have heard writers say, “but no one comes to my site.” Really? Do you have statistics to prove that? I showed one author that she had 50 visitors a day she didn’t even know where there. Information like that can go a long way to curing writer’s block!
If your site doesn’t give you statistics, then you’re missing out on important data. What page to people spend the most time on? What pages do they tell their friends about? What terms did they enter into the search engine that originally directed them to you? If your website isn’t helping you, then it isn’t doing its job.
I’ve learned a lot watching my website trends. Some of those lessons have been exciting, some depressing. I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. If you’re a writer, you need to start your marketing by making sure your website is working for you and providing both you and your customers with needed information.