Are Author Websites Worth It?

shutterstock_123772771Last week, at the Digital Book World Marketing + Publishing Services Conference & Expo, several marketing executives within publishing houses debated the merits of spending time and effort maintaining an author website. The consensus answer? It’s not worth it.
According to the marketers, it’s easier for authors to develop followings on already established social platforms and they shouldn’t waste much effort maintaining a website. And, besides, they can treat their Amazon or Goodreads author page as their home on the Web.
However, author sites might allow opportunities for collecting reader data and for marketing to both consumers and bookstore owners.
What do you think: Author websites worth it or waste of time?

To get all the ebook and digital publishing news you need every day in your inbox at 8:00 AM, sign up for the DBW Daily today!

The rest of the day’s top news:
Time to Start Ignoring User-Generated Book Reviews? (DBW)
The concept of non-professional book reviews has been tarnished. At this point, it’s unclear how much you can trust them. One DBW blogger has ceased doing so.
Award-Winning Publishing: Wine Simplified (DBW)
What makes an award winning ebook or book app? For Wine Simplified, a winner in January of a Publishing Innovation Award from Digital Book World (now the Digital Book Awards), it started with the approach to the subject matter. Of course, a lot of fantastic design and advanced technology went to the app as well.
Related: Enter the Digital Book Awards to help boost your ebook or app to new levels of success. Enter today – the deadline is October 1!
BISG: New Mission Statement, Priorities (DBW)
The Book Industry Study Group has unveiled a new mission statement and a new list of priorities. Learn more.  Related: BISG and DBW Form Partnership on Higher-Education Publishing Conference in January 2014.
Penguin Random House COO McIntosh on Publisher Success (DBW)
According to newly named Penguin Random House president and chief operating officer Madeline McIntosh, there’s really only one major variable separating hits from flops: the quality of the book. One prominent commenter disagreed – it’s the story, he writes here.

Author: Don’t Buy My Book From Amazon (C|Net)
Author Jaime Clarke has created to try to urge fans to buy his upcoming title directly from his publisher rather than Amazon, saying that Amazon is bad for small publishers.
Competition for Kindle, Kobo, Apple Down Under (The Drum)
Big W, a chain of 178 big-box stores in Australia, is launching its own ebook play, saying that it will offer the lowest prices on ebooks in Australia.
Judge Gives Apple a Break (PW)
In a ruling last week, Judge Denise Cote, who presided over this past summer’s ebook antitrust trial, limited the amount Apple will have to pay the U.S. states – slightly.
The Biggest E-Reader in the World (The Digital Reader)
Well, it’s not the biggest e-reader, per se – just the biggest e-ink screen, and at 19 feet, it’s huge. It’s been installed in the U.N. and delegates and employees will use it learn information about the day, room scheduling and more.


To receive this information in your inbox every morning at 8:00 AM Eastern Time, subscribe to the DBW Daily below.

Image Credit: image via Shutterstock

4 thoughts on “Are Author Websites Worth It?

  1. Pingback: Are you master of your domain? - Tom Stier - Promote Globally

  2. Laura E. Kelly

    Developing followings is one thing. An author website is another and is definitely NOT a waste of time. Here are some reasons that immediately come to mind, and there are many more:

    1. Marketing executives within publishing houses care about selling the current book, they do not care especially about the author’s larger brand. A hub author site can sell past books from other publishers, as well as other products; feature articles, videos, and podcasts by and about the author; get speaking gigs; maintain an events calendar; showcase interests and passions outside the current book that form points of connection with readers; etc.

    2. Google search is still probably the first way people seek out an author online. An author’s page on Amazon and Goodreads may not even come up on the first page of Google, depending on what other entities are saying/linking about the author in recent days. But an author’s website (with the domain being the author’s full name in some form, not just the book’s name) will always come up high in search, especially if there’s activity on it like new reviews or a blog (no matter how lightly used). Notice what else comes up high when Google-searching an author’s name: their Wikipedia page. Many people will click on that Wikipedia page (and only that) just because it’s showing up near the top in search (and their clicks reinforce it staying near the top), so make sure it’s up to date.

    3. As for authors “treating their Amazon or Goodreads author page as their home on the Web” who’s to say all your customers go to Amazon or Goodreads and will even see your author’s page there (those pages are not always obvious)? Also, those author pages are highly formatted to the host site’s specs and don’t necessarily highlight things an author would want to highlight, like a high-profile review or a TV appearance. If, as the publishing marketing execs would have it, Amazon or Goodreads (owned by Amazon) is your main home on the web, what happens when those platforms change their terms or shut down a feature you count on? And who owns the content you put up on that “home”?

    4. Why not create author pages wherever you can? It’s not hard to set up your static Amazon and Goodreads author pages, and if you publish posts on your hub author site the posts can all automatically travel to those outposts, keeping those pages current. It does not work the other way around.

  3. Jeri

    While it’s not necessary anymore for authors to have websites as there are other places on the web readers can stay up-to-date and interact with them, websites do serve as a centralized spot to find the official social network links and news updates.

    With the emergence of new social media outlets and technology, such as, it is now easier than ever for readers to meet, connect and engage with authors face-to-face, regardless of whether or not an author has a website. Social media spreads news of appearances, release dates and other information in real time. This live interaction really does help fill in the gaps and create community engagement, providing a place to meet on the web, sell books and answer audience questions.

  4. Pingback: Are author web pages worth the effort? « eBook Rumors


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *