An Author Website Checklist

For some publishing projects, it’s unclear who is responsible for what when it comes to marketing.

Should the author or the publisher tweet and publish Facebook posts? Who answers reader emails? And, perhaps most importantly, who runs the author website?

Because many authors are published by several publishers — and many self-publish their own work — an author’s Web presence can be scattered and have many owners, writes publishing expert and Digital Book World 2015 conference chairman Mike Shatzkin.

Unfortunately, who creates, manages and owns an author’s website isn’t an issue that will be resolved for every author any time soon. However, there are certain things that each author should have on her website. Shatzkin offers this checklist:

— List of all the author’s books, listed chronologically and by series

— Landing page for each book, including the cover, a description, reviews, excerpts, links to retail sites and other important metadata that would help readers discover the title and decide to buy

— Contact page so readers can easily send an email and get a response

— Email capture

— Social media buttons, so readers can easily sign up to follow the author on Twitter, etc.

— Calendar with upcoming publication dates and scheduled public appearances

— Page with links to articles and reviews by the author, as well as references to the author on blogs and in the press

In addition to these things on an author website, Shatzkin recommends that authors all should have:

— Up-to-date Amazon author page

— Google Plus page (which is crucial for effective search engine optimization strategy)

— Twitter and Facebook (optional)


5 thoughts on “An Author Website Checklist

  1. Theresa M. Moore

    I have already followed this checklist for years. I am surprised no one else is doing this. However, I have nothing to do with Amazon Author Central, which is actually useless for me. It lists the oldest edition of any book first, which means newer editions do not get seen. Efforts to correct the list had fallen on blind eyes, so when I closed my account I abandoned it. It’s not my problem if Amazon can’t get with the program.

  2. Ernie Zelinski

    Essentially I have only two of these so-called check-list items on my author’s webpage. Yet I have been more successful than 99 percent of authors.

    Here are some important principles with which I operate:

    \If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself,
    tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches.\
    — Rainer Maria Rilke

    \The only way to know anything definitely about success and
    prosperity is to attain them for yourself by yourself — anything
    less is hypothesis, idle talk, and folklore.\
    — from Life’s Secret Handbook

    \Do it badly — but at least do it!\
    — E.Z.

    \It’s better to do a sub-par job on the right project than an excellent job on the wrong project.\
    — Robert J. Ringer

    \Always listen to experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done and why. Then do it.\
    — Robert Heinlein

    At least this article says , \Twitter and Facebook (optional)\.

    I tell authors to forget about Twitter and Facebook altogether insofar as marketing books. There are anywhere between 50 and 100 unique marketing techniques that I have come up with which are much more effective than social media.

    Ernie J. Zelinski
    The Prosperity Guy
    \Helping Adventurous Souls Live Prosperous and Free\
    Author of the Bestseller \How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free\
    (Over 200,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages)
    and the International Bestseller \The Joy of Not Working’
    (Over 275,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)

  3. Ben De Rienzo

    Authors may want to check out as a way to get a great landing page up quickly for a title. Adding retail sites is a breeze and there is an email signup built in. You can mask the domain to look like it belongs on your site. More features are being added all the time.

  4. Heather Townsend

    I wouldn’t discount social media at all. That is old school thinking and if you take that point of view you are likely to miss out on huge opportunities to increase your reach.

    I’d say that twitter is hugely important to connect with journalists.

  5. Joe Wocoski - Word Search Author

    This short list is a good list to remember, thank you very much. Now in response to the one of the comments about the amazon author page … If you really want to sell books on amazon, then keeping up a simple Amazon Author Central page is a key element for your success. In fact, I feel that you need to give your readers every opportunity to purchase your books when ever you can. I made a simple \Go to my amazon Author Page\ button and placed it strategically in the sidebar and have not regretted it.

    Best Wishes!



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