The second reason readers come to your author website is to find out about the books you write. The first is to get to know you, the author, one of the most intriguing creatures in the world to a reader. I say this as a former book blogger. My website stats showed where readers’ interest lies. My visitors, at least, wanted to know about authors more than their books. This makes sense when you consider the marketing fact that people make purchases from people they know, like, and trust.
Learn how to connect with readers in this “Create an Amazing Author Website” blog series. Go to Is Your Author Website’s About Page Drop-Dead Boring?
‘If you build it, they won’t come.’ It’s tempting to take this common advice as an excuse to build nothing. After all, readers mostly buy books elsewhere, and with time at a premium, why should you spend any of that most-precious commodity putting together book pages or a bookstore that people won’t see? You display all of your books on your author website home page. Isn’t that enough?
Where to Sell Books at Your Author Website
Sad to say, but most visitors won’t see more at your website than the page they landed on. In fact, 55% won’t give you more than 15 seconds. Your website statistics will reveal which page on your website visitors most often land on. (I track this kind of thing with Google analytics.) For most of us, that’s the home page. Given these two pieces of information, it makes sense to display at least some of your books in this location. Many authors use their home pages to draw attention to their most recent releases. This is the approach I take at my Janalyn Voigt website. It’s important to note, however, that my books are not the first thing a visitor sees.
The topmost section of my author website home page includes my image, an offer to join my newsletter, a quote for branding purposes, and an endorsement of me as a writer. There’s also a menu that links to my About page. My most recent releases (and one pending release) in the genres I write and a book menu appear lower on the page. All my genres are usually visible to readers when they first land, but right now I have an image promoting a giveaway for my newest release in that space.
Where I’ve placed information on my home page communicates what I consider most important. Connecting with readers comes first, then sales. Turning this upside down would weaken the opportunity to make all-important connections with readers.
Separate Book Pages
Including your book titles in URLs helps search engines, and the readers who use them, find your website. When readers type your book titles into search engines, you want your own website to come up in the search results above, say, a guest post from you at another site. Only a fraction of those who went to that guest post would click over from the other site to yours. Why does this matter? Because only at your website do you control how much competition readers will find for your books.
By creating separate book pages, you can present readers with larger cover images, in-depth book descriptions, book trailers, and sample chapters. This helps them familiarize themselves with your story and decide whether to purchase, using the links you’ve provided.
We all categorize differently. Some readers want to see everything you’ve written at once, others prefer to search by category, and then there are those interested in series. At my website I bring readers to my books in a variety of ways, and a bookstore is one of them.
My website is a work in progress right now with some of the book pages in need of upgrading, but if you want to see what I’ve done, here are some completed examples.
- As new or pending releases on the Home page.
- In series pages like this one for Montana Gold.
- In separate book pages, like the one for Hills of Nevermore
- Through an author website bookstore.
Final Thoughts from Janalyn
Where should you sell books at your author website, your home page, separate book pages, or in a bookstore? I suggest you employ all three.
At the end of this series, we’ll cover how to build it and have them come. Subscribe to make sure you don’t miss a post.