So You Want to Build an Author Website

I’m a web content junkie and I pride myself on the usefulness of this website and the great comments I’ve received from folks on how easy it is to use. Many of the best parts of this site came from ideas generated by Judy Bobalik’s annual Facebook post about it. Judy reads a ton and has handles programming for several large mystery conventions, so she knows what she’s talking about. That FB post is hard to find though the rest of the year, so with Judy’s permission I’m posting it here for the archives. Feel free to share to anyone who could use it and share your own tips in the comments.

From Judy:

I’ve started my research on authors who are wanting panels for Bouchercon 2016 (we do not start programming until June 2016). This means I have been visiting author websites. Here are my requests (other programmers, readers and bloggers feel free to add if I’ve left something out)

If you’ve hired a publicist and they haven’t told you things, find another publicist. This is not rocket science.

1. Have a website and keep it up-to-date.
2. A brief bio. It’s fine if you have the long bio about how you wrote your first book at 4 but have a brief one also.
3. A downloadable photo (I don’t care about this but I know reviewers do.)
4. A printable booklist with date of publication or series books in order.
5. A brief synopsis of the book. It’s wonderful that so-and-so thought your book was wonderful but blurbs don’t do anything for me. Give me a synopsis.
6. Contact information.
7. And I can’t believe how often I go to a Facebook page of an author and am not able to find a link to their website.
8. Tour dates with either the year or add the day. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at an events lists and thought oh they’re going to be in Chicago next week and then find out it was two years ago.
9. An up-to-date events list.

Bryon here again…This piece from Jane Friedman talks about some of the more detailed elements of building and hosting an author website. It’s full of great information and I highly recommend it. I would also recommend this post from John Scalzi about why every person, writer or otherwise, should have a space on the web to call their own rather than just relying on social media or commercial blogs that own the content you create and can delete it forever with no notice.

This site is currently hosted through 1and1.com and I use WordPress to create and maintain it. I recommend both highly.