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Authors Website

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about the Authors Website.
Perhaps you are a new author and have decided to build a website or you have one up and running. There is much advice floating around about website design. Some is very good and some not so much. After seventeen years of working my own website, I have identified five critical website design issues.
You may have additional ideas and I welcome your comments. But here are mine.
The Home Page
This is regarded as the most critical page because this is where your visitors will most likely land. And this is true whether you have one or more home pages.
More than one?
Yes. As an Independent author I am also an independent publisher. Therefore, I have designed my website as a publisher’s site, and every author (all two of us) have their own Home page, plus more.
The Home page is where you want your usual visitors to come to. Therefore, you will have most or all of your marketing linked to that page. If the visitor Google’s your name (author’s name) it should bring the potential customer to your (the author’s) Home page.
Now, as I mentioned our website is actually tied to T&R Independent Books – the publisher of our books. Like other publishers we then have “home” pages for the authors. For this to work the authors need to be:

  1. Identified on the Main Landing page
  2. Be accessible from the Main Landing page
  3. Have their own pages where their books are featured
  4. Author’s Home page should be accessible directly from Internet

On this page (whether site’s home page or author’s) it is always wise to employ good SEO practices. As you build your site you may want to see how well you are doing. I recommend Website Grader, which you can use for free.
The Url
The Url is critical. Put a lot of thought into this. Among the things to consider is whether you are a one book author or you have or will write more books. If you write multiple books, you will want to use your author’s name in your url. The exception would be like a publisher’s site. But even then you want a url that goes to the author page, such as r.-frederick-riddle-books.html. If you are doing your own publishing don’t forget the primary site. Click on the link above to see the full url. You can also give out a bit.ly shortcut.
Most of you will have your own personal site. You might wonder why it has to be your name and not the name of a book. Simple. As you write more books you want people to know your name. People may seek a particular book title, but as your name recognition grows they will seek your name.
The About Page
The About page is very important because you want the visitor to know as much about you as you can reveal. How much you reveal is up to you, but a variety of experts say we should include our bio (of writing career), education, awards (if any), and a peak into your personal life.
Only reveal that which you want people to know. And please don’t include your Social Security Number or other potentially vital information.
The Store Page and/or Book Page
A Store page is very important if you sell on site. I would recommend that you also have a Book page where visitors can learn about your books. If not selling on site, it is important to have links from each book to the site(s) where it is sold.
A Book page should include a Cover photo, a description of the book, important stats (such as publisher, author, title, ISBN, and ASIN) and, of course, the links.
Media Page
Aside from potential buyers, you also want the media (newspapers, radio, television, etc.) to also visit your site. This page is designed to provide them as much information as possible without their having to search the site. Some of the things included is a listing with links of every book you’ve written, a photo of you (a professional photo is recommended), links to any blogs you may have written, links to such things as Press Releases and other marketing sites where you are active.
Contact Page
Even if not selling directly, you need this page. It provides an opportunity for your visitors to talk to you. Perhaps they have questions about you, your books, or even an opportunity for your book to be marketed or turned into a movie.
These are only five ideas, but you might want to also include a Blog page (assuming you write a blog). But the five listed above are absolutes. You need these. Seek expert advice and don’t be afraid to visit other authors websites for ideas. This will combine a visual with the technical advice available all over the web.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship to the Stars I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Insights from World of Shem Part 4

In this issue I will speak on the About the Author page.

Have you placed an About the Author page in the back of your book? You should. You want to let the reader or potential reader know about you and what they can expect if they buy your book.

Sometimes, when I am looking at books to buy at a bookstore or borrow from the library, I look at both the back cover’s bio AND the About the Author page. Why? Because if I am unfamiliar with the author I want to know more information about him or her before I decide on getting it.

So what should you include in the About the Author page?

The first thing you want is a good, quality picture of yourself. I don’t recommend using your Tablet or cell phone. I have used a picture taken by a friend who knew how to take professional grade pictures. And he used a professional camera. It is different than the one on the back cover of my book. It’s more informal. Because I usually go for black and white interiors, the picture is also black and white even though I inserted a color picture.

It is important to remember that there are criteria to be followed regarding any pictures you include within the book’s interior. Create Space has their requirements and other publishing houses have theirs. They may not all be the same, so be sure to find out what is required and what is acceptable. Then make sure you meet them. If you don’t the book may be rejected, requiring you to bring the picture up to snuff.

What about including text?

Generally speaking your picture and text should take up only one page in the back of your book. In my books I only have two brief paragraphs below the picture providing the essential facts about me. These facts include how long I’ve been writing books, the books I have written (if you’ve written lot of books you may want to mention only the series), and my contact information.

The contact information should only be your email address. Unless of course you have a business phone that you’ve made available for them. But as a general rule an email address should be all that is needed. The reason for contact information is twofold: the reader wants it and so do you. (Hearing from a reader, even a disgruntled reader, shows interest.)

Can I put the About the Author page in the front of the book?

The front matter usually includes a title page, copyright page, dedication page, and contents (optional) page. I have also included a Note From the Author page which relates to the book, but I have never included an About the Author page in the Front Matter.

That being said, I don’t know of any rule that says don’t do it. Books that I have purchased sometimes included Other Books By the Author in the front but I don’t recall ever seeing their Bio in the front. So you probably can, but look at other authors and books for examples. And if you don’t find any then maybe you should consider it not a good idea. The choice is yours.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for reviews. Not only for World of Shem (Book Three), but Perished The World That Was (Book One), and World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two). If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review World of Shem.’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.