Since I am a long time reader, have been a blogger for awhile now and have spent
an obsessive amount some time on the internet, I have seen a lot of author websites. As a blogger, I use them more as a tool to get my reviews ready. Going to them for links, cover art and to see what books are included in a series. As a reader, I use them to stalk future releases and read blog posts. I can’t say how frustrating it is when you go to an author’s website and you can’t find what you are looking for. Or how refreshing it is when you go to a site that is simply set up and has everything you need, in a nice orderly fashion.
I thought we could take a few minutes and talk about what we like and dislike on author sites, both from a reader and blogger perspective.
1. Keep it Simple.
This is more my preference, but I like simple sites. I don’t need the jazzy graphics. Just give me the plain ‘ole facts about the books. I do like that Sherrilyn Kenyon has lots of information about her characters, but she also has a gazillion books out and it helps to keep things straight. So her crazy site is one that I like.
On the other hand, author’s sites need to be updated and easy to read. For example, Rob Thurman’s site is one that is really difficult to read and find information. It is also disappointing when you go to a site for information about a current release, and the 2009 release is still sitting on the front page.
2. Books Listed in Reading Order.
If I read a good book, the very first thing I do is go to the author’s site and see what is planned next. I don’t care if they don’t have a title or release date – I LOVE to know what they have coming up. I think Ann Aguirre does a nice job with this. She simply shows us her series, and then when you click on a cover we are taken to a wonderful information page.
Or, if the book is in the middle of the series, I want to see what I have missed. If there are short stories in anthologies, I like to see where those fit into the reading order too. Yes, OCD runs in my blood ;) Release dates, and blurbs for these books are also a must too!
3. An About/FAQ page
I’m nosey. There I said it. I like to read author’s bios and hear their story to publication. I enjoy getting a little more insight into the people that write my books. This also really helps bloggers when they are doing interviews. The more we know about the authors, the easier it is to ask questions. Links on the About Me page to email, twitter, facebook, etc. are really helpful too!
4. Speaking of Twitter and Facebook….
Being addicted to Twitter, I love it when an author has a Twitter account. Not only can I tweet them (you lucky authors! ;) but I think it helps to have them so accessible. Even if they can’t get on often, when authors tweet tidbits, or contests, or reviews of their books, we are paying attention! I’m not a huge fan of facebook, but I think it is nice to have a page there too.
5. An Author Needs a Website, Not Just a Blog
There are some author’s out there that only have a blog. I love blogs, and I think it is a great way for author’s to network, but if they ONLY have a blog, it makes it hard to get all of the important information out. I see books stuffed over on the sidebar, instead of on a separate page. I’ve even had to scroll through several pages just to find information about an author’s current book.
6. Music and Sound Effects, No Thanks
Again, I like things simple. I don’t need a song to start playing when a page opens or sound effects to go off when I scroll over a link. I’m talking to you Cherry Adair! For one, it loads slower, and sometimes it’s just too cutesy. Seriously, simple is better!! (in my opinion of course :)
7. Big Image of Covers
From a blogging perspective, I need authors to have a large size image of their cover on their site. When I read Money Honey by Susan Sey (which I really enjoyed) the only image on her site of the book was this. It took me a long time to find a regular, “unfancy,” large image.
Sticking with blogging for a minute, Moira Rogers has an entire page just for bloggers. It’s wonderful and I want to have bloggy babies with it.
I have also noticed some authors include their publicist’s name on their site. This makes it easy to request a review and I know I am contacting the correct person.
I love Goodreads – it is the first place I go when I am interested in a book. And as some have pointed out recently, Goodreads gets more ratings/reviews for books than Amazon does. So, for that matter, authors should always have their books listed at Goodreads. I get jittery if I can’t find it on there ;)
From a reading or blogging perspective what do you like and dislike when it comes to author websites?