Phyllis Zimbler Miller graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from
Michigan State University and worked as a newspaper reporter and
editor in Philadelphia for several years. During that time she
taught newswriting and copyediting courses at Temple University
Center City and took advertising design courses at Philadelphia
College of Art.
After earning an M.B.A. at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, she and her husband moved to Los Angeles, where she later was the founding president of the Los Angeles Chapter of Sisters in Crime. The Jewish holiday book SEASONS FOR CELEBRATION she co-wrote with Rabbi Karen L. Fox came out in 1992 and her novel MRS. LIEUTENANT, a 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semi-finalist, came out in April 2008
I spend a considerable amount of my online time checking out book author websites. And what I found in a very large number of cases is a website that hinders rather than helps the author’s book.
Here then are some of the problems I find:
Splash page that puts an extra click between the potential website visitor and the home page with the important book information (splash pages are no longer “in fashion” and should be eliminated)
Home page that doesn’t clearly state front-and-center
whether the book is fiction or nonfiction and what the book is about
Home page and subsequent pages without a clear BUY THIS BOOK NOW button “above the fold” (before having to scroll down the page)
Not offering a free sample chapter to entice people to read more (in other words, buy the book)
Not collecting email addresses to keep people informed of the author’s new writing developments (email marketing can be very effective for keeping connected with a book author’s fans)
Photo or background art on home page that has
nothing to do with the book and is confusing to the website visitor
All of these problems should be corrected in order to encourage your website visitors to stick around on your website and learn about your book.
In addition, another major problem I find is authors who only have blogs with no websites:
The problem with only using a blog to promote your book is that the nature of blog posts (the newest entry on top) makes it more difficult for a first-time website visitor to grasp what your book is about. A static home page with all the important book information clearly visible is a much better book marketing strategy. And then from the home page a visitor can click to the blog.
Of course, you want to engage in social networking to drive people to your website to sample your writing. And if you accomplish driving visitors to your website, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to immediately understand what you have on offer and to want to sample that offering.
You’ve spent so much time writing, isn’t it worth investing time in making your website an effective salesperson for your work?