Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Writer Wednesday: Every Author Needs a Website...Who Says? Elaine Cantrell That's Who

 Please welcome fellow Astraea Press author Elaine Cantrell author of A New Dream

Every author needs a website. In today’s information age, people expect to find anything and everything on the internet, so it’s crazy not to have one, especially if you’re an ebook author. You can hire any number of professionals to make one for you, or you can plug in the keywords ‘free websites’ and take your pick from a huge number of free websites. I’ve had a website ever since I started writing, and these are the elements I think should be included.

1.Basic information about the author. I have one section on my website called How It All Began. There I give information about me and why I started writing. Watch that you don’t get too personal, though. Things float around on the internet forever and could come back to bite you.

2.Blurbs. Readers need to be able to read the back cover blurb just as they would if they went into a brick and mortar bookstore.

3.Excerpts. Would you buy a book in a store without first flipping through it? Excerpts can vary in length, but I’d do no more than a chapter at most.

3.Buy links. Without buy links you may lose a sale.

4.Book Covers. I have a page for each book, and I also have them all displayed on the first page.

5.Newsletter Sign up. This is something that should be easy to do, preferably on the front page.

6.Blog Link. Have a predominately displayed link that will take readers to your blog.

7.Photos. I’d suggest only photos of the author at conferences, book signings, etc. That being said, some readers love pet photos. When I posted pictures of my cat in my newsletter everyone loved it.

8.Authors Favorite links. I think this is a good idea, but I don’t have it on my own website. I posted links on my blog.

9.Book Trailers. They can be posted on the website or you can give a link so people can go to You Tube or wherever you have it.

10.Coming Soon. I like to know when my favorite author’s new book is coming out.

There are two things that I hate when I visit other websites.

1.Music that plays automatically. I click out as quickly as I can.

2.Pages that are too busy. If it’s too confusing I won’t waste time trying to figure it out.

Not being a website designer myself, I’ve probably left out something important. Authors and readers, help me out. What do you think a website needs?

I agree with all these wonderful ideas Elaine. I also think that a blog can function as a website for an author quite well. I use mine and so far it's worked beautifully. Thanks again Elaine. Check out Elaine's A New Dream cover and blurb at the bottom

After an auto accident destroys his pro-football career, Matt McCallum struggles to find a new dream for his life, but nothing engages him the way football did. After a stint in rehab, he takes a job managing a grocery store where he meets Violet Emerson.
Violet works in the bakery department, but her dreams carry her far beyond the doors of Chef’s Pantry. As soon as she can save the money, she plans to open a catering business. And she thinks the new manager’s broad shoulders and blue eyes are simply divine.
Thrown together at work, Matt and Violet find a common dream for their lives, but a loose end from Matt’s past returns to jeopardize their future. Will love be enough to save their new dream before it turns into a nightmare?


  1. Elaine, I cracked up when I got to the part about the music. I'm the same way. What might seem tasteful or exciting to us could be grating and intolerable to another. And you have to consider that not everyone has a brand new, state-of-the-art computer. The more fancy and high-tech the website, the more drain on a computer and if someone hits on your site with an older compy, you don't want to risk them hanging up and getting frustrated.

  2. I have high speed internet, state of the art computer equipment and I'm slightly techy however the music one's drive me crazy too.

  3. I don't know of one person who likes music to play automatically. I have one blog about retro decorating that i really like, but the last time I visited the music started. I haven't been back since.

  4. It's important to note that if you're building an author website you should have a decent knowledge of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Meta Data. If you want to be found you can't just create a site and hope that people will find it. It takes a conscious effort to make sure you are found.
    Things people absolutely hate (and Search Engines):
    -Long Load times
    -Cliched sites (how many goth vamp sites can there be?) There are more colors than Black and Blue too!
    -Terrible Navigation -You may have called you 'about' a clever name but it only ticks off your audience if they can't figure it out. It should always be easy to get around, never more than 2 clicks from the homepage.

    That said, it's actually possible to turn a blog into a website. You can add static pages, navigation and more. The bog acts as a CMS even with analytics installed. Very useful.

  5. Dang Phil way to add some more layers. Thanks for coming hun always great comments

  6. I's still working on that SEO thing. I did what Bri said for us to do and listed my website at wherever she told us to list it, but that's all I've done. Sigh. So much to learn.

  7. I agree with you about the music thing. Its aweful to go on a web site and have some music blast you. How ever i do think that there should be a box that one could click on to hear some music if they want to. I think readers would like to hear a little of the music that inspires you, but only if they want to.