Updated: Apr 24, 2019
Have you ever tried to visit the online home of one of your favorite authors only to be directed to a social media profile or a Wikipedia page or some generic google search result? You were probably very disappointed, right? Author websites are their virtual homes. It's the place where readers go to find everything they need to know about their favorite book personalities in one place.
And yet, many authors still do not recognize the importance of having a virtual home that is not a Facebook, Amazon, or Twitter page. Here are 5 reasons why I personally believe author pages are important:
1. You Own Your Website: Owning an author website is like owning your own home. Unfortunately, not very many authors understand the value of owning a website, completely mistaking a social media page as a replacement instead of substitute. When you own your website, you also own all its content and what you choose to do or not do with said content.
2. You Control Your Website: Which brings me to control. When you own your own home, you get to control what goes on inside that home. You can paint the walls black if you want to, knock down walls that serve no purpose, leave nail sized holes in the wall, use wallpaper if you want to, and most importantly, you control who comes and goes and what they do while they're in your home. You don't have this level of control with social media. A comment that could damage your reputation could be seen by thousands before it gets your attention. By then the damage has already been done and now you have to clean up.
3. You Are Searchable if You Have a Website: Nothing frustrates and disappoints me more than when I do a Google search for an author that turns up nothing but links to anything but the author's website. If you want to build a central location where readers can find out all they need to know about you and the books you have written, a website is the best way to do that. Here are the websites of a few authors (I was proud to learn that they had informative websites) I have searched in the past:
Danielle Steel (my heart is always happy when I visit her page's library and see the long list of books, dating back to when I first started reading her books as a young girl (STAR).
4. You Can Build a Great Email List: This point speaks for itself. You don't own your followers' personal profiles, but you own your email listing for as long as they remain subscribers.
5. Your Website is Your Virtual Home: This means that you can have everything your readers need to know about you and your books, under one roof. See Elizabeth Rosner's website as an example. The homepage is simple, with links to her books as the main focus. You don't have to good each book separately to find them, they're all linked to right there on the homepage. Then there's her bio, a list of her upcoming events, recent news, and lastly, how to contact her. A quick Google search leads you to her website, which leads you out into the garden where all the other flowers (social media links) can be found.
Hopefully, over time, authors will come to realize the value of having a virtual home that is something of a timeless social presence - one you own, control, and that will not fall victim to the whims of a third party or social media platform. Do you agree that authors should have websites? Agree or disagree in the comments below. Thanks!