The last few months, and especially the last few weeks, before the release of your book are hectic. Reader copies have gone out and you’re starting to hear back. PR is being scheduled. Your publisher (whether it’s you or someone else) has lots of tasks to finalize.
Not to mention that your anxiety levels will naturally rise a bit because it’s a big deal to release a book. Whether you’ve released a book before or not, you’ve been working on it for a long time and you have lots riding on its success. So the last thing you want to be doing when juggling all of that is taking on an ambitious website creation project. Even if you’ve hired an expert to create it for you, you’ll need to dedicate time to that process so that you can be responsive with regard to any questions that come up, make space for the photos and text you’ll need to generate, and also the review process.
In an ideal world, the creation of an author website is something you want to be fully available for, especially when that website has your name on it. You want to schedule adequate time to not only plan for it, but also to execute and launch. If you haven’t done that, don’t worry, just make sure you’re being realistic with yourself as to what you need to do right at this moment.
There is no better time to capitalize on book marketing than in the lead-up to and launch of your book, so if you haven’t left adequate time to build the website of your dreams, you need to be strategic about what you’re going to include now vs later to get your best bang for your time and financial budget. More often than not, the most important elements of an author website for the launch of a new book include the cover image, your best review blurbs, purchase options, author contact info, your social profile links, and a mailing list signup. And you can easily fit all of that on a single-page author website so that it’s out there working for you when you’re busy. The more complicated you make it, the longer it will take to create, and also maintain. So while you may want to add much more content in the future, giving yourself a simple starting point means you won’t waste any work or prohibit changes in the future.
You may find that you never need or want to add more content because you won’t do speaking engagements, interviews, or share articles about your book on your website. It’s true that more established authors, especially those with multiple books, will likely have more comprehensive websites, but they probably didn’t start out that way. At the release of book 2, 3, or 4 they revamped their websites and focused on what works best for them — they became incrementally better along the way.
If you’re also launching a speaking or consulting career along with your new book, you may have plans to share examples of work you’ve done, feature quotes from happy clients, and establish a process for people to book your services, but if you don’t have the time needed to consider the best way to present that on your website along with your book, it might be better to wait to add that content. It could do you a disservice to attempt to promote something half-baked, rather than to ask people to contact you for more information, or to use “coming soon” to carve out space for it for the future.
The best time to work on anything new is not when your back’s against the wall, even if you’ve had success as a procrastinator in the past. It’s when you have the space to be thoughtful and strategic about it, and follow it through to completion so that you can be proud of what you’ve created. So, consider letting go of the more elaborate plan for now so that you can lunch on a solid footing of what’s essential in this moment rather than adding complication to a busy time.