If you’re lucky enough to be the author of a series of books, there are a few things to keep in mind when building your author website for your series. Here’s what to consider whether you’ve published book one, or the whole series is available:
- What’s the setting & who are the characters? It’s easy to focus on the story of each book, but the story across the books, and who’s involved, is really important for a new audience. Ideally, new readers will not only want to dive into your first book, but all of them, and don’t assume that they know anything about the series. Giving them a jumping off point that helps people understand the themes of the books and how the characters play a part lets new readers get invested before they’ve even read a page. To avoid spoilers you can tease characters that will be introduced in forthcoming books without giving lots of detail, and the same with plot lines.
- Each book gets a dedicated page. While you want to introduce each of the books on the Home page of your website while focusing on the most recent one, each of the books should also have its own page with its own description, its own purchase links, its own reviews and extra materials. And rather than requiring the site visitor to go back up to the site’s navigation to find the other books, link to all of them on each page and indicate the series number for each book.
- Create content that isn’t book-specific. You could share a seasonal short story that takes place between books, or as a preamble. Or you could create a video that celebrates the grandeur of your story, or a photo slideshow of the locations in the books, or a a playlist of music that elicits your stories. Anything that celebrates the totality of your stories that can be shared with existing and new fans alike will have a great shelf life to help you again and again.
- Everyone wants to know the future. If your long-terms fans are on your website, give them something to get excited about. You don’t have to ruin plot lines, but tempting readers by leaving hints and clues about what’s coming next is a sure fire way to keep them hooked on your stories. Think about how excited fans get about upcoming movies in a series — Star Wars is a great example — they salivate over and constantly discuss any hint or leaked detail about what’s coming next, and you can generate that kind of excitement too. You can share upcoming cover art, new characters, or locations to give people something tangible to discuss.
- Your mailing list signup is critical. A mailing list is a wonderful tool to have in your back pocket for any author, but it’s especially important for authors of a series. It allows you to communicate with your audience about the release of each new book, including building momentum ahead of a release, sharing “extra scenes” with fans between books, and sharing stories about the launch of each book as it happens. So incentivize signup and make it front-and-center when people visit your site so that they’re more likely to get on board.
Even if you’re not yet sure whether your first book will become a series, consider these concepts when you’re getting started to set yourself up for success when you get to the point of being ready for the next book.