As an author website designer I’d say that nearly 50% of my author clients are self-publishing, and for a variety of reasons. When I first started doing this over 12 years ago that number was much lower, but as the ease of self-publishing has increased, along with lots of online advice on how to do it successfully, more people have decided to go that route to becoming a published author.
When I work with an author with a traditional publisher, often there is support from the publishing team including their list of what they’d like to have on the author website, content creation, and coordination of the site launch with book release and other publicity. But this support varies depending on both the publisher and the prominence of the author. When working with a self-published author I tend to work with that person 1:1, and they’re wearing most, if not all of the hats when it comes to coordinating their book launch. I don’t have to tell you THAT IS SO MANY HATS! And what I encounter most frequently is decision fatigue and/or paralysis.
There’s so much advice out there on the “right” way to launch and promote your self-published book, some of it conflicting, that self-published authors either feel like their site has to have everything to succeed, or they’re totally stuck trying to figure out what’s right for them and their project.
So part of what I do with my self-published author website design clients is help them figure out not only what they need on their site, at that moment in time, but more importantly why. All of the content, images, links, and functionality of your site should serve a larger purpose, and that purpose must be more specific than “have a successful book.” When measuring your criteria you need to consider what your audience wants, whether they will be better served with more content or more emotion, where your career is going next in addition to what’s happening right now, and what is actually sustainable for you to manage. The answers to those questions will help determine the site’s design, how much content it has on it and how it is presented, and how you might phase the process of putting it together for your budget, or your sanity!
Maybe you’ll decide you need a super simple landing page for your book that acts as a portal to your book’s life, and your life as an author online. Or, maybe you’ll decide to add resources and stories and services that help further your overall career not just as an author, but as an expert. The important thing is to know why you’re choosing the direction you take.