by Vivian Zabel
Why a Web Site?
Unless a person is already famous, he needs to build a platform – how as an author he reaches book-buying people or how he plans to do so. One way to promote himself, bring his name in front of the public, is to have a web site. The same is true for illustrators, editors, and/or designers.
Having a solid “platform” is one way a person can prove his books will sell. Many agents and publishers won’t consider offering a contract to someone who hasn’t built a platform before submitting a manuscript. In fact literary agent Rachelle Gardner said, “You really need to show that you are willing and able to put the time and effort into marketing yourself and building a readership online.” If that advice applies to those authors trying to break into major publishing houses, how much more important is it for authors who won't have the backing of one of the "big guys"?
A solid plank in an author’s (or other book creative entities) platform is to have a web site. With the current web site providers who provide professional-looking templates creating a personalized web site isn’t as difficult as in the past. I have several web sites that I, technologically challenged as I am, am able to build and maintain.
Also web sites provide access to a public for little or no cost. According to Merit Web Design, web sites are the Great Equalizer. Anyone can market himself and his book. A web site is a good way to build a customer or reader database.
Other reasons to have a web site include the following:
- Information. A person wants to be sure that correct information can be found somewhere. I have found mistakes on Amazon, as have others.
- Credibility. An author, illustrator, etc. needs to show he takes his work seriously enough to provide an online presence.
- A comfort level of reader interaction. The web site holder controls the amount of interaction, but readers can interact. Readers want to know about authors and illustrators, but they want those authors and illustrators to “temper pride with facts.”
- Promotion, promotion, promotion. Even the famous have web sites to help promote themselves. We, as not so well known people, definitely need promotional aid.
Authors and illustrators for 4RV Publishing are supposed to have a web site. Some, however, have failed to develop one, which hurts their presence in the heavily populated author and illustrator society.
If a person can’t afford a pay-for website, several free services are available, which can be upgraded inexpensively, including purchasing a domain name. The two I have used are http://yola.com and http://weebly.com, and I’ve been pleased with both.
Vivian Zabel, author of Stolen