Elements of an A+ Author Website: The Buy Button
As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts in this series, the last thing a reader wants to do when they visit an author’s website is do a serious search. A reader doesn’t want to have to think about how to find the information they need. They just want to find it—instantly.
At no point on the author’s website is this more true than when it comes to buy buttons.
If a reader has to search for a way to buy your book, chances are, unless you’re the latest NYT darling, you’ve lost a sale. A reader might—and I do mean might—if they’re really interested in your book, do a simple online search. But only if you’re lucky.
Links to places to purchase your latest book should be clearly displayed on the home page of your website. If you have a splash page before a reader enters your website, include buy buttons there too. A large chunk of the readers coming to your website are looking for your latest book and when they see it and want it, you want them to be able to complete that planned or impulse buy right away.
As a reader, nothing makes me more frustrated than a buy button that takes me to a place I DON’T need. For example, a buy button that takes me to Amazon when I have a Nook is useless.
Is your book available for Kindle or Nook? Make sure there’s a link for that. More and more often, authors are telling us that people are asking them whether their books are available as ebooks. Don’t make the readers wonder. Make it apparent with a button to a link directly in the Kindle or Nook store.
Note: You do not need a link to every place on the web that has your ebook. Include the ones you’re seeing big sales at such as Kindle, Nook, Smashwords and/or your epublisher, if applicable and move on.
Too many buttons and links to buy your book can be as detrimental as not enough, so keep that in mind as you’re adding information. The purpose of buy buttons is to make it easy for the reader to purchase your book, but too many options can make it harder than it needs to be, which can also cause a reader not to buy.
Want to encourage your readers to buy more? Contact the team at Bemis Promotions at email@example.com to find out what we can do to help you.
Elements of an A+ Author Website: Covers, Blurbs and Excerpts
If you talk to book buyers these days, three things, other than recommendations, typically persuade readers to want to buy one book over another. Those things are book covers, book blurbs (otherwise referred to as the back cover copy) and excerpts. All three of these should be found on your website.
Even if a reader has come to your website for something specific, such as information on a specific book, an interesting book cover on a books page or in a booklist can draw their attention to another title or series and may influence them to buy more than one book.
Your latest title, along with the cover and blurb or back cover copy, should always be displayed prominently, preferably on the home page. Most readers coming to your website for specific information will be looking for information on your newest title, so you want to make it easy to find. Information, like the book cover, on your newest title, should be available at least a month or two in advance, if at all possible. If your publisher is heavily promoting your title, you’ll want to make this information available on your website even sooner—preferably six months or more before the publication date.
If I’m a reader coming to your website to look for a book, I don’t want to have to think too much to find what I’m looking for. Links to excerpts, blurbs and your full booklist should be relatively prominent and easy to find, along with any series information. When including a series page, be sure to include information on the order in which the books should be read.
When in doubt, when it comes to excerpts or blurbs, keep it short. Book blurbs or back cover copy should typically be no longer than two or three short paragraphs maximum. Book excerpt length is a little more open to interpretation, but keep in mind people will be reading the excerpt online, where short and sweet tend to win the day.
When you go to an author website, what do you like to see? Chances are, your readers want the same thing.
Have a question? Email the Bemis Promotions crew at firstname.lastname@example.org
Boy Scout Troop 112
Elements of an A+ Author Website: The Booklist
Perhaps the most important part of the author website is the booklist. Your website—more than anywhere else—should be the be-all and end-all resource for your books. This means you need to have a full and complete booklist available on your website at all times.
Sure, sometimes Amazon’s going to get the jump on you and get that pre-order button up earlier than you anticipated. It happens, but overall, if I come to your site, I should be able to easily find everything you’ve ever written under that name or in that genre. Yes, this includes that Comanche romance you wrote in 1985 that you wish you had never released into the world. If I can still find it on Amazon, get it as an ebook or find it in a used bookstore, it should be on the list.
For highest reader satisfaction and usability, a printable booklist should also be available, as well as a separate list for books by series, if applicable.
When NOT to include a book on your booklist:
Example: If you wrote one romance in 1985, and then started writing a gruesome NYT best-selling series about serial killers, you probably don’t need to include the one romance on your booklist.
Example: You currently write inspirational romances, but in your youth, you wrote and published several erotic, science-fiction romances featuring alien babies. You might want to include a section under your bio saying you once wrote sci-fi romances (if you’re using the same name), but you may not want to include the alien babies.
This is becoming less likely as ebooks become more prevalent in the book market, but at this point, it’s still a possibility. If there is no way I can get a book unless I fall through a time portal into the past (i.e. impossible at this time), then you do not need to include the book on your booklist.
Need help getting your website in tip-top shape? Email the Bemis Promotions crew at email@example.com.
Elements of an A+ Author Website: Author Website Must-haves
Unless you’re doing a spectacular promotion on your blog (i.e. giving away an iPad 2), there are three main reasons most people visit an author’s website.
What do these items tell us?
The professional author website is both an informational and a promotional tool for the author. In order to buy your books, readers must be able to obtain full and complete information about your books (including any information on series or continuities), and the easiest way to do this should be through your website. (Sorry, Amazon!)
So, what kind of information do readers want to see? And, what type of information is going to help your reader or potential reader go from “thinking about buying your book” to “bought it”?
For more information on A+ author websites, email the Bemis Promotions crew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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