When I decided to publish my first person POV under a pen name, I was torn between starting a whole new website, or simply adding a page and listing my books on this one. I already knew my way around WordPress (this theme, anyway) and starting another and letting WordPress host my domain would be easy, if I chose to go that route. I don’t pay for an outside host, WordPress takes care of that for me, and I bought both of my domain names through them too. I’ve blogged for seven and a half years, I think, and I have never had a problem logging in, hackers taking over, or spam comments dirtying up my posts. I’ve always been very happy with WordPress and I like being part of the WordPress Reader. I think over the past seven and a half years I’ve found a lot of readers showing up in WordPress community, and that traffic is invaluable.
The main issue for me was keeping my nonfiction and writing community separate from my readers and my books. For a long time I put a graphic of my books and author page at the end of posts, and I realized that my audience isn’t here. You guys come to me for publishing news, indie information, and how-to posts like my how to do a full wrap in Canva instructions. You come here to read about my experiences, and I love sharing them. If I ever sold any books from having them at the end of my blogposts, it was few, and I decided instead of trying to cram two readerships together, I took my graphic down and stopped. It didn’t do anything to my sales, such as they were, and well, I think I made the right choice.
But, readers like somewhere to go, a place to look at your stuff, even if you don’t think they do. So, I decided to put up a website just for my first person books.
One of the first things I realized is that I needed a brand. My books are about Billionaires (kind of. I have a rockstar trilogy coming out at the end of the summer, and they’re rich, but in a different way LOL). Sexy men with gobs of money, wanting, needing, things money can’t buy. I needed graphics, fonts, that would carry across the website, my newsletter, and any other social media posts. Starting my website was a way to put everything I learned from five years of doing it wrong into practice, and I still made a lot of mistakes along the way.
The first thing I did was think about the font for my author name on my books. I got some flack in some feedback groups on FB for using Cinzel Decorative for my name.
This is the cover for the first in my rockstar trilogy I’m playing with. My name will look like this on all my first person POV books. Always. I wanted it to look similar to my name on the third person books, but with a little twist. I may go back to writing in third person. I don’t know. I still sell a few here and there, and I don’t want to completely write that name off.
That was the first thing I had to decide. Next I had to figure out what would denote sophistication, elegance, and money, but also sex as I have open-door sex scenes and I thought I should hint at that. The brand of a billionaire. I chose this photo as a header for my FB reader group page, my FB author page I rebranded instead of starting a new one, and it’s the header for my newsletter sign up landing page. It’s important to be consistent all over the web.
I went through a lot of graphics and I changed a lot of things before settling on him.
The reason why I’m telling you all this is because when you decide to create and pay for a website, it’s more than just putting up a list of your books. It’s part of your marketing strategy. You’re giving your readers a look at what they’re going to be be getting buying and reading your books and signing up for your newsletter.
So, after I got all that up and running, I decided I didn’t want to blog. I wanted to do things differently than what I was doing for my non-fiction part of writing. Instead of blogging, I started a newsletter to reach readers, and it’s a lot easier writing a newsletter once or twice a month than it is thinking about relevant topics for this blog once a week. This is like a journal about my publishing journey, and readers don’t care about that. It’s fun to think of little things to tell my readers about my books, and now that I’ve gotten used to the MailerLite platform, it doesn’t take any time at all to knock out a newsletter and send it off.
My author website doesn’t have much to it. An about me page, how to contact me, my books, and a subscribe link to my newsletter. The only thing I keep up to date is the list of my books, and that doesn’t take much time at all. There are other things I could add, like a list of trigger warnings, or when I have more books published, I could list them by trope. There is always something to add, but for now my website is very simple.
I got the idea to write this blog post is because I wanted to give you some numbers. I don’t promote my website anywhere. I have the link on my Twitter bio (along with this one, too) and my subscribe link is at the back of all my books (www.vmrheault.com/subscribe). You would think I wouldn’t get any views, but I do. You may not believe readers will find you, that a website isn’t relevant, but it readers will find you. They really will.
I started my author website in September of 2021 and I published my first 1st person POV book in June of 2022. I already had a reader magnet written, and I started up my newsletter a few months after I published my website.
In 2021 I only had 33 views:
In 2022 I had 213 views.
So far, this year, I’ve had 266 views.
I don’t use attribution links, so I can’t tell you how many people have bought books using my Books page, but all those views could be readers, and I never would have had them if I hadn’t had a website.
I’ve had 44 newsletter signups that came from my landing page I have connected to my website. That may not seem like much, but that’s 44 people who may not have signed up. Every little bit helps when it comes to building your mailing list.
I call it my No Freebie List because I have a different way to collect email addresses through Bookfunnel when I have a little money to play with to run FB ads to my Bookfunnel link. They are still able to download a copy of my reader magnet–that was just how I differentiated them in my mind.
For as little time as keeping up website updated costs me, I think it is worth it to have one. When you’re building a readership, each reader counts and they want a consistent way to be able to find you. I don’t do much with any of my Facebook pages. Sometimes I’ll take a couple hours and schedule posts for a few weeks in advance, but I’m terrible at keeping those up to date. I like my newsletter for that, because I don’t send it out often, and I don’t have that much to share. I write a lot. That’s where my time goes.
If you’re on the fence about an author website, ask yourself why you wouldn’t want one. Would the lack of views get you down? You do have to write and put the links in the back and not be afraid to share it on social media. I admit, having a reader magnet goes a long way. I’ve given my reader magnet away 1,004 times, and that probably has brought traffic to my website, too. It all works together, and that’s part of your marketing strategy. All the wheels need to turn, and a vehicle stops moving if you have a flat tire. I’m happy with the stats of my website, and I’m glad I put one up.
Do you have any other reasons why you would have an author website? Let me know!
Have a great week!