Two Design Tips For Roping In A Commercial Publisher With Your Author Website

Posted on: 8 February 2018

Although self-publishing has become a viable and powerful way for authors to get their books in front of readers, many writers still dream of landing contracts with commercial publishers. If this is your goal, then you absolutely must have an author website, but it's not enough to just throw up a template on your domain name. Here are two things your author website must have if you hope to attract the attention of a commercial publisher.

Proof You Know Your Target Audience

While commercial publishers will promote your work to potential readers in a variety of ways, you can expect to do most of the marketing yourself, especially if you're a new or unknown author. It may seem unfair, but commercial companies don't want to spend too much time or money on authors and books that don't sell well, because that's just more money they stand to lose. Thus, they expect those authors to take on some of the risk and invest in marketing the books as well.

So, when shopping for authors, commercial publishers are going to pay more attention to writers who appear to know their target audiences and how to appeal to them. Therefore, your website should be reader focused and closely match your books' themes and genre.

For example, Kevin Henkes writes children's books, and his website features a family-friendly, easy-to-navigate, whimsical design that appeals to children, parents, and educators—three demographics who would be most interested in buying his books.

Designing your website around your target audience can be challenging, because you need to figure out who you're trying to appeal to and what they like. However, you can find a number of articles online that can help you determine who your audience is. Additionally, a good web designer with experience making sites for authors can be immeasurably helpful here.

Evidence You Have a Readership

Commercial publishers are in the business of selling books, and it will make them much more comfortable taking a chance on you if they know you already have an audience they can sell to and expand upon. Building an audience may seem like you're putting the cart before the horse. However, by showing you already have a group of people interested in what you've written, you're essentially providing proof of concept—that there are people out there who are willing to buy what you're selling.

It's important, then, to build social proof into your site. For instance, display the follower numbers of your social media accounts (e.g., Twitter, Instagram). Have a section dedicated to showing off your books' reviews and awards. Build a blog and encourage people to comment on your posts. Anything that shows you have an active and engaged audience can significantly boost your chances of landing a publisher.

For more tips on designing an author website or to hire a company to help you, contact a web design studio, like REFRESH MARKETING