Monday, August 21, 2023

5 Stunning Author Websites (& What They’ve Done Right)

By Alex J. Coyne

An author website is one of the most important things for a successful career writer. An author’s website is where readers and clients go to read, discover more, and connect with the person behind the site.

If you’ve enjoyed an author or story, their website is usually the next place to go. But have you thought about what visitors will see when they go to your online page?

Good websites tell you more about the author (or story), but also engage the reader to stay on the site longer, comment, or contact the writer. Average websites are a static portfolio, that inspires visitors to click away from it.

Here are some stunning author websites (& what they’ve done right).


The Winning Factor: The Blog

Wil Wheaton is best known as an actor, gamer, and voice-over artist, but he’s also a pretty good writer. His memoirs (Still) Just A Geek has become a bestseller, and he runs a regular blog about his thoughts and life experiences.

The blog posts are worth coming back for. Posts engage readers, making them want to comment or share.

If you have unique stories to share or mastery of a specific niche topic (like gardening or martial arts), there are always readers who may enjoy well-written content.


The Winning Factor: The Interviews

Kathy Reichs is an acclaimed forensic scientist, academic, and fiction author.

The Bones-series, also adapted to screen, introduced Dr. Temperence Brennan; a forensic anthropologist partially based on Reichs herself. Virals, a Y/A series co-written with her son, brings supernatural elements and science together for an entirely different ride.

Her website contains all the important details about books and characters, but also stands out for the collection of past interviews on the site.

An archive of interviews or previous coverage is a great way to keep readers clicking through what’s there.


The Winning Factor: The Merchandise

E.L. James is the author of the 50 Shades-series, which originally began as a fan-fiction based on Twilight. The books aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the series sales figures are enough to make heads turn.

James makes her website work with a section for merchandise.

Merchandise can help to turn a writer’s name or stories into a brand, which can be worth its own separate income.


The Winning Factor: The Story Catalog

Stephen King published his first novel, Carrie, and then just never stopped. King’s horror, mystery, and drama stories have sold enough to build an entire brand - or rather, empire - just around the Works of King.

He’s written enough stories that the website needs an entire catalog to keep track of his published works.

Does your website have a list of samples, markets, or places you’ve published?

Always try your best to keep track of what you’ve published, and where.

Rights are easier to administrate, certain rights can be sold again, and you’ll always know where the right samples are when you need them.

When you don’t keep track, it’s easy to get lost in a labyrinth of your own publications for days to find something specific.


The Winning Factor: The Story Format

If you’ve ever Googled the phrase “manuscript format’, you’ll have likely found the formatting guidelines by William Shunn. Author and editor, Shunn uploaded one of the most useful and standard resources for writers -- and it’s considered an industry standard for the publishing industry.

I wrote my first magazine story with these guidelines, and they’re still relevant today.

If you have something that you think could be useful to other writers, post it on your website. Helpful content always tends to go further!


About the Author: Alex J. Coyne is a journalist, author, and proofreader. His radar is calibrated for all things gothic, gonzo, and weird.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks for pointing those out, Alex!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex x 2 ... thanks for these links ... we all need extra creative ideas. However at least via Wil Wheaton's blog I now have a summary of your American SAG-AFTRA strike ... and note the reference back to the 1960s ... Good Luck - cheers Hilary

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Always good to check out what the best authors are doing with their websites.

Find Meaning in Adversity said...

Absolutely great examples of what a writer's webpage can be and do. I just discovered your blog and I will definitely be commenting more and I look forward to reading more of your work.

Personally I use my weekly newsletter called "Find Meaning in Adversity" as my writer's homepage, but after viewing these excellent examples I think I may start a centralized author webpage.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Definitely some things to think about!