Traditional book publishers are always on the lookout for the next best seller, whether it’s a topical nonfiction project or the latest Great American Novel. But before they accept a manuscript, book publishers want to know whether the author will also be a good business partner. Web Design Relief knows that publishers have a specific wish list of what key marketing and promotional elements they hope to find on the author website:
What Publishers Look For On Your Author Website
Project-Appropriate Website Design
Publishers will expect a professional website as a given, but they also want to see if you understand what you are selling. Considering color, construct, typography, and imagery: Do the website design elements you’ve chosen accurately reflect the nature, mood, and themes of the books you write?
Clear, Clean Website Design
Does your website load quickly or is it riddled with advertisements? Is the menu easily visible? Is navigation simple and concise? Is there too much text in big, blocks of hard-to-read type? Do the website design elements enhance or detract from ease of navigation? The easier a book publisher can move around your website, the more they’ll like it.
Focused Website Design
A smart author sets a goal for her website, and that goal is projected in a concise call to action on the landing page that leads to some hoped-for final action:
- If the goal of the website is to grow an audience: Does the author include a pop-up box with a call to action to collect emails for a newsletter, subscribers for a blog, or followers on social media?
- If the goal of the website is book sales: Are buy buttons visible, the call to action clear, and the associated blurbs, text, and marketing copy compelling?
Visible Social Proof
Book publishers will note the number and engagement of your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest followers—but they’ll also keep an eye on website-related stats, such as:
- Website traffic measures through Google Analytics, etc.
- Number of newsletter followers and how frequently you put out a newsletter
- Number of blog subscribers and how frequently you blog
- How evergreen your content is
- Engagement in terms of comments, responses, retweets, shares, etc.
A Compelling Author Bio
The goal of an author bio is to engage the reader’s empathy and interest. Along with books, awards, and literary accomplishments, publishers look for author bios that give readers a glimpse of the person behind the writer: candid photos, letters to the reader, an inside look at the origin of your latest story, or even a personal story that connects with the themes of your book.
List Of Professional Contacts
Publishers want authors who know the importance of connections. Bloggers, bookstore owners, speaker’s bureaus, and foreign or subsidiary rights agents interested in your book will go to your website in search of contact information, so be sure to include:
- Links back to the publisher’s website to strengthen the relationship between book, author, and publisher.
- Contact information for your agent.
- Contact info for you or your publicist so bloggers and reviewers can submit requests directly.
- Buy buttons for multiple retailers, because publishers have relationships with all of them and don’t want to see favoritism.
What publishers want to see in an author website is often the same as what your fans and readers want: a site that conveys the theme, mood, and atmosphere of the books—and the personality and individualism of the writer—offers evergreen content, and presents easy ways in which both fans and professionals can contact, engage, and quickly connect.
Question: Is there an element of website design that puts you off, such as sound, video, certain typography, excess of text, etc.?