Are you considering building an author website to help promote your memoir? Nonfiction “lifewriters” can take advantage of special strategies to create particularly effective writer websites. Web Design Relief offers the tips—and warnings—you need to create an author website that best promotes your memoir.
Strategies For Creating An Unforgettable Author Website To Promote A Memoir
Speak to your tribe. Who is most likely to read and appreciate your memoir? If your memoir is about battling cancer, or being a preschool teacher, or life as an astronaut— consider how your website might become a resource for the interests that you and your reader share. By creating a website that tells a story that’s bigger than your story alone, you foster positive connections and position yourself as an expert—which can lead to more PR, speaking engagements, and stronger sales.
Let readers hear your voice through your Web copy. If you’re a memoir writer, YOU are your story. Your voice, your perspective, your insights, your triumphs and failures—you are the center of your memoir. The same holds true for your author website. A good author website tells your personal story. Rather than holding readers at arm’s length through formal third-person bios and quoted material, invite readers to get to know you via your “welcome reader” letter, your author blog, and your authentic voice.
Invest in an author headshot that captures your unique personality. Some people will flip to the back cover of a book to take a look at the author even before they start to read. Satisfy the instincts of fans who want to get to know you by posting a well-done publicity portrait that captures the mood of your writing. (Here’s how to do it without blowing your budget!)
Don’t be afraid of giving away too much. Some memoir writers might worry that sharing too much of their own story on their website could detract from the surprise factor of their book. While you don’t want to give away major plot twists, you can only benefit from enticing readers with hints of your amazing true story.
Include photos, videos, or recordings. Your memoir’s website can be a valuable tool for inviting readers deeper into the world of your memoir. Use the back matter of your book (i.e., an afterword) to direct readers to visit your author website to see your private collection of photographs, recordings, articles, and videos. Once visitors are on your author website, use your “call to action” to nudge them to sign up for your author mailing list. By increasing your connectivity, you may increase future sales!
But here’s one major caveat: If living people are featured in your collected media, you might want to ask permission to post and share. Citizens’ “right to privacy” is protected by federal law, and courts have yet to create clear, easily understood rules about just what a person’s right to privacy is. You may be more protected if you get a signature that gives you permission to share.
Nurture dialogue. If you’re writing about a moment in time that others also experienced firsthand (such as growing up in a certain neighborhood in a certain decade), you may find that visitors are eager to share their memories with you. By creating a safe place to share memories, not only will you enjoy other’s perspectives, you’ll also create a stronger emotional sense of connectedness and personal investment—and that can turn book browsers into book buyers.
One Last Thing To Consider When Creating Your Memoir Website…
Writing nonfiction has its share of emotional and legal perils. If you’ve worked very hard to ensure that the text of your book isn’t going to get you into legal hot water, be sure to take the same precautions as you write and design your author website.
If you’re uncertain about whether you’re within your rights to publish your memoir, read this: Creative Nonfiction: How To Stay Out Of Trouble.
Question: What’s the best thing a memoir writer can do when creating an author website?