Your Author “About Me” Web Page: What To Include (And What Not To)! | Web Design Relief

Any savvy writer will tell you: An “About Me” page on your author website is an absolute necessity. The “About Me” page is usually one of the first pages new readers will visit, and the first stop for literary editors and agents who are interested in your work. But that doesn’t mean you should dump anything and everything onto your “About Me” page—no agent, editor, or reader wants to know the exact date you got your first haircut. Here are some suggestions from the experts at Web Design Relief on what to include and—just as important—what not to include on your “About Me” page to strengthen your author brand.

What To Include On Your Author “About Me” Page

Your Author Biography

Your author bio is the most important element of your “About Me” page. Writing it might seem challenging, but it doesn’t have to be—as long as you remember to include the basics:

  1. The genre or genres in which you write.
  2. How many books you’ve written and/or where your work has been published.
  3. Professional achievements related to your writing, such as awards, best-seller lists, even blurbs from prominent experts in your field or from fellow writers.
  4. Relevant proof of authority in terms of work experience, education, and other credentials. What makes you uniquely qualified to write what you do?
  5. Writing-related side-hustles, such as whether you’re a journalist, a reviewer, a podcast host, etc.
  6. A writing style that fits with your author brand.
  7. A personal touch, which may include a mention of your family, pets, your work for charity, or whether you have an unusual hobby or a surprising educational degree. The personal touch usually comes at the end of the bio. 

Photo Or Video Introduction

Whether your author publicity photo is an impromptu selfie or a professional portrait, you should have at least one picture of yourself on your “About Me” page. By nature, people respond to and remember faces, which will make you more memorable.

Depending on the genre in which you write, you may also want to consider adding other visuals that are in sync with your author brand. Some ideas include posting pictures of your work space, the setting of your books if you write a series set in the same town, or other writing-related photos that expand the world of your stories or give the reader a deeper sense of who you are as a writer.

Many authors who are comfortable with video embed short videos on their “About Me” pages. They often use these videos to introduce themselves, welcome readers, and invite visitors to browse, join the newsletter, or read an excerpt of their latest books. 

Call-To-Action

Every page of your author website should have a clear call-to-action based on your goal, whether it’s to sell your latest book, sign people up to your newsletter, or direct potential readers to an excerpt on another page of your website.

Since a newsletter is one of the best ways to corral readers, nurture a connection, and ultimately market your future releases, you should make sure to have a “subscribe to my newsletter” button on your “About Me” page.

Social Media Connections

Clickable social media icons provide a subtle invitation for website visitors to join you on one or more platforms. If you’re particularly active on Facebook or Twitter, consider using website plugins to display your recent posts to intrigue your website audience and tempt them to follow you.

What NOT To Include On Your Author “About Me” Page

Personal Contact Info Or TMI

Never include your home address, employment address, or personal phone number anywhere on your “About Me” page. Most importantly, avoid inadvertently including private information that is commonly stolen for identity theft, such as your exact birthdate, your mother’s maiden name, the first street you lived on, where you and your spouse met, your first pet’s name, etc. Sharing some of the details of your life on your “About Me” page is a great way to make connections, but for safety’s sake, be sure to maintain healthy boundaries.

And avoid oversharing. Telling visitors a few interesting tidbits about your life is fine, but don’t drone on for paragraphs about the spelling bee you won in third grade or how old you were when you had your wisdom teeth removed.

 

Question: What kind of information do you look for when you check out an author’s bio?

7 Social Media Scams: Writers Beware! | Web Design Relief

Social media is a great way for writers to build their author platforms and connect with fans, readers, literary agents, and editors. But beware: It also puts your personal information and privacy at risk. A recent survey found that 22% of Internet users reported being hacked at least once.

At Web Design Relief, we understand the importance of following best practices and protecting yourself against common social media scams. Here’s how to stay safe and reduce your odds of becoming a victim.

Common Social Media Scams—Don’t Be Fooled

Profile Hijacking

Profile hijackers take over a victim’s account but keep the profile and images. Then they use the hijacked information to create other accounts. Once the hackers secure a connection with family and friends of the victim, they use scam tactics to try to get money. The hijacker, who is now posing as the hijacked victim, will reach out with fake emergencies that need fast cash. Don’t fall for the scam: I’m on vacation and lost my wallet. Can you wire money or send cash? Another version states: I’m out of town. Can you buy a gift card for my niece’s/nephew’s birthday gift for me? Be suspicious of anyone asking you for money on social media.

Lottery Schemes

Friends, if you receive a notice on social media that you have won a new car, or a diamond ring, or a bag of cash, please investigate before you start celebrating. If you have to pay, it’s not a prize. Lottery scams are becoming more and more cunning each day. What they all have in common is that you are asked to purchase something or send money in order to retrieve your big prize. Be alert. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Here are signs you should run the other way if you have been notified that you are the big winner:

  • You are asked to pay for something
  • You are required to wire money
  • You must first deposit a check that will be sent to you

Catfishing

Catfishing is less about fishing (unless you are fishing for compliments) and more about phony romancing. Catfish create fake online profiles and then seduce victims into fictitious relationships. Once they gain your trust, they work on gaining gifts and your money. Interesting fact: 64% of catfish are women. Don’t get caught by catfish no matter how many shiny lures they wave in front of you!

URL-Shortening Cons

URL shorteners are a convenient way to make a longer URL fit into a limited amount of space. However, they can also mask malicious sites that drop spyware into a user’s computer without the victim ever realizing. If you have concerns about clicking on a link, there are sites such as CheckShortURL that will allow you to see the original link before you click on it.

Chain Messages Hoaxes

Chain mail messages have been around forever—but they’ve never been more dangerous. Though they are no longer written on paper and sent via snail mail, chain mail scams are still prevalent on social media. Cybercriminals threaten that something will happen to users’ data if they don’t forward the message to friends. Or that an account has been cloned and certain steps need to be taken in order to secure it. One of the steps is informing all your friends of this, which ultimately hands over all your contacts to the hacker. Snapchat and Facebook both have been affected by chain-letter scams. Avoid this by immediately deleting any and all chain mail messages.

Online Quizzes

Who doesn’t love an online quiz—they’re harmless and fun, right? Wrong. The Better Business Bureau cautions that many quizzes are designed to mine your computer’s data. Everything from addresses to debit purchases and bank statements. Cybercriminals embed links in quizzes to gain access to personal information stored on your computer. Once these criminals have what they need, they employ other scams such as profile hacking and catfishing to steal your money and/or furtively subscribe you to monthly services billed to your credit card. If you can’t resist a quiz, make sure it comes from a reliable source.

Here’s a fill-in-the-blank quiz for you from Web Design Relief:

If it seems too good to be true, _____ _____.

Money Flipping

Money flipping is not new, but scammers are perfecting new ways to do it. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are notorious for users advertising ways to turn a few hundred dollars into a few thousand. They show the happy faces of investors enjoying their profits while basking in the sun on their yachts. It’s simple: All you do is send a prepaid debit card number and pin to a certain email or number so the investor will have access to load money. But fraud experts warn that the only people making money off this deal are the scammers who collect the information and go shopping.

Especially For Writers: Avoid These Publishing Scams

There are new scams surfacing every day. Writers, in particular, are vulnerable to publishing scams, especially those involved with self-publishing. Some vanity publishers have earned a reputation for charging exorbitant fees. And there are hybrid printers who charge smaller fees but increase royalties to supposedly offset your cost. For book writers pursuing traditional publishing, there are literary agents who might make you think twice about entrusting them with your work. Find out how to spot a bad literary agent.

For more tips on how to stay safe while on social media, check out our guide: Safety Tips for Social-Networking Writers.

 

Question: What social media scams have you encountered?

7 Clever Ways An Author Website Can Grow Your Career | Web Design Relief

Today, having an author website is essential to a writer’s success. If a literary agent, editor, or reader wants to learn more about you, they’ll simply do a quick Internet search. Think about it: Right now, when we type your name into the search bar—what will we find if you don’t have an author website?

At Web Design Relief, we know a well-designed author website is a must-have if you hope to grow your writing career. And here are 7 clever reasons why.

How An Author Website Can Help Meet Your Writing Career Goals

  1. You control your online author persona. You only have one chance to make a great first impression, and with an author website, you control what people see and how they see it. By choosing smart design elements and writing captivating text, you can encourage visitors to learn more about who you are and what you offer as an author. Instead of having an Internet search bring up an old article about your third-place finish in the hot dog eating contest, your literary audience will find your website and read your carefully crafted “About Me” page.
  1. Literary agents and literary journal editors can find you. When a literary agent is considering offering you representation for your book, or when a literary journal editor is thinking about publishing your piece, they may decide to research you online. Having a well-designed and well-maintained author website will show literary agents and editors of literary magazines that you take your writing career seriously. 
  1. It will be easier to cultivate your fan base. Once your author website is up and running, you should use it to build a mailing list! Unlike social media platforms that don’t belong to you, your mailing list is all yours. Use this list to keep your fans apprised of any new publications you have coming out, and let them know about upcoming events where you’ll be appearing. Building a loyal fandom is essential for an author, and having a website will make it that much easier! (Just be sure you don’t accidentally annoy your potential fans.) 
  1. You’ll have a great avenue for self-promotion! Your author website should be the one-stop, go-to hub of all your marketing and promotional efforts. Create a separate page on your author website that features links to your publication credits. Future speaking engagements can be listed on a calendar page. You can also create a “Book Me” page on your website to make it that much easier for organizers to contact you about appearing at their events! 
  1. You can build book sales. Include pages on your author website where you can showcase your books, and feature any positive 4- to 5-star reviews. Be sure to offer a “Buy Now” call-to-action button that links to a site where visitors can purchase your book. You might also consider selling promotional goodies like pins, bookmarks, prints, etc. Your author website will be a great tool for boosting your sales! 
  1. Cross-promoting via social media will boost your website audience. Your author website and social media pages are a win-win cross-promotional opportunity! Encourage visitors to follow you on social media by prominently placing buttons that link to your accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Goodreads, etc.) on all of your website pages. You can even have a feed that shows your latest social media posts right on your website in real time. And be sure to invite your social media followers to check out your author website. By cross-promoting, you’ll help your fan base grow by leaps and bounds.
  1. You can connect with other writers. Through your author website, you can reach out and connect with other writers even if you tend to be a bit introverted (like many writers). You can work together with other authors to host bigger book signings or reading events and introduce each other to your fans, hopefully resulting in new audiences for all of you! You can also use your website to reach nonprofit organizations, restaurants, or bigger corporations that might be interested in featuring you and your writing at an event.

Get Started On Your Author Website Today!

An author website can help create meaningful connections with readers, literary agents, journal editors, and other writers, so don’t wait to launch yours! Web Design Relief offers a range of budget-friendly website options, created by writers for writers. We’ll listen to you and work with you through every step of the design process. And once your website is out in the world, we’ll always be here for any upgrades or troubleshooting. Schedule a consultation today!

 

QUESTION: What’s the biggest benefit you’ve received from having an author website?

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