Category Archives: Design Tips & Tricks

6 Author Website Elements On Publishers’ Wish Lists | Web Design Relief


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.?

Online Marketing Tips For Writers Who Have More Than One Pen Name | Web Design Relief

There are several reasons why an author would use multiple pen names. Perhaps you write in three different genres and don’t want to confuse your separate audiences. Or you are published with a traditional publisher but also self-publish under a different name. Maybe you just want to start fresh. But the experts at Web Design Relief know that having two or more author pseudonyms can complicate your marketing and social media efforts—how do you handle promotion and branding when you have more than one author name?

Marketing Questions To Ask Yourself When You Use Multiple Pen Names

Connect Multiple Pen Names Or Keep Them Separate?

The first question to answer is whether you want people to know that you’re publishing under multiple pen names.

Perhaps you write for young children as well as for more mature audiences. These are two audiences that don’t overlap. Or you might have professional reasons for separating your identities. For years, the romance writer Eloisa James (aka Mary Bly) kept her pseudonym secret from her colleagues at Fordham University, where she taught English literature, fearing the revelation would affect her bid for tenure. These are good reasons to separate your pen names.

But if you believe that some of the readers who adore your YA dystopian fiction will also enjoy your intergalactic hard sci-fi—or if you just want to simplify your marketing and promotion efforts—you can publicly link your author pseudonyms.

A Single Combined Website Or Multiple Author Websites?

If you’ve decided to keep your pen names distinct, you’ll also have to keep your websites separate. That means maintaining an author website for each of your pseudonyms. For this option, there’s additional cost involved in designing and hosting fees, as well as the time it will take to keep multiple websites regularly updated.

However, if you don’t mind linking your pseudonyms, there are many creative ways you can build a single website that accommodates all your pen names:

  • Make your website landing page a portal that gives readers a choice as to which of your names they’re interested in learning more about.
  • Direct the URL for each pen name to one website that links all of your pseudonyms. Check out the website for Jennifer Ashley and Allyson James.
  • If the branding for your pseudonyms is similar, you can simply use separate tabs on the home page to direct readers to each of your pen names.

One Social Media Profile Or Many?

Whether you’re keeping your pseudonyms separate or linking them, you may have to set up separate social media identities for each name to make sure you’re not missing a segment of your audience:

  • Facebook allows you to make as many “author” business pages as you want, as long as you have a Facebook profile.
  • Twitter lets you make as many personas as you have email addresses.
  • Goodreads requires you to create a separate profile for each of your pen names.
  • Instagram also requires you to create a separate profile for each of your pseudonyms.

If you’re wondering if this will double (or triple!) the amount of time you have to spend on social media, you’d be right—if it weren’t for the wonders of social media automation features! Here are some ways you can write your posts on one social media platform and have them automatically posted on other platforms:

Using more than one pen name definitely means a lot more marketing and promotion work for the writer. Fortunately, that drawback is often offset by the creative benefits of writing for multiple pen names or in multiple genres, which keeps your work fresh, vibrant, and exciting.


QUESTION: If you use more than one pen name, how many do you use and why?

Pull Up A Chair: How To Get Author Website Visitors To Stay Awhile | Web Design Relief

Since your author website functions as the hub of your marketing activity, it’s important to focus on branding, design, SEO, and content to improve the website’s visibility and discoverability. Yet, Web Design Relief knows the average bounce rate for an author website is about 56%. That means more than half the visitors who check out your landing page are likely to leave quickly, never getting deep enough into the website to see all you have to offer. So what can you do to get more visitors to stay longer?

How To Ensure Visitors Spend More Time On Your Author Website

Remove Barriers To Frustration

The world is fast-paced and full of distractions, so the smallest irritations can cause a potential visitor to leave. The first step to improving bounce rate is to remove the following common impediments in website design:

  • Auto-activated videos, music, and especially ads
  • Cluttered, chaotic design or excessively minimalist design that causes confusion in navigation
  • Non-mobile responsiveness. Mobile web browsing became more common than desktop browsing in 2016
  • Hard-to-read fonts or text colors that don’t pop against the background
  • A lack of bold headers that clearly identify the author website
  • Big blocks of indigestible text, or multiple blocks of text—the landing page shouldn’t be an info dump!
  • A lack of an enticing call-to-action

Offer Gifts

You may have several goals for your website: build a mailing list, increase the audience for your blog, grow your social media following, and sell your next book. But presenting visitors with a hard sell right on the landing page is a sure way to increase bounce rates.

Draw visitors deeper into your website by offering them, in a clear call to action, something they might want, such as:

  • An exclusive cover reveal for your next book
  • An exclusive first chapter of an upcoming book
  • Gossipy news about a future project
  • An invitation to a contest offering free backlist books or other reader-related gifts
  • A free book for anyone who joins your newsletter or blog subscription list
  • An invitation to peek “behind the scenes” by directing visitors to your blog, bio, or a specific book page

Make An Emotional Connection

Now that you’ve shown generosity to your guests, your job as a writer is to tell them a story that makes an emotional connection. There are many ways you can craft the visuals and text on your website so that potential fans feel like they’re really getting to know you:

  • Add casual, slice-of-life photos to your “About The Author” page to give potential fans a glimpse into what you love and what is important to you
  • Make eye contact: Make sure your author photo looks straight out at the reader
  • Craft your bio like a personal essay, using storytelling techniques to draw the reader into your world
  • Speak to the reader directly with a “Dear Reader” letter on the landing page, news & events page, and/or the contact page
  • Use your blog to open up honestly to your blog subscribers, offering them a glimpse of the person behind the books (without “TMI”!)

Encouraging visitors to navigate through the pages of your website is a great way to turn guests into fans. To lure them back, make sure to follow up with those who sign up for your newsletter with a drip email campaign, and send notices out to those who subscribe to your blog whenever you have a new posting.


Question: What is the primary reason you go to an author website? Read the latest blog article? Get a list of books? See what’s new? Learn more about the author?

7 Author Web Design Tips Just For Memoir Writers | Web Design Relief

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… Continue Reading

The 5 Essential Pages You Need On Your Author Website—Decoded | Web Design Relief

An author website is a central hub for your books and your writing. Here, you’ll reinforce your brand, encourage sales, offer exclusive content, make major announcements, interact with your fans, and build your audience. The tech experts at Web Design Relief know that designing such an important centerpiece can be intimidating. Yet with just five… Continue Reading

6 Web Design No-Nos For Your Author Website | Web Design Relief

At Web Design Relief, we can’t stress this enough: Your author website is your online business card—your online identity for your fans and potential readers. Do you want it to be uniquely “you” and show your personality? Yes. Does that mean you should fill each nook and cranny with colors, special effects, and every thought… Continue Reading

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