Category Archives: Blogging Tips For Authors

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?

What Is A Call To Action? And How Does It Work For Writers? | Web Design Relief

When you research ways to market yourself as a writer, you’ll run across experts who talk about creating a strong call to action. But what is a call to action? And what does it mean for creative writers who want to build their reputations and sell books? Let’s take a look.

Web Design Relief Explains How Writers Can Use A Call To Action

A call to action (or CTA) is anything that gives your target audience the opportunity to take an action: sign up for a mailing list, download a digital freebie, follow you on social media, or buy a book (making a sale is also sometimes referred to as “converting,” as in converting a browser to a buyer).

Often a call to action is a clear directive or instruction: Click to buy. Sign up now. Read this today.

Anything you use for marketing should offer a call to action, from author websites, to rack cards, to business cards (click here to learn how to create a call to action on your writer business card). Whenever you offer your website visitor the opportunity to take an action, you’ve created a call to action.

Examples Of Calls To Action That Writers Can Use:

  • Sign up for an email subscriber list
  • Follow me on social media
  • Like/share a page
  • Buy a book
  • Leave a review
  • Tell/forward to a friend
  • Click through to read something else

How To Create A Call To Action That Actually Works

Even though you create a call to action, there’s no guarantee that your website visitor will actually do it. Since Web Design Relief creates websites specifically for writers, let’s look at how a call to action can boost the effectiveness of an author website.

Concentrate on one—and only one—call to action. If you ask too many things of your author website visitors, you’ll overload them with choices—and they’ll leave without taking any action at all. Your website’s job is to make it easy for visitors to take the action you want, so focus on that one action.

Use a pop-up. Visitors claim to hate pop-ups. And yet—pop-ups work. Here are some statistics and examples of pop-ups that create strong calls to action. Pop-ups force your visitors to give attention to the most important action that you want them to take, which makes them more likely to take it.

Incentivize. Giving away a free goodie can help maximize the effectiveness of your call to action. For example, we give away free marketing tips to writers who sign up for our email list. Writers can give away free chapters, the opportunity to win prizes, and other digital freebies.

Strike the right tone. Visitors won’t respond to your call to action if they feel bullied. Use a light touch when creating a call to action, and keep your website copywriting friendly and transparent. No hard sells!


Question: As a writer, what’s the primary call to action of your author website? Leave us a link!


7 Signs That Your Writer Website Will Impress Literary Agents, Editors, And Readers | Web Design Relief

Your author website is the hub of your online identity. It’s the first place curious visitors will check to learn more about you and your writing. Are you sure your author website will make a good impression on literary agents, editors, and—of course—readers? Signs Your Author Website Will make A Good First Impression: Insider Tips… Continue Reading

The Top 5 Problems Of (And Solutions For) Maintaining A Writer’s Blog

One of the most important self-promotion tools available for writers is an author website—and, more specifically, the writer’s blog featured on that website. A blog gives you the opportunity to connect directly with your readership, to contribute to the literary community, and, of course, to promote your writing. But maintaining an effective, interesting blog that… Continue Reading

Doing This One Thing On Your Author Website Could Kill Your Shot At Publication

It can be very tempting for writers to post short works on their author website and other social media platforms. But if you want that poem, essay, or short story to be published in a literary journal or magazine, be warned: Posting it online could kill your shot at publication! Literary journals and agents generally… Continue Reading

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