Author Archives: Web Design Relief Staff

Genre-Specific Author Website Design Ideas You’ll Want To Steal | Web Design Relief

Your author website is the hub of your online author brand, so it’s important the design elements complement the genre you write in. Website visitors should feel the love if your genre is romance, be spooked if you write horror, sense a different era if your focus is historical fiction, and so on! At Web Design Relief our designers specialize in creating professional, genre-specific author websites, so we know a thing or two (or three or four) about how to effectively convey the sense of a particular genre. Since we’re always on the watch for the latest design trends, here are our favorite genre-specific author website design ideas that are so good—you’ll want to steal them for your own!

The Best Author Website Design Ideas For Specific Genres



Alma Katsu

Prolific horror writer Alma Katsu’s website design submerges her audience in the mysterious, murky depths of the ocean. The dark background colors tie directly into the water-based themes present in her horror novel The Deep, creating an ominous mood while also allowing for great use of contrasting white text.


Andy Davidson

Andy Davidson’s author website showcases the power of simplicity when designing for horror. The high-quality image of a desolate, rural area filling the homepage doesn’t scream horror, but combined with the quirky font, this design implies the horror hidden behind ordinary, everyday life and objects. This decluttered approach is not only functional, but effective.


Science Fiction

Blake Crouch

Science fiction writer Blake Crouch’s author website incorporates popular elements from this genre. With a dark color scheme, glowing text over shadows, and a mysterious light shining through a sinister forest, this website design hits all the right notes with fans of the genre.

Nancy Kress

With a personalized header, elegant headshot, and minimalistic menu bar, Nancy Kress’s website checks every box for a website that excels in professionalism. But she doesn’t abandon the science fiction aspect—DNA strands in her header background create an eye-catching design that also epitomizes an easily recognized trope from the genre.



L.J. Shen

Best-selling author L.J. Shen’s website is a gorgeous example of modern design. Elegant and embellished serif fonts are paired with contemporary sans serifs. She replaces simple buttons with sultry images to direct web visitors through her web pages while also tying into the romance genre. The use of pink accents against the largely black-and-white color scheme gives the website an upscale feminine touch that will appeal directly to her audience.


Giana Darling

Giana Darling’s author website shows the power of a well-designed custom header. With its combination of sensual imagery, smoky textures, and on-trend fonts, the header acts as a great focal point and design piece for this romantic site. Giana spotlights her latest book releases so her visitors can easily find her new content on the front page.

Crime and Thriller

Scott Turow

Scott Turow’s author website establishes the serious tone of his crime fiction with its rigidly neutral color scheme and pops of unforgiving red. Having a gavel as the background image highlights the themes in his work and is a notable icon for the genre as a whole.


Robin Cook

Novelist Robin Cook’s author website embodies the medical thriller genre without being heavy-handed. His header features an artistic take on microscopic cells and a heart rhythm, playing into the pulse-pounding nature of the medical thriller genre he writes in. The book covers all pop, making his website a book-selling machine.



Rebecca Solnit

Feminist writer and historian Rebecca Solnit uses vivid imagery throughout her website to tie into her vast collection of work, including her recent memoir, Recollections of My Nonexistence. Her creative use of a transparent menu bar and text block allows her content to remain readable without interfering with her beautiful images.

Stephanie Danler

Stephanie Danler’s website seamlessly incorporates the cover design of her memoir, Stray. By using the same background and title font as her book’s cover art, she carries a strong brand identity between her website and writing.


Children’s Books

Jessica Hische

Best-selling children’s book author Jessica Hische’s website is colorful and kid-friendly without being overwhelming. Opting for a white background allows the bright colors from her prominently featured cover art to shine. Her website is perfect for both her young audience and their parents.


Vanessa Roeder

Author and illustrator Vanessa Roeder uses her website as both a hub of information and an art portfolio. Her illustrations are featured on the home page for easy access and an artistic touch, while the playful fonts used in her comprehensive menu bar direct visitors to see more of her work.

Historical Fiction

Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon’s author website highlights the historical fiction genre without looking old and dated. With a neutral header and on-trend fonts, she couples modern design elements with the breathtaking, historic imagery found in her works.


Susan Elia MacNeal

Susan Elia MacNeal’s website is both playful and applicable to the historical fiction genre. By swapping out a traditional menu bar with the tabs of folders to act as her navigation, she not only incorporates thematic elements from her work, but transports her audience back in time.

Use Your Favorite Genre Design Elements In Your Author Website

You can pick your favorite author website design ideas from the genre you write in, or choose something totally different that best represents you and your writing style! And if you’re not sure what to do, the tech-savvy experts here at Web Design Relief are ready to help you create a professional, budget-friendly author website. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today!


Question: What is your favorite author website? Why?

How To Focus Your Author Blog To Attract Book-Buying Readers | Web Design Relief

How To Focus Your Author Blog To Attract Book-Buying Readers | Web Design Relief

You may be surprised to learn that the skills needed to be a creative writer aren’t the same as those required to be an effective blogger. Unlike short stories, poetry, novels, or memoirs, an author blog requires some mastery of networking, sharing, and making connections online. The marketing experts at Web Design Relief know being a successful blogger will require both writing interesting content and having a targeted promotional strategy that will keep your audience engaged and sell your books. Here’s how to focus the content of your author blog to best attract book-buying readers and boost your sales.

Smart Ways To Focus Your Author Blog Content

Ask Yourself These 10 Questions:

  • Who is your primary reader?
  • What is your main goal as a blogger?
  • What will be the takeaway value of your author blog?
  • Do you want your blog to be casual and practical or deeply serious and thoughtful?
  • What do you want your blog to look like?
  • What will separate your blog from any other author blog?
  • How often will you post?
  • How will you promote your blog?
  • Will your blog be separate from your author website, and if so, will it have its own name?
  • Do you have your first blog post ready to go?

Create An Editorial Calendar

An editorial calendar will help you stick to your schedule and keep your content frequent and focused, but not repetitive. By posting on your blog consistently, you’ll encourage your audience to visit your website often, where they will also see information about your creative writing and the availability of any books for sale. Learn how to create your own editorial calendar here!

Maintain Your Authenticity

To create blog posts your audience will enjoy, it’s important to find your authentic voice. Readers will sense if your posts sound forced and lose interest if there’s no real meaningful content. And you’ll definitely lose followers if your posts are nothing more than thinly veiled buy my book sales pitches. Ask yourself: What would I want to read about on a blog? The writing process? Living with an author from a pet’s point of view? Grammar tips? That’s what you should write about.

Listen To Your Audience

It’s important to be open to feedback from your audience—you’ll build a stronger following if readers feel they can engage with you and be part of the process. Be sure to enable comments on your blog posts and provide a private messaging system or contact form so readers can reach out to you. You’ll be able to gauge the topics, length, and types of posts based on the comments and response you receive. When your audience feels heard and involved, they’ll be more receptive to buying your book.

Include A Call-To-Action

Once your blog posts have captured your audience’s attention, guide them with strategic calls-to-action to make your blog a powerful networking tool. Encourage readers to follow you on social media, post a comment, check out your events calendar, join your mailing list—and occasionally, to buy your book!

Creating a blog that book-buyers will enjoy reading requires some careful planning and forethought. Fine-tune the format, frequency, and purpose of your blog until you find what works best for you and your readers. With loyal followers, you’ll be able to sell more books! To help get you started, here are 40 blog post ideas for novelists, poets, and creative writers.


Question: Which author blogs do you enjoy reading?

The Right Way To Publish A Short Story On Social Media | Web Design Relief

The Right Way To Publish A Short Story On Social Media | Web Design Relief

If you’re a short story writer who wants to add something new to your publishing options, you might want to consider sharing your work on social media. More and more writers are discovering Twitterature: micro stories that fit within the character limit, or entire novels broken into serialized snippets stretched out over hundreds of tweets. You might also publish a short story or excerpts on Facebook or even Instagram. But be forewarned—the majority of literary editors consider a short story published on social media as previously published, and won’t be interested in republishing rights. That being said, some works published on social media have proven so popular, they’ve been traditionally published as well. At Web Design Relief, we know there’s a right way and a wrong way to publish your short story on social media.

The Right Way To Publish A Short Story On Your Social Media Platforms

Here are a few writers who’ve successfully published work on social media platforms.

David Mitchell, bestselling author of Cloud Atlas: Mitchell once published a short story called “The Right Sort” in a series of 280+ posts on Twitter! The story was published over the course of a week. Mitchell said his publisher gave him the idea.

Jennifer Egan, Pulitzer prizewinner: Egan published an 8,500-word story called “Black Box” on Twitter, posting a new line every minute for an hour each night. She has said she spent about a year writing and revising the story before posting it—it was originally twice as long!

Writers in the We Tell Stories project from Penguin Books: Six Penguin authors used different social media formats to share stories with their readers, including author Toby Litt and his piece “Slice.” This story was broken into a series of blog posts and included tweets from the perspective of the main character and her parents.

Neil Gaiman—and his Twitter followers! Gaiman once worked with BBC Audiobooks to create a short story on Twitter. He tweeted the first line of a fairy tale and then chose the next lines from 124 followers! A fun, interactive publishing format like this is very creative and could win you fans and followers.

How To Become A Social Media Published Writer

Know the pros and cons of social media publishing. Social media publishing is a fun and different way to garner followers and share your writing. But know that online publishing can get a little tricky if you plan to submit the piece to traditional publishers later. The short story you choose to publish on your social media platform should not be something you also hope to submit to literary journals, because most editors have strict rules about not republishing anything that’s already available online. Instead, choose a short story specifically written to be published on social media or your blog, or use a story that’s already been published in a journal and the rights to which have reverted back to you (be sure to acknowledge the first publisher).

Prepare your short story. Some authors prefer to have their entire short story written and edited before they start a series of tweets or posts. This may be the best way to stay organized and ensure your story is proofread and polished. If you don’t want to write the complete story before you start publishing it on Twitter, your blog, or another social media platform, at least have an idea or outline of how the story unfolds so you don’t veer off track.

Get your readers and followers excited! Announce your social media publishing venture to your followers before you start posting or tweeting. Let readers know the start date and when they can expect to see installments. Tease your followers with small snippets or a log line to get them interested!

Optimize your post. Once you start posting installations of your social media piece, be sure to grab attention and attract a wider readership. If you’re using Twitter to publish your story, don’t forget to include the right hashtags like #TwitterFiction and #Twitterature. Consider creating a unique hashtag just for your short story so that readers can easily follow along!

Get started—and stick to a schedule! Staying on schedule is very important to the success of social media publishing. Readers will lose interest and move on if they don’t see the next installment when you promised it would be posted. Decide how far apart you want to post your excerpts—a few hours? A few days? Every week? At what time? Then be sure you note these details on your calendar, or set reminders on your cell phone or computer, so that you never forget to post. If you’re going on vacation, be sure to automate your posting schedule.

Bonuses Of Publishing On Social Media

In addition to being a great creative project, posting Twitterature (or posting on any other social platform) can have a larger impact on your writing career. Do you also want to build your author mailing list? Use some installations of your story to refer people to a sign-up link! Itching to get new followers? Encourage your readers to follow you if they’re enjoying your posts. Want to catch the attention of literary agents? Be sure to follow a few agents, interact with them on social media, and note the hashtags they follow so you can use those when promoting your story.


Question: What social media platform would you publish a story on, and why?

Tweet, Tweet! 20 Fan-Growing Tweet Ideas For Writers | Web Design Relief

Using the social media platform Twitter is a great way for writers to build their audiences and gain fans. But the marketing experts at Web Design Relief know that the key to success on Twitter is to make sure every tweet isn’t a “buy my book” promotional push—you need better tweet ideas! People want to… Continue Reading

The Best Social Media Platforms For Building A Writer Fan Base | Web Design Relief

With the advent of the Internet, it’s become easier for a writer to build a fan base. Information about your work is just a click away for every prospective reader! But with this accessibility comes a tidal wave of options. How do you know which social media platform is best for building your writer fan… Continue Reading

Pen Names And The Internet: 5 Writer Problems—Solved!| Web Design Relief

Many prolific authors use pseudonyms (pen names) in order to write in multiple genres without muddying brands. And some writers with long or difficult-to-pronounce names may opt for shorter, easier-to-remember monikers. Pen names can also be used to build walls between day jobs and writing ventures, or to provide a fresh start if a writer’s… Continue Reading

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