Your author website is the hub for your online presence. It’s where literary editors, agents, and readers go to learn more about you and your writing. So it makes sense that you’d like to use your author website to showcase your best work! But how much of your poetry, short stories, or novels should you display? And how can you make the reading experience the best it can possibly be?
Smart Tips For Sharing Your Writing On Your Author Website
Novelists have a lot of material to work with. They also have many good reasons to share excerpts of their work on their websites:
- The first chapter of an upcoming release can be a great tease, whetting readers’ appetites for the completed and encouraging pre-orders.
- Deleted scenes of an already published book can draw avid fans to your website, where you can encourage them to join your mailing list.
- A short book excerpt of a yet-to-be-published novel can keep readers interested and engaged between publication dates.
- A book excerpt from an uncontracted novel may attract the interest of editors and agents when the URL is shared with certain hashtags on social media.
Adding images to the excerpt page to illustrate setting and character, or posting a set list of music that you listened to while writing can offer new, multimedia dimensions to the story.
For Short Story Writers:
A short story writer may want to offer a free story on his or her website in order to:
- Sell a collection of short stories that contains the freebie.
- Attract the attention of editors of literary magazines or agents and editors who may be interested in other works.
- Build a mailing list by attracting lovers of short stories and encouraging them to subscribe.
Rather than post a previously published short story, you might want to show off all previous publications in a hot-linked list to the actual publications.
Poets have to be the most careful of all when it comes to sharing work on their author websites. Here’s how to showcase your poetry wisely:
- Only upload previously published poems, once you get the rights back from the literary journal that licensed them.
- Write new poems to be used exclusively on your website for promotion and marketing purposes.
- Share one poem from your self-published poetry collection to entice people to purchase the whole collection.
And whether you’re posting an excerpt or an entire poem or story, keep in mind this important caveat: The work will be considered previously published by literary journal editors. Removing an original piece from your author website doesn’t always work—old versions of webpages are still visible to a search engine. If an editor finds your “unpublished” poem cached online, you’ll look unprofessional and probably kill your chance at publication.
Don’t publish anything on your author website that you might want to submit to literary journals.
Author Website Design That Offers The Best Reading Experience
People stare at screens all day, so you want to make the online reading experience as pleasant and easy as possible:
- Use a simple, easily legible typeface in a large enough font size.
- Don’t blast black print against a neon yellow background just for contrast’s sake—simple black print against a gentle off-white is boring but often works best.
- Add images if they enhance the text, but use them wisely to avoid making the background distracting or too busy.
- Include lots of paragraph breaks—readers are intimidated by large blocks of print.
Question: How much of your writing do you share on your author website?