November 27

why every writer should have a website

    Maybe you’ve heard the advice before: If you want to succeed as a writer, you need to set up a website and start a blog. Every writer should have a website.

    Have you taken the advice?

    I know it seems like a big step, but it’s inevitable: you’ll need a website and probably a blog to succeed as a writer, even a non-fiction or academic writer.

    Trade publishers prefer new authors who have budding platforms already established – a blog with subscribers, a Facebook page with fans, and a Twitter account with followers – so that when it’s time to promote your book (let’s be honest) the publisher won’t have to invest as much time and money in marketing.

    The writing is on the wall for every other kind of author out there. Non-fiction writers like to think that their audiences are sophisticated and will be loyal to any well-researched book about the Civil War (or whatever your topic is). Academics like to think that they can hide in their ivory tower.

    The truth is that you should be concerned about creating a website for several reasons:

    1) When people hear your name, if they’re remotely interested in you or your message, the first thing they'll do is Google you.

    If you do have a website, you get to craft your introduction to people. They’ll type in your name, click your website, and you get to say, “Hi, my name is ____, and I really care about ____, and here's why you should care, too.” If you don’t have a website, then the impression people have will rely solely on what Google can drag up about you. Go ahead, Google your name and see if anything remotely interesting or illuminating pops up about you.

    2) If you are a published non-fiction author, you’ll turn mild fans into die-hard followers when you give them free, valuable content on a regular basis.

    Imagine that you’re researching a topic for a new book and once a week or so you post a blog topic about some interesting nugget that turned up in your research. If your fans are as interested in the topic as you are, their anticipation of your next book will grow with every blog post. (“He found out what about the Civil War? That’s amazing!”) By the time your book launches, you’ll have a group of on-the-ground marketers, telling their networks about your book.

    3) Even if you publish academic monographs, you will not be immune forever.

    Sure, it’s only trade publishers that want authors to have an online presence… for now… but it's only a matter of time until hiring committees, tenure committees, journal editors, and academic publishers are Googling your name before making life-altering decisions about your future.

    4) Why wouldn’t you want a wider readership?

    If you’re any type of writer, you have a message to share with the world. Otherwise, you wouldn’t bother writing a single word. If your message is worthwhile to even a handful of readers, who’s to say it wouldn’t be worthwhile to a few thousand handfuls of readers? Or more? Take a chance, and try to expand your readership with a website and blog. What’s the worst that could happen?

    What do you think?

    Do you already have a website? If you aren't quite ready to jump into the website pool, why not? If you need recommendations for resources, I have plenty! Leave a comment below, and I can send some links your way.


    You may also like

    Which "Publishing Path" is right for your book?

    There are FOUR different publishing paths for the modern author. Ready to discover which one's right for YOUR book?