Monday, February 28, 2011

Author Websites: What Do You Love and Hate?

Like most internet addicted book lovers, I spend a lot of time visiting author websites.

Author websites are important, to both the writer and their fans. These websites give authors a home on the internet - a personal place where they can share all the necessary information about their books. And for fans, this means a place to find accurate information.

As a fan, I find a few key pieces of information necessary to any good author website. 

I need links to your verified accounts. If you are on Twitter, Facebook or any other social media site, I want these link and I want them displayed clearly on the main page of your site. I want to know that person I'm talking to on these sites is really you and not another fan. And I don't want to dig through your site to find this information.

I need a way to contact you. An email address or contact form. If you're way too busy to correspond with fans, at least add a way to contact your PR person or personal assistant. I don't even mind if you ignore my email entirely, but when no contact information is given, I get a little annoyed. It gives off the vibe that you are way too important to talk to your fans. This may even be true, but do you want your fans to think you don't care what they have to say?

I need an up-to-date list of your books. All your books. Preferably in reading order. Sure, I can probably find this information elsewhere but I'm already on your site and you should want me to have that information at my fingertips.

There are also a few things I don't want from author sites.

I don't want a flashy site. Everyone want a beautiful site that reflects their personality or the theme of their books. But if your site needs a progress bar that takes more than 30 seconds to load, I'm out. Seriously. Do not compromise speed for beauty.

I don't want any autoplay music. This is a no brainer. It really is rude. The song may be the key to everything you have ever written, but please don't force me to listen to it. There is a very good chance you either just caused my boss to catch me not working or woke the baby I just managed to finally get to fall asleep. Not cool.

And one personal thing that just rubs me the wrong way.

I want an author photo. I find it bizarre if you don't have a photo posted on your author site. I've dealt with some authors in the past that have a strict no photo anywhere on the internet rule. Um, I mean no offense here, but you are a public figure. What is the deal? Fans like to know what you look like. We're curious that way. I honestly don't care if your the most beautiful person on the planet or if you look like a rabid dog ate your face, but posting nothing makes me wonder what you're hiding. This may just be my personal issue, but it irks me to no end.

What do you love or hate in an author website?

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