Don’t have an author website? You need one. Author websites are a necessary part of your author platform because a website provides a way for readers to learn more about your book and connect with you. Readers look to the Internet for information, and if you’re not there, readers won’t be able to find you. (Try Googling yourself. What results pop up?)
While having social media accounts—LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, as a few examples—is important and part of your author platform, your social media presence can never take the place of a website.
“Never” sounds harsh, but it comes down to having a space on the Internet that belongs solely to you. Your Facebook page isn’t yours; it’s Facebook’s. If Facebook wants to make you pay to have your updates shown to your fans, that’s a business decision Facebook has every right to make.
An author website, where you always have an avenue to connect with readers and provide them with information about you and your book, is yours. The majority of your site will be static pages, meaning the information usually stays the same. (And we say “usually” because it’s wise, for example, to update your author bio every now and again to make sure it’s current.)
These static pages should include what people want to know: who you are (author bio), information about your book (about the book), where they can buy your book (purchase links), and how to interact with you (social media links, newsletter, contact page).
Your website can also include a blog, which can be used to update your readers more frequently on what’s going on in your bookish life, what you’re working on, or topics related to your book. Blogging allows you to connect with your readers on a deeper level.
In addition to information on you, readers need to know about your book. Your website may be where potential readers come to decide whether they want to buy a copy. That means you’ll want to include your book cover, back cover copy, links to where your book can be bought online, and possibly even excerpts, as well as reviews of your book.