Sunday, November 22, 2009

An Author's Website = One Purpose: Get People Interested in Your Book

Welcome marketing expert Phyllis Zimbler Miller.
Phyllis is visiting this week to to talk about author websites.

Have you every clicked through to a book author website to find yourself totally confused?  Is the book fiction or nonfiction?  Is it for sale yet or not yet published?  What does that gorgeous sunset picture have to do with a book on the federal justice system?

How many nanoseconds do you think someone who doesn’t know you will stay on the site before clicking away to someone else’s site where no guessing games are required?

And the solution is NOT to just have a book page on a book site along with hundreds of other book authors. If this is the only place to get advice about your book, you may be helping the sale of other books rather than your own.  Why you ask.  Here’s why:

Have you ever wondered what can happen when you tell someone your book is on Amazon or give out the link  The person who has good intentions to buy your book gets to Amazon, gets seduced by something else on offer on the home page, and no sale for you. 

Or the person gets to the home page and can’t remember how to spell your name or your book’s title and, again, no sale for you because, let me tell you from personal experience, the search engine at Amazon is NOT the sharpest tool.

I hope by now I’ve convinced you that you need your own book author website and that you need it to be crystal clear to a first-time visitor what you have on offer.

Let’s look at important elements your book author website needs in order to be a marketing-driven website.  (You do want to SELL your book after all, don’t you?)

But first, in full disclosure mode, I need to state that when my novel "Mrs. Lieutenant" came out in April 2008 I did have a website for it at  Yet the website at that URL now is a new website done by my business partner and younger daughter Yael K. Miller after we started building WordPress websites for clients.

And that experience leads me to my first point:

•    If at all possible, have a book author website that once up you can control yourself and make changes at the drop of a hat.

If you suddenly get a phone call from your local Borders that the store would like you to join an author panel happening in two days’ time, you want to be able to post that information on your website besides doing other publicity (which we’ll discuss in Part II of this post).
Other top points:

•    Collect email addresses at your website so that you can send out update information to your fans (including that Borders author panel).
•    Provide an excerpt of your book – encourage people to sample your wonderful prose or your brilliant business ideas.
•    Provide book group discussion questions.
•    If appropriate, provide a lesson plan for studying your book’s material in high school or college.
•    Have very clear contact information on the site.
•    Last, but certainly not least, have a very clear BUY button. And if the book isn’t available yet, make that very clear also.  (This is when collecting email addresses can enable you to later send out a publication announcement.)

In Part II we’ll discuss marketing methods to get people to your marketing-driven website.

Thanks Phyllis for being so honest about promoting. I'm looking forward to next week's discussion.  

Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is an Internet business consultant whose power marketing website is  

Her company builds book author websites and provides other book marketing services.  

Download now her free report on  
“Power Marketing’s Top 3 Internet Marketing Tips” 
and check out her company’s information package 
"Marketing-Driven Websites” 


  1. Amber --

    Thanks so much for having me as a guest here. I hope your blog readers find this information helpful.


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