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Old 05-31-2012, 10:29 AM   #1
morantis
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Author Website

I was just curious how many authors use a small website to promote their works.
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Old 05-31-2012, 11:15 AM   #2
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I post links to my books on my Web site, but I didn't create it specifically for that purpose. It's an old Tripod site that doesn't get a lot of hits, but I like having a page I can link to that has more information about me and my work. And it does come up on Google searches for my name, so I suppose that's at least some advertising, even though it's fairly passive.

That reminds me, I need to update it with my latest books.
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Old 05-31-2012, 02:54 PM   #3
Steven Lyle Jordan
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I've sold more of my novels through my own website than I have through all other bookselling sites combined. If you can manage it, and you like the idea of having ultimate control over your sales, I'd recommend it.
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Old 05-31-2012, 03:06 PM   #4
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My opinion is that this is one of the best ways to build up reader rapport as well as provide important information in one (well organized) place. Don't bother if it isn't well organized, easy to use and up to date. It can be a major turnoff if it isn't those things.

It can be nothing more than a listing of your books, in some order, just like the listing that might appear inside your book. The difference is FIRST that it will be up to date and SECOND you can add, and add, and add other interesting stuff over the years

After the main structure is established you can provide a blog or tweets or whatever and this doesn't have to be so neat.

You can start with an everything is free Website or you can spend $10 to $12 dollars a year for your own domain name leading into the free website.

i.e. Spend $10 or less, especially the first year, each year for the domain name, which leads the interested reader into a free website. My first one was with Yahoo. I am not sure they still do it. It was free. They provided simple tools for free.

Now I use 1and1 and pay over a $100 a year just for the hosting and about $10 each for the domain names after the first one which comes with the hosting. I actually have 4 domain names. Well 5, but one I am getting rid of, though I might add 2 more different ones.

I would recommend 1and1 for getting the domain names. They are first rate, up front, and as cheap as anybody without gimmicks. Yes you might get a better deal somewhere the first year, but then it will cost more afterwards and it can be a pain with some of these sites switching the domain over to another web company.

I have been through 6 domain and web hosting companies. 1and1 is a class act.

The important thing is the domain name. It will be yours forever and any changes in web hosting or publishers, or other things will be no problem. Your readers will just go to: (for example)

"greatesteverbooks.com"
or
"janiesspecialbooks.com"

You can't get lost on the web if you have your own domain name, which you put in everything you publish or write or blog, on your cards, tattooed on your arm, on a yard sign, on the side of your vehicle, on a balloon over your house, wherever.

You establish a Permanent Presence very cheaply. This is a great advantage of the Internet.

Added--
Looking back I see Mr Jordan has brought up selling through your website.
Yes that can be done and for example 1and1 can provide the tools for that as well as what I mentioned earlier.
I would suggest first setting up your domain name, then your website (free or paid) where your books are listed along with the places to purchase them.

Then you can sell on your site. Payment is a little trickier than just providing information but the tools are available from the hosting company for you to apply personally or you can pay to have it done.

There is a deal flavor for every taste.

Last edited by frahse; 05-31-2012 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 06-02-2012, 08:58 AM   #5
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I have one for my series. I built it on my own servers with word press. I however do not sell on my website, and I typically recommend against it. Just make your "buy now" link to Amazon, B&N, or etc. That is a minor point though.

The big thing I would add to what Fashe said is the meta data on your site needs to be done well. Right now if you go to Google it is extremely easy to find my books. If you have book one and want to find out if I wrote anything else you could easily find it in Google via a search on title, author, or series. Word Press makes managing this meta data on your site a piece of cake. I have used Drupal, dotCMS and others and find WordPress is the easiest, IMO.
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Old 06-02-2012, 11:09 AM   #6
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...WordPress is the easiest, IMO.
I agree, WP quite powerful and extremely flexible while still being easy to lean and manage. Those looking for free hosting solutions should check out WordPress.com while those having their own hosting account should check out WordPress.org.

WordPress.org distributes the WP software and a vast array of themes and plugins, all free opensource.
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Old 06-02-2012, 05:27 PM   #7
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I have one for my series. I built it on my own servers with word press. I however do not sell on my website, and I typically recommend against it. Just make your "buy now" link to Amazon, B&N, or etc. That is a minor point though.

The big thing I would add to what Fashe said is the meta data on your site needs to be done well. Right now if you go to Google it is extremely easy to find my books. If you have book one and want to find out if I wrote anything else you could easily find it in Google via a search on title, author, or series. Word Press makes managing this meta data on your site a piece of cake. I have used Drupal, dotCMS and others and find WordPress is the easiest, IMO.
Quote:
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I agree, WP quite powerful and extremely flexible while still being easy to lean and manage. Those looking for free hosting solutions should check out WordPress.com while those having their own hosting account should check out WordPress.org.

WordPress.org distributes the WP software and a vast array of themes and plugins, all free opensource.
Both these gentlemen are correct and you can do a lot yourself. When I started I used Yahoo's free tools and over the years I tried other tools that I came by and one day saw a "previous edition - the last XP version before Vista" Serif PagePlus publisher for $20 which seemed to do everything I wanted very nicely. I currently use that along with 1and1's first level (non monthly payment) tools. I am an engineer though and that is why I did it. I wanted a feel for the technology. I try to be conversant with anything that a client might mention.

You can easily find current free Serif PagePlus packages online along with other companies wares.

What I am really stressing here is that no one need start that way.
The web hosting companies will give you tools and will broadcast your info. If you wish the host will start up your site. You don't have to jump into the online publishing business when you start up. Your time and real effort should be spent WRITING.

But along with your fiction or non fiction writing you should also write all over the place your own personal domain name as a easy invite for anyone to check instantly about your books for sale (on whatever venue) and interesting things about you, the author, that might help cement a sale. This domain name should be on everything you write, "talk" or even "think." It should be in your books (in the front, in the back, on the jacket), on your gift book marks, on your gift pens, on your business cards, on your name tag, at the top of your emails and at the bottom, on your blogs, etc., etc.
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Old 06-02-2012, 05:49 PM   #8
Dara England
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I'm afraid I don't remember to update my website very often but I do have one. I think it's helpful to readers for there to be one central location to find out about an author's new releases, the order a series is meant to be read in, and all that good stuff. It also provides some nice opportunities for interaction with the author, assuming links are provided for FB, Twitter, etc.
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:11 AM   #9
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Yeah, we build websites as a primary business and can kick them out within an hour or less. But a client the other day for one of our "profit" sites was publishing their third book and I asked what the URL was to their site and they said they didn't have one, it kinda came as a surprise to me, but I do forget that some people have a little bit of trouble. For a quick and dirty site is there for nothing but money making, I choose WP all the time. It can literally have a site ready to go in minutes. We just did one last night.
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Old 06-03-2012, 09:13 AM   #10
Steven Lyle Jordan
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I have one for my series. I built it on my own servers with word press. I however do not sell on my website, and I typically recommend against it.
Why? Did you have problems selling on your site? Do you think it's a bad idea? I've never had bad experiences doing it, so I'm just curious about your reasons.
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:08 PM   #11
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Why? Did you have problems selling on your site? Do you think it's a bad idea? I've never had bad experiences doing it, so I'm just curious about your reasons.

I have in the past, and may again in the future. The problem with it is two fold..

1) Most online shoppers these days trust Amazon, and are very willing to give credit cards to Amazon. They are less likely to do the same for me (even if its Paypal, the still see the transaction belonging to the site owner). I find that I get better sales by driving people to Amazon then I ever get on my own site even though I have earned the "Trusted Merchant" and other certifications showing that I was cool and all. So in summary, more people trust big name stores over fly by night authors.

2) Liability risk. By driving the traffic to a major retailer, they assume all liability in the sales. Should something happen where stolen credit cards are used, or people are claiming that they were charged for things they did not authorized, the cost of that falls to the store owner. If that store owner is me, that means I have to foot the bill. If I drove the traffic to Amazon, then Amazon foots that bill. Same holds true for someone hacking my site and intercepting the credit card information. A store like Amazon can handle that (legal costs, reputation hit, etc), I could not.


Those are the main reasons. Others are minor, such as its more work and more overhead which means less time to write and write is what I really want to do.

There are ways to mitigate the work and the risk of course, and I am not saying no one should ever do it. I am just saying that I feel the wiser course is to pass that part on to a store whose primary job it is to sell stuff.
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Old 06-03-2012, 06:12 PM   #12
HistoryWes
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I've kept up my daily blog (mostly about writing) for a little over four years now and maintained links on it to everywhere my books were being sold. Recently I switched over to wordpress and splurged $14 to get the domain name-- wesleyallison.com. I'm still getting it set up just the way I want, but it's been my experience the blog/website is a great way to communicate with readers, especially to let them know what you've got coming up.
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:38 AM   #13
Nancy Fulda
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Websites are also useful because they give strangers a convenient way of getting in touch with you.

Over the past year, I've received about ten commissions, interview requests, and speaking invitations through the contact form on my web site. Some of those people may have taken the trouble to look me up on facebook, but I don't think all of them would have. A web site is an easy, convenient contact point.
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Old 06-04-2012, 01:08 PM   #14
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I find that I get better sales by driving people to Amazon then I ever get on my own site even though I have earned the "Trusted Merchant" and other certifications showing that I was cool and all... By driving the traffic to a major retailer, they assume all liability in the sales. Should something happen where stolen credit cards are used, or people are claiming that they were charged for things they did not authorized, the cost of that falls to the store owner. If that store owner is me, that means I have to foot the bill.
Actually, using PayPal means they handle CCs, so any cost complaints will go through them first. I never see a CC number from a purchaser, so I couldn't possibly access their accounts. And I use software that receives its purchase confirmation from PayPal in order to send the merchandise. That means PayPal is liable for any payment problems, not me. I'm just responsible for delivery.

I've actually driven more sales to my own site than I ever got through Amazon, B&N, Smashwords and its subsidiaries, combined. Partially because I will settle sales and delivery problems a lot faster. And I get more of the profit that way.

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Websites are also useful because they give strangers a convenient way of getting in touch with you...
More than that: You can profile and showcase yourself the way you want to, not the way Amazon's Author Profile Page wants you to do it. You have the freedom to portray yourself entirely as you wish.

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Old 06-04-2012, 03:18 PM   #15
VydorScope
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Actually, using PayPal means they handle CCs, so any cost complaints will go through them first. I never see a CC number from a purchaser, so I couldn't possibly access their accounts. And I use software that receives its purchase confirmation from PayPal in order to send the merchandise. That means PayPal is liable for any payment problems, not me. I'm just responsible for delivery.

Nope, I have been back charged for any complaint that Paypal did not feel like they had to deal with. They pass that cost on to the merchant in my personal experience.

I am glad it is working for you, and you should stick with what works for you. I am happy with passing that risk and over head on to someone else.
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