If I had to give one single piece of advice to a writer who’s finished her first book and is wondering where to start in terms of building her platform?
Build a website. I know a lot of new authors (especially self-published ones) skip this step and rely on their Facebook/Instagram or Amazon page, and they do just fine. But I truly believe that if you want to grow, to build a career, and to be seen as a professional, you’ll eventually need a website. And the sooner the better.
It doesn’t have to be fancy, and you’d be surprised by just how few pages you can get away with to start!
A homepage is the main page, the landing page where upon someone typing in your URL/domain name will be taken to. What your homepage features is up to you! Most authors tend to feature their newest/upcoming release, but if you’re a new writer and don’t yet have a finished manuscript but still want to establish yourself as a seriously writer, you can make the homepage be about you. For example, you could post your headshot and a short bio, or if that’s uncomfortable, you could create a tagline for your writing and some sort of branded images (sexy stock photo, beach scene, flower, heart, whatever feels like it fits your style).
In other words, the homepage is your visitor and potential reader’s first impression of you. What do you want them to see?
At a minimum, your About page should have your bio and a headshot (if you’re really opposed to showing your face, a branded image or logo that you use consistently can work). If you’ve got the time and inclination, this is also a great spot to share more about your story, fun-facts, behind-the-scenes, etc. Never underestimate people’s desire to learn more about writers!
Give people a way to get in touch! This should include an email address (you never know when your local newspaper or news station will be wanting to do a feature on local writers), as well as any social media networks you want to direct people to.
Create a page and name it Books. This will be your books “main page,” a catalog, so to speak of all your books. Note that if you only have one book, you can put all your info about your book on the page (buy links, description, cover, etc) if you want to, but I don’t recommend it. Instead, I suggest that the book page contain only the covers to your book (and perhaps series name, if applicable), that then links to a seeperate individual book page for each book. Keep in mind that as you write more and more books, putting all information about all books onto one page simply won’t be feasible. You’ll want to give people a way to browse your books, and then click on the ones they want to know more about.
Which leads me to the fifth and final page your website will need:
05. Individual Book Page (the page name should be your book title)
You will need to create a page for each book you’ve written (so while I’m calling the fifth page you’ll need to create, you’ll actually need to create more than five total pages if you’ve written more than one book!) Why is this so important? Well, for starters, as mentioned above, as you write more and more books, it won’t be feasible to keep all the information for all the books on one page. But the main reason you want to create an individual book page is for linking purposes. When prompoting your book on social media, or in a press release, you’ll need a page to link people to that is specific to that book. I always recommend pointing to your website, rather than Amazon/Barnes and Noble directly, to ensure you’re allowing them to choose their preferred purchase option! Don’t assume everyone wants the Kindle version just because it tends to be the most popular!