Why Every Author Needs a Website

If you are an indie author (and even if you are a traditionally published one), having your own website is an ABSOLUTE MUST.

If you do not have a website, Do NOT Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200.

Why?

You need to have an easy way for people who are interested in your work to get in touch with you. In my former profession as a book reviewer, there were sometimes self-published authors who submitted books for review that were excellent and worth pushing forward and getting more press.

But when you googled them, nary a name was to be found.

Sure, I could have spent time emailing my editor, trying to track down the author, but that was more time than I had (and they certainly weren’t paying me enough to spend that time).

So I would shrug and move on to the next book for review.

I’ve talked to other reviewers about similar experiences. Sadly, it’s a not an uncommon occurrence.

If your author name can’t be found on Google, it’s like you’ve never written a book at all.

If you think you don’t have the money for a website, you’re wrong. At the very least, you can set up a free Wix website, and link it to a social media profile at facebook and twitter, and *boom* there’s your social media presence.

I used Wix for 3 years when I was really just starting out, but now I’m using WordPress which is being hosted by bluehost. I also bought my domain at namecheap for under $10 (which also comes with free privacy protection so that you can stay mostly anonymous).

For more detail about why I switched from Wix to WordPress, click here. And there is a panda.

Why I Chose WordPress not Wix

So I’m launching this site as a separate site from Pen Name in part because Pen Name’s site is with Wix, and has been for the last 3 years. Though Wix’s visual drag and drop made it super-easy to build a website in an afternoon, as I prep for a series launch and learn more about marketing best practices, I’m finding it doesn’t have the functionality to adopt the tactics I want unless I pay a lot more.

Combine that with Wix’s ineffectual support that takes about 2-3 days to respond (YES, 2-3 days because I’m already paying fees but refusing to upgrade to another plan just to get decent support).

I originally chose Wix because I wanted to focus the limited time I had on writing. Wix worked fine for publishing Pen Name’s first short story (something I did to learn more about the process of self-publishing).

 

Would I still recommend Wix to the startup indie author? It’s not a bad option for the shoestring startup author if you can’t afford your own domain. If you have some minor tech skills (as in, you know how to use MS Word or can figure out software like GIMP) and are prepared for essentially no technical support, then yes. You can make a pretty good looking website on your own, quickly, when the budget is tight (wait for Wix’s annual sales when they have plans for around 50% off) with the idea that once your book business starts earning money you can change things.

I’m locked into a contract with Wix for one more year, but in the meantime I need to teach myself WordPress, which is in part, what this site is about. I’m one of those people who learn by doing. And at least if I do things badly here, it won’t mess up Pen Name’s sales or launch.

Personally, I’m starting to realize that as a shoe string author business, I need something that offers more functionality.

 

I think WordPress is going to be one of those digital entrepreneurial skills I just have to learn to grow the business the way I want to.

And so I’ve signed up with Bluehost which offers pretty cheap hosting (under $5/month with free domain name and free domain name privacy!) and so far, much better support (when you call them, they actually pick up the phone and try to be helpful!)

I’m still playing around with themes and figuring out what I want to do, so don’t be surprised if things keep changing.

Disclosure: Please note that I am experimenting with affiliate links and that the link to Bluehost is an affiliate link.

And here’s a Red Panda.

Red Panda points the way to WordPress. Go! And though you may be confused now, you will learn!