Sunday, January 25, 2009

Value of author web sites

The New York Times had a great article today about the value of author web sites. Still an unquantifiable factor in consumer book purchases, but the general consensus is that really well-constructed sites boost sales.
I take issue with the writer's belittling of some book trailers. Not all authors have the resources backing authors such as Dan Brown or other bestsellers, and must themselves collect the photos, the music and whatever else to put together a promotional trailer. I've done a few and found it lots of fun, though I doubt mine will win any awards. Perhaps when I'm a bestseller, too, I can afford to hire a top-notch firm to produce my book trailers. Until then, us little guys have to schlep our own trailers together.
Thomas Nelson Publishers President/Ceo Michael Hyatt’s blog post illustrates why flashy sites with little actual content don’t necessarily translate to sales. In response to a commenter’s question as to why an online presence is needed at all, Hyatt expanded his post.
To sum it up, it all comes down to marketing. His followup post provides helpful tips for building an author brand online.
Tiffany Coulter counseled writers to first look into establishing a web presence. Then look ahead into what multiple sites you might need in the future.
Harper Studio weighs in, and includes a list of five authors whose web sites get it right.
Linda Formichelli’s Anatomy of a Writer’s Web Site provides many good resources for those ready to make their own site, as well as list of suggested standard content.
My guess is that the true value of a web site remains unquantifiable because it’s a small part of the whole; marketing-savvy authors won’t rely on any one factor such as a web site, but will look for any and all available means to get the word out. Even after the author’s reached the highest pinnacle. For instance, NPR published audio excerpts of Toni Morrison’s A Mercy. Her name alone sells books because she has an established brand, beyond her web site.
Still, a good web site can't hurt. Maybe one day I'll make one, too.
For your viewing pleasure or jeering, here is my first attempt at a trailer, made for Cinderella Dreams (are tough to shake), my free read with The Wild Rose Press.

1 comment:

Kaye Manro said...

Cate, this is wonderful information for writers! I sometimes do blogposts about branding and such.

And I really like your trailer. I can't wait to see what you'll do in your next one.