Now that you’ve had time to settle in for 2024 and break most of your New Year’s resolutions, here’s a checklist for your website and ideas for electronic decluttering. I’m working along with you.
New Author Websites
If you are a new author, do you have a website? If not, I recommend creating one while you finish your book and before you query agents. In my office, we visit author websites when we are especially interested in the writer’s work. I understand the expense of creating and maintaining a website, so if you are new to pitching your work, I don’t expect to see an enormously expensive website designed by professionals. Although a fantastic site is always cool, a simple presence you’ve created using a free template is enough at this career stage. You want to establish that you are an author. While a website, even one that’s costly and elaborate, won’t sell a poorly written book, at this point, a website helps demonstrate that you are serious about your internet presence.
Does our agency sign some new authors before they establish a website? Yes. However, a website is appreciated. If we choose to work together, a site will strengthen our marketing efforts for you.
Established Author Websites
Most of us in publishing have no real need to check our own sites often, so they can become neglected.
If you haven’t visited your site in a meaningful way lately, now is an excellent time to see:
1.) Is the site running? If you last checked some time ago, you may land on an error page or discover your domain name is for sale.
2.) Do the links work? Click and see. Since you don’t control third-party links, they can change without notice.
3.) How does the site look? Is the overall look and vibe modern, or has it grown stale over time?
4.) Is the information current? If your site proclaims how much you love your three toddlers, and they are now in college, today’s the day to rewrite the entries on your site.
5.) Are any blog entries recent? Did you start a blog with great intentions, only to abandon it in 2015? Either delete the blog or start fresh. Otherwise, your site will appear neglected.
6.) How fresh are your “recent” photos? If yours are ten or twenty years old, it’s time for an update even though you haven’t changed a bit, and in fact, you look better than ever. After being reluctant to surrender my old publicity photos, of which I was quite fond, and indeed no time had passed since I still wear that outfit, I begrudgingly updated my photos this past year. Since you can post new images on your renovated site, along with every social media platform and beyond, you will appreciate fresh, quality photos taken by a skilled photographer whenever you need a publicity photo. I speak from experience.
If you’re considering a revamp but need help deciding what approach to take, visit the sites of authors you love, especially those writing in your genre. Most will have a “contact” form, so you can ask the authors who created their site if you want to hire that developer. Otherwise, ask around among your author friends for tips.
Do you need more to do, or is your site already perfect in every way? Here’s one last task I perform every year:
Check subscriptions. Do you have magazine, music, streaming, gaming, and app subscriptions that renew automatically? Cancel unused subscriptions now. Regarding magazines, I base my decisions on whether I read them upon arrival. If I love and find the articles beneficial, the magazine is a keeper. If not, I let the subscription lapse. I usually don’t miss the extra reading on the lapsed subscriptions, which takes me away from reading books.
Here’s to a happy, healthy, and clutter-free new year! God bless you!