As a writer, you can use your website to publicise your work, to act as an online CV and to advertise other services you offer, such as school visits, talks on creative writing and manuscript critiques.
Publicising your books
Give some thought to the best way to organise these so the site navigation is clear and shows the range of your work. If you've only written two or three titles, you may want them all on one page or on individual pages. If you've written a larger number, you may want to subdivide them - maybe as fiction and non-fiction or adults' books and children's books. If you have a book or series that's much more successful than your other work, you may want to emphasise that on its own page with all your other titles together on another.
Titles alone don't tell the visitor very much so always include a short description of each book and extracts from any good reviews. Cover pictures brighten up the page - your publisher can probably let you have a scanned version. You can also include some sample text and, for non-fiction books, the contents list, but you will need your publisher's permission for this unless the rights have reverted to you.
Linking each title to the appropriate page in amazon.co.uk or another online bookshop gives visitors the chance to buy your books. If you join the appropriate associate scheme, it also gives you the chance to earn some commission.
Journalism and non-fiction
It's a good idea to put sample articles on your site for editors to see. These will serve a double function as the information they contain may lure other visitors to your site. You can also provide a list of published articles with links to any that are available online.
If you specialise in writing about a particular area of knowledge, consider setting up a research resource to establish you as an expert in your field. It's fun to do, helps you make useful contacts and may even bring you work.
Many authors find the 'about me' section the hardest to right, but that's not a good reason to leave it out. Your readers will want to know more about you and so will prospective editors. You may find it helps to have a general bio section plus a more light-hearted 'frequently asked questions' section for readers. You could also include a more traditional CV in pdf for interested editors to download.
What else you put on your site is entirely up to you. Some other ideas you may like to consider are
- how you started as a writer
- an article on how you work
- hints and tips for beginner writers
- fact files on your characters
- teachers' notes and worksheets if any of your books are used in schools
- a quiz or wordsearch
- fascinating facts connected to one of your books
- jokes connected to the subject of one of your books
- dates of forthcoming public appearances, book signings and school visits (be careful not to let this go out of date)
- information about your availability for school visits and writing workshops